Explain what brain fog is like for you please

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by monicaz49, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. monicaz49

    monicaz49 New Member

    I have it...but there are many facets to it.
    My thinking and concentration are not sharp..very dull...to me thats a fog.
    Then theres my vision and what I see around me...its hazey, my vision is blurry...and to me thats a fog.
    But then there is the sensation of not connecting, being slightly light headed, and that is a fog.

    So...id like to know your definition on brain fog please. And if you have any symptoms other than fatigue.
    Mine are fog, anxiety, balance dizziness, irritability, nausea, heat intolerance/inability to sweat, jerking, vision probs, alcohol intol, muscle aches, weakness, numbness, sleep problems, concentration/memory issues, head pressure. Ill stop there....
  2. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    All big words are on the tip of my tongue. I can't think clearly, concentrate or make simple decisions. I can't remember anything. If I'm too foggy and try to read, I get physically ill.

    I take a bunch of supplements for neurotransmitters that really help with the fog. Look at my post "neurotransmitter precursors" from Jan 18 if you're interested.

    It's late and I've been reading alot today so I'm getting a little foggy now. But in Nov. I could hardly read at all.

    I never did have any vision problems, lucky me.

    best wishes,

  3. kriket

    kriket New Member

    I can't think of what I'm trying to think of. My mind seems to go in circles and circles. I can't think of what I'm trying to say and just plain cannot think clearly. This pretty much sums up "brainfog" for me!!!

  4. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    My most annoying (besides my eyesight) is when I go to do something, walk two feet and can't remember what it was I was going to do! This happens several times a day! Way too often!

    My vision has got so bad I don't drive anymore, except in town. My sensory perception on the highway is gone. Those yellow lines....well forget them! Two lanes, nope more like four..on a good day. In town is fine. I live in a small town where there are not any lines on the roads in town.

    I jot myself notes all over the place. One place won't work because by the time I got to the specific place I would probably forget what it was I was going to make a note of. So I have notes all over! Especially to keep up on all three kids schoolwork and such. Thank goodness our school has all their classes and assignments and grades online so I can keep track their everyday.

    My brain fog! Hope this helps!

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    Laurie :)
  5. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    As an academic (or at least former and potentially future academic), I've thought about what's wrong with my brain a lot since it's important to me.

    Parts of my cognitive processes work as well as ever. Some even are better. For instance, since I to a large extent I only sit around and think about theories rather than doing anything, my ability to work in theoretical terms undoubtedly is much better than it used to be due to the increased practice.

    My ability to understand people's thoughts and feelings without much information has gotten much better. My ability to predict the future also has become exceedingly good (in those areas in which I have information obviously). These improvements seem due to slowing down and paying attention, and to allowing my unconscious to do more processing work.

    Really important parts of my cognitive processes are missing though:

    * Stimuli overload. I can't focus if there's any noise in the background.

    * Difficulties thinking on my feet. This makes it harder to teach classes.

    * Difficulties in organizing material. I can write small sections of stuff (like posts on this board) well, but fitting it together is a lot more difficult. This has been a problem both with teaching as well as writing papers.

    * Difficulties in concentrating. I fatigue easily. This is more true with orally presented rather than written information. Those Cheney videotapes are really hard for me to get through because it's an oral presentation. If they were in paper form, I'd have had the material nailed in about 20 minutes, I think. Probably this is related to the stimuli aversion with regard to my auditory senses.

    * Slow movement from one topic to another. If I'm thinking about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I can _only_ think about CFS. Studying or thinking about other more than one thing during the same long time period is extremely different for me. If I were a student taking more than one class at a time, I wouldn't be able to handle it, I don't think.

    * Quickly fading interest in topics of intellectual inquiry. I don't seem to be able to stay with anything long enough to make any progress in terms of doing anything _with_ my thoughts. Once I've thought through the material and reached conclusions in my own head, I'm done with it. (This is probably a combination of low stamina with continued fast thought processing.)

    * Initiative. Forcing myself to get started with projects (even one as simple as writing an e-mail or making a phone call) is extremely difficult. This is a combination of my inability to switch tasks easily as well as general fatigue. Major projects (like writing an academic paper) I seem categorically unable to do.....probably because I know I won't finish them due to the problems above.

    * Problems remembering "what I was about to do" or what I've already done. This has gotten far worse since I started the antiviral Famvir though. Other than when the Famvir herxing was _really_ bad have any of my other cognitive processes gotten worse since starting the drug.

