Along with lack of energy, I think brain fog and poor memory have had the most detrimental effect on my life.
I can remember as a child not remembering how to spell the word “with” or “but”. Easy words, but they suddenly just eluded me. That is what brain fog has been for me as a adult. A complete blank in my mind about things I know. But I just can’t find it in the fog of my mind.
I also didn’t realise that I was beginning to rely more and more heavily on my documentation. Documentation that was meant for my colleagues’ reference, not mine.
The feeling of being watched
I can remember an uncomfortable monthly review with my boss. She told me that my Team Lead felt that I should know more than I displayed. That the questions I was asking seemed, at times, basic.
It was both an eye-opener, and a huge dent to my confidence. I no longer felt I could ask questions, for fear of judgement. I felt my every move was being watched. This, of course, only made matters worse. The slip into depression was not going to take long. I was becoming paranoid as well as forgetful.
I had changed jobs six months previously. Ironically, had I stayed where I was my previous co-workers would probably have picked up that something was wrong. But my new team mates didn’t know me. So had nothing to compare.
Before I got this new role, I had two interviews at the Addenbrookes site. I’m a strange one. I love interviews (I am being asked about me after all. What’s not to love?!)
For the first interview, I was on fire. I interviewed well. But we all agreed it was too network orientated for my interest and skills.
So they agreed to interview me for a second role. It was a more junior role than the network role, so I should have sailed through. But this interview was a whole different experience.
Firstly, I had failed to realise I was having a fatigue day. It was 9.30 in the morning. And as I sat waiting to be called in, I found myself yawning uncontrollably.
In the interview, I felt sluggish. I couldn’t remember answers to some of the most basic questions. In the technical exam, I felt bored. Uninterested. And frustrated that I couldn’t identify the technical problems presented to me.
Needless to say I didn’t get the job! I wouldn’t have hired me!
The road to recovery
I am much improved now.
It took three months working reduced hours (thank goodness for the support of Occupational Health). This time really helped me to slow down and focus on how I was going to move on.
I then managed to get a new job as a Front Lines IT Services Manager. Ironically, despite being management, a much less stressful role. The work load is split across a team. So my absence is not felt so keenly if I’m not there. I feel no guilt about taking time for holidays. And just knowing that has removed a lot of pressure.
Plus, right now, we are in lockdown. So my work is more remote support than physically having to attend sites. All these little things have helped with my recovery and energy levels.
I’m not completely out of the woods.
I tell my friends and family that I have an energy switch which acts like an electricity circuit breaker. When I overdo things, the circuit switch flips and I just collapse.
To begin with, I knew if I attended a meeting or was in a conversation for more than an 20 – 30 mins, that the switch would flip. Even if I was socialising with friends. And when it flips, I have uncontrollable yawning. I struggle to form words. And all my concentration disappears in an instant. Just like I displayed in the interview.
But, since starting the Vitamin D protocol, there is vast improvement.
Last year, I celebrated my 50th birthday, with my Dad who turned 80. We planned a three-day weekend of activities for our family. A meal on Good Friday. An afternoon soiree on the Saturday. Another meal Saturday evening. A walking tour of Madingley Hall on Sunday morning. Followed by an Easter lunch.
My eighty year old Dad had a wonderful weekend. But I had to pick what I felt I could manage. In the end, all I could attend was the soiree and Sunday lunch.
Today, however, despite lockdown, I have managed to spend a weekend away in Sussex, “bubbling” with my Dad.
I drove two hours Saturday morning from my Cambridgeshire home to Sussex. My brother joined us and we enjoyed a full afternoon BBQ. Then a late afternoon walk round a nature reserve. We returned home for dinner before watching a film on television and bed at 11pm. A far cry from my 9pm bedtimes of last year.