Thursday, September 08, 2022

ADHD: Brain Fog Is No Laughing Matter. Well, Maybe Just a Little

Call it brain fog, absentmindedness, or a senior moment, but sometimes when your ADHD brain goes on the fritz, you’ve just got to laugh.

Brain Fog

I am here today to tell you that playing Sudoku daily will not improve brain fog. I know. I’ve tried multiple Sudoku books & apps, Sudoku with words, and there’s a Sudoku game out there for the Nintendo Switch that would let me play with fluffy blobs of cats, but I’m not entirely convinced that will work either. Adults with ADHD deal with brain fog on a general basis, so over the years I figured doing mental activities to improve my concentration and presence of mind couldn’t hurt.

Who says that Sudoku improves concentration? The same people who used to swear by crossword puzzles, usually. Certainly, not me. No, I kid. I love playing Sudoku and feel more focused after solving a few puzzles, but after the week I’ve just had, I can tell you that it’s clearly not working as a prevention.

There was that moment where I was distracted cleaning up my Nintendo Friend List. Who were all these people? Clearly, all that meditation I had been doing under mountain waterfalls had failed to sharpen my wits. There was this one entry labeled “Avril”* with a bulbous Kirby as her avatar. Hey! I know an Avril! But is it the same Avril? Moments before bringing an impulse to life via text, I stopped myself, iPhone in hand, and thought hard for the first time in days. You can’t just ask somebody out of the blue if their gaming avatar is Kirby, Douglas. Does she even game? Waitaminute…how long has it been since you reached out to her anyway? Crud! Has it been months‽

In fact, it had been so long since I last texted her that the conversation had been automatically deleted. For all I knew, I had left her on “Read” since last year. Suddenly, I realized again that the dream I had about forgetting that I was dating somebody wasn’t so far from reality.

Last weekend, I was talking with a friend about the latest Spider-man movie that was rereleased into theaters. He couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen it yet. He stared at me like I had three heads. I had insisted that he watch the first two movies last Fall (that HE hadn’t seen) so that he could catch up in order to see the movie in theaters with me. Then I got sick.

Later I found out that he went and saw it with family instead while I was sick in bed. Why are we still friends? How could my friend not know how sick I’ve been? But never mind that. Why do we say “three heads”? Wouldn’t two heads be weird enough? Were two heads a normal thing ages ago, thus making three heads something outside of the norm? Perhaps there’s something more to the “two-faced” idiom. 🤔

At any rate, he was right that I was adamant about him getting caught up. I wanted the shared cinematic experience. I realize I was bedridden for much of the winter, but it’s strange that I never bought the movie, or streamed it online. It couldn’t be that I forgot about it. One of my daughters loved the movie so much, she rented out a seat and lived in the theater during its first run. It’s all she texted about for weeks.

I think this is more like that ADHD joke, “Oooh! Shiny!”, but on a larger scale. For me it’s a Tourettes episode that lasts for more than a few days or an illness that lasts for a week. I lose track of my current goal if I go too many days without working on it. I’m running forward headlong towards a goal when something happens, then POOF! What goal?

I compensate for this, usually, but having a ton of reminders and to do lists. I’m pretty good about keeping track of most of it. It’s how I’ve written two books, blogged professionally for years, and raised kids. However, every once in a while something slips through the cracks. This time it was responding to a text and seeing a movie I had planned on. The brain fog from Long COVID (or chronic fatigue syndrome—whatever they’re going to call it), only makes my ADHD absentmindedness worse. It can be frustrating. Whenever this forgetfulness interferes with my life, I try to have a good laugh, but not laugh it off. It’s important to acknowledge some of these quirks are funny. It’s better than hating myself as I used to do decades ago. However, a healthy sense of humor is the only thing that seems to be healthy about me lately.

Maybe I just need to play even more Sudoku. I’m sure that’ll fix things.



* Name changed to save me from embarrassment.