My brain closet is full

I said when I started this blog that I wouldn’t put pressure on myself if I didn’t write regularly. All in all, I’d give myself a B+. Very good performance, but not excellent1. I haven’t posted since August and have felt only a little guilty about it. I often feel guilty when I don’t do things because of my pain (the b-word arises) and I really didn’t want Pinches to be associated with guilt.

I am still here and still want to write about my pain and pain science. I need to practice being kind to myself and work on Pinches when I have the mental capacity to – it shouldn’t be a chore. My pain makes it hard for me to think. Between life and work since August, there just hasn’t been any brain space for Pinches.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like when I can’t think properly. I find it very hard to talk, to find the right words. Once in exasperation when trying to talk, I said “my brain closet is full“. This is the closest I can get to conveying the feeling that there is absolutely nothing left for thinking, for making decisions.

What I imagine my brain looks like on a good day. Everything is organised, easy to find and retrieve. Photo by Андрей Постовой on Unsplash
On a bad day, my brain is overfull to spilling, like these coffee beans. Nothing is in the right place and I can’t find what I need.

The last week has been hard, pain- and fatigue-wise. I’m very lucky that I’m in a work position that is flexible and have my awesome, supportive people around me. I can work at home if I need to. I can take a nap if I need to and pick up work again later in the day. The last two days have been better…I’ve managed to do some crosswords and am writing this pinch!

Alongside the pain, life has been really, really good. I’ve got some research and amplifying lived experience news that I’m excited to share with you too.

[1] I’ve been doing a lot of marking the last few weeks. I’m assigning grades to everything!

4 thoughts on “My brain closet is full

  1. Pete Keyanonda

    How do you re-motiviate yourself once your brain closet is full? You mentioned that it was good to have a nap and then pick work back up later, but I find it so difficult to get back on a specific task once my brain closet is overflowing. It’s like I shut down and to get the motivation engine warm again takes considerable effort. Sometimes even days or weeks. It would be great to get back on task again after taking a break.


    1. It is so hard isn’t it! Thanks for prompting me to add my strategies Pete. “Picking work up later” is a short sentence but a lot goes into it… Before I stop, I add a small, easy, task to my to-do list that I can pick up as the first thing to do later. That way I don’t have to think later what I was doing or waste brain space figuring out what to start with. Ideally it’s a task related to what I was trying to work on before I had to stop, e.g., spell check a document, check for emails related to the project. I highlight it (generally with stars) on my list so I can find it easily.

      I do this for non-work things too, e.g., make a list for what I want to get done at home that includes activities of different levels of difficulty. E.g., eat breakfast, have a shower, do the washing.

      For when I can’t even write down the next thing to do before I stop, I start with trying to do things that are a regular part of my day/work/life.

      It find if I can do one small thing, it’s easier to do the next thing and warm that motivation engine up again (love that metaphor). This works for me – I think because I’m a list maker. How do you keep track of your to-dos?


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