Brain fog is one of the key maladies that can really frustrate, confound, and seriously crimp a day’s activities – it truly can feel as if the whole world around is shrouded in thick fog, making it hard to figure out how, what, or where you’re supposed to be headed. Unfortunately, many of us experience it, whether because of chronic illness (such as lupus or MS) or as the result of certain medications or treatments (even after chemotherapy, for example, cancer survivors might still have significant brain fog). I’ve written a piece for Beliefnet about spiritual tools to help with coping with brain fog (here’s the link: http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/5-Spiritual-Tools-for-Coping-with-Brain-Fog.aspx?b=1 ) , but here, I thought I’d talk about the importance of lists – and ways to make them more than just a vehicle for practical activities (such as grocery shopping).
Especially when brain fog is bad, I rely on some lists as ways to navigate through the day. What do I absolutely have to accomplish? What do I need to get from the store? Which prescriptions do I need to refill? Some lists include timelines. How many days until I need to finish my next article? How many days until a friend’s birthday (so I know when to buy the card and have it arrive in time)?
But, I also have lists that serve other, often more important, purposes. A prayer list that helps me remember for whom I said I’d pray and for what. A praise list, which reminds me of all the wonderful gifts, large and small, that God brings into my life. A list of goals, which reminds me that, yes, it is possible to have goals when you live with chronic illness (moreover, it’s very important) – and this particular list includes the small steps to take when i can to making those goals achieveable.
Other possible lists include one of favorite moments, to call upon when times are particularly tough. Favorite music, to help recall the healing and uplifting essense of song. Favorite Scripture verses, to serve as food for a sagging spirit.
Brain fog might settle in for awhile, or lift and fall unexpectedly. Sometimes, a list kept that chronicles when it happens in relation to certain activities, foods, or other disease symptoms can help you and your doctor figure out ways to curtail it.
Each list is not only a useful tool, it also is a statement that, when that ol’ nasty brain fog does come, you’re prepared. You’ve taken charge of the situation. You might have brain fog, but it doesn’t have you.
If you have brain fog, and you’re list-less, picking up pen and paper and setting down some lists might be the first step in a whole, new, beautifully clear direction!
Blessings for the day,