Today was a bad brain day. They used to be a lot worse, but now I didn’t confirm it until this evening, after a handful of incidents throughout the day. I had an inkling this morning, but I thought maybe it was just a bad brain moment. Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.
Bad brain days used to be pretty obvious even from before the day even started. They used to mean sleeping in longer than usual, taking longer to wake up, being tired all day despite the extra sleep, and then even more tired in the evening.
Bad brain days used to happen every day, then only most days, then every couple of days, and now maybe once a week, though it’s not as consistent of a pattern anymore.
I usually end up more easily frustrated on bad brain days, because things just don’t quite click so easily. I have to take extra precautions in myself to be more patient, more patient, more patient. My frustration towards bad brain day causes him frustration, and that makes bad brain days even worse. For both of us. Who wants to spend the day constantly getting frustrated? So I have to remind myself that it is just a bad brain day and not take it personally. This too shall pass, probably by tomorrow.
One of the problems is that he doesn’t know it’s a bad brain day. Yeah. So bad brain day keeps him unaware of the extra frustrations. At least I’m in the know. Then I can help protect both of us from what becomes The Dance of the Whimsies. Because you see, a bad brain day isn’t composed of one static state. No, it has to twist and turn and go up and then normalize, and there’s no controlling it, and there’s no predicting.
The worst parts of a bad brain day for me are not the memory lapses or the spaciness or even the tiredness. For me, it’s the senseless moods of irritability and annoyance that cut in seemingly out of the blue and can leave just the same, as though they were never even there. And they’re not remembered either. But I walk on tiptoes. I know I shouldn’t be afraid that he is angry at me or that I have offended him or hurt him, though sometimes it may feel that way. And sometimes these mood swings seem to be triggered by a moment of my lack of patience or my own annoyance at a bad brain day. Nevertheless, I soothe myself, because it’s no use trying to intervene. It only makes things worse. But then, it’s gone, as suddenly as it appeared. And the tension inside of me hesitatingly dissipates. I remain wary of the next sudden shift.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that all symptoms of bad brain day are one and the same. They’re not distinct but interconnected, much like puzzle pieces. If you pull on one, it distorts the rest of them. Brain fatigue causes attention to wander, which causes memory to lapse and emotional control to loosen. Brain fatigue that is already present is worsened by stimulation such as walking outside, interacting with people, riding the train. And that causes physical tiredness, or at least something like it, even if your body isn’t physically tired.
Today, the most minor of bad brain effects was asking for an egg and sausage and cheese for breakfast, letting me know, when asked how the cheese should be added to that combo, that perhaps it should go on “at the end.” What was forgotten, was to mention that it should all be made into a breakfast sandwich, one of his most-requested breakfasts. It would be a funny story, if not for the fact that it’s ultimately not funny.
Bad brain day is best kept indoors where it is safe, relaxed, and not overstimulated. But then there’s life. And sometimes we need to step outside and go to that appointment or to church and just pack along an extra dose of patience and a snack. But sometimes it’s best to not bother. Sometimes it’s hard to know which one to choose. Sometimes you can’t predict an outcome either way.
And at least tomorrow will be better. At least even bad brain days are not so bad; they keep getting better and farther apart.
I love you; and that’s all you need to know. Bad brain days and all.
(Note: This post was written yesterday, but not posted until today in order to get Michael’s permission. Nothing about our lives is publicly posted if we are not both comfortable with it.)