I am constantly frustrated by my foggy brain; the inability to string a sentence together, when I forget the word I need to say when I get confused and forgetful. It’s hard sometimes to accept how I have gone from an organised and effective person all of the time to an often confused and forgetful mumbling mess. It really has knocked my confidence.
Once upon a time, I could remember when someone’s birthday was, I could multitask at work and at home, I was organised, methodical and totally in control. Now I struggle to remember most things; what day my daughter has PE, where I put my keys, friends and family’s birthdays. I even forgot parents evening once!
At least 50% of people with Fibromyalgia suffer from mental confusion and a decline in their memory and mental faculties; known as fibro fog it manifests in numerous ways:
- Forgetfulness and memory problems
- Concentration difficulties and attention problems
- Poorer verbal fluency and verbal knowledge
- Difficulty in focusing
- Impaired judgement
- Impaired ability to perform simple cognitive tasks
- Slowed or altered speech and other speech problems
[Source: News Medical]
I try to keep on top of the fog as best I can. Here’s what I do:
As a family, we use Google Calendar and ToDoist to manage tasks and upcoming events. I try to plan at least 3 months in advance so that I have a clear plan of what is happening and don’t get any surprises. We have reminders that come to my laptop and mobile phone so that I am prompted when something needs to be done. I also check the calendar for the coming week so that I can prepare for what’s ahead [daughters activities, work-related functions, when people are visiting, appointments or social events]. With all this technology, though, some days I do feel overwhelmed by it all. On those days I find a pen and paper more effective and so I write down a list for that day. Keeping on top of what is happening and when gives me a fighting chance of being where I need to be or getting things done and since we came together as a family to make use of the same tools, life has become much easier to manage.
Having a Routine
Establishing routines for simple tasks is key to me dealing with my fibro fog. They are not always easy to maintain, though, but I do try to stick to them. Giving things a ‘home’ is especially important so that I don’t lose them. Just this morning I couldn’t find my handbag because I hadn’t put it away in the correct place. I ended up leaving the house in a rush, with no handbag. Having a timetable to my day is also really helpful. What time I start work, what time I take a break, what time I take lunch, what time I walk the dog, what time I pick my daughter up, what time we eat tea. It might seem like overkill, but I need to feel in control of my life and my responsibilities, and this helps.
Organising my Space
This is a really tricky one at the moment as we have just moved house, but it’s certainly improving. We just bought a load of Ikea storage solutions and have been getting my office area, our bedroom and the kitchen organised. We have removed a load of clutter and unwanted things from the house [although there is a lot more to get rid of in the garage]. Getting rid of unwanted things, giving things their proper place and generally removing the clutter around me is really helping to control the fog. A cluttered home is most definitely a cluttered mind.
Is fibro fog frustrating you? How do you deal with it and manage to keep on top of things?