Brain Fog & Grocery Shopping Don’t Mix


If I only had a brain…Brain fog how I detest thee…

This week has found me in the middle of a huge flare up of Lyme Disease symptoms.  One of those being brain fog as thick as a plank. It’s present even as I sit and type up this post.  Everything is fuzzy and distant. I worry…will this post be one long ramble. I hope not. If so, I apologize ahead of time. 

What is brain fog you ask? 

Try picturing it something like this…you’ve just taken several muscle relaxers, chasing them down with a glass of bubbly and it feel as if you’ve run three marathons, while carrying fifty pound weights. Now, try to think clearly and normally.  Fun eh? 

There you have it guys. Brain fog. At least as far as I experience it anyway. Except, there are no muscle relaxers or bubbly in the picture at all! That’s just how my brain rolls these days. Not fun, I assure you. It’s like being in one of those carnival halls with all the distorted mirrors. Seriously. 


Unfortunately for me this week, my pantry of food staples was running low. A trip to the grocery store could not be avoided, that is if I wanted to have food to feed my family and myself. 

Brain Fog and grocery shopping don't mix

 I wish I had magical powers to blink up a pantry full of food.

It’s at times like these I wish I had magical powers like Jeannie on that old TV show I Dream of Jeannie. Wouldn’t that be fabulous, to be able to ‘blink up’ a pantry full of food! I wish…but, then wishing doesn’t get the grocery shopping done. 

With a great deal of struggle on my part, I sat down and carefully wrote out my grocery list. Making a grocery list is extremely tiring for me. Mainly because, I also try to plan my family’s meals around it. 
Writing Down A Grocery List is A Struggle With Brain Fog

Planning a Grocery List On Brain Fog

I do jot down food items that  I have run out of, here and there but, there are some things that don’t make it onto that list. So I have to sit down and actually think…a dangerous thing for me these days. 

One thing I have learned while living with a chronic illness, is that having a plan is a good thing. Especially when it comes to meals. I am a mom to five kids. Albeit three are grown now. I still have a couple  of hungry kids running around demanding food pretty much ’round the clock. Not to mention a husband who does love a hot meal every now and then. 

Chronic Fatigue, Brain Fog and Grocery Shopping

Making it to the grocery store is a miracle for me.


I have quite a few cookbooks in my collection. Usually, I just go through a few and write down a week or two worth of meal plans. Then comes the grocery list, something so simple, yet, so exhausting for me. 

By the time the list was completed, I was finished for the morning. Pitiful right? I had to take a breather.

Later on in the afternoon, I rallied myself together and trudged to the grocery store.  A major feat for me especially during a flare…two huge tasks in one day!

I knew from the get-go it was going to be a long trip. But, sometimes you have to ‘pull up your bootstraps’ so to speak. Or, in my case put on my shoes and leave the house.

My Shoes


Driving with brain fog is a dangerous sport.

I had put off buying groceries for as long as possible in the weeks prior, just getting the bare necessities to see us through. Until, the inevitable happened we almost ran out of possible meal scenarios. Which in my house, usually means we are down to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cereal. 

I do this quite often, as my good days are so few. I feel so often that I am just treading water, barely making it through this thing called life by the skin of my teeth, to coin a phrase.

Sometimes at night, I dream I have a maid who goes out and does my shopping for me. Wouldn’t that be awesome sauce??

Driving is a whole other ball game for me. On bad days, I just get by on a wing and a prayer and hope I don’t forget to make a turn. Or better yet, forget where I was headed in the first place. 

Driving With Brain Fog


Here lately, I have left the house three times without my cell phone…but, too tired to drive all the way home and retrieve it. Forgetfulness is a way of life around here for me. I’m definitely guilty of putting the ice cream into the refrigerator instead of the freezer. But, we won’t go there right now. It’s just too embarrassing. Truly.

Back to the grocery store, I had a thought walking into Aldi’s. “You know brain fog and grocery stores don’t mix!” What an epiphany! I know right! I’ll never learn. Honestly!

Brain Fog and Grocery Shopping Proceed With Caution

Lyme brain is brain fog’s big brother.

Once in Aldi’s after wrangling the buggy out of the cart rack, I drag my list out of my purse. A list which I have organized by section, things like fridge, freezer, canned goods, etc. Because if I don’t do this, I just end up wandering aimlessly around the store wondering what I need and where it is. It’s horrific. It sort of feels like you’ve been caught out in public in your underwear, you feel so vulnerable.

Looking at said list, I begin the long struggle of making sense of what I have written down. I begin to think to myself, “Concentrate, concentrate.”  Picture Winnie the Pooh, tapping his noggin saying ‘think…think…think.’  But, no matter how hard I try to keep a train of thought, I just can’t keep it together.

The letters jumble all around on the page. I can’t make heads or tails of it. I feel like a dyslexic must feel. This is what I call “Lyme Brain.” Brain Fog’s big brother. Believe me you don’t want to meet him either. 


