For the last several years my brain has been so exhausted and muddled by dragons that I could not follow the storyline of any book that I read. As an avid reader, this was extremely frustrating. I could read books where I knew the storyline, but that gets old after a while.
A Reader’s Fall
I spent my life reading every chance I could. I had averaged at least one book a week since I was a child. I didn’t just read books, I devoured them with relish. I read all types of genres: fantasy, sci-fi, western, historical fiction, biographies, religious, and anything else that struck my imagination. We read as a family. We read individually. I read to my children. We talked about what we read all the time.
Then it happened. I was working full-time and struggling to remember everything I was required to know. I went back to school to advance at work. I worked 40-50 hours a week and studied another 15-25 hours a week. By the end of two years and the completion of my associate degree (with a 3.93 GPA) I was in total burnout. My mind could no longer retain enough information to follow a basic story line. There were many books that I had put off until I had completed my degree, but now I could not focus enough to read them. As days and months passed it was getting worse, not better.
This is when I really started having a hard time remembering things. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had memory issues for years, but they were not really serious. This was different. I could not remember people’s names I had known for years. I couldn’t remember anything that I had read an hour after I had read it. Even with all my electronic calendars synced I was hard pressed to make my appointments. I struggled as I relearned my job each week.
The exhaustion from constantly trying to make my brain work really began to take its toll. I was forced to quit my job because I was so stressed out. I gave up reading all together. I couldn’t even read to my daughter. I was constantly embarrassed because I forgot names and commitments. I became reclusive, depressed and somewhat angry.
It Wasn’t Fair
I had spent my whole life enjoying learning and expanding my mind. I had memorized music, scriptures, stories, and poems. I was able to read something and create a 3D model in my head for study. I could sight read most music and play it relatively well. Now, my brain was totally leaking all over the place.
I was unable to remember anything. My brain stopped talking to my fingers and I could no longer play the piano. Story lines got lost from one page to the next. Words began escaping from my vocabulary. A lifetime of knowledge was slowly slipping away. I finally gave up on anything that required serious mental effort. It was just too painful.
Time Heals Many Things
Within the last few months my mind has felt stronger. I’ve been able to listen to audio books while I crochet. I’ve been able to remember names. I can remember things that I’ve learned. Over the last two weeks I have even been able to read. It has been absolutely FA-BU-LOUS.
I have decided to just take it has it comes. As my mind feels stronger I will do more, but will not push myself. It has taken several years for my mind to heal as much as it has and I won’t do anything to jeopardize it. If I can return to the life of mental stimulation I had before I will be the happiest person in the world.
I will probably spend the next few weeks catching up on my reading.
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Scary when a name just won’t come. I know. Good for you for scaling back and letting things heal. Sounds like you don’t need book recommendations, but I can’t help myself. Lots of fantastic books out there now about brains, how they work, how they heal. Got any on your list? For fun, I just read a novel, Shrilugh, by a new author whose blog I follow, Myndi Shafer. Have you read it? Quick, easy, engrossing, fun. Written for young adults, but that never stops me.
I love young adult books! There are so many that are well written with good story lines and are just plain fun to read. I just posted about some the the books I’ve been reading and some that I’ve enjoyed. Come make suggestions.
I can’t imagine how painful and stressful that must have felt and how frightening! I’m so happy you feel able to read again. What are the books you’re most looking forward to?
I honestly don’t know. My brain is still working slowly so I am reading brain candy right now. Anything that sparks my interest. I’ve hundreds of books in our home library and a hundred more on my iPhone. I just browse and pick up the first one that seems interesting.
Sounds good! As long as you enjoy it, everything is probably great. And nothing against brain candy (what a funny expression!) – I always return to the same handful of books when I’m stressed or sad or otherwise not feeling good and even though I know the stories by heart, they still help me feel better.
I have favorite books I return to also. It’s like spending time with your best friend.
Time heals so many things. Best of luck!
” my brain was totally leaking all over the place.” That’s the best description ever.
There’s a lot about the brain we don’t understand, but sounds like “time” is working. So glad it’s going well…must be the new year kicking in?
It must be the new year kicking in. I must admit it is not near as messy with most of the information staying in my head as it was when it was “leaking”. Thank you for stopping by and sharing such kind thoughts.