Monday, October 10, 2016

Brain Fog and the Cranial Rodent

Brain Fog vs. the Cranial Rodent


During my recent haphazard medical research, I discovered that "Brain Fog" seems to be on the symptom list for practically every condition, autoimmune or other.

This is certainly a symptom I could ascribe to myself. Even before I became distracted by my skin problems, and before I put all my mental processes into slow motion while fasting, I was definitely suffering from cognitive fog. I used to ascribe my inability to retain information and general slow-wittedness to 13 years of sleep deprivation, but at this point, I am not so sure. The idea that my mental lapses might be autoimmune in source is at least more appealing than the idea of premature dementia.

In my cognitively compromised and time pressed state, much of my medical research has happened via Audible or through podcasts.

One podcast I have been listening to is "Smart Drug Smarts" hosted by Jesse Lawler.  Not too long ago, he interviewed Michael Graziano a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University who wrote "Consciousness and the Social Brain"(2013) Their conversation was mostly about the problem of determining the source and effects of consciousness. Mr. Graziano used the story of a patient of a doctor friend who believed that he has a squirrel in his head to explain the nature of the questions we can ask about consciousness. Using the squirrel as a metaphor for consciousness, he pointed out the difference between the question of "why doesn't the squirrel show up on an MRI?" vs "why does the man think he has a squirrel in his head?"

While probably not following all of the conversation, my compromised mind found the idea of the brain squirrel pretty compelling.

One of the many recommended treatments for brain fog and health problems is mindfulness and meditation. I've been giving it a shot, but I am constantly afflicted by what is often described as "monkey mind"- constant chattering in the head.

Maybe what I am suffering from is actually squirrel mind.

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