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Brain fog poll

Discussion in 'Neurological/cognitive/vision' started by Jaybee00, Nov 30, 2020.

?

Do you have brain fog?

  1. Always, almost always

    69 vote(s)
    78.4%
  2. Only during PEM

    5 vote(s)
    5.7%
  3. Never, almost never

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  4. Sometimes

    13 vote(s)
    14.8%
  1. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    10,284
    My memory is extremely unpredictable.

    Sometimes the information is there, I know it's bl@@dy there and I can't get at it. I'm doing the mental equivalent if bracing two feet on the lower filing cabinet drawer as I pull with all my might against the upper drawer handle, which either refuses to budge or the metaphorical handle comes off in my hand landing me on my rear.

    Other times, I'll need to know something and the answer is just miraculously there. I'll doubt myself because it just seems to pop into my head but it's often spot on. Unless I really need to rely on it of course.:rolleyes:

    Before ME, my capacity to take in new information and learn was extremely good. I'm not boasting, there's lot's of things I was always rubbish at but this was my thing. Once I got sick I lost that capacity.

    It doesn't matter what I try to learn, I might retain it for an hour or two days and then it's usually gone. If I remember what I've learned it's probably at the expense of something else. I'll forget my passwords, how to use the dishwasher of even the kettle! :banghead::banghead::banghead:. Frankly, it gets scary.

    I've learned that the harder I struggle with it, the worse it will be. Just take a breath and walk away. Try again tomorrow and maybe it'll come back to me.

    I started having memory problems and cognitive difficulties very early on, while I was still working.

    To me brain fog is one symptoms of a range of cognitive issues, if by brain fog we mean that feeling of thinking through treacle - like trying to listen underwater.

    I absolutely hate it. I feel like it has incapacitated me to the extent it has changed me as a person in a negative way. For me it's the most disabling symptom these days.

    Having said that I have been much worse and completely lost the ability to read at all. Not because I didn't feel well enough, or couldn't remember - I literally couldn't understand it. I could see the individual words and understand them but couldn't understand the sentence they were in. I couldn't speak in whole sentences either. Thankfully, I was so ill that's all a bit of a blur now but I am aware that if I'm not careful.....that slippery slope is strewn with banana skins.
     
  2. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    1,099
    i never think of cognitive symptoms as brainfog to me this really isn't a helpful term . i see it has my higher functions being switched of because the energy is directed to the part of the brain responsible for keeping me alive . this switch can happen very suddenly leaving me unable to speak when i have already gone into pem . writing can be especially difficult because the thoughts that prompt me to start a reply often disapear before i have finished the first sentence and spelling has become a nightmare .
     
  3. Graham

    Graham Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    3,326
    Apart from the fact that I have never yet had a crash like Invdivisible Woman (who can't be parted from her dog), I'm pretty much the same. I used to teach maths, but if you were to give me a tougher maths A-level question, I'd have to read through it several times, and would never be able to hold it all in my mind. If I get tired, the problem gets much worse, until I can't really take anything much in. But most of the time people wouldn't notice because it's not often I have to think hard.

    The other problem is multi-tasking. I know it's a standard joke that men can't multitask, but in reality teaching a lesson to a group of 30 restless teenagers is a massive multitask. There's no chance of me multitasking now.
     
    MEMarge, Helene, alktipping and 6 others like this.
  4. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,994
    Location:
    UK West Midlands
    This.
     
  5. Sarah94

    Sarah94 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    3,422
    Location:
    UK
    How do you define brain fog. I wouldnt say I necessarily always feel foggy, it's often more a lack of energy. I can't read a long complex book because I don't have the energy.
     
    MEMarge, Tia, Mij and 6 others like this.
  6. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    1,664
    Location:
    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Don't know how to answer that. Exactly what is brain fog?

    I get different types of cognitive difficulties. Do they all fall under brain fog?

    Most days I can think perfectly fine for a few minutes at a time. After that thinking becomes progressively more difficult. This involves all sorts of functions like memory, word finding, concentration, information processing, etc. But this doesn't feel "foggy". There's no sense of "external resistance". It's more like my thoughts run out of energy.

    In contrast, with PEM, in addition to all of the above (minus the thinking clearly for a few minutes) it feels like my thoughts have to fight their way through thick molasses or something, so that could be described as "foggy" I guess - though the term fog, even thick as pea soup fog, feels too delicate a term for the stuff.
     
    Helene, Tia, alktipping and 6 others like this.
  7. Graham

    Graham Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    3,326
    I don't worry too much about the definition of brainfog. My analogy is with driving. I used to cruise along an open, country road, listening to music, chatting to a passenger, noting what was in the mirror. In fog I would have to focus very closely on what lay ahead, my speed would drop considerably, and I would find it much more tiring. That's what thinking is like now. Sometimes it is just patchy mist, but it can become freezing fog.

    I don't equate brainfog to a sort of lethargy or a resistance to thought: I don't try to interpret what is happening, or to ascribe feelings to it. It is simply that, as in driving in fog, it's a slower, more difficult process.
     