I put in a dozen eggs. Then, halfway through the trip I think, “Did I pick up the eggs yet?” So I go back and pick up another dozen. Then put them in the cart and realize they are already there. Yeah, you get the picture. This happens with at least a half dozen items. At least! I feel like a crazy person literally! 


Brain Fog and Sensory Overload

My mind during a brain fog flare up is worse than trying to read a book dipped in pea soup. The haze at which I view things is as thick as molasses. I wish they sold bifocals for the brain. I could sure use some. 

Going through the store during this particular trip, I found myself thinking, I need to pile as much as I can in this cart, because WHO knows when I will feel up to coming back to the store. I feel a bit like a squirrel storing up for winter. No offense intended here, but I often feel like someone with ADD on steroids. Like a monkey with one too many bananas. You get the picture…

Sensory overload is a terrible thing. Lyme Disease has a way of magnifying even the least of environmental stresses. It’s ridiculous. I could be superwoman, with supersonic hearing and x-ray vision, not the good kind either!

Noises feel like they reverberate off your skull. Your ears ring. Your head hurts to the point of feeling like it will implode. Your eyes can’t find a peaceful place to rest, constantly darting this way and that. It feels a bit like one of those bobble head dolls with the crazy eyes and wobbly head.

Bright lights, NO WAY! Everything just seems to hit you like a razor blade. Literally!

Pair that with brain fog, unrelenting fatigue and constant pain and you have a killer combination. 

While in my mind I have all of these thoughts and sensory overloads. On the outside, I realize I look perfectly normal, maybe just a little frazzled, but fairly normal. On the inside I’m a mess. I feel like death. 

Grocery shopping with brain fog is a dangerous occupation.

Upon finishing up in the check out lane with my overloaded cart and empty wallet, I feel a sizable sigh of relief escape my mouth. It’s over. Well almost…until I get home and have to unload it all. But, that’s another battle, another tale. 

A word to the wise here folks. Don’t go grocery shopping with brain fog. It’s a dangerous occupation to be sure. 

Me? I’m just thankful I made it home and that I didn’t leave the umbrella stuck under the grocery cart, which I’ve been known to do. Or worse still, leave the eggs in the trunk. Yuck!

Thank goodness for full pantries and soft couches on which to land. I plan to stay rooted here for at least a week.  A girl can dream anyway…


Until next time, keep encouraged and keep on keepin’ on. 


Visit with me on Etsy at Shaggycreations Studios to view more of my Pembroke Welsh Corgi Art for sale!

8 Responses to Brain Fog & Grocery Shopping Don’t Mix

  1. You know that saying, "Don't go grocery shopping while you're hungry"? I always say "Don't go grocery shopping with brain fog." EEK.

  2. Lynn Hasty says:

    Oh my goodness!! I can hear it in your words. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I feel a bit of brain fog if my thyroid is acting up, but I don't think it touches this at all! I truly hope that you get relief from the things you are doing for the Lyme disease. Love you! You are in my prayers. Lynn

  3. Valerie says:

    Dear One Tick To Be Sick,
    Thank you for the comment! I agree I'd much rather go shopping hungry than with brain fog. =)
    Thanks again for following along, Valerie

  4. Valerie says:

    Dear Lynn,
    Thank you so much sweet friend. I appreciate your support. I have thyroid issues too. I take thyroid hormone for that. I can't imagine how bad the brain fog would be without it! Love 'n hugs, Valerie

  5. Katie says:

    This is so me too! Some days grocery shopping is like walking into a surrealist art work!
    Thank you for sharing and putting into words this experience that really can't be explained!
    And I love some of the Oh She Glows recipes too!

  6. Valerie says:

    Dear Katie,
    Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am so sorry that you suffer from brain fog this way! It is horrible. I am so glad this post made at least a measure of sense. I was so scattered when I wrote it! I love the Oh She Glows cookbook. I hear she has a new one coming out this fall! Can't wait.
    Blessings, Valerie

  7. Lucy says:

    Oh, man so many times while reading this, I said to myself, Yup, yup yup. I was reminded of the time a friend found me wandering around a store. Thank you for your delightful humor, bringing some lightness to it all–to everyone’s life who suffers with brain fog, chronic debilitation, pain… Sometimes I find myself staring straight ahead with my jaw open and I have to close it. Love the image of a book dipped in pea soup…exactly. And leaving eggs in the trunk. Last week I was searching the fridge over and over for two plastic boxes of salad greens I knew I had bought. 4 days later I found them in my car. In the Florida heat they had decomposed completely. One had oozed brown sticky liquid fortunately right into the little compartment below the e-brake, sparing the car carpeting. I thought: “There is a God.” PS, I love your corgi picture 🙂

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Lucy,
      Your comment made me smile. I’m so glad that your “salad” didn’t damage your car. I have totally been there! This brain fog business is a real pain and causes so much trouble. Wishing you clear thoughts and thank you for the compliment on my little corgi art! Blessings, Valerie

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