Through the fog

IMG_5128One of the things we love most about our new home is the wide open view of the prairie behind our house. The past few weeks, as we’ve moved from hot summer days to cooler fall mornings, I’ve been waking up to see the fog lifting off over the wildflowers and tall grass.

I’ve been going out on the deck and just spending a few moments enjoying the beauty of it. There’s something about the fog. It feels so mysterious. So peaceful. So serene and contemplative.

Of course, I grab my camera and post photos on Facebook with captions about how much I love the fog. I even stopped repeatedly on an early morning drive to church recently to take photos of the fog settling on the fields.

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The funny thing is, I’ve been living in a different kind of fog for about seven weeks now. It’s not nearly as pleasant as the haze that lifts off the prairie every morning as the sun rises and starts burning it off.

This is a foggy place of headaches and dizziness and lethargy. For a few of my friends who have experienced it, we know this place well. It’s the vertigo fog.

I started getting vertigo about three years ago, and I seem to get it once or twice a year. I’ve figured out that it’s triggered by the same things that might cause someone else to get a migraine. Stress. Headaches. Sinus problems caused by the barometric pressure.

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Instead of a migraine though, I get dizzy. My dizziness comes and goes, but it usually builds in the evening and hangs out until I get myself going in the morning. With it, comes an overall sense of confusion, forgetfulness and just a general feeling my mind has been wiped clean. Basically, I’m getting a glimpse of what it probably feels like to be 95 years old.

I despise the vertigo fog. I’ve read that it’s common for it to hang around for two months. Now that I’ve had it off and on for seven weeks, I have noticed that I have more “clear” days, than foggy ones. The end is in sight!

But at the same time, I’m seeing some good in the fog.

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It makes me slow down. Way down. I have barely been able to exercise in the last couple of months because I feel awkward trying to go for a walk or ride my bike. I usually do those things in the evening or morning, when the dizziness is at its peak. Still, moving at a slower pace isn’t all bad. I’ve found more moments to sit still and soak in what’s happening around me.

It reminds me to choose wisely before saying, “yes.” I know that stress is a big contributor, so the more things I agree to take on, the more likely I am to experience vertigo.

Most importantly, it’s a good reminder of my weakness. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is about Paul and his struggle with a “thorn in his side.” He never explains the cause of his affliction, but in 2 Corinthians 12:9, he writes, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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The fog has reminded me over and over again that I need to rely on God’s grace to get me through each day. It’s good for me to stop trying so hard to do everything on my own — on my own strength.

I really don’t like to talk about the dizziness because it makes me feel weak and a bit pathetic. It also comes with a sense of hopelessness as I wonder if it will ever end. But as I’ve been watching the fog outside, it’s been a reminder to slow down and enjoy a slower pace. Spend more time just “being,” rather than “doing.”

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I’ve also gained a new appreciation for “clear skies.” Every morning that I wake up feeling “normal” — no dizziness or brain fog — I count as a huge blessing. I’ve had more and more of those days recently, and I don’t take them for granted!

I’ve been pretty quiet here the past two months as I’ve lived in my foggy state. I don’t feel very funny or witty or interesting when I’m living in a haze. I’m really hoping I’ve made it through this little affliction, but if not, at least I’m learning to find some beauty in the fog. 🙂

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