Monday, June 13, 2016

Brain Fog

     If you are at all like me the brain fog that comes along with chronic illness can be INCREDIBLY frustrating.  In my case, when I am tired (which is most of the time) or stressed (also a lot) I lose my words.  As someone who has always been very well read, has a fairly extensive vocabulary and has always been very verbal, to struggle for the words that I need just makes me crazy.  It starts with being tired, then when it happens it stresses me out which compounds it and makes it harder to come up with what I am trying to say.

When I am fighting to remember that word-and it could be something as simple as the word "Red", or if I am at work a word that I use all of the time like "Schedule"- it takes me through a range of emotion.  First I am frustrated because I can almost SEE the word in my head. I can feel it sitting on my tongue but the brain is so foggy it just won't connect.  Then I am embarrassed because I can see the frustration in the face of the person to whom I am talking to wait for me to have the word click and it makes me feel stupid and no one likes to feel stupid in front of their loved ones or colleagues.  That leads to anger with myself and with whichever parts of my illness, be it the Fibromyalgia (more on Fibro Fog here) or the myriad of medications that I have to take every morning to function or that the pain and finding a way to compartmentalize it takes so much out of me.  It's not something I can control or even do anything to make it better.  Finally it's almost funny.  Not "funny" funny but more of a gallows humor funny.  I have to, have to, have to laugh about it because it's a coping mechanism.

I have discovered that if I can ask for a minute, then take a deep breath (or several) the words will eventually come to me.  Most people that are in constant contact with me know by now that this is an issue and for the most part they understand what's going on when it happens but it doesn't make it easier because while they realize why it's happening they don't get the struggle that's going on in my head.   That's hard for me.

I appreciate, on so many levels, that they try to understand. I appreciate their patience with me more than I can ever express.  I just don't have the patience with myself.  In researching this to see if there's a way to work around this I found an interesting article on Beliefnet sitting in my email.  Divine intervention?  Perhaps.  While I don't agree with all of it, there are some helpful hints for dealing with Brain Fog in there.  I am going to put it into practice slowly but surely and see how it goes.  I hope it helps you too!  


Dogandduck said...

I totally understand what you are saying. One friend laughs that our other friend has been around me long enough to finish my sentences for me.
My son says it is difficult for him to understand me or carry on a conversation with me. I just totally lose the word or train of thought.
The odd ball thing is that sometimes I can think of the word in German but not English. We have been out of Germany for 15 years.
Thanks for saying what I could not.

ankeunterwegs said...

Thank you for bringing this topic up. When I get out of words I'm going through pretty much the same as you. It is really awful, especially in working life where not each and everyone I meet will know about my disease(s). And it is absolutely frustrating that it covers the "easy" words even more than the "difficult" ones. As a German native speaker and English as mainly my business language it covers both languages in same severity, but it could also happen that if I miss a word talking German the English one would be present and vice versa.

In case it happens I know that I'm in urgent need for a break a see if I could manage to get one (hopefully without the need of talking ;-)) even in important meetings asap.

All the best to you