Concentration is the Name of the Game

Are my people counting down the days until Christmas? Did you make those brown paper bag reindeer with the colored paper rings to keep track of each day until…? If you celebrate Christmas, well, Happy Christmas! And if you don’t, then Happy ——! We celebrate everything here. Why not? Life is so short. So only six days, my pretties.

Today, I want to explore the topic of Lyme and concentration. Or the lack of this skill, really. While I have never been a huge fan of multitasking – I think this word means doing a lot of things with less quality – I never struggled all that much to do it. In the past, working as a bartender, a waitress, a food and beverage manager, the skill of multitasking has served me well (no pun intended). As a teacher now, juggling 100 different things at the same time? No problem. B.L. though. Before Lyme. No Problem.

focus-and-concentration

Until Lyme. A.F.? After Lyme? Multitasking? Surely, you jest! Holding more than one thought in my head at any given moment? Impossible. Seriously. When I was first diagnosed about 3 years ago, I could barely even read anything over a paragraph long. For one, I had headaches or one headache, non-stop. Two, I could not follow a train of thought that lasted more than 4-5 sentences on paper. This also applied to listening to thoughts/conversations. The more I tried to concentrate, the harder it seemed to understand. It is difficult to explain. Some people call this brain fog. And while that is good description, it is also like being stuck in quicksand ( in real life, this has never happened to me but I’ve always been told I have a vivid imagination). So like quicksand, a thought would come into my brain and the more I tried to sort it out, extend it, apply it, the more it became unreachable in my mind.

And while I am using past tense verbs to describe this issue, this symptom does return periodically. I’ve noticed it becomes more amplified in several instances, such as when I am trying to get work completed on a deadline, when I am fatigued, when I am stressed, and when there is too much stimuli in my environment. It is the same exact way I used to feel in my twenties when I was busy  with work and college and sleep was a nap here and there. Just no concentration skills.

I guess I am thinking about this because of the holidays, the end of the semester, the stress, the lack of concentration, the brain fog, the quicksand, it’s all back and with a vengeance. But, these past few weeks at work have been nonstop kinda crazy. Finals for the community college, grades calculated, grades entered, students exempting or not exempting, students with grade issues, passing rates, plans for January, syllabus organizing and writing, end of the grading period, end of the semester, final exams, grading said final exams, and etc.! My colleagues are also feeling a little crazy so I am chalking up my exacerbated issues to the end of the semester shenanigans. To counteract my brain’s lack of focus, I like to sit in a dark room with absolutely no stimuli. This seems to help a bit.

Have you ever had these symptoms? Do you find it difficult to concentrate? How do you deal with it?

Hoping your Saturday is filled with good stuff – B

 

 

10 thoughts on “Concentration is the Name of the Game

  1. Lyme & Co December 20, 2015 / 2:01 am

    You’re telling my story. I’ve had the exact same experience. Today I was thinking that Lyme causes ADHD symptoms. I’m not sure if I had ADHD my whole life and was just really good at compensating. I earned a Bachelors and Masters degree and earned 4.0 grade averages in both. My son had both ADHD and Lyme disease. Which came first? I say Lyme.

    Liked by 1 person

    • readbetweenthelyme December 20, 2015 / 3:00 am

      Wow. I hadn’t thought of it being like ADHD symptoms. Or I guess causing ADHD! I’ve never experienced brain issues like this before. It’s hard to describe don’t you think? It’s almost like a funnel. For awhile, the thoughts process slowly but fluidly. Then, as my brain tries to process more, the funnel gets clogged up. I call it jumbly. That is awesome on the 4.0s. So much work!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lyme & Co December 20, 2015 / 3:06 am

        Yes, but chasing achievement and perfection to prove my worth was a part of my sickness. I know that now. You’re right, it is so hard to describe. But I think you did a good job of it! I would say it’s like going through life with my brain squinted like my eyes would be, trying to see what is coming ahead, and not being able to decipher it.

        Like

      • readbetweenthelyme December 20, 2015 / 2:47 pm

        Oh, yes my friend. I hear what you are saying about chasing achievement and perfection to prove worth…nail on head!! Same here. At one point, I was in graduate school and working 2 jobs plus working side jobs. Kinda ridiculous. And this driving part of my personality has been one I’m still grappling with as far as letting go of the intensity of the “doing.” Oh and then accepting that I can’t “do” as much most of the time. I think dealing with this aspect or characteristic has been the crux of the emotional side of this journey for me. Yes! Your description is so spot on! It actual feels like my brain is squinting! OMG. Does it feel like your brain aches when you have too much going on? Not a headache per se but maybe it is just tension, I’m not sure how to describe that either. I hope you have a good day.

        Like

      • Lyme & Co December 23, 2015 / 1:28 pm

        We have so much in common, friend. I am still grappling with it as well. Pushing pushing pushing. I want to say we must have compassion for ourselves as we move into a new way of living. I agree, this dilemma has been the crux of it for me as well. Yes, my brain aches, right now. And the muscle fascia that cover my skull are extremely sore. Have you read that there is a book out that suggests that Lyme is biological warfare that “leaked out”. I know to most it sounds like a conspiracy theory. But for someone with Lyme, It sounds plausable. A biological weapon that slowly destroys the immune system of its intended victim and then begins to burrow away at its tissue. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so far fetched. Happy Holidays my friend and lets travel into the new year and a new life in 2016.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ReadBetweentheLyme January 6, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        Hello and Happy holidays to you as well. I hope you survived and that you were able to enjoy! I have heard of this theory. And, I agree. I definitely think there is some credibility to it. But, I tend to steer away from all of that information just becuase it is hard to sort out in my brain. I just don’t have th mental capacity to research it in the way I would like to and it just becomes more frustrating than anything. I have looked at a few websites in the past and considering the other things that go on in this world, the greed, the corruption, the cover-ups, (sorry, not trying to be jaded!), I truly believe there is some truth involved. I hope you are well. Happy New Year!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lyme & Co January 7, 2016 / 12:23 am

        Happy New Year to you also. There is something that happens, I think, when we are forced to spend time with ourselves and do not have the distraction of the working world to lull us into a complacent sleep.

        Like

      • ReadBetweentheLyme January 7, 2016 / 4:02 pm

        That is so true! Agreed! Now that I’m back at work, just getting through each day takes pretty much all of my energy and time. TGIF almost, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cristi December 27, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Quicksand is a great analogy!
    Wishing you all your heart’s desire in 2017. Keep sharing your story, you are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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