I wrote this blog entry for the ME forum RisingPhoenix.me
I’d thought I post it here too because it might help someone who hasn’t found that forum yet.
I noticed my daily brainfog has now lifted, it has been better for a year and a half now. I think I can name some things that helped this:
1. HEALTY GUT
I have a strict diet called Homo Optimum. In this you get your energy from fats, not carbohydrates. Because of this I eat very little, thusly sparing digestive energy. I also stopped eating anything that upset my tummy or my brain. This includes ‘healthy things’ like all vegetables, milk, nutmeg, garlic, plant based oils. I’m not arguing with my body, if it upsets it I skip it. Symptoms are abdominal pain or excited brain
I now mainly eat egg yokes, cream, chocolate ganache and chicken soup (from scratch). With salt and vinegar.
3. LEVEL INSULIN
No blood sugar peaks anymore. Eating a fat based diet helps this.
4 MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
full spectrum supplements. All minerals aboard! Yes this makes for expensive pee. But my cells are missing nutrients and I need to offer them. Gradually I found some supplements don’t feel good (B6, Calcium) and some I nééd (Magnesium, Lithium, VitD3). Adjust accordingly.
5 CORTISOL SUPPLEMENT
structural supplementing with hydrocortisone. My adrenals were not well, confirmed by tests. I’ve gradually aided them with hydrocortisone (5mg per day). Once I started supplementing structurally about a year and a half ago the brain fog lifted permanently (10 mg per day). It also put my adrenals out of commission six months ago, they stopped working altogether. This was a risk I took, I’m not whining. (In the future I’ll see if they want to start again, for now I’m supplementing 20-30 mg HC daily and feel good on it)
6 NO STRESS
serious downgrading of daily expectations. You know the Spoon Theory, I presume. I have about 5 spoons of energy for one day. Getting Up in the Morning, Getting Dressed, Getting to Bed at Night, Shower or Cook a Meal. That leaves one spoon for something else: Write a Letter, Call a Friend, Clean the House, Make a Drawing, Post a Letter. I choose one and only one of these each day. And am content when I achieve it.
7 TAKE HORIZONTAL REST
serious resting. I need to go lay down 45 minutes after I had a meal. This is crucial for digestion. The 45 minutes between eating and resting are a Golden Hour, a little time I can be active. But after that: need to lie down. For about an hour. Or two. Under a woolen blanket because I’ll get cold.
8 PROGESTERONE SUPPLEMENT
calming the system by supplementing enough body-identical Progesterone. This is not a sex-hormone. It is the precursor for all adrenal (medulla) hormones and a soothing neurotransmitter for the brain, in men and woman alike.
I’ve done most of these things from the moment I fell ill, in 2008 (6 years ago). I didn’t get them balanced until a few years ago, that’s when things really got better.
The first few years I had structural, debilitating brain fog. All day, every day. Couldn’t keep my balance, couldn’t remember my name.
LUCKY BREAK: USING MY DNA MUTATION
I had the fortune though, of having two hours of alertness during the night. This is not illness-related. It’s because of my natural tendency to have too much excitatory neurotransmitters ((nor)adrenaline, dopamine and serotonine) in my head. The very opposite of brain fog! It’s because of a DNA mutation most people see as a burden (mao a)
This causes me to lie awake after 5 hours of sleep every night, I’ve had this from birth. (In fact, I’m using it to write you this)
Even when brainfogged during the day I would still have this alert insomnia episode at night, able to read medical journals and leave notes for the brainfogged-me to follow during the day.
I’d wake up and find a note with “magnesium!” on it. And have absolutely no idea what to do with that…
Nighttime-me quickly learned to write better notes: “order magnesium-citrate from xxx.com and take half a pill in the morning and at night.”
ON MY WAY TO HEALTH EVEN WHEN I WAS BRAIN FOGGED
Because of this nightly trait I was able to do the following reasoning when I got ill:
- this is a system wide failing. There’s no way to pinpoint cause and effect, all major systems are down.
- this also means it doesn’t matter where I start to tweak the system. Anywhere will do. I choose nutrients. Cells and body need nutrients to work.
- what are the nutrients scientists give cells in their petri dishes? That’s what I’ll start feeding my cells.
- I notice my poo is light and floating. On this poo-site it says it lacks bile. Biology101 says bile is produced in reaction to stomach acidity. I need to acidify my stomach acid. Order betaine HCL (This might aid digestion too.)
- I notice my blood pressure is low (90/60). Hey, low blood pressure is a good thing, right? Oh merde, it actually means blood and nutrients aren’t pushed into tissues and cells. I need to aid this, I need to raise my blood pressure. Or lower other demands on its system (like standing up). And/or “pulling” blood into the tissues by activating the back office system: the lymphatic system.
So that’s what I started doing. Amend nutrients intake, uptake and delivery into the body cells. And removal of their waste.
On step 2, when I chose where to start helping my body: I had to choose one thing. I couldn’t follow multiple subjects, I just didn’t have the brain cells for that. But like I said, I deduced that it didn’t matter which road I chose. The body would respond to any which one.
Other choice options I felt I had were: trying to restore Sleep; Hormones; Stress Level; Nervous System or Immune System. I touched upon all of these in the following years. I cycle through them it seems. Only DNA has been new to this list. And Immune System has never been much of a topic with me, it seems. Probably because of low cortisol = high immune activity. And initial tests didn’t show Lyme etc.
BE KIND WHEN BRAIN FOGGED
In the first years, when so severely brainfogged, I had lots of notes on the fridge including which supplements to take and reminders to put on a woolen hat and the central heating and to make tea for myself often. Because I’d get cold and then felt extra miserable. But I would forget to put on the heating. Or felt I was not worthy to spend the money on heating. Yes, brain fog comes with silly notions.
That’s why I had my mum or my husband or even strangers write notes: “put on heating! enjoy a warm foot bath. You are allowed to.” To battle these weird thoughts.
There would be love notes there too, just to remind me someone loved me. That I love me. Picture of a pet.
TODAY ONLY OCCASIONAL BRAIN FOG
Nowadays I am free of brainfog on a daily basis. I do get fogged now and then but it’s always tracing back to something I ate or when I did too much. It lifts when I go rest or sleep. When it’s because of food it may take a few days to subside. Or two weeks if I really messed up (aged cheeses, delicious gluten bread, having a piece of cake on a birthday, experiencing life stress). I avoid this now, it really is not worth my time.
I realize this is only what worked for me. Strongly based on my personal signature of this disease. For example, in time I learned I am Progesterone deficient and have excess of those excitatory neurotransmitters and have a belly that doesn’t like gluten and an immune system that’s going strong. This will be different for everyone on these Forums. (I’d say I have CFS, not ME)
GETTING THROUGH THE HAZY DAY
What is the same for everyone though is that we need the substrates for our cells (take salts and minerals) and that we need the bloodpressure to get them to our cells (lie vertical, take salt or HC). We need to eliminate waste from our cells (stretch and yawn while you lie in bed, drink warm water, get bile flowing) and we need help when brainfogged (have a supportive list on the fridge, then try and remember to look at it)
And most of all, I remember the difficulty of getting through the day when severely brain fogged. In the end I did so by only trying to get through the next half hour. That was all I needed to do. Survive the next half hour. That’s doable. You can do that. And remember: you’re worthy of a warm body, wear your hat.