When I say the words “Brain fog” I feel like I will get one of two reactions – one of which people will laugh nervously and not get it AT all, and the other in which people who have been there will understand 110%.
Where your brain just plain shuts off and it feels like nothing on earth can ever get it back again.
I’ve decided to use this blog – a safe place – to open my heart and explain a few things on my mental health journey to you. For those who have no idea what mental health is like – to learn and understand and empathize. And for those who are there as well – to know that you’re not alone and it’s actually very healthy to talk about it.
And for myself as writing is extremely therapeutic for me, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to understand myself better.
Now back to that brain fog thing. I don’t remember the first day it happened, but I know it was probably sometime the end of February or March last year. I had just been to a funeral for a young girl I once reached out to through my church`s youth ministry. My heart was broken. And in the breaking this triggered suppressed feelings and memories of something that happened when I was fifteen. (I’ll explain that one another day)
I don’t know how to explain all of this because I honestly don’t remember what happened in those months – I mean nothing. I will vaguely remember something as if I had dreamt it, but details are totally gone. I remember joking about this to one of my closest friends – Hello, I’m Dory. I have short term memory loss. – and I remember she got very serious very fast. “Ok Michelle. Tell me what happens when your brain goes foggy?”
Well my chest gets really tight, I can’t breathe properly, and I can’t think – it’s just complete fog. Eventually I come out of it, but sometimes it’s really bad and it’s hard to even go about my normal day.
She said it sounded like I was having a panic attack and when I said I didn’t feel panicky, she said mental health isn’t always the same and it could be you’re experiencing some anxiety or PTSD or some sort of trauma. The not remembering this probably had something to do with psychological blocking. She suggested I consider seeking out counselling and I kind of shrugged her off that day.
But that day started my journey to healing – my heart still had a long way to go. It took 8 more months before I realized she was right – 8 agonizing months of fog, shallow breathing, and not knowing how to function. 8 months of which I don’t remember much of anything.
Then one day in December I hit my rock bottom moment after attending another two funerals. I sat at my kitchen table shaking and crying, desperate to feel something – some sort of release for the pain deep in my heart – clutching a knife but not wanting to cut myself… and instead I picked up my phone and texted my friend, “Hey… I need counselling. What was the name of that place you said?”
Dear friends reading this… if you’re in the fog I want you to know – there’s HOPE! I’m saying all of this to level with you. I know what it’s like. We all go through this differently but it’s always the same underlying issue, something has wounded our hearts. And it doesn’t feel like anything can ever make the sun shine again. And you know, the world itself is going to hurt you. But I am here saying there’s hope. From that day when I reached out to my friend I knew it was time, I was ready for this journey. I had to get there though. I had to reach out and not care about what someone would think of me.
I’m still on this journey. I have a long way to go.
But I’ve seen Jesus and he’s leading me there – one day at a time. One baby step at a time. Like I said yesterday, I stayed in bed all morning. Tonight, I’m eating Mac&Cheese way too late at night and probably won’t sleep much.
But you know what? Tomorrow is a new day. God has good plans for me and for you.
I used to think I could do it on my own. Or even just me and Jesus. But tonight, I’m sitting here so very thankful for the people God has placed in my life. For my friends who understand where my broken heart is at and why my mind can’t function. I’m thankful for the ones who don’t understand but have grace for me anyways. I’m thankful for the counsellor God led me to – a wonderful Christian woman with wisdom and insight – and that from day one talking to her was like finding another big sister. I’m thankful for my parents who pray me through the pain and understand that some days I just don’t want to talk about it.
At the end of the day, I’m just thankful for each breath I take – even when it’s hard to breathe in this fog.
This is all I can say for tonight. But I wanted you, my internet friends, to know that you’re not alone. You are loved by Jesus. He has great plans for you. It’s ok to not have it all together, but it’s not ok to have to do this alone… and hey even King David (yeah, the crazy shepherd boy who killed the giant and became king later) had his foggy days. Check it out…
9 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.
14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
saying, “You are my God!”
15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.
Keep on. ❤