My brain is tingling, vibrating. Ever since I left the hospital, there has been this “sensation” around my head, an invisible layer; a halo, that vibrates and travels the surface of my brain. Sometimes it’s on the left, sometimes on both sides, sometimes just up top, but usually it’s at the back of my head. It doesn’t hurt… it’s just there. It’s “loud” enough to distract me, it interrupts my thoughts, it increases and decreases without warning and seemingly without reason. I call it my “brain fuzz.” It goes very well with my newly discovered forehead fuzz, don’t you think?
Around 11 pm, while sitting at my computer, my brain fuzz increased dramatically, very quickly and without warning. At the same time, I felt this surge of energy come in and through my body. Almost immediately I was moving faster, more erratic, my eyes became shifty, urgently looking everywhere, wanting to soak everything in. I exclaimed to my dad, who was sitting beside me, “I have brain fuzz!” He looked at me confused and said, “what does that mean?” I told him I thought I was having a minor burst of manic energy, nothing serious, but it was surprising how sudden it came on. He looked at me with concern and asked me if feeding me would get rid of it. I laughed. Oh, if only it were that simple.
I basically “sat back” and watched myself for the next few hours. I am watching still as I sit here typing. This is a new part of my recovery that I am experiencing. After two months of navigating my way through very strong, extreme manic episodes, I am now experiencing mania on a completely different level in both frequency and power. These bursts or I guess you could call them “mini-episodes” are shorter and are less intense, but still bring out a very powerful physical response in my body. Since these mini-episodes are less intense and require less energy to control, I find that I am not only observing, but I am also able to analyze what is happening, something I couldn’t do before when my entire focus was just keeping “Chipper” or “Evil Elena” at bay.
The solution for tonight was simple. I focused my energy on a task. I went through and organized my papers on my desk. I updated my “mania journal” in my agenda. I wrote out my schedule for the week for my parents. I must have shuffled back and forth from my room to the office a million times. I kept quiet. Dad asked me if I needed to talk it out, which is something I did for the first month I was home, especially during breakfast. My poor parents would never get a chance to finish any article they were trying to read in the paper. I’d ask them question after question, running from my room to the kitchen in a constant “show and tell” as I flitted from one topic to another. Quiet is better. I could also see that dad was a little unnerved and worried about my sudden burst of energy, so I didn’t want to inflate the situation by talking non-stop. I did find myself releasing some exclamatory remarks despite my efforts. For example, when my mom came home I exclaimed very loudly, “I’m manic!” It just slipped out.
I wonder if the brain fuzz is some strange physical sensation produced by the toxic swill of drugs swirling through my veins or maybe that’s just what “tissue inflammation” feels like. I wonder if people with bipolar hypermania have brain fuzz too. What makes it feel more intense at times and at others not at all? Will it ever go away? I am also amazed that I haven’t had a headache in all this time. Not one. You’d think that I would have at least one, right? It’s strange to me that the inflammation in my brain has not yet translated itself into actual pain… no, it’s just this weird, warm and literally “fuzzy” feeling around my head. Inflammation equals pain and lots of it – I know this from years of experience. This doesn’t make sense at all.
So, my lovely readers, I would love to hear some of your thoughts on “The Case of the Mysterious Brain Fuzz” or on any of the other interesting brainisms I have posted here. I’m Dr. House and you are part of my medical team, remember? My little brain feels over-saturated these days. It would be nice to hear someone else’s thoughts for a change. I never really know if I am making any sense.
Oh, and chemo treatment #3 is on Thursday. Hopefully, it will be my last…
And for something to look forward to, next time I will blog about my last neuroscience session: Positive Psychology and The Power of Mindful Meditation. No mad scientists this time, but the Psychology PhD who taught it unwilling became his own lab rat when he found himself diagnosed with a chronic, incurable illness and was completely paralyzed as a result. He is now living, moving, breathing proof of what he used to teach to students for years, but never practiced. Yes, all things continue to fascinate… and after two months at home and not working, I’d say that I’m more than thankful for that. Very thankful, indeed.