Brain Fog is a Bitch.
An ambiguous modern-day affliction.
And it’s scarier than it sounds.
Until I started talking about it, I had no idea just how many people lived with some degree of brain-fog…
Last April I got sick. Really sick. I was in Sydney teaching workshops. I couldn’t sleep. I was beyond activated. It was as though my brain had been switched “off” – and activared my stress response. Teaching was super challenging. When I got home I collapsed and could barely function. I was out for weeks. And what began was a very expensive journey, shrouded in chronic brain fog and fatigue…
It felt like my brain was only 25% online.
Eventually I surrendered to the it (not without resistance).
15 months later (last month) I was telling a friend the story:
It had been an epic year – my business was flourishing beyond my imaginings, I expanded my studio and created a gorgeous new bedroom sanctuary, wrote and built my sexy new website. I did it all in a new way – buoyed by the resiliency that consistently showing up for myself had cultivated.
So when I went down – it was a shock!
It wasn’t like the previous breakdown.
The warning signs just weren’t there.
I was baffled. Gutted.
As time went by my skin broke out (for months!) so I began to suspect my renovated bedroom had contributed. I recalled how the timber floor smelled toxic in the build and the early days. But I felt powerless to change it. By that stage I figured the worst of it was over. I became acutely sensitive to light, screens, wifi and any stimulation. Cognitively I was acutely impaired. My nervous system was hyper-vigilant. My psoas was not happy. Tired, oh so tired. Writing or comprehending a simple list or task was like rocket science. It was like I’d had a lobotomy.
So work came to a halt.
I had more conversations about brain fog than I care to remember.
Opinions and theories varied.
A year in and I was getting scared.
What was up with my brain? Was this permanent?
I grieved. I prayed. I rested…
All kinds of tests were done. I cleaned up my diet. No medical answers came. But I made some awesome discoveries and changes of my own and felt things improve a little. Daily rest and consistent sleep are non-negotiable – so I was spending a lot of time in my new bedroom.
Because I had a few serious head trauma’s as a child – and my recent symptoms felt very familiar to my post-concussion experience – I saw a neurologist and Brain Trauma specialist.
And just when I was accepting that this was my new life (functioning at about half capacity) – I told this story to a friend.
And I had a breakthrough.
My friend honed in on the part about the stinky floor (treated plywood – which I’d coated in a natural sealant), the skin, the way I knew it was a factor but blew it off as if the worst had passed. You could still smell it (in the storage on the floor under my bed) – but surely that wasn’t the cause of my brain-fog… Right?
But he said he was adversely affected by VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) off-gassing in toxic building supplies. He insisted on helping me move out of my bedroom right there and then. I slept in my lounge room for many weeks as I looked at my options. I sourced a special product from the US to coat the floor and seal in VOCs. (The only other option was to replace the floor.) Within 2-3 weeks of moving outa there I felt like myself again. It was such a joy! A few weeks later I coated the floor and I’m back in my sanctuary – sans brain-fog!
Even though I’d originally coated the floor in a natural/low VOC product – it had leached through and was gassing into my bedroom as I slept, rested, meditated, read in there for up to 14 hours a day… Several months of living in that and BOOM!
Oh. My. God.
This toxic time-bomb went off whilst I took care of myself!
Paradox strikes again.
Wikipedia says: “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. Harmful VOCs have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult.”
I hope that more research is done and that the word gets out!
I gotta say – it’s been a double-edged breakthrough. Relief and grief.
I spoke to my builder and he was mortified. He said he will never use the product again. Bravo.
I feel so grateful for this resolution. For my friend Tom.
And for all that I learned throughout my journey.
For my body’s incredible capacity to endure and heal.
My psoas and nervous system have returned to equilibrium.
And of course what I discovered is already informing and enriching my work with people.
So there you have it.
Next time I will share about some rather awesome discoveries I have made and embraced.
How to detox your life from the things that are possibly making you sick, interrupting your healing, your sleep, your life…
Please comment below if you experience/d brain fog or have a story to tell…
I love that you are here.
Until next time, with unwavering love…