  8. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    6,032
    My brain/forehead literally feels sore/bruised when I'm overdoing cognitively. I feel nauseous. Is this how others without ME describe brain fog?
     
  9. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    9,047
    Location:
    Canada
    MEMarge, Snow Leopard, Helene and 2 others like this.
  10. Imse

    Imse Established Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Norway
    Almost always. Thinking is hard and it gives me pem rather easily .
     
  11. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    6,032
    It may not be memory per se but diminished attention?

    I was trying to find the right words to describe my cognitive impairment, and diminished attention as a result of energy deficits describes it. I don't have memory issues.
     
    alktipping and Peter Trewhitt like this.
  12. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    10,284
    There can be diminished attention too but no, I mean very unpredictable memory. I simply cannot rely on it.

    For example, if I answer the phone, IM might come in as I replace the receiver and ask who called. I'm baffled and ask him if the phone rang. i might remember later that day, the next day or not at all. When he checks the phone log I might have been talking to someone for 15-20 minutes.

    Or I try to learn something new. I seem to have grasped it but find I have forgotten how to use the oven or kettle or some really simple device I use everyday. Eventually it will come back, could be hours, could be days. The new thing that I learned an remembered will probably be lost within a few days.

    Odd bizarre stuff that you would think I forgot, is sometimes right there. I don't think about it or reach for it, it's just there. Just the way it used to be. Naturally I don't trust that but the information is, more often than not, correct.

    When I am in PEM or my cognitive function is declining attention definitely suffers dramatically. Nothing goes in.
     
  13. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    2,784
    I definitely experience specific memory issues during PEM in addition to attention problems.

    A good example is short term memory deficits as measured by digit span. The normal digit span is 7 +/- 2. My premorbid digit span was usually 8 and my current base line is 6 or 7. However in PEM if I attempt to make a phone call using a written phone number I have to dial one digit at a time as I can only hold one digit in my short term memory at a time. It is not possible for me at such times to ring an unfamiliar number without it being written down in the same field of vision as the dialling pad.

    [Also] I can in PEM struggle to recall well know information, such as my own date of birth or who is Prime Minister, though the latter could perhaps be seen as a blessing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
    Simbindi, Snowdrop, mango and 4 others like this.
  14. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    6,032
    I experience this too, but only during PEM and maybe more so since menopause. Is that a memory issue or an attention energy deficit?
     
  15. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    6,032
    There are days when I am super sharp, and asked to slow down because I'm actually ahead of whoever I'm conversing with. But during PEM I avoid answering the phone or interacting with anyone.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that my cognitive issues don't appear to be permanent.
     
    Simbindi, alktipping, MeSci and 2 others like this.
  16. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    2,784
    I would say memory because I have no problem attending to what I am doing.

    I have additional attention problems in PEM, that relate to distractions, following a thread in reading or in a TV programme or coping with background noise, but not in a quiet room with only me the phone and the phone book.
     
    Simbindi, mango, alktipping and 2 others like this.
  17. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    10,284
    Ah, okay @Mij. So you see the attention problem in the current tense and the memory problem as the past tense (yesterday's attention problem)?

    Unfortunately, I think some of us have both. Naturally, if you're not paying attention you also won't remember but things I clearly got & understood well go missing. They might reappear later or not.

    For example I know my many digit banking codes. Sometimes, I'll sit down to sort some bills and, nope a black hole, nothing. The more I try to remember the worse it will be & I really don't want to be locked out of my account. After a nap, or the following day I remember them again.

    Mine aren't permanent either. I have small windows where I'm almost normal but they don't last very long.
     
    Simbindi, alktipping, Mij and 2 others like this.
  18. Wilhelmina Jenkins

    Wilhelmina Jenkins Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    I vastly prefer Dr. Younger’s term “cognitive disruption”. My brain doesn’t feel foggy; it feels totally wrecked. It felt like using a well oiled, precision piece of equipment and suddenly having it replaced by some old clunker of a brain. One of the worst feelings of my life was looking at my lab books in my handwriting and not understanding one blasted thing that I had done just weeks earlier.

    My disrupted brain has never once worked the way that it did before February, 1983, before I became ill. This sounds so pathetic, but there was one day in 1991 when I was able to go to the library with my husband (also a physicist) and the titles of the articles in the journals where my research group used to publish made sense to me. Not the articles; just the titles. And then that was gone again.

    I feel like I hold this old clunker of a brain together with duct tape and rubber bands. In all of these decades, I have learned how to work around the disruption. But I miss my brain.
     
  19. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    1,099
    such a huge loss is never a pathetic thing to mention it is devastating to go from being reasonably capable of completing intricate tasks to those same task becoming impossible or very time consuming and exhausting .
     
    Simbindi, Mij, MeSci and 4 others like this.
  20. TheBassist

    TheBassist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    367
    Location:
    Sussex UK
    Couldn’t put it better. The quick analogy I give to people is it’s like thinking with the handbrake on, but that barely scratches the surface
     

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