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'Rumors of my demise may not have been greatly exaggerated.'

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Although it may seem indulgent to expand on this issue, I'll do so now to reduce ambiguity, and then say no more.

I don't want to be alarmist, but I also want others to be clear on a serious issue.

The physiology of this is alarmingly simple…

Under stress the body pumps adrenaline. Short term, that's ok and can be good. But not long term.

When extreme and prolonged the brain gets damaged by cortisol… an effect of which is that it's harder to store new memories (learn stuff) and access old ones (remember how to do stuff). And organs get damaged.

It becomes harder to keep going, and through trying to do so the body continues to pump adrenaline, eventually depleting reserves but still pumping (think of continuing to pump the handle of a just-flushed toilet, or trying to use a rechargeable battery that's only had a few minutes of recharge).

The body doesn't have enough 'hormone-fuel' and is unable to regulate itself and function properly; so you keep pushing harder just to remain functioning.

The adrenaline surges enable you to ignore the normal warning signs and operate significantly above your actual illness level. But those surges are a bit like credit cards; they allow you to do things you couldn't otherwise do 'or afford'.

But the interest rate is extortionate… serious metabolic, homeostatic and cardiac insufficiency issues, cognitive dysfunction through premature brain ageing, increased likelihood of heart attack or stroke.

Without rest or medical intervention, organs fail and you fall over and die… often because the heart can literally only pump just enough blood to stay alive, and exertion beyond that is unsupportable.

How it's affecting me is that…

  • With diminished mental capacity (literally a form of 'brain damage' resulting from it having 'rewired' itself), clear-thinking has become harder.
  • Small and previously easy tasks at times become almost impossibly large and difficult.
  • Sitting at a computer screen often quickly triggers headache and nausea.
  • At times I'm too drained to function… unable to speak or write properly because I either can't remember the words and/or pronounce/type them. (Honestly, sometimes it really is 'I try to think but nothing happens'.)
  • And, in 'embracing my inner narcoleptic', there's times when I simply can't stay awake… quite literally falling asleep at the keyboard, or whilst speaking with others.

I am tired, I am weary,
I could sleep for a thousand years.

Venus in Furs

[But sleep rarely helps… odd though it sounds, an effect of extended stress-exhaustion cycles is that sleep becomes unrefreshing (and sometimes more draining, as the brain continues to process through dreaming and hence doesn't get to relax).]

Apparently, any possible fix begins with an extended period (months not weeks) of rest… something I can't afford to do just yet, so further deterioration continues. Good fun. I don't recommend it.