My Kids Cashed In On My Brain Fog But I Turned The Table!
“My mind is full of fluff". - Winnie the Pooh. Pooh’s quote precisely describes what it feels like when brain fog takes over. I forget words, names, how to do things I have done a million times, and even conversations!
Brain fog is terrifying and difficult to deal with, but it can also be a little humorous!
Finding ways to manage brain fog with kids
At some point, my kids began noticing how brain fog affected my memory. Being that they are 12 years apart in age, each came to this revelation independently, and each had their twist on how to use it to their advantage.
I was diagnosed with psoriasis when my eldest was in 5th grade. My psoriatic arthritis diagnosis came two years later after the birth of my youngest. One had to get used to life with a chronically ill mom, and the other has never known a life without a sick mom.
What neither of them expected was for me to figure out ways to know what was actually said!
But you said so!
Although both kids figured out that I would say pretty much anything to end the pain of thinking while flaring, one would make a point to have conversations with me during severe flares. Then after I emerged, they would spring all of these things I supposedly agreed to.
The other didn’t even bother with a conversation. That child would just say, but you said I could, or you would do this or that. When I inquired about when the conversation took place, they just said, while you were in bed.
Both were smart and started with scores that I most likely would have agreed to even if I had not been flaring—things like promising to take them out for ice cream or asking for a few dollars.
Had the number of things they tried to get away with included me, like going to the movie theater together, outnumbered their self-interest requests, it may have taken me longer to catch on. But catch on, I did! Especially when their demands became things I would have never agreed to, like attending an unchaperoned party, spending 4x the amount I usually paid for a pair of shoes, or getting a pet snake.
Turning the tables!
Because brain fog and memory loss are very real when living with autoimmune arthritis, I had to figure out how to make sure I wasn’t promising things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t follow through. This meant adding some brain fog safety measures, which included but was not limited to the following:
- Conversation rules
- Digital family calendar
The first thing that had to be set was the rules of flare conversations. Any questions asked during a flare would be delayed and answered when my brain was less foggy. If something required a prompt reply, they had to ask their father instead.
A few others things helped too...
Demanding that they would have to get anything I agreed to in writing while in a foggy flare made them think twice about what they were asking. Both have terrible penmanship, and neither could ever forge my handwriting. Forcing my mind and hands to work together to write something down helped clear some of the confusion and emphasized unreasonable requests.
Last but not least, a digital family calendar helped by keeping my husband in the loop. He traveled a lot for work and didn't see our day-to-day life. The family calendar gave him an idea of what was normal for us. It also made it easy for him to see if the kids or I scheduled something unusual.
Does brain fog impact your decision making?
My kids were good and have turned out to be a couple of pretty amazing adults. They just found ways to test boundaries that were different from their friends.
Psoriatic disease is my illness, but it has affected everyone in my family in one way or another. And if I have learned anything, brain fog boundaries are just as crucial as setting physical boundaries.
How do you approach decision-making and brain fog?
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?