This is a BLOG written and created by Nikki Albert, who has chronic migraines with aura and fibromyalgia.
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A look at #Brainfog
Brainfog is a symptoms of a great deal of chronic illness and chronic pain. Just seems that when we get ill and our bodies get fatigued or are fighting pain, or both, add in some lack of sleep... you get brain fog.
I listed some of them there but really there can be more. For example transposing numbers is also transposing letters, so we can spell words wrong frequently. As well as of course forgetting words and then using the wrong word. Working memory does not seem to be affected, but short term and long term memory are. And massive concentration issues. I used to be a disorganized person. One might say I am by nature and inclination. However brainfog has made me become, to the best of my ability, an organized one. I have to be because I at times forget things I Know, so I need to have little notes of things I need to access on a daily basis for those blank out times. It is a constant frustration to think through this fuzzy, muddled head. Not to mention the damn typo brain causing tiny errors you have to hunt down.
There are a few tips we can keep in mind that can help out with brainfog during the day:
Exercise: You knew I was going to say that right? It is always on the list. But indeed it helps boost our mental clarity. Even just a 20 min walk. In fact if you are working and you find your concentration is shot try getting up and taking a short walk around, sometimes the act of changing activities to motion and then getting back at it can stimulate the brain.
Eat regularly: Do not skip meals. In fact, have regular snacks between meals. Snacks really help maintain your energy and you will find it helps with mental fatigue.
Change activities or tasks: Sometimes the act of changing what you are doing, shifting the brain from one activity to another can help clear your mind. Then go back to your task and you may find your mind more focused.
Get sleep: This may be difficult if you have insomnia or pain or both, but good quality sleep also helps with combating mental fatigue.
Try boosting your B12. Low B12 can affect your concentration levels.
Reduce stress: Stress also can be a cause of increasing our brain fog so reducing it is beneficial. One way to help reduce it is with such things as deep breathing exercises and meditation. Even if it is just some short deep breathing exercises during the day to calm yourself down.
Routine is our friend: Established routines help reduce our stress by taking away any stress associated with being flustered or in a rush. It helps maintain balance in the body. It is also beneficial to make lists and reminders to help us remember things, as again this takes stress off of us when we might have issues remembering non-routine events and appointments.
Avoid multitasking- It has been established in studies that the brain actually works better when we focus on one thing… I suspect a lot better for those of us with chronic illness and issues with brain fog. So avoid this inclination of multitask.
Remember pacing: take breaks as needed as we can overextend ourselves and small breaks can be greatly beneficial
Do a medication check: There are medications that can cause mental fatigue and if it is an issue that is of concern see if it is a side effect you are dealing with and ask your doctor about it.
There was a site that had this and I had linked to it on Tumblr but it is gone. So I had to hunt down someone who found my post and posted the whole thing in a forum. Anyway it is around but I'm posting it here so I will not have to hunt it down to reference it. Now we all know the major symptoms are the wide-spread pain, but our pain isn't just muscle pain... it can be nerve types of pain as well, and the fatigue and the insomnia. And even among symptoms there are some far more frequent than others, but it should be said we have categories... like the cognitive dysfunction, which is a broad one that has more than one symptom and we often just say fibrofog. The insomnia... more than one sleeping disorder. So the list is interesting.
__ Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
__ Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
__ Recurrent flu-like illness
__ Sore throat
__ Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especiall…
When people ask me how I am feeling 99% of the time I am lying. I often say 'not bad', because I feel it is slightly more honest than 'good' or 'fine'. Got sick of fine. Anyway, I lie for many reasons.
I'm having a good pain day: They happen and I'll say that I'm good, fine, not bad. I even feel like I can accomplish great things... in moderation. In which case, relatively speaking, for Me I am not actually lying. This is a Good pain day, it is Not Bad for me and I am Fine with it. I just don't want to explain: I just don't want to explain how crappy I feel and in which way I mean. Because I am tired of it. I just want to deal with it, without having to discuss it, mention it or have any sympathy expressed about it. Because it can be complicated. It may be a migraine with specific symptoms. Maybe it is a FM flare though. Or both. And then I have to explain what it is because most people think my migraines are the main issue but I could be FM…