So Saturday night, I was in my kitchen, baking a cake to take to a family Mother’s Day celebration the next afternoon. And I was confused. Seriously confused.
Sure, I had flour in my hair and a vague handprint on the butt of my shorts, but that’s not what was confusing me. Hey, that’s pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to baking. I love to get all creative in the kitchen, and can cook a five course meal without a problem, but can’t seem to create a dessert without creating a subsequent mess all over myself. No, my befuddlement was a direct result of simple math.
See, I was doubling the recipe for cake batter, in order to create a two layer cake for my grandma. And that meant I needed to figure out what 2/3 of a cup of melted butter was, twice. Pretty basic calculation, and on any other day I would have quickly melted up a cup and a third and been on with my mixing and mess-making. Only that’s not how it worked. I was just standing there, butter dripping onto my socks, concentrating as hard as I could to figure this out. And the harder I tried, the cloudier my thoughts became. It was like trying to add simple numbers with a head full of oatmeal.
Fibro fog. Brain fog. Cognitive dysfunction. Call it what you like, it’s one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of fibromyalgia to deal with. Whether it comes from the sleep disturbances that accompany fibromyalgia or as a result of your brain’s response to all that pain, or another reason altogether, doctors still aren’t sure what causes the memory loss, clouded thinking, confusion and panic attacks that come compromise fibro fog.
For me, brain fog is also one of the hardest symptoms to try and explain to other people, as well. How do articulate that your mind seizes up and simply won’t work? How do explain that you walked into the same room four times and still can’t remember what you’re doing there? Or that you suddenly can’t remember how to spell basic words or add 2/3 and 2/3? And that the harder you try the more likely you are to fly into a blind panic about the whole thing?
I guess you just try your best. And, when you can’t add measurements, remember that Google is your best friend.