A related term was "Brain Fade," which originally came from the "brake fade" term in racing where if you ride them too long and too hard they give out. Brain Fade would be if you were concentrating on a report or a project for ten hours and by the end you could barely remember what it's about, or cramming for finals. Interesting, but since I'm not capable right now of this kind of concentration and effort, it doesn't apply either.
This fits with my mother's sense of my brain working about as well as hers does. She turned 71 this week and looks fabulous, by the way. There's hope for me in that department at least. And she's always been smart so she won't be surprised to have been right again here. The way I search for words, and objects, and make silly, stupid mistakes and errors in judgement is as familiar to her as it is frustrating. You can almost feel the mental plaque forming up there; the brain refuses to repel aging any more than the rest of the body does. We empathize with each other.
Except I'm not supposed to be there yet, which makes me wonder why I it happened to me. Anyone who has something bad happen to them has to. My gorgeous sister-in-law this week who needed to have a prophylactic double-mastectomy because of the terrifying state of her breast tissue. My father who needed his left hip replaced last week (though his right is perfectly fine, a mystery no one seems to be able to answer to my satisfaction). My son, who was beaten up and found out this week his ACL is torn and needs reconstructive surgery. Anyone.
But that's the real revelation in the book. She says from her experience there are almost always positives to be gained from such a struggle, and the place you come out is different, and better, than you would have expected. That happened with the burnout, and I have to imagine it will happen with this. Already, I suspect it has--I've found a yoga class nearby on the beach, I've joined a writer's group in New Haven and I'm trying to take a class on writing romance. Not sure if these things are better in any way than being able to shop for groceries or drive trouble-free or remember all the steps to baking a cake, but they're good and they're a lot better than the alternative of focusing on what I can't do well. They're gifts, that you get for something hard happening to you. And for this, for helping me find the upside to head trauma, I thank her.