I am not a stupid person. As a matter of fact, I possess above average intellect. Which is why "fibro fog" is so damn frustrating. It affects my memory in odd ways, such as thinking “elephant”, while saying “Edmonton” (true story). I know that the word I am saying is wrong, but my mind won’t release it so that the right word will come. As I said, I am not stupid. But I have challenges that (at times) may make it seem as though I am. I sometimes have a hard time remembering names of people and places. For example, although I have a list and have been researching my trip to Ireland, if asked I may not remembered the names of all the places I am going. If I have an appointment, I make note of it in no less than two different calendars and will often call to confirm the day before. Social situations are extremely stressful for me because I often find myself overwhelmed and my brain seems to just shut down to the point that I can barely follow a conversation. I am not really certain why I am affected this way, nor why it seems to be so bloody random, but have learned to accept it. One thing I have noticed is that if I feel pressured (people interrupting me, trying to finish my sentences, talking over me, rushing me, becoming impatient or getting annoyed) then the fog just get worse and I usually cut the conversation short.
I get cranky if I am interrupted and my initial reaction to change is not always positive, so I work very hard to ensure that I am not bringing negative energy into whatever space I happen to be occupying. I have to budget my energy (or “spoons”) carefully in order to ensure that I don’t wear myself out, causing a flareup which can keep me bedridden for days or forcing me to push through it because I don’t have any choice. “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino explains it well and while she is discussing her challenges with Lupus, the theory applies to anyone dealing with chronic illness.
I only get so many "spoons" a day...
One of the reasons fibro is so hard to diagnose is because symptoms are random and no two people are affected in the same way. This is also why there is no “treatment” and no cure. For some, coffee is the only way they can manage. For me, caffeine is a trigger, causing unbearable agony. Some people are very “physical” or very vocal. To someone with fibro, a playful punch in the arm feels like being slammed with a 2x4 and being exposed to someone’s excited screaming/squealing is absolute torture because it actually causes physical pain. Odd as that may sound, my skin feels like someone is rubbing a cheese grater on it when people around me are screaming/yelling/squealing. It’s not that I don’t share your excitement; I just can’t express emotion in the same way you do and continue to function like a somewhat “normal” human being. This is why many people with fibro tend to be homebodies and prefer quiet activities. Most things others consider “fun” are simply far too overwhelming and (quite frankly) would cost more “spoons” than I have to spare.
Interestingly enough, I rarely lose anything, multitask like a mo-fo, can tell you the contents of almost every shelf/drawer of my home, remember song lyrics, and quotes from films/books (may not always remember the name of the film or the actor’s names, though). I also seem to be a walking encyclopedia for random facts that even I can’t remember how I came by. I am a voracious reader. I am always writing something (either work related or personal), can tell you if I wrote a commercial just by listening to it (because I can usually remember the day I wrote it, down to what I was wearing), and currently have three books in various stages of development, although lately I haven’t had the energy to sit down and work on them. I often wonder what I would be capable of if I wasn’t affected by fibro, because I am pretty ding dang fabulous in spite of it! BAM!!!
My health has improved dramatically since I was finally diagnosed 6 years ago and I am determined to continue to heal. So if you see me struggling, it isn’t due to lack of intellect because I am far from stupid. But I am not going to let it defeat me. I am also not seeking sympathy or pity, simply trying to spread awareness and understanding. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Feel free to share it, if you think it will help someone else.