In today’s post I am going to talk about Brain Fog and how it can be just as debilitating as the fatigue you get with chronic illness such as ME/CFS. I’m hoping that this post will help anyone who suffers with brain fog and also any family and friends of someone who suffers from it. It is so important to have an understanding of this symptom as it can affect so many people and a lot of people who have it don’t actually understand what it is! I for one didn’t when I first started experiencing it! If you want to read about other symptoms of ME/CFS you can do so here.
Brain Fog is like trying to run through a brick wall… it just doesn’t happen.
When I talk about having ‘bad days’, I’m usually referring to the fatigue and/or pain side of the illness, but it isn’t always that simple! When I get ‘bad days’ I usually suffer from significant brain fog on top of the fatigue/pain! This means that a ‘bad day’ doesn’t just consist of Netflix and chill (the literal meaning!) because quite often I can’t concentrate on anything because of said brain fog. It really is a horrible symptom and without it life would be a whole lot simpler!
To really explain what it is and how it works, I’m going to take you through the different symptoms of brain fog one by one so you can really get a picture for how it works! And yes, there are symptoms within symptoms! Brain fog can cover a whole range of different foggy symptoms!
Inability to Think Clearly
This one is probably the biggest one for me and covers the following areas of brain fog too. It is literally just an inability to think clearly. Imagine waking up in the morning – you feel groggy don’t you? You have to take a few moments to put your thoughts together. Now imagine having that 24/7. That is brain fog.
This one is a fairly obvious one right? People with brain fog, get confused, it’s as simple as that. I can’t count how many times I have had to repeat questions with simple answers just because I can’t get my head around it! I’m currently doing Grammar at Uni and I’m constantly having to go over it again and again to try and understand it just because it confuses me so much!
This one never used to be a problem for me and even now I’m usually okay with it but sometimes, particularly when my ME/CFS is bad I can get this. And it’s literally just forgetting simple things! Things you know off the top of your head you can suddenly forget! I have to write EVERYTHING down otherwise there’s no guarantee I will remember. I tend to put everything in my phone calendar AND in my actual diary, as well as writing really important dates on my wall calendars!
This one I notice towards the end of the day when I’m getting tired and lethargic. I can be talking to someone normally and all of sudden all that comes out of my mouth is complete gobbledegook! I will get the words in my sentence completely muddled, I can stutter like crazy and all I can do is stop, and start again. Anyone that knows me may have noticed it happen, so if you have, now you know it’s just brain fog kicking in!
This links to the previous one in a way but with that one you would muddle your words, and with this one sometimes you just can’t find the words you want to say! I can get to the middle of a sentence and suddenly stop and have no idea what comes next and then I’m stood there looking like a fool trying to find this magical word that will complete the sentence! To make things worse, these words are usually the simplest, most-used words in the dictionary!
Concentration (or lack-of!) really affects me, especially when it comes to studying/revising. I can’t concentrate for more than 45 mins and even that is a push for me! The days where I could sit for hours at a time doing work are long gone! Also, say goodbye to multi-tasking if you suffer from brain fog! If I try and do any more than 2 things I suddenly get confused and forget what I’m supposed to be concentrating on! This lack of concentration means I struggle to read books for any length of time which means it takes a good few weeks to finish one book – I used to be able to finish one within a week! And it also means on a really bad day, my lack of concentration can affect things as simple as texting or even watching Friends! You can imagine how down I feel when that happens!
So as I’m sure you can see from this post, brain fog is a massive nuisance and the symptoms within that can range. If I’m ill with fatigue AND the brain fog kicks in, I have no hope for doing anything that day. And unfortunately, brain fog can affect me day to day as well which means even on a good day I can still get my words muddled and/or lost and I can still forget things!
I really hope this post has helped anyone with brain fog or any friends and family who didn’t quite know what it was! Please feel free to like/share and I would love to hear your experiences with Brain Fog – just comment below!