Sometimes I think the thoughts in my head will drive me crazy.
Sometimes I think the thoughts in my head are because I am crazy.
Hm, I think I have my brain back. Three cheers, everyone.
Confused? Well you see it’s like this. Last year some time (and it’s no accident I cannot remember precisely when) I started taking some medication that was intended to “cure” me of migraines. It had reached a stage where I just could not cope any longer. I was losing around a week a month to the blinding pain and exhaustion that accompanied it. Hence the tablets. After a few months I noticed the pain was less intense, when it came, and didn’t last as long. Aha! Progress! Take them for up to a year, I was told. After that, you should be migraine-free. What a promise!
They warned me there may be side-effects. The first one to take me by surprise was that beer suddenly tasted really crap. In fact this was true of all fizzy drinks. At my follow-up appointment I was told this happens sometimes. The drugs do their work in the brain, you see. Sometimes this alters the perception of taste. Weird, but okay – I could go without beer and cola for a while, right?
The second one was less fun. I forgot how to do maths. Simple things like adding items on a bill became virtually impossible, as if a cement door had slammed shut in my head. It was frustrating, to say the least, especially for someone who has always been good with numbers. Thank heavens for the calculator on my cellphone!
But there was another side-effect, one that was less obvious and happened so gradually I did not see it coming until it was too late: I lost the ability to think. I know I have mentioned here before the fogginess that I have, at times, experienced. This time it was taken to a whole new level. I battled at work to complete even the most routine tasks. It was part of the reason I decided to go with writing a novel when we moved here… I confess I was afraid to look for a job. Who’s going to hire someone who cannot string two sentences together? My short-term memory was all but obliterated. I just didn’t remember anything… including what I was saying, half the time. I felt stupid.
By the time January came around I decided I’d had enough. The migraines had not improved any more in the last four months so there was no reason for me to believe the medication would make any more difference than it already had. And I needed my brain back. I signed up at a website that offers brain-training games and gradually weaned myself off the tablets.
The Husband noticed the difference almost immediately. Apparently I became less inclined to trail off halfway through a sentence and forget that I was actually speaking. Up until that point, I hadn’t realised it was quite that obvious to other people.
I stopped taking them just over 2 weeks ago. Beer tastes like beer again (Oh Joy! I really hate wine!) and my scores in the arithmetic brain-training game have suddenly shot up.
Best of all though, I am able to think straight. I can follow a train of thought and remember what I wanted to say in an argument. I did not realise what a battering my self-esteem had taken. I felt lost and afraid; I was half-convinced I would never again be the intelligent person I once was. You cannot imagine how scary that is.
The down side, of course, is that now the fog has lifted my head is once again a hive of activity, thoughts darting in and out non-stop and chasing each other around until I think I might drive myself insane. Sometimes I just want to shout Stop! I wanna get off!
But then, remembering what it was like to not be able to think, perhaps I don’t.