Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brain fog

A brain fog is the midlife condition of losing your mind. When I heard about this as a young woman, I shrugged off complaints by those who claimed they couldn't think clearly. It was as incomprehensible as the idea of not being able to read fine print. (Hurrah for Lasik gone wrong; one eye sees far, one close, so reading glasses are mostly optional.)

Next week, I have an academic exam, to determine whether or not I am doing the work or am cheating by having someone else research and write my dissertation. Well, I'm certainly doing the studying and it's my own body in the chair, leaning over the books, typing in the words. But my brain only offers partial feedback. Someone back in there is stealing what I'm trying to learn and dumping it carelessly into a trash bin. When I read back what I knew and learned, parts seem as mysteriously new to me as watching a movie (... for the third or fourth time, feels somehow familiar, but mostly unrecognizable.)

My mind needs undisturbed concentration for academics. Each interruption costs an hour or two, by the time I wrap my thoughts back into the information. Ongoing disruptions wipe the whole project into silliness. I'm editing recent material, but most of it is pure gibberish. I'm trying to figure out what I meant. Sure, I wrote a lot of words. They just don't make sense, between, "Where are my ski gloves, Mom?" or "What do you want for lunch?" (I used to shake my head at the nonsense I wrote into student notebooks. The next week at piano lessons, I'd marvel over scales and arpeggios that wandered off with ridiculous fingering, and assignments like, "play four times when she made me practice," etc. Yeah, it was weird. The kids learned to quit talking or playing while I wrote.)

I'm watching the snow flake past my office window. The trees sulk, grey-black under the weight of white water, branches slumped and silent. Our hill is steep and icy. The slippery layer under the puffy snow is treacherous enough to walk on, but the biggest risk is avoiding the skiing cars. No clearing the brain by walking the dogs today! I feel like a fir tree, drooping and dark as the storm whirls around.

I'm glad God knows more than we do. He never goes into a brain fog or loses track of his mission. And he is able to give his children the acuity and clarity we need to do his work. Today is a day for trust and best action. The Word as a flashlight on the path, rather than a torch. Again. Lord have mercy, as we fumble for direction!

Read more:
*The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. Psalm 33:13–15 NLT

*Psalm 12; Genesis 19:30-20:18; Matthew 7:13-23

*The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he
will save us. Isaiah 33:22

*I believe; help my unbelief! Mark 9:24

Moravian Prayer: O Savior, you are Lord over our doubts and our confidence, our questions and our convictions. You are with us when our faith trembles and when your light fills our souls. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.


  1. Oh Rosemarie - I'm so sorry you are experiencing brain fog... and so glad I'm not the only one. Hang in there!

  2. Yeah, I suspect it's age related. I wish I'd done this sooner in life. How easy it would have been!

  3. Brain Fog? Oh, I remember!
    (but God is gracious)
    I came out the other side eventually
    now every day the sky is full of blue flowers.

    Then I knew
    All our lives we strive
    for that which at the last gate
    we simply give away.
    (but God is more gracious still)

  4. Thank you, Charles!
    My stomach unclenched, reading your poem
    and I exhaled.

    God is good.