Worried about brain fog, getting worse

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Chelz, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    I am 46 and was diagnosed with FM back in 2002, but had symptoms since the late 1980's when I was in my 20's.

    Although pain, fatigue and sleep issues were always a problem for me, even in my 20's, the brain fog issue was the lesser of the evils of this condition.

    Now, at 46 (I know I'm still young, right :) it is much much worse. I do take into account that I work 40 hours a week in medical records at a hospital (can be very stressful) and since my father passed away, I do all of my mom's finances as well as my own.

    My mom is 82 and can be very challenging. She is very hard of hearing, never had to do any paperwork (may dad did it all) and really doesn't make many decisions for herself.

    By the time I write out my bills and balance my checkbook, do her bills and balance her checkbook, make decisions about repairs on the house and work full time, I am emotionally, physically spent and exhausted.

    My short term memory is getting much worse, that I worry about myself. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and I can get very short with my mother when I have to repeat myself to her so many times. It is exhausting. I have noticed at work that I am much slower with my responses to phone calls, people coming into our department with medical record requests, and just the daily life of working in an office.

    Don't get me wrong, my job can be my salvation. I have been there for 7 years now, and I am amazed I made it through, I also like many of my co-workers, but it took many years to develop those friendships.

    I am constantly forgetting my passwords at work and now have to jot them down and refer to them almost everyday. I have forgotten to pay the cable TV bill, and my mother's car insurance. These things have been happening to me for about the last year. When I get home from work, my mom wants to talk, but I don't even have the energy to answer her because I know I have to repeat myself to her because of her lack of hearing.

    My mom is 82 and can't afford the steep price of hearing aids which she should have got almost 20 years ago, it's too late for that now. I do have a sister, but she leaves everything up to me. I just had to leave work early to take my mom to the doctor and it was exhausting for me.

    I am afraid my work will suffer, actually, it already has suffered, I just "muddle" my way through somehow. I hesitate telling this to my doctor, I rarely go because in the past, docs have always made me worse because of drug sensitivities, and just a lack of basic understanding about these illnesses. I am even too tired to research any kind of supplement to take for "mental improvement" or if this is just the ugly side effect of having FM and doing too much. Sorry, such a long post, I feel desperate, any advice? Hugs, Chelz.
  2. 3gs

    3gs New Member

    Hi Chelz

    You have alot on your plate!!! Stress is the worst thing for you. I know when Iam stressed out or over tired my brain fog gets worse.

    Besides working you are doing one of the most stressful jobs-caregiver. Plz don't beat yourself up if you lose patients with mom,thats hard after a long day.

    To help with bills-could you set up bill pay with your bank? This has helped me alot. If your mom lives with you could you combine your accounts?

    There are senior centers all over. Maybe ck with them about help with hearing aids and help with mom. I took care of my dad and understand about sis too.

    The biggest thing that helped with my brainfog was Vitd 3. Yes its from doing to much and a side effect.

    hope I helped-hugs jen
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    The others are right. Stress can really do a number on you, and you do have an awful lot on your plate. Do look into what senior services are available in your area, they may be able to help some.

    For people under stress, B vitamins are crucial and I would suggest a good B complex if you're not already taking one. However, I've recently been reading about possible negative effects of folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) which is in almost every B complex formula. Many people have difficulty converting folic acid to a form usable by the body and excess folic acid can cause other problems. Douglas Labs and Pure Encapsulations are two companies (and I think a few more are sprouting up) that are now making B complexes that have metafolin (a usable form of folate) instead of folic acid, so if I were you, I would try one of those. Also, extra pantothenic acid, one of the B's, is often needed when under acute stress. It helps keep your adrenals strong.

    Once you're taking a good B complex, I would also add in sublingual B12, crucial for good mental functioning. Brain fog can be a symptom of B12 deficiency - just google "B12 brain fog" and you'll get several hits. Jarrow formulas makes a good sublingual B12.

    And one last thing - Prohealth has an article about brain fog and l-carnitine, which is worth reading. Acetly-l-carnitine is the best form for brain function as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. Here's the article: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showArticle.cfm?libid=16402&B2=BNRFLASH&utm_source=BNRFLASH&utm_medium=BNRFLASH&utm_campaign=BNRFLASH

    Take care -

  4. earthdog2000

    earthdog2000 Member

    Hi Chelz!

    Boy can I relate to this post! I was dx'd with CFS and fibro about 12 years ago. I remember that my main problems were pain and fatigue. Then came the migraines and the IBS a few years later. The last 3 or 4 years I have been having the brain fog and memory problems. I don't really know if CFS or fibro are mostly progressive illnesses or not. It seems for some their symptoms get worse with time while others get better. I think it has a lot to do with how we learn what meds, supplements, exercise, foods, etc. work for our symptoms as to getting "well". As far as "brain fog" I think it also has a lot to do with stress and age but we can work on those things.

    It sounds like you have added stress in your life besides working full-time if you are living with your mom. How can you be a caregiver as well as try to take care of the fibro and any other DD's that you deal with on a daily basis? I think that the idea of getting financial aid to get hearing aides for your mom and maybe someone to spend time with her is a great idea! It would take a lot of pressure off of you. There are many vitamens and supplements you can take to improve your memory. I personally take B-complex, Vita C and Vita E and they seem to help. Oh, and Fish Oil Extract as well. A friend suggested brain games or memory games on the internet and I have just started playing them. After just a few weeks I have noticed that I am already "retaining" more and remembering things I have to do without ton's of post-it's all over my house. I still write down what I need to do the next day every night before going to bed. I still don't know what I would do without my post-its but at least I'm not using as many as I was.

