Friday, May 6, 2011

My Brain is Asleep

     Sleep is a huge issue when you have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Not only is it hard to fall asleep, your brain never goes into Level 4 sleep - Deep Sleep.  This is the stage where your body heals itself from the minor traumas of the day both physically and mentally. Muscles grow and your body stays healthy by renewing itself.  It's what lets you wake up refreshed from a good night's sleep.  When you have Fibro and/or CFS, your brain dreams, but instead of moving into a deeper level of sleep, it resurfaces to a light sleep and you wake up.  Now repeat the process several times a night, day after day and you will understand why sleep is a huge issue for us.  It is so huge, it is one of the symptoms used to diagnose the diseases.  Many researchers believe suffering from sleep deprivation for so long even causes the diseases. 
     There is new research conducted on rats that found sleep deprivation caused parts of the rats' brains to act like they were asleep.  I feel like this every day with Brain Fog.  I say the wrong words, but don't know what I said.  I call people the wrong names, even though I know who they are.  If you ask me directions, I will not be able to tell you which way to turn because I can't figure out right and left.  I will look at you blankly while you are talking to me because I can't figure out what you are saying to me.  I hear the words, but my brain can't connect them with any meaning.  Don't bother asking me my phone number or address. The numbers will get jumbled in my head and I will inevitably give you the wrong ones in the wrong order. Forget calling me on the phone.  Without any visual cues, the Brain Fog gets overwhelming and panic attacks begin to set in.  It's enough to make me feel crazy and definitely enough for everyone else to think I am stupid.  I don't know if it's better to say, "Sorry, that part of my brain is currently asleep; try back later," or just attribute it to Brain Fog.  I do know that the analogy of having parts of my brain fall asleep makes sense to me and makes the Brain Fog seem less scary and overwhelming.  After all, my brain may be asleep for a few minutes or hours, but I always wake up again.  It isn't permanent.  What do you think?