Friday, December 2, 2011

The Real Fog

I’ve been struggling this year with some issues that feel awfully vague.

  • I’ve been having trouble getting myself to sit down and do my freelance indexing work. Am I lazy or unmotivated?

  • I’m sleepy all the time. Even when I’ve only been awake a couple of hours, I want to close my eyes again. What is wrong with me? How can I get more engaged with the world around me?

  • I feel as if I’m in a fog. Am I depressed?

  • Some of these experiences, no doubt, are part of my grief journey. But this has been going on since long before I knew my father was dying.

Then one day I suddenly noticed that the page in front of me was blurry. Even though it had only been six months since I’d been to the eye doctor, I decided to go get checked out.

I have cataracts.

I have cataracts. The lenses of my eyes are cloudy. This changes everything. Everything!

  • I’ve been having trouble getting myself to sit down and do my freelance indexing work. I’m not lazy, I’m not hating the work. It’s just hard to concentrate on words and sentences when you can’t see them clearly.

  • I feel sleepy all the time. I want to close my eyes. Um, yeah. For one thing, it’s physically tiring continually trying to see through a haze. And for another, it’s hard to tell the difference between “sleepy” and “my eyes want to close."

  • The reason I cranked out my neck is that I was squinching around trying to see the text I was working on.

  • I feel as if I’m in a fog. It’s not depression. It’s a real fog!!!

The fog is real.

The reason so much of this is coming out in italics is that I am amazed at how consistently I have interpreted physical symptoms as psychological problems. Amazed! The fog is real!!! And yet I keep doing it.

The first thing that happened after I found out was that within a few days my eyes seemed to be worse. I called the doctor to ask whether this is a common psychological reaction. No, he said, when they get to this point they go downhill fast. You may notice changes even overnight.

It’s a physical symptom.

Even now, a month later, I catch myself. I’m driving to an appointment. I tell myself, “Wake up! Why are you still sleepy? Pay attention!” Oh. I’m not sleepy. It’s my blurred vision.

It’s a physical symptom.

So I wonder--what else am I misinterpreting? Is this about trusting, not judging, myself? Is it about the specific role of vision in my life? I want to explore this some more.

How did I miss it?

And I’m trying to figure out how I missed it.

This condition has been gradually getting worse for months, if not years. And yet I went along not noticing it.

This probably happens pretty often with things that get gradually worse. If it had happened all at once, I would have been all over it. But a little bit at a time felt normal—until it went over the edge.

I’m proud of myself for going straight to the doctor. For taking myself seriously.

What else am I missing?

Join me in the comments!

No advice, please. But I’d love to hear your experiences. What have you missed? What have you misinterpreted?