Two harmless little words. Together they sound almost… cute. Harmless. Docile. Innocent. For a while, this was the only term I had ever heard to describe what I was feeling, although the words themselves never quite seemed to adequately express how awful the feeling really is.
Recently though, I’ve learned that (most likely), what I’m actually experiencing is called “Mild Cognitive Impairment” (MCI). By definition, it’s a sort of transitional period between a normal functioning mind and full-blown Alzheimer’s. But even those words still don’t really encompass the true feeling of it all; the scary moments when you simply can’t understand what someone said, or you forget names you’ve known for years, or get confused by the simplest things that you never had and issue understanding before.
I think probably one of the best examples of this is something that happens frequently to me: I’m a smoker (yes, I’m aware of the health risks, and also the benefits), and more often than not I have to smoke outdoors. Sometimes, even though I’m fully aware that I’m outside while I’m smoking, there will be a brief moment where my mind suddenly thinks, “Hey, you shouldn’t be smoking indoors!“. Sounds innocent enough, but it’s frightening… the realization that my brain just simply cannot understand the surroundings or the situation and “panics”. This type of thing happens in a lot of different situations, like when I’m in the shower (briefly forgetting how to use shampoo/soap/etc.), when I’m speaking with someone (“What did I just say? Did it make any sense?”), and so on.
I was never really a fearful person. I always held he belief that things “are what they are”, you take it as it comes, and you fight through the tough situations regardless of how difficult they may be… but I’ve become fearful. At my (relatively) young age, I’m having issues that are typically reserved for the elderly, and I know people who are much older than me who are in much better shape. I can handle the physical aspect of this illness, whatever it may be, but the part that affects my brain is terrifying. What used to be my biggest asset has now become a fragile, rusting machine.
Heh, “brain fog”. Amazing how two simple little words can be so terrible.