When Brain Fog Holds You Back, Know That Success Is Not Linear

I thought I could do a full work day and cheer practice. I made it to 1:00pm and the brain fog set in, so bad that I needed to leave a little earlier than usual, since right now I’m not doing full days anyway.

Side note: the best way I can explain the brain fog is if you smoke a lot of weed and it’s impossible to distinguish time and you can’t remember stories you’re telling, but instead of stories, it’s conversations and names and things you really need to remember. Not that I’ve ever tried weed. Nope, no weeds here. I don’t do the weeds. 

Anyway. I got home early and tried to decompress to get ready for a long night (long by my standards of sleep by 9:00). My practice went from 7:00-10:00 and by 9:00 I was yawning and barely keeping my eyes open. Like, literally doing dances full out but yawning the entire way through. It was a sight to see. I knew it just seemed like I was just a sleepy old granny, but throughout this depression, sleep has been the only thing holding me together. I knew practice would be hard, but I didn’t think it would be what broke me. 

I got home exhausted at 11:00, walked Piglet really fast, and showered. I changed my alarm from 6:00 to 7:30, thinking I could get enough sleep if I went to bed at 11:30. And the thing is, I did. I slept eight hours, give or take some for tossing and turning. But when I woke up, it was like wading through mud. Like I was drugged. My body felt sluggish. My mind was struggling to catch up. I kept drifting off. I texted my boss and let her know I needed to take a sick day again. I thought maybe I would journal, drink some tea, and feel better. The next thing I knew, I woke up at 2:30 in the afternoon. I kept having dreams that I was getting out of bed and getting ready, but every time I opened my eyes to do it, it felt like I was being pushed down, drowning. Unable to reach out, wake up, keep my eyes open.

Part of me feels like a failure. I was making so much progress, and yet here I am. Back to square one.

I spent five weeks suffering through the worst depression I have been through. It started as not wanting to live, and each week got a little bit better. I was able to go on walks one week. Next, I went to the gym. I was getting up early. I was feeding myself real food. And now I’m here, going to work. Except when the brain fog and fatigue is so bad that I can’t go. 

But my therapist tells me almost every session that success is not linear. Getting a raise is not linear. Losing weight is not linear. And most importantly, getting out of a depressive episode is  not linear. 

I will have ups, but I will also have downs. I have to understand and be okay with this. I have to treat myself with kindness while I’m struggling with my illness — which is basically impossible because depression itself makes you have feelings of self-loathing, but you have to deal with the impossible when going through the unimaginable. 

And that’s what I’m doing. I’m picking myself back up, little by little, and giving myself grace for the days that seem unbearable. I’m going through the unimaginable (shout out to LMM), and I’ll get through it. Day by day. Step by step. Ups and downs.

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