Those of us in the PsA community talk about brain fog a lot. But what is it, really? Why is brain fog so hard to deal with? Why does it make me feel so darn dumb ALL the time? At best it’s mildly annoying at worst it can even be dangerous. I joke a lot about brain fog but really, it drives me nuts!
There is some debate on whether brain fog is related to psoriatic arthritis or if it is more like a side effect of the various medications many of us take. I tend to personally believe that it is most likely a combination of both. But to be honest, I haven’t done a great deal of research on it, not that I’d be able to remember even if I did anyway.
Battling brain fog
I think everyone in the world has had to deal with brain fog at one time or another. Back before PsA, I used to call it medicine head. You know, that feeling you get when you have a cold, take medicine, and can’t seem to string together a simple sentence or complete a thought? That my friends, is brain fog. When you have something on the tip of your tongue but can’t seem to find the words? Brain fog. When you know you were doing something important, but can’t for the life of you remember what it was? Yep, brain fog struck again. But out of all of those things, that still isn’t what I really believe is the hardest part of living with brain fog.
I’m listening, I swear
I can have whole conversations with friends, be listening intently and focused on every word. Then, when I try and recall the details of the conversation, sometimes it is all so darn foggy that I probably couldn’t tell you more than 2 or 3 details of the whole conversation. Even this, while annoying to me, isn’t necessarily the hardest part.
The hardest part, in my opinion, is when my friends or family tell me something important to them. I hear them. I understand what they are saying, and the information is important to me. But then when I need to recall that information, for example, remember special dates or something fun they have planned, I can’t pull up the information. I ask again, then look like I didn’t care enough to remember in the first place. They think I don’t care about them, about things that matter to them, or about what they’ve shared with me. Because I live daily with brain fog, family and friends think that I don’t care, or care enough about them to simply remember what they tell me, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Possible solutions? Not so much
The only solution I have found for this, besides constantly apologizing, is taking notes. Jotting down dates, names, and events in shorthand. I used to make mental notes of things, like my own personal fil-o-fax, but that doesn’t work anymore. Scraps of paper, post it notes, and dry erase messages can be found all over my house and my van. The only problem with that is that then I can’t seem to remember where I wrote everything down.
So my new plan? One single notebook, with a page for each day. If only I can remember where I left it…
Do you have any great tips to fight brain fog? Help a girl out, drop your comments below with anything that has (or hasn’t) worked for you. I’d love to hear!