“There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me”, Pink Floyd
Just as I thought that I had nothing new to write about I have discovered that the weird ‘brain’ sensations I have, which only lasts for moments, are common among those of us with this frustrating condition of fibromyalgia! I have had these peculiar short lived experiences that are followed by dizziness for several years now. The episodes are almost like a small temporary memory loss, almost feeling faint-like. I don’t have the language to describe them. It is as though my skull almost empties for a few seconds. It is somewhat creepy to imagine a skull without a brain.
Many have written that coming off a medication brings about these zaps/pings/shocks/memory loss/dizziness occurrences. But, I have not come off of any medications. Still, I have read that being on Gabapentin can cause them. I do take 300 to 400 mgs per day. Is this what is causing them? The attacks aren’t too frequent but certainly do cause slight dizziness and loss of balance. I have often had electrical shocks throughout my body- this isn’t the same thing. I have written about ‘brain fog’ several times – again, this isn’t exactly the same thing. I have had vertigo- it is different from that as well. I wish I had the language to describe the episodes. It’s as though my brain loses a second or two into the air, is not in my own body!
“My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery-always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud”, Virginia Woolf
To live a life in a state of high anxiety, boarding on panic, is common among those of us with fibromyalgia. We anticipate pain, fatigue, muddled thoughts, and a myriad of other symptoms almost every waking (and sleeping!) hour. It has become a habit that often seems unable to be broken and depression and fear set in. Often accompanying this is the brain fog, the confusion that often does not allow us to focus or to think clearly. Some describe the sensation as “fuzzy brain”, “spaced out”, “dreamy”, “brain farts” or just plain forgetfulness.Whatever the label those of us with the condition know it is often accelerated by over stimulation, lack of sleep, pain, stress and anxiety. The new medical term is now “dyscognition“. It would seem that the brain has difficulty in responding to stimuli because of a hyper-aroused central nervous system, a phrase I keep repeating over and over again in my many blogs. These habits of the brain are strong and require discipline that is challenging to break free from since they have accumulated over many years. Stress and all that it encompasses is, in my view, a main culprit.
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense”, Gertrude Stein
To write that I am frustrated, angry, and discouraged over the recent hoopla this week in the news from the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is to be putting it mildly. As is usual with someone who has CFS and fibromyalgia (FM) I awoke several times last night. During those wakeful periods I wanted to write this blog with great haste in protest for whomever would read this rant from me. I have to admonish my readers that the report is not to be viewed with great enthusiasm. The IOM state that CFS should now to be regarded as a disease. I write this knowing that the majority of my readers want these conditions to be regarded as such and for which a medication can be taken and our conditions would be cured. But as I have repeatedly written over many years, this cluster of symptoms which make up a syndrome cannot be ‘cured’ with the usual allopathic or alternative medicines. It is far more complex than that. Hunts for viral, bacterial and hormonal causes have been on-going for many decades. I had hoped that this was all behind us. Is this trend going to be re-invented?
“Every man (sic) can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”, Santiago Ramon Cajal
I have before me books, newspaper clippings, magazines that speak to the phenomenal advances that are occurring in the area of brain science and remapping the brain. Just this week I have read in our Canadian newspaper (The Globe and Mail) about brain research exploring the differences in social economic status (SES) of children, in particular regarding children raised in poverty. The June edition of Yoga Journal speaks to training the brain through meditation. The book Buddha’s Brain explores the brains of those who meditate, while the magazine ShambhalaSun has an article (May edition) on this very topic as well. All of these I have read (or re-read) in just one week. Interestingly, apart from the Buddha’s Brain book, and the research cited in the newspaper, the other two are magazines not known to be ‘scientific’ in nature.
” To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old”, Oliver Wendell Holmes
As we age each new year brings hope of change in a positive direction. Less pain, less fatigue, better quality sleep are the things I wish for. The new resolutions: try not to overdo like I always do on days when a flare-up has subsided; daily gentle exercises if only for a few minutes off and on each day; maybe take a music appreciation class (not like the class I tried to take to relearn how to speak French and had to attend class all day from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m conjugating verbs, ugh! The teachers were terrific, the program lovely but I had brain fog. After one week I quit, exhausted). My new year’s resolution is to practice meditation more regularly; try new creative things but only gradually, not like I did with the quilting (I had never quilted before and by hand I sewed 4 quilts since Easter, without a sewing machine, now I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome!). That seems like enough for me right now, the quilting (notice the Betty Boop quilt which is very uplifting!)and the French classes did me in this year.