    I also have an almost total inability to remember bits of information that are unconnected to other pieces of information. Even two seconds after I've read a phone number to myself, I cannot remember the whole thing. Four digits is the maximum. Remembering names is almost impossible. Recalling more than one or two words in a list of unrelated items after focusing on something else is absolutely impossible. (I'm much more able to remember names or lists of words if I see them only in print, but numbers remain a problem regardless if they're presented in written or oral form.)

    On the other hand, I can remember unlimited amounts of information if it's connected to something else, especially if I create a theoretical construct about it. In cognitive psychology terms, I have extremely good relational memory and almost no item-specific memory. This always was my tendency, but it's gotten much worse since getting sick.

    These may seem like minor problems, but they're major ones for me since they prevent me from getting any real intellectual work completed even when it seems I have energy. The core thought processes are still there (comprehension of written material, logic, ability to bring about varied pieces of information to create an original whole, critical faulties, clarity of written expression, getting quickly to the core of what's being said, imaginative powers, hypothesis generating). But I seem unable to _do_ anything with those thoughts. This is extremely frustrating and the main reason that I have so much motivation to get wholly well despite the difficulties in handling the antiviral treatment.

    I'm not absolutely sure which of these problems are related to CFS and which are related to the head injury I had at some point before that. I did have cognitive problems just from the head injury, and so perhaps curing the CFS wouldn't/won't fix all the cognitive problems.

    On the other hand, the one day I took Provigil, nothing _whatsoever_ seemed wrong with my mind. I got more intellectual work done that day than I had in the previous year. The problem was, after that I crashed in bed for a week.

    I tend to think that some of my problems have to do with the CFS therefore. However, the fact that they were fixed by the Provigil makes me confident that they will be returned to me if I cure the CFS. If I didn't have CFS, I could use the Provigil on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure the only reason I crashed from it was from the CFS.

    As for the other items on the list:

    Anxiety: This was a problem after my head injury but no longer is at all. Part of this has to do with a treatment that my doctor used to fix it (too complicated to explain here). Part may be that my brain just repaired itself over time.

    Balance dizziness/nausea: This was a problem when a candida infection of the gut grew so bad that it moved into my inner ear. Getting rid of the yeast solved the problem.

    Irritability: Dissipated through the use of the anticonvulsant Lamictal for my manic-depression, progesterone for PMS, and St. Johns Wort

    Heat Intolerance: Not especially

    Inability to Sweat: Oddly, I have started to sweat much more since being on Famvir. This is surprising.

    Jerking: Yes, but only in response to specific stimuli.

    Vision: No.

    Alcohol Intolerance: Only if it is beer (yeast) or wine (mold), due to allergies. I am fine with distilled spirits.

    Muscle aches: No

    Weakness: No, except insofar as lack of exercise due to fatigue has caused it

    Numbness: No

    Sleep Problems: Solved by Klonopin (deeper sleep) and occasional melatonin

    Head Pressure: Only with sinus problems caused by yeast overgrowth

    Fog: Only with yeast overgrowth or when herxing (from yeast or viral killing)

    Word memory: Not a problem except for names

    [This Message was Edited on 01/23/2007]
  6. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    I have so many different symptoms that fall under what I (and many with CFS/FM) refer to as brainfog, I don't even know where to start!

    Of course, that alone is part of brainfog!

    Right now, I feel that I know what it means, but cannot express it. It is particularly hard to do so on this board as writing on a computer screen (or reading on a screen, for that matter), causes dizzness, nausea, and headache. And that in turn makes the brainfog worse.

    But for brainfog purposes, I can only describe this moment as feeling like my mind is frozen, or blank. Nothing is connecting. I try to think, and the headache only gets worse.

    I've been trying to respond to a post of Lisapetrison's, and could not comprehend even the simplest sentences the other day. I've printed it out and am working on a reply on my wordprocessor.

    I was able to reply to one post today only by cutting and pasting some old ones of mine.

    I think most people like me have enough sense not to torture themselves like this and aren't on this message board.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/23/2007]
  7. phoebe1

    phoebe1 New Member

    To me it feels like my head is filled with a cloud, I can not think clearly and sometimes it feels to me that my face is swollen.
    I can not remember anything, my brain feels like a sieve, I can not hold any information. My thought processes are slow, and sometimes I can not think at all.
    Sometimes my brain feels totally blank and I just sit and stare like a zombie, until my husband shouts "snap out of it!", and even then, I "snap" out of it very slowly.
    It is extremely frustrating! Even as I type this I am trying to explain it better, but I just can't.

