Insecurity Over Brain Fog

Insecurity Over Brain Fog

Not too long ago, I gave a presentation in my psychology class. I was supposed to teach the class about why a sense of humor is a good personality trait, and how I relate it to my own life. While I was excited to share everything I learned, I was nervous. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of brain fog. And whenever I’m in a fog, my public speaking isn’t at it’s best.

When you think of psoriatic arthritis, joint pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But many people find that brain fog, also called cognitive dysfunction, can be just as debilitating. It’s a common and frustrating part of psoriatic arthritis. And unfortunately, it’s yet another invisible symptom.

In my life

There have been periods in my life where brain fog was my most life impacting symptom. During those times, I had high amounts of pain and fatigue. But feeling like I was in a haze sometimes felt harder to deal with. Brain fog can make it hard to live a normal life- work, school, and home life suffer when you become forgetful or confused.

Aside from forgetting things or not being able to comprehend ideas, cognitive dysfunction regularly makes speaking difficult for me. I tend to mix up the order of words, botch pronunciations, and completely forget words. It can be really embarrassing.

Confidence

Brain fog can easily make you feel self-conscious, especially when you have a type A personality like me. There are times where I feel like I am letting people down because I don’t remember to do something or because I relay the wrong information. And it’s frustrating when you can’t communicate your ideas clearly.

Learning to cope

There are so many tricks people use to combat the fog. Phone reminders, checklists, calendars, and keeping a notebook are all great tools for helping to keep yourself accountable. Employees and students find tools such as Grammarly help with writing emails or essays. But I think the most important tip is to remember to give yourself a break.

Everybody makes mistakes, and feeling bad about it won’t make things better. When I feel frustrated because of all my mistakes, I try to take a deep breath and walk away from what I’m doing (if possible). The break may not fix my fog, but it does help me calm down and remind myself to try my best.

And it helps to keep in mind that you are smart. You may deal with cognitive dysfunction, but that doesn’t mean you’re dull by any means. It just means your brain is processing a lot- pain, thoughts, emotions, ideas.

Humor

I won’t be the first or the last to say it, but humor is an excellent way to cope with brain fog. And I thought it was an excellent way to relay humor back to my life. My presentation was a hit! My classmates and professor were very empathetic when I explained how I deal with cognitive dysfunction and loved my point of view. Maybe some mistakes weren’t so funny at the time, but you have to admit- it is a little funny to look back on the time you referred to squares as “triangles” for the entire day.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (4)
  • pbarry23
    2 weeks ago

    Once again, our fellow PsA sufferers have hit on another important topic.
    You guys write about such important aspects of PsA.
    I hate my brain fog!
    Thanks for shining light in the darkest corners of this disease.
    Pattie

  • angelha
    2 weeks ago

    I am currently on a forced 12 week FMLA due to my “brain fog”. Had an extremely stressful last 8 months at the office and the brain fog impacted my performance. I was diagnosed less than 2 years ago so I’m still learning about this disease and my triggers.

  • Rojo
    3 weeks ago

    Elizabeth Medeiros, YES!! Thank you!! Before finding this community I searched far and wide to find out what was going on with my brain. It wasn’t working right at all. I talked with several pharmacists thinking it could be an adverse drug interaction. They all said no. I reluctantly talked to my Primary thinking it was sudden onset dementia. He said no. Ask-a-nurse, a specialty pharmacist, the FDA website, the Mayo Clinic. No, no, no, no. Shortly after joining this community I found different people talking about brain fog. Talk about a weight being lifted off. Your article clearly spoke to my experiences of not being able to speak what was so well organized in my mind; often being lost in a cloud; difficulty organizing my thoughts. These had once been second nature to me. As you said, learning to go slower and breathe into it has definitely helped my anxiety level and peace of mind. While I am not one who’s ever been accused of going too slow, dialing it down a bit is beginning to feel like a very comfortable place.

  • Eileen B moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Living with PsA can be exasperating on so many levels, @Rojo! Saddens me to hear what you went through before finding answers. Cognitive dysfunction is very unsettling, and I imagine not knowing the cause made it doubly so. Many of our advocates write about coping with brain fog. So glad you found our little community! Stop by to chat or vent any time; hope you’re doing better today. -Eileen, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

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