I’m doing what I can to keep track of my abilities, and brain fog is the toughest to track. Not just because it’s hard to self-assess, but also because I start out the day with few visible holes, but as the day progresses and my tiredness increases, I lose my ability to articulate. I know something’s wrong, but I’m grasping at straws trying to figure it all out.
We’ve noticed over the last few art and wine festival seasons that my ability to do math becomes filled with Swiss cheese as the day goes on. It’s not a problem long-term, as we’ve now agreed that I will do the math in an excel spreadsheet, and audit it the next day before we split up the earnings in the till.
When I was working, the top illustration shows how I perceive the gaps, but shows that I was still able to get to the correct figure even as the details started to get fuzzy as the day wore on.
Since I’ve been on disability, though, I’ve given myself permission to rest and permission to say, “it’s not computing”, even when it’s hard or embarassing to make such an admission. Yesterday was one of those days when I was losing it, and struggling to control my temper, as I was getting more wiped out of energy, but unwilling to call an end to an otherwise enjoyable day.
Getting my ego out of the equation is the hardest challenge I face.
Luckily, I don’t like it when I get angry or irritable, so a rising temper during an otherwise enjoyable day is a key indicator that I’m more tired than I realize, and so far it’s something I can still notice before things get out of hand. It’s also a clear trigger for me to cut the day short before I become like a whiney baby in need of a nap.
I’m out in public, passing for normal, and my energy reserves are erroding without any clear evidence that something is changing. Until I lose my patience and start to bitch and moan. Or, when I was still working, I end up tired behind the wheel, or napping at the side of the road, or in a car accident.
Fast forward to now, and I’m noticing alarming social changes in my personality. Since I pride myself on being competitive but not petty, suddenly being convinced that my friend is cheating when I can’t track what’s happening is a huge red flag that I’m out of line and not thinking clearly.
I’m really enjoying playing the board games, but… I’m going to have to set a time limit before I start. And, I’m going to have to bring paper and a pencil for the calculations as I just can’t keep numbers in my head while I try and add things up.
Sad, but the first step is to admit a weakness, and take steps to ensure that a fun day remains fun and doesn’t become an effort in endurance.