Now a lot of you will be guilty of using this phrase, maybe even more than once. Possibly because you walked into a room and forgot what you were going there to get (all of us are guilty of this) or because you couldn’t remember how to spell a word, or even forgot to say happy birthday to a friend or relative.
While this may be the case and you may have a bad memory, a lot of you might not know what “brain fog” is and that it is something that many sufferers of invisible illnesses experience. I saw this picture a few days ago, and it inspired me for this post. Brain fog is something that I’ve suffered with for years now, and it only continues to get worse.
So what is brain fog?Well, most of you are probably able to take a guess by the name of it but it includes a lot more than just forgetting and is something that can be just as debilitating as the pain we feel. Why? Because the simplest of things that we were always able to remember, we now no longer can and it can really get you down and frustrated.
The symptoms of this horrible misfortune are difficulty recalling common and known words, using incorrect words (often not realising until someone points it out) and slow remembering of names (see, I told you it wasn’t my fault!). It also includes forgetfulness (as everyone experiences at some point… it’s just a much more common occurrence for us); the inability to recall things read/heard; confusion & trouble concentrating, including easy distraction (again, told you it wasn’t my fault!); directional disorientation – you get lost easily and have trouble recalling where things are (ohhhhh, so that’s why I can never find anything then); and also multitasking difficulties.
For me, brain fog is a regular day-to-day occurrence and it’s something that annoys me time and time again! Why? Because, before all of this, I used to have an excellent memory.. I could recall multiple people’s phone numbers and other different types of numbers, such as my card number; I never forgot anyone’s birthday or other special occasions; I knew what I was doing and when I was doing weeks in advance (I liked to be organised, what can I say?); for me, diaries were something I bought just because they looked pretty and so I could say I owned one!
Now? Well now I have to make sure all numbers are either saved in my phone or written down somewhere; I only remember my card number because there’s only been 4 digits changed in the whole 4 years I’ve had my card; remembering birthdays is a thing of the past so unless I’ve got it written down in my Filofax (yes, I have now gone all out) I’ve got no hope apart from my own, my parents and a few others; and the only reason I know what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis now is because I’ve checked my diary – if it’s not written in there then I can guarantee you it’s gone forever and I’ll not be there.
The top and bottom of it? I have to carry my Filofax EVERYWHERE. I’m serious, it never leaves my bag – well apart from when I’m writing in it or looking at what’s on, or birthdays, or numbers that aren’t in my phone. It’s also the very reason why I rely on my smartphone so much! People say that I’m constantly glued to my phone, well this is why! Because my whole life is on there or in my Filofax and without them, I don’t know where I’m at, what I’m doing or when I’m doing it.
It’s also the very reason why I have to carry a notebook or a sticky pad around with me everywhere, because the minute that I remember I have to do something.. I have to write it down to make sure that I remember to do it later on, otherwise I’ll have forgotten in 5 minutes and it’ll never get done. It’s also the reason why my beloved friends and family get frustrated with me, I’m sure, because of the amount of times that I have to ask them “what word am I trying to say here?” or “what day is it?” or even having to listen to me complaing about not being able to remember what I’ve forgotten. For any Harry Potter fans out there, this phrase will probably ring a bell with something that Neville Longbottom said when his grandmother got him his rememberall.
Going back to the picture above, it’s like it says, I can be having a serious conversation about something with someone and then suddenly forget what we were talking about, or I forget the point I was trying to make. Knowing I was never like this before, this is what frustrates me.
But why have I written this? To let YOU know that brain fog is a real thing, a very real thing, and you’re not alone in suffering from it! A lot of people often call themselves stupid or hopeless.. You’re not! Unfortunately, it’s just one of those horrible symptoms that can happen as a result of JHS/HMS/CFS/FMS and any other similar conditions! If you’ve read this and think this is you, but you don’t suffer from one of these conditions, there are other causes of it too so perhaps look into it?
I hope this has helped and remember (yes I’m repeating myself) YOU’RE NOT ALONE.