Now seems a very appropriate time to talk about my broken brain. I am writing this at 2:21am. Is it:
a) because I am cool and stay up this late?
b) because my brain is being naughty? or
c) I can’t think of a third at this time of night/morning…
I haven’t done enough research (and there can’t be that much research out there or we’d be well on the way to fixing the problem) so this post is not necessarily a reliable source of information. I don’t read the research done because I’m not well enough to get my head around it yet. I’m just posting the info given to me by the ME/CFS clinic to help my non-suffering friends to understand my condition a bit better.
The hypothalamus is the central control for many automatic functions of the nervous system, or so I’m told. It plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis, and is involved in several functions of the body, such as
Autonomic Function Control – breathing, blood circulation, digestion…
Endocrine Function Control – adrenal glands, pituitary glands, reproductive glands…
Motor Function Control – walking, balance, coordination
Food and Water Intake Regulation – hence why I need the toilet so often despite rarely being thirsty
Sleep-Wake Cycle Regulation – explains our problems with insomnia, constant fatigue, unrefreshing sleep… (look up circadian rhythm)
Basically, there is evidence that part of me being poorly is due to my hypothalamus being broken. (Dear Sciencey friends. Apologies if I am slaughtering your beloved subject. I always was rubbish at science…)
I was told to think of it as if my brain is a computer, and the power cable has been pulled out, and lots of the information wasn’t saved. That is why my brain struggles to regulate my temperature and my appetite and my fatigue levels and my sleep cycle and my short term memory…
I am also told that my brain gets it’s wires crossed or gets mixed signals. So, for example, when I feel that I am in pain, I am infact not. It is just my brain telling me that I am. It is receiving the wrong messages because it is broken. Apparently this explains why there is a lack of physical evidence to show that I am suffering.
I have been given a low dosage of citalopram as that can apparently help rectify the ‘wrong signals’ problem. For me, it has worked well, if only to ease the intensity of the brain fog.
My brain no longer deals with emotions, pain, surprises, etc in the same way as it did when it wasn’t broken. I go into shock so easily through no fault of my own. I am getting better at retraining my brain though, and can now cope with some situations much better than at the start of my M.E journey.
So anyway, I hope this post is okay. Bit foggy today so haven’t edited it as I’d have liked to (the excitement over the snow has taken its toll!) Hope it sheds some light. Now you’ll know what I mean when I describe my brain as broken 🙂