In place of the mental clarity of adaptive cognitive dissociation, maladaptive cases are known for producing “brain fog” — a term seemingly synonymous with mental clouding and zoning out as well as feeling spaced out, detached, dumbed down or stuck inside one’s head. Cruising the net, the clearest definition I came across was on the website of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation:
“Brain Fog is a lay term to describe fluctuating mild memory loss that is inappropriate for a person’s age. It may include forgetfulness, spaciness, confusion, decreased ability to pay attention, an inability to focus, and difficulty in processing information.”
In an aforementioned incident, while my friend Nick took me out driving in his new car for a few moments I saw everything in photonegative and felt rather “absent” at the same time. Evidently I also spoke while absent, but I could not tell you what I said. All I recall is hearing Nick say, after my senses returned: “Ben, what you just said makes no sense.”
Did I use actual words, or was it utter gibberish, just a dysfunctional brain verbally vomiting up alphabet soup, mere thought-scrabble in the brain fog?
In a strange coincidence, Nick (now my roommate again) was around for a more recent example. Him, John, Moe and I rented a cabin for the weekend and did some kayaking. As we were sitting around the fire one evening something unnerving happened, strange but not entirely unfamiliar. It should also add that I had quite a few beers and a sufficient amount of high-quality weed in my system at the time as well. It would be foolish to think this was not a factor in this particular case.
Regardless, I suddenly found myself saying something that made sense to me at that moment, but which I swiftly gathered from the emotional atmosphere was utterly nonsensical to the other three and no one knew how to react. I felt this as I felt myself distancing from the situation and myself, watching him (me) make an utter fool out of himself (myself) from a distant, pushed-up-and-back perspective. It only lasted a short time, but the embarrassment was painful and I couldn’t simply stick my head in the dirt, so I tried to ease back into the conversation when someone offered its distraction, but I was very conscious of, very cautious with my wording, and I spoke fewer words in general until I was confident I wouldn’t go stupid again.
In addition, yet again: I could not tell you what I said in what seems to constitute a DR/DP moment around the fire.