  8. kriket

    kriket New Member

    Your description pretty much sums it all up.

  9. maggie428

    maggie428 New Member

    Hi there to all you sufferers out there. For me I get a spacy feeling especially in a store or at a party. I forget in the middle of a sentence what I am talking about. I get so tired and am glad I am retired as I know I no longer work outside the home. Cymbalta has helped me quite a bit but don't think I take the amount I should. My Doctor wants me to take 60mg a day but I am just been taking 30mg daily. Maybe I will give the 60 Mg a try again. I have a big problem, when I am listening to someone trying to tell me something, the problem is absorbing what they are telling me. Anyway I could go on and on but then I might become boring!!!!
    [This Message was Edited on 01/24/2007]
  10. saddlebred

    saddlebred New Member

    For me it's like "dead air" my mind just goes completely blank. Then I get upset because I can't think of what I was trying to say, or what i was talking about. My family has started to learn to just wait and then remind me of what we were talking about. I also forget where I'm going. It's happened a couple of times while driving that has scared the dickens out of me. Luckily I didn't forget how to drive just where I was going. I lose my car and car keys a lot too.
  11. froggyfog

    froggyfog New Member

    I'm still waiting for my MRI results, but my brain fog is:
    * not being able to think of the right word
    * mind going blank, not sure what I was doing or going to do
    * seeing a written word and thinking I know how to pronounce it but can't get it out right
    * Replacing the correct word for the incorrect word..for example- told my kids "Good night" instead of "Good Bye" it was daytime and they were leaving for school.

    Someone asked my age and I actually said "63" WHERE DID THAT COME FROM I'm "42". I caught myself after it was already out of my mouth....how do you expalin that to someone....just have to laugh.
  12. genes

    genes New Member

    I think I would probably use "blank" or "spacey" like saddlebred and Maggie said. I just kind of have nothing, or nothing important in my head. Sometimes people talk and then I just have to say "what..I didn't hear anything you just said?" I mean, yes I probably hear it, but I can't tell you a word I say.

    Sometimes I get mixed up. I can read short amounts of everyday English (I end up on message boards a lot to pass time) but whole pages are hard, and I definitely have trouble with things that are in depth or technical. When I try to read scientific articles for school, I just can't during a fog because even if I get through, there is little comprehension and zero retention.

    So I take it a lot of you have vision problems...I hadn't but this past week I've worn my glasses about 4 times as much as usual. Ugh.

    Luckily, I don't drive anyway, but I can't imagine what it would be like for those of you who do.
  13. this is my brain fog..

    when a person talks to me,i cant understand the meaning in their words.everything seems jumbled up and confusing.when they get to the end of their conversation,i cant remember the begining of it,they wait for me to answer,and i dont know what to say.

    i have to think very hard before i talk to someone,i have to say over and over in my mind first,what i want to come out of my mouth.if i dont concentrate hard,then the words i say dont all fit in place,and people just stare at me,confused.its like my brain isnt working properly.

    i cant see thingys clearly due to blurred vision.im told i dont need glasses though.
    ive had to concentrate more on my hearing to get over roads,as i miss judge the distance of traffic.

    i seem to be having a mental block occuring and all i can say is this...

    if you played a racing car game on a playstaion console.and won the race,then asked to view a replay of that race,and as you are watching it,the game or disc,skips parts of the replay.then thats what happen to me during fibro fog.the seconds in my daily life (my concept of what im seeing move and hearing,skip and dont make sence)

    i see in my vision, floating white circles,and the only thing i can say to discribe them is..

    i watch a ghost hunting programe over here in the uk.what they describe as being orbs,is what i see in my vision.

    i get muscles swelling up behind my eyes and im told they trap my optic nerves.the swelling i feel behind my eyes,is simular to the pain i feel on my brain when the fibro fog is in a flare and im having those comunication problems.

    im very clumbsy, bump into things and when i walk,my body always wants to move to the right,i have to make a consious effort to walk in a straight line.

    when i stop and stand still my body sways and wont stop no matter how hard i try to make it stop.it sways backwards and forwards,and its like in tune with my heartbeat,i know that sounds silly,but thats how it feels.

