‘Mental load’ refers to the mental effort required to keep everything in your life ticking along nicely. It involves anticipating, identifying, organising, deciding and monitoring things relating to your relationships, family, household and work.
This mental effort is HARD to manage with M.E, given that merely ‘thinking’ can exacerbate numerous symptoms – including brain fog and poor memory (also an issue in POTS). My M.E/POTS means I can’t be relied upon to remember anything. Yet, the list of things to think about is endless:
Laundry. Food prep. Bills. Trips away (do I need to book a cat sitter?). Does O have enough clothes? Birthdays coming up? Bought presents? What’s for tea – is Pete cooking or me? Is it spicy – do I need to make O something different? Do we have enough food in? Any emails or messages to reply to? Shall I message X friend? I really want to but I don’t have the energy to reply when they reply. Have I had enough electrolytes today for my POTS – do I need to buy more? Do I need to do the banking – where is the money coming from to pay for XYZ? Have I got enough meds? Is it time to order more? When can I write this week? Where shall I take O this week – and do I have enough energy? Am I spending enough time with O? And Pete? Am I pacing/resting properly?
Yeah. Where was I again? Fuck knows. Thankfully, I have a Virtual Assistant who does. Her name is Siri, and honestly, I would be so screwed without her.
If I need to do or remember something, I ask Siri to remind me. Siri is responsible for the big to-do list that appears every time I look at my phone. Without that nagging list, nothing would ever get done; I would forget and the brain fog would win.
In the same way mobility aids help disabled people to get around … Siri helps my very foggy brain to manage life’s ‘mental load.’
Granted, Siri can’t cure my ME/POTS or brain fog, and sadly she can’t tell me how this post ended up turning into a massive advert for Virtual Assistants, when I’m pretty sure that wasn’t my original intention. But here we are. (Oops!)
Anyone else with brain fog rely heavily on a Virtual Assistant to help them appear organised and like they’ve totally got their shit together?
Full disclosure: sometimes, I even ask Siri to remind me to shower 😆