Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brain Fog and Braids

I first heard the medical term "Brain Fog"
while reading a book on chronic pain and Lupus.
It is very similar to looking at an unfocused
picture. You know what the picture subject is,
but until it appears more clear (focused)
you are left with some missing pieces
and a desire to see it as it should be.
Brain Fog is different from forgetting,
a person actually can't remember the most
simple of tasks until the 'fog' clears.
This usually only happens under duress,
some of you out there might be thinking,
"Oh, so that's what it's called ;-)"

Yes, indeed, this happened to me today
with the simple task of braiding a necklace.
I absolutely sat there staring at it,
fumbled with it and for the life of me
could not figure out how to braid.
All of us girls and guys grew up
learning that skill, (basket weaving 101)
then we braided everything in sight.
I even remember braiding my spaghetti noodles
when I suffered dinner table boredom.
It was so frustrating knowing that it was
something that I could do in my sleep, but I
could not remember its simple rules. Then,
you begin to feel stupid, start talking to
yourself out loud and when the skill returns and
your fingers nimbly manipulate the cord,
all is well...until it happens again.
Technically, nerves are on temporary
overload and right themselves quickly.

So, it's spring and we all feel that sudden urge to purge ourselves of the less useful things in our lives. (Buzz Word = Downsize:) Deni is great at this...while I received my Father's pack rat gene.
Here's my problem...

I packed a lot of my "things" (aka = crap) in April of 2006 thinking that our new house was going to be ready much sooner, well, I was wrong and now those things will be packed for many more months to come. I can hear J saying it now, "If you've been living all this time with that "crap" (:() in those boxes and haven't found a need for it all for this long....then it all should go, as it seems you can live without it.

I need that
"Oi, just get rid of it, woman!"
that I can hear Denise saying
to me. Needless to admit,
it's Spring cleaning time
and I really do need to
down size my "stuff" (:-)

And how do these things all relate to one another?
Well, how am I supposed to part with my treasures
when I keep lapsing in and out of fogginess?
This condition makes decision making extremely
difficult and very stressful.

I guess I'm going to have to fly my lil sis
here to help me purge...okay love? *wink*

***Help me here fellow pack rats...how in the
world do you do it?***


Blogger Jack K. said...

J may be on to something.

Begin to think of it as gone already.

I think there are a couple of TV shows about re-organizing your home/stuff. HGTV, Discovery, TLC or some other cable channels carry these shows. They seem to do quite well. I even think I caught a segment on the Tyra last week that dealt with the clutter issue.

As for the brain fog, what is that horn I keep hearing?

4:57 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Brain fog is a common symptom in mercury poisoning.

It might not be relevant at all in your case, but you might want to consider....how many flu shots have you had? How many mercury amalgam dental fillings? (Mercury wreaks havoc on the immune system BTW).

7:49 AM  
Blogger Star said...

I am blessed to live in a house with very little storage, which allows me to make those decisions on a regular basis. Also, each time I visit my parents' home I am reminded of the huge chore ahead if my mother should decide to relocate (full attic, full basement); it teaches me that if I am not likely to use things that are not really sentimental then I need to share them with others who can.

Sounds like you may be getting the spring cleaning bug!

8:55 AM  
Blogger deirdre said...

I ask myself three questions about each item: is it beautiful, or sentimental, or useful? If the answer is no to all those it goes. Simple. 15 minutes a day until you're done. Set a timer and stop when it goes off. It works well for me.

Brain fog - it's been happening to me too. I think the combination of grief and shifting hormones is having far too much fun with my brain cells.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Yolanda said...

I know only too well brain fog as it happens very frequently with fibromyalgia too.
I too am a pack rat but I am learning with this recent move that I like clutter free much more and that I really didn't have a need for most of the stuff I thought I needed since it has been packed up in boxes for close to a year.

10:17 AM  
Blogger daisies said...

i am a huge packrat but i also like space and yearn for simplicity so that often wins ...

our house is small and clutter drives me crazy and over the years i have what works for me is i move room by room (over a period of months) and take everything out of it (resulting in a huge mess in my living room which keeps me motivated to finish and allows me to see everything). I organize by piles in bins and sort through "need" "want" and "what was I thinking" ~ i really think about whether i need something and remind myself that memories live in my head and not in an object (though i always allow myself to keep a few special items that are purely sentimental) and i try and find practical uses for beautiful things that i can't bear to part with. The end result is worth it because i always feel fresher and lighter and happier afterwards :)

and i very rarely miss anything that i part with ... strange that ;-)

and wow ~ brain fog ~ do i know it well some days ... thanks for giving me a name to attach to those days ...

happy spring cleaning ~ i know you'll find a method that works for you :)

10:23 AM  
Anonymous meg said...

Oh how I wish I weren't in the same boat with you! I'm a terrible packrat, and my husband is...not. But I'm on the road to recovery, so I would tell you to chuck it w/o even opening the box if you can stand it. I haven't gotten to that point yet, so my 2nd bit of advice is to be ruthless. No "eventually I might use this" or "never know when you might need it", and most importantly, if you're not going to use it, it doesn't matter how much money you spent on it. The money ain't comin' back; might as well make room for more stuff. (Because as we all know, you're stuff is "stuff" - everyone else's is "crap".) Good luck!!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...