    i get anxiety very bad somedays,even when nothing has happened to upset me at home.if i hear loud noises,bangs out doors,its like the sound is intesified in my ears,and it makes me on egde,jumpy.i would move to the country if i won the lottery thats for sure.

    i am aware that i am having bouts of hyperactivity in my thinking,( on the none fibro flare days).im making a concious effort to slow down these thoughts,and to slow down my actions,as im having falls outdoors on these days.
    its like my body goes into hyper mode,but my brain cant quite make my limbs move properly,so accidents happen.

    i have found that after having this bout of hyperactivity,a day or so later ,the fibro flare arrives.

    i try to read books and cant retain the words ive just read, in my brain.it spoils my enjoyment of reading now.

    ive started typing out,and printing letters on my pc,as im having major problems using a pen to write letters.i make so many mistakes, that im sick of having to re write letters,so the pc is a godsend.

    theres alot more going on with my brain malfunction but i cant recall just now what they are until they occur.

    i dont remember dreams that i might have had,and find it very hard recollecting things that might have happened yesterday,although i have memories of things from years gone by.(in my teens).

    sadly i dont remember much of my childhood,and i envy my sister who can tell me what i was like as a child,and funny things we might have done together.

    kind regards
  14. shar6710

    shar6710 New Member

    Mild brain fog for me is just slower thought processes, poor memory of things I know that I should know. Inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes, difficulty comprehending instructions, answering questions. I also have difficulty initiating a task but then have difficulty stopping. Multitasking is impossible.

    Severe brain fog is almost a dimming of the world, I can have tunnel vision, or my vision blacks out, can not say words I know, say the wrong word (paper instead of table) forget names of people including those close to me. I have difficulty speaking, can't finish sentences, forget the question, lose my understanding of the topic of conversation, get "stuck". I've forgotten how to write my name, I've stared at the TV remote for several minutes trying to remember how to turn the TV on. Worse, I've attempted to operate the TV for several minutes with the ceiling fan remote when they look nothing alike. I also lose track of my hands and feet (have to be told to take both feet out of the car before trying to stand, leave them in awkward positions until they begin to hurt).

    I have severe post exertional malaise, fatigue, tremors on exertion (now controlled with Mirapex), swollen lymph nodes, body aches and pain, frequent headaches, sleep disturbances, palpitations, shortness of breath, heat intolerance, weakness and visual disturbances.

    I would like to add that while not as well educated as some on this board I did earn my B.S. with honors and it is frustrating to realize that I am not nearly as intelligent as I used to be. Since starting Mirapex I am mostly in mild brain fog with moments of almost normal mental processes so I don't think the damage is permanent yet.

  15. genes

    genes New Member

    I know what you mean about feeling that your not as intelligent as you used to be. Sometimes when try to do schoolwork and can't, I just can't help but think that I got stupider than I was. Even though I know it's not like that, it's hard not to feel that wasy.

    Yesterday I was looking at my computer so when my boyfriend said something to me, I had to say "huh" and he said "gee you get really into things". Turns out that he hadn't realized those "huh" moments were a part of this.

    An example of the mixing things up. I don't drive normally, thank goodness, but I at my parents farm I was helping move cows through the pasture and every single time I went to move the truck I tried to put it in drive before turning the truck on. Some would say that it was because I'm not used to driving, but I had driven the day before (a good day) and not done that once.
  16. monicaz49

    monicaz49 New Member

    thx all! i too have times when i dont recall words. But...my prob is that i come up with 2 word options in my head and instead of saying one...i mix them together

    Like if i want to tell my son...its time to go to sleep / bed. My mind doesnt choose the word and ill say
    its time to go to sed or something like that.
  17. LaQuiet

    LaQuiet New Member

    escape me all the time.. And this morning I didn't know what day it was.. Had to call a friend to find out.. I get sudden lacks of equilibrium and nausea.. Also sudden sharp pains in my head... Other probs that I can't seem to remember right now.

  18. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    FRIED BRAIN. I don't have it so bad at the moment, but during the first 4 months of my illness it is extremely bad. Poor concentration. Weird head sensations. Can't keep my eyes open or concentrate very long. Can't watch television. Can't read for very long. Can't drive. Can't coordinate brain fast enough with my reflexes to drive. Can't multitask. Thoughts race in my brain.

    Anxiety to the max. Crying jags. (St. John's Wort helped the depression)

    I like to work sodoku puzzles. My husband, daughter, and I will sit around doing the same puzzle (make copies.) It helps calm down my racing brain.

    Fried Brain.

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