I often find myself feeling really tired at the end of a day, even when I haven’t been very physically active. I attribute this to ‘brain work.’ By this I mean there are days when I have to do a lot of extra thinking to get through the day. Days when my memory seems worse than others, or days when I have to juggle appointments, deal with deadlines and or handle a lot of details.
An example is when we’re having the family over for dinner. I used to just breeze through these occasions…making favorite family dishes, easily computing quantities, topping off the meal with a new decadent dessert. But with MCI, each part of the meal can be its own unique challenge, and often, something I’ve made thousands of times won’t turn out right…and I will have no idea why.
I would like t to just let these slips and misses not bother me, but I can’t. Instead I try to unearth the source of each error or misstep. And the longer I search without success, the more frustrated and tired ‘of thinking’ I get.
All my life I’ve been grateful for my intelligence and my ability to learn new concepts, tasks, and information came easily. Logic was a strength I most relied on when confronted by a situation that didn’t make sense. And I felt compelled to find out what was amiss and then devise a fix. Because of these traits I can easily become somewhat obsessive about trying to ferrat out ‘what did I do wrong?’
Even though I know the cause of my ‘mess ups’ is my compromised cognitive ability I have a difficult time, just ‘letting it go.’
And it is this habitual over-thinking that causes my brain to work hard.
A most interesting aspect of this scenario, however, is my ability to step back and observe my behavior and reactions. I find I’m often fascinated by my misses and forgetfulness. Sometimes I laugh at where I eventually find something I’ve been looking for, questioning what on earth caused me to put it there? Or I pause in wonder that I can’t remeber where a common object is in the kitchen. I often gently chide myself, “Really Virginia? You don’t know where the mixer is?”
It is all these new layers of inner conversations and attempts to find the ‘logic’ of my behavior that use up my energy as my brain works hard to be ‘normal.’
Writing about this actually has been good therapy. Having put into words how futile and exhausting it is to try to unearth the logic of my behavior has helped me concentrate more on acceptance: acceptance of my diagnosis, as well as recognition of what I am still very capable of accomplishing. It is being in the moment rather than spending wasted time forecasting the future, and being grateful for what I can do rather than focusing on what I can’t.
Thanks for listening.