At some point, we have all walked into a room and completely forgot what the heck we came here for? It happens to the best of us! We have absentmindedly done something that made us feel disoriented – forgetting someone’s name for example. Crap – how can I not think of their name? I’ve known them for years. Then, hours or even days later, it comes to you seemingly out of the blue.
Long before my Lyme, someone once told me that when you can’t think of that word on the tip of your tongue, you have to wait for the next shift. Imagine your brain is a library, and everything you know is categorized neatly on shelves. Tiny little organized librarians run around throughout the day filing and recalling information on your queue. If you can’t think of something, the librarian that filed it away is simply not working that shift and no other worker can find it. You have to wait ‘till their next shift. When they start their shift, they will retrieve the information and ta-da! Oh yah! That's it!
With Lyme, it is more like ALL the librarians went on an unannounced strike. They are long gone, and you are left stranded -- locked outside your own library. You know the information is just on the other side, but you can’t access it. And even if you could, you couldn’t process it. This is brain fog.
Fog is not the F word that comes to mind, but we will go with that for now. :)
At its worst, neurological Lyme disease can cause paralysis, seizures or schizophrenia. With lesser symptoms, the victim is plagued with insomnia, nightmares, brain fog, inability to pronounce words, forgetfulness, word loss (tip of the tongue) and hypersensitivity to sound, motion, or bright lights.
The severity of my pain was definitely scary -- I never imagined such excruciating suffering was possible unless moments before death. At times, the level of pain was so intense that even as I type this post (completely pain free) my eyes fill with tears.
But of all the symptoms of Lyme disease, the neurological manifestations I have experienced frighten me the most. With brain fog, I can feel myself fading away just before it takes over leaving me abandoned, trapped, lost in my own unfamiliar body without the ability to mutter one. single. word.
During the F word, I am not a complete vegetable. I am still aware of how incredibly embarrassing and humiliating it is that my brain just went static. It’s not like I just lost my train of thought and can go on a tangent about something else – it is as if I forgot everything.
Neurological symptoms feel so utterly uncontrollable and cruelly invasive. And of course, they are the hardest to stop. The bacteria excretes DNA to remain undetected by your brain’s protective barrier, and then burrows deep into brain tissue to avoid being eradicated by medications that can’t cross the blood brain barrier.
Brain fog is so hard to explain to someone else without sounding like you’ve lost your mind, but in all actuality, that is the description.