What do you do when the brain is so off that you start looking at cat videos on the net?
It is writing time. I’m awake. But I surf because I can read, and not yet write. It is hard to explain: showing up, butt-in-chair, is just not enough if your actual brain doesn’t work when you’re there.
Days like today, in which the brain fog is worse than usual, are a hallmark of ME/CFS.
There is SOMETHING there, or I wouldn’t be even this coherent.
When I tell you that the thing I used to enjoy most about myself, the thing that made all the other minor insults of life bearable, was the quickness of mind that I had had since birth, you can see how much this hurts.
Losing your mind
When I came down with CFS, I lost the thing that made me ‘special,’ that made indignities like being big and tall and clumsy (relative to the cute, petite, social, well-turned out young Mexican ladies I grew up with) less important. I had brains; and while they weren’t particularly valued, they were enjoyable.
I spent my childhood optional hours with my nose in a book. I was good at that, found solace there – as many odd children do. I assumed one day I’d write books. I am sitting here right now, writing a book.
Except that today I can’t. I hope it isn’t CAN’T so much as CAN’T YET – and that the brain clears up enough to write with it soon enough so I get something written today, maybe followed by doing something useful (the paperwork mound is getting to the dangerous stage, and I really, really need to do some housekeeping).
It is a curious thing to watching your own brain, your most precious possession (what? yours isn’t your most precious possession?), make abortive attempts to connect with itself, right before your very eyes (?).
If it were occasional, I’d blame it on drugs. Or the weather. Or a bad night. Or the sugar I ate yesterday (only I didn’t HAVE sugar yesterday, or even this week).
But it is a daily occurrence, one which often clears away for a while and allows me to write. But not always.
And never reliably: I can’t count on my SELF.
Maybe I’m too self-aware. I over-analyze. My mother used to say I thought too much.
It is either that, though, or, through the luck of the surf, finding something online that somehow kicks my mind into gear.
Or merely the passing of enough time in my life that something else happens.
A new name for it: BRAINOUT
It is a very odd state. Even being able to write this much (it’s almost 1pm, and I’ve been up since 7am, already had one nap – and I cannot for the life of me figure out how long that nap was) indicates some neurons must be firing.
Calling this brain fog is a misnomer.
I’d like to propose a new name: brainout. Like whiteout. Or what happens in the desert during a sandstorm.
BRAINOUT: sitting around calmly, in no particular pain or distress, waiting for the brain, through some mysterious process known only the the body, to change from a state of quiescence to one in which it is actually capable of thought. And work. And writing the damn novel.
For anyone curious, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT WRITER’S BLOCK.
I am not at all blocked. My process is waiting for the neurons to fire, and then it will proceed with the next piece of this scene, which I have been planning along with the 8-scene arc that it starts.
I am in a good place. I know that following the process is interesting, and fun, and always, so far, has resulted in text that I can be proud of (YMMV – but that’s your problem).
I KNOW what I’m doing in the writing. I have the time. I just can’t focus, drag the brain out of brainout, enough to put words on paper.
I feel like Proust, micro-analyzing myself and my brain state like this, but what else can I do? This is writing time, and it’s going to be used for writing even if all I could manage would be to type a string of as: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Well, that didn’t hurt much. I will go see if the brainout is over.