I can well relate to brain fog, and it's very hard to make even the most minor of decisions in that state. Although we all have too much stuff, some stuff is more equal than other stuff.

If that makes any sense at all.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Mary Timme said...

I can't help! Darlene, I'm so sorry, I'm not a pack rat! I'm just not good at helping, but I'm great at sorting! I could clean that out in nothing flat.

Brain fog is something you explained so well. At my age it happens with words quite freqently. I know the word, I just can't lay my mind on when I want to. Of course the fog clears when I no longer care! Argh!!

1:21 PM  
Blogger LEstes65 said...

One friend of mine helped me purge my "stuff" so I could move from my parent's house to my own apartment. He said, if you haven't touched it or really used it in over a year, TOSS IT. It was hard. I made exceptions for keep sakes but he held me to task on what exactly a keep sake was. I had to prove its sentimentality to him. It helped. When I moved from Boston to Austin, I used that same rule. Gone are all the small collections of screws, knobs, brackets, buttons, whatever, that I was just SURE I would be able to use some day. And I haven't really missed them. If I need a button or knob, I'll go buy one. If I lived there, I'd come be your junk police. I'm a fellow pack rat but I think I'm pretty cured. GOOD LUCK!!!

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Joanne said...

Hi again from Sydney, Darlene, where we are having our typical crazy autumn/Easter weather. (Don't call it fall here). Have you looked at www.flylady.net,it works well for some people

Take care, Jo

3:08 PM  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

you're so funny!

how i throw things away is rationalizing just as Jay did..."if you haven't used it in this long, out of sight, out of mind" sort of thing.

i realized that clutter can sometimes paralyze me. where as others work better in clutter (i.e. boho boy).

with my studio, i considered it a "purging of self" as well. i was starting over a new leaf with my business and wanting it to be fresh.

The Seed Handbook helped me with that. you should check it out, Dar...

love you a whole bunch!!!

xoxoxox pretty gemmie braids.

4:04 PM  
Blogger bee said...

i am a slightly reformed pack rat...by that i mean that i got rid of all my stuff once but i have to keep thinking about it, and watch my tendency to hoard.

what really worked for me is realizing if i'd used the thing in 6 months. if i hadn't chances are i wouldn't miss it. and if i had any questions, any heart pulls, i'd wait a bit, to see if that was the right thing to do.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Ah love, you are a sweet, wonderful packrat like my Footpad!! That's okay, I'm sure everything we hold on to will find a place. Check out my thinking bloggers ... you figure prominently! xx, JP

8:23 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

My nature is to be a bit of a pack rat, but after helping to clean out my mom's and grandmother's things after they died, I've been trying to get it under a bit more control. Some days I do better, some not so much.

The way I do it is a lot like Darlene(Daisies) described. But I can't imagine doing it during brain fog times. I think you need to work on it during times your head is clear. It'll wait...

9:40 PM  
Blogger Shaz said...

No No No not during brain fog days.
UNLESS you are doing it with someone you trust and someone who knows you well. (wink)
again ....I am so bad and we are truly intertwined my sweet girl.
LOL is it raining??
Wait till its raining giggle it could help. ORRRRR put it off for another day. Do not ask me I am such a naughty pak rat. xx

2:45 AM  
Anonymous ceanandjen said...

You know, I did say to myself..."so that's what it is" *wink*

The best advise that I can give you on this front is to wait until the spirit moves you(and it will) and then go through everything you possibly can. It does not always hit me, to be sure, but when it does, I take advantage of the drive and I clear out as much as I can. When you are done, you feel light and cleansed. :-)

Love to you.xoxoxo

1:45 PM  
Blogger BJ said...

So, that is what you call it? Brain fog. Well, I'm glad that there is a word for it. I don't know what my excuse it.

I tried to e-mail you at your e-mail address and I couldn't get through.

Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog Darlene. Our daughters our very special, ugh? I have been following you for a while now. I am so glad that Mark is doing well. You are such a special family. Always in my thoughts and prayers.

4:56 PM  
Blogger me-nikk said...

Well, my husband and I just bought a bigger house, and I get a bigger room / studio for my things... That doesn't exactly seem like the "right" way to go. I'm trying to purge as I unpack, but sometimes it's so hard. Especially when your family is the type that passes everything down to the next generations. I try to rememeber that things are just that... things, and the memories are inside each of us. But it doesn't always work all that well.

Brain fog... Hmmmmm. I say "brain farts." Same concept. Just as frustration.

DId I ever mention to you that you are the first person who I feel that I can relate to as far as health issues are concerned. Although ours are not the same, I find comfort in knowing that "I'm not alone."

Just a little reminder that you are loved Darlene! xoxoxo

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a pack rat. Purging is difficult...

Some times I am good at it.

Sometimes I am bad at it.

But all the time, I want to save it, keep it, memorialize it, frame it, file it, organize it. But usually I just figure I will deal with it tomorrow.


11:36 PM  
Blogger gerry rosser said...

Brain fog has been a companion of mine for years--I guess a bit of graveyard humor would be that I can't remember exactly when it started! It has held me back in so many endeavors.
Michell O'Neil mentioned mercury poisoning. I have gotten rid of all but a couple of my amalgam fillings--and those two are on my schedule. Wonder if it's too little, too late? Never had a flu shot.

6:26 AM  

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