Sunday 18 May 2014

The Dumbening

I feel like the dumb is strong of late. My brain simply isn't up to scratch. I'm not sure if it's the exhaustion, the lack of blood flow to my brain, medication effects or any of the other multitude of potential causes. I'm trying to avoid the 'it-could-indicate-a-worsening-of-things' line of thought, so we'll skip that one. But whatever the cause I feel like I'm walking around with a head full of cotton balls rather than a squidgy ball of grey matter.

I can pump out a blog post. Though the first draft looks like Freyja has jumped all over the keyboard. I can put up a FB status. I can even sort-of-kinda put up a photo on Instagram. But make me respond to something, a question, someone else's blog post, FB status etc, and it's crickets.

To try and fine the words to respond to an email in even a slightly coherent manner is getting harder. I read and re-read a paragraph in a message and still am left going, "Huh?" I go to respond and I'm having to go back and re-read the message again for the 80th time to make sure I understood. Then it's the hard part of putting the words together to make a response that doesn't sound like it has been created by Google Translate.

I'm finding it tough to deal with. Blogging is simply purging what is already in my mind. But responding takes understanding and active thinking. If something requires analytic thinking and response I might as well just put on my hat and head for home. It is exhausting and more often than not beyond me.

I want to respond to comments or statuses but instead sit staring at the monitor unable to put together a response.

So I find myself hibernating more.

I try to read a book and am exhausted and have forgotten half the text by the time I get to the end of the page. I know by the end of this post I will have forgotten how it started.

I hate, what I now call, The Dumbening.

I went to a writers workshop a couple of weeks ago. The idea was to talk about translating life to memoir with a focus on illness and disability. We were also asked to prepare a piece to bring in, read aloud and then have the groups critique it. And then The Dumbening hit and it went a little like this:

“Would anyone like to share?”

I sat there looking at my page of 12 Times New Roman and chickened out.

“Would anyone like to give feedback?”

Yes. But. Ugh. Words. Thoughts. What? Maybe I'll just slump back down into my chair and let everyone's words wash over me.

All through the reading I had thoughts. I'm sure they made sense back then. But already they are gone. Should I open my mouth and speak? Will it come out right? What was I thinking? Oh god, I'm just going to sound stupid. I have no idea. Just hide. Fade into the background. What am I doing here?

Concentrate. Concentrate. There you almost had it. There was almost a thought.

And that is how it goes now.

The Dumbening has hit and I am floundering. 

It's hard to communicate and participate in life when I can't respond to simple questions. It's makes me feel less. And I am very aware of how dull I sound. Conversation is worse. But now even written communication is getting hard. I have started to avoid things, and I hate that. My confidence has taken a beating. As has my sense of self. And some days it makes me want to crawl into a corner and howl.

I wish I knew the answer. I wish I could turn it around. But so far it's just another "you'll have to learn to live with it" moment. 

If my brain was functioning better I'd come up with a great description of my mental angst. But for now I can only give you a pithy,



"Down by the seashore,
the waves are bigger then normal.
I asked you if I could flicker out,
you say "don't think so".
I just want you too believe.
Even though I know its impossible for me."


  1. Yes a quiggley brain is part of dsyatunomia.... Going through it now, finding reading tough, haven't read anything that requires concentration for about three weeks... Honestly how hard can it be for a body to balance heart rate and blood pressure... I guess hard... I am glad that you blog so often. It encourages me, more than I can say... I live with the struggles, but when I get on line and a blog, it helps, it gives me hope in the midst of disordered brain functions, dysautonomiacs are still helping each other one blog at a time..

    So thanks, I hope your brain gets some blood going its way... Don T we all...

    Hope it is sunny on your side of the pond

  2. I was my brain - I was never model beautiful or in any way athletic but boy was I smart. And to have that slip was the hardest part of illness. I am lucky, it is back most of the time now - although dinner out last night has left me struggling a little today, and on days like this I just look at this picture I have on my office wall ...

  3. The Dumbening really is horrible, and until you've experienced it you wouldn't believe it's possible.

    Be gentle on yourself, and celebrate what you can do because it is enough.


  4. This whole dysautonomia journey, it is hard and it hurts like nothing else can to see yourself slowly disintegrate, so much talent, so much, potential, all slipping away and then returning at times and never really knowing what can happen in 24 hours.. Nobody teaches you how to live thru progressive deterioration..

    Today I was honest with myself to say it is hard and it hurts to the core of who I am... And then I prayed and found comfort in that... As broken as I may be, what remains in love... That greatest gift cannot be taken away... Yes others remove their love from me... So many things to see, do, ( so easy to become the forgotten disabled on)... Yeah but in my daily struggles, I still strive to live out love...

    Today, again I saw it was just me and the God I know, today that brought comfort.. There are many Jewish sayings on God and His love for lowly man... After crying my heart out, I somehow found my brokenness is still whole... Some how above all things, I still choose to love... I think I am having an existential day..

    I hope some times you go back thru your comments sections and re read all the communications of love, gratitude, compassion, that people have wrote to you.. Most are not from the MD's the movers and the shakers of their various fields... No they are from people who struggle with health, difficulties, and inner and external turmoil. Low 0xygen to the brain, organs and muscles etc... In the paradoxical world, the ones with the disordered bodies are the ones who embrace love, compassion and humility...

    I am so glad that you embrace your writing and open the door for so many to love you back in the midst of your suffering and troubles. It takes great humility to say what you do

  5. It it takes greater humanity to love someone in and thru there brokenness. So I am not quiet sure where that puts you Michelle Roger... Your influence is beyond words, I am sure it goes to many corners of the world. Stephen Covey talks about leaving a legacy.... As hard as you struggle body, emotions and soul, to live with your disorder... You seem to embrace the best things in humanity...

    I hope others will follow take time to let you know how much they appreciate all you do to walking with people thru a painful journey...

    Oh the things we could do without chronic orthostatic intolerance ... I was going to write, I would stand up and give u a hug, but could turn into a faint... Dysautonomic humor...

    It is not even Friday... And u still rock..

    Hope u know u are loved around the globe... Amazing the things you can do...

  6. I call it Mental Fog. Thank God that my husband finishes my sentences when I'm having mental fogs!


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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