    Do you HAVE to work full-time or could you cut your hours down just a bit or try to find more ME time? I have found that if I don't get my ME time every day even if it's just a half hour I can get kind of grumpy. Just ask my hubby,lol! I usually stay up about 1-2 hours later than my hubby so that is my time and I love it! I read, watch a prerecorded show, journal, meditate, take a nice buble bath depending on my mood. It really seems to de-stress me. I hope that you take everyone's replies to heart and try some things to improve your memory and brain fog and also find ways to lower your stress. I don't know how you do it although I was going through the same thing until we finally became empty-nesters. I'm loving that even though I still see my kids about once a week and my grandson spends every othe weekend with us. He is the joy of my life for sure. It's kinda funny when he remembers everything and has to remind me of a lot of things I forget,lol!

    good luck to you and I hope you are feeling less stressful soon and your brain fog gets better. Just coming on to this msg. board to vent is very good for all of us too. Keep us posted and I hope you find more peace in your life soon....

    Faith, Peace and Comfort, Julie
  5. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    I've met a lot of women recently who complain of the same thing and they don't have CFS or FM. It is good old perimenopause that is the problem. At 46 years of age, you could well be into perimenopause and not even realize it. Most women think of peri/menopause as hot flashes and night sweats. Wrong! For a lot of women it is brain fog, fatigue, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, joint and muscle pain, etc. All of the things that are also associated with CFS and/or FM.

    The next time you are at your doctors you might want to consider getting your hormone levels checked.
  6. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    Sorry, I just now got on the boards to read my replies. All the advice is good that you have all given me, but I think I might be hopeless, here is why:

    The post about vitmain D, my levels were very low, something like 18 or 22. My levels are now up to 58, just where my doctor wants them, she even called me and said that was great, so obviously, a higher Vitamin D level is not helping with brain fog at all, I still feel the same as I did at level 22, but I did try, it just isn't the answer for me.

    I do already take fish oil supplements. I take 1 gram a day along with CoQ10 and the Vitamin D. Jaminhealth, I did try the grapeseed extract for about 1 month, I know I should take it longer, but I really didn't see any difference, so I'm not sure I want to continue, I take so much as it is.

    I am self supporting, so I really can't go part time with my job, it is a catch 22 for me. As far as perimenopause, just the thought of it puts me in a depression. I really hate being 46, BUT, I do believe it can be contributing to the problem along with the FM. I did see my gynecologist back in May and she said as long as my periods were on schedule, which they are very timely, I don't have to have my hormones checked. But you are right, I have much more anxiety, depression, panic attacks now more than ever.

    I'm not sure what they do for perimenopause, but I won't take birth control pills, way too many side effects for that. Unfortunately, I don't think that doctors have ever come up with anything "natural" to take for perimenopause. I really hate any kind of drugs, since it interferes with my FM, I'm very drug sensitive.

    I will check out the B vitamins, but one thing has me concerned. I was taking Biotin, 5,000 micrograms and it gave me nausea and more anxiety. Recently my hair stylist told me that if you get nausea or anxiety from the Biotin, it could me I have high blood pressure or thyroid problems, oh great. I stopped the Biotin ( I was taking it because my hair falls out a lot) and I'm not sure I want to take it again.

    As far as my mom goes, your suggestions were great as far as a senior center and all, but my mom is old fashioned and foreign. She only likes to keep company with her foreign friends and senior centers make her feel so old, LOL. She is stubborn like me. I know I have a lot on my plate and I need to consider that I can't "do it all" Not sure what to do, I feel down and depressed a lot. Maybe because I'm getting older and not better in any way. My FM is pissing me off, I feel "other" people don't understand and it makes me feel so down. Thank you all for the replies, I really appreciate it a lot. Hugs, Chelz.
  7. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    5,000 mcg. of biotin is quite a high dose to be taking all on its own. Generally re the B vitamins, you need to take a B complex to get all of them, and then supplement a little extra if needed for certain ones. But it's not good to take a high dose of one all by itself. I don't think the biotin contained in a B complex, which is a much lower dose than 5,000 mcg., would cause the problems you had.

    Also, Thorne Research also makes a B complex (I ordered it from iherb) which has metafolin and calcium folinate (folinic acid), and no folic acid. It's also a little cheaper than the Douglas Labs and Pure Encapsulations products.

    Hair loss is a common symptom of low thyroid functioning, so you might want to check this out if you haven't already.

    Take care -

  8. herbqueen

    herbqueen New Member

    Greatly increase your intake of greens, green juice, spirulina . Going on a raw diet for the summer has greatly improved my brainfog and concentration and other symptoms. Eat lots of greens, perferrably raw- kale, swisschard, romaine, danelion, etc--wild greens are good to like lambs quarters. Drink green fresh juice-cucmber,celery, ginger, green apple, with some green like cilantro, parsely, kale, romaine etc.

    Drink a green smoothie with spirulina--any fruit or comb of fruits with greens in the blender and spirulina-

    Check out doctor wahls website, facebook, and book ("minding your mitchondria"_--she believes raw vegtables and fruits-feed the brain--

    I believe it is helping me cognitively. She posts many pubmed research articles on her facebook.