There were a few reasons to believe that it was in fact a temporary issue rather than something that would require an expensive emergency room visit to rescue what little remained of my mental capacity. One, perhaps the most important, was that the problem tended to be most pronounced when I woke up after a night's sleep and fade some during the day so that by the times the evenings came around I was feeling pretty clearheaded and reasonably okay. Another was that I was incredibly tired whenever I felt this way and kept yawning. It's very hard to judge your brain function when you're tired because exhaustion can have effects more pronounced than alcohol consumption.
Yesterday was really bad. I woke up feeling shitty and didn't get any writing done partially because I was so cloudy headed and partially because I was scared. During the day I learned that former football star Reggie White died of respiratory failure related to sleep apnea (or so they think) on Christmas evening and that did not help reduce my paranoia. Towards the evening I did feel better again and in fact catching a few Zzzs in the afternoon improved my brain function so I started to think it was just exhaustion. Still I stayed up late last night and didn't want to go to sleep.
I did end up sleeping, of course, and woke up today feeling worse than last night but better than usual. Then something happened that made me think I understand what's been going on. My ears popped. I had known for awhile that I was stuffed up, partially because I had to play my iPod at almost full volume just to hear the music and partially because I could feel the pressure on my ears, but I didn't connect the sinus pressure with my cloudy-headedness until that moment. That's part of the nature of being cloudy-headed I guess. It makes it harder to self-diagnose. Combined with an erratic sleep schedule, some holiday overeating that had me going to sleep with a very full stomach, and a low temperature in my bedroom I think that the stuffed head and what must have been very unrestful sleep combined to cause the problems. Right now I am exhausted and will probably nap soon, but my head seems to be working again and I am confident that it will return to normal in the next few days. Nonetheless I am going to make a doctor's appointment after New Years and discuss some of this stuff with my doctor.
Another benefit of the events discussed is that it's helped to put a scare into me about the weight and I think I will be able to improve that pretty well rather than just hovering around where it's been for the last few months. Combine Reggie White's death and what I went through, and, well, suddenly that peanut butter chunk ice-cream is a whole lot less appealing and scarier.
I'm ordering some healthy cooking books from Amazon too.
The thing is, having gone through what I did when I was 12 I am acutely aware of the reality that life is not forever and that really bad stuff CAN happen with little warning and no discernible reason. This leads you in two opposite directions. On the one hand you are much more aware of the dangers of every day life and thus more prone to avoiding doing stupid shit (I think this is part of the reason I never went through a heavy drinking or drug use phase and why I've been hesitant to learn how to drive) and on the other you tend not to be as forward thinking as you should (The weight gain, my inability to actually start things that will take a long time to complete etc...) because you are incredibly aware that no matter how well you plan and execute the best laid plans of mice and men often end in tragedy. There are no guarantees.
This is also, I think, why I've been annoyed at the recent media obsession with this Asian Tsunami. It's really sad that all those people are dead, but death from natural disasters isn't news anymore than death from AIDS is news. It's just part of the way the world works. We should do as much as we can to prevent these tragedies, but we can't afford to really care about them. Something along the lines of 300,000 people die every day. 21,000 is like two hours worth of death. We get all this coverage because there's lots of sexy pictures and descriptions of the tragedy, but we should be talking about AIDS and Cancer if we're really concerned with human suffering. The sexy causes get more money per death than the unsexy ones, but the unsexy ones take many more lives and cause more devastation in the long run. One Tsunami that kills 21,000 people is a tragedy of epic proportions but, in the end, not even a blip on the radar for the daily tragedy that exists in our sad, vicious world.