I find one of the most frustrating symptoms of fibromyalgia to be cognitive dysfunction. It is utterly frustrating to be in the middle of a conversation and not only forget what you were going to say, but also forgetting what the conversation was even about. I’m guessing it’s as frustrating for you as it is for me.
Mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss are all part of the package. This is commonly known as fibro fog. According to Dr. Ananya Mendal, MD, some of the common manifestations of fibro fog include:
• poorer recall, forgetfulness, and impaired memory.
• difficulty with concentration and the ability to stay attentive.
• focusing difficulties along with impaired judgment.
• speech problems and the inability to perform simple cognitive tasks.
Some people find it much more difficult to stay focused when trying to multitask. That never used to be an issue for me, but I find I can concentrate better and feel less overwhelmed if I stick to one task at a time.
I do daily crossword and word search puzzles to keep my brain a bit sharper. Concentration type games could also prove helpful, as they force your brain to recall where you saw the matching pieces.
Jennifer Glass, PhD, makes the point that the brain systems involved in causing us to experience FM pain are also involved in regulating attention. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate that.
It’s very frustrating not to remember people’s names, what you had for lunch, whether or not you took your medications, an appointment (which you missed because you forgot to add it to the calendar), what you went in a room for, forgetting what you just said, and so on.
What can we do to help alleviate some of these debilitating symptoms?
Here are some suggestions made by Everyday Health to help you combat fibro fog:
• Avoid caffeine. Contrary to popular belief caffeine can actually be detrimental, actually making things worse.
• Use a planner, calendar, timers, or Post-it notes to help remember important life events.
• Keep a routine. I find that if I don’t do certain things at the same time each day, they will most likely be forgotten and not done. This is especially true for when I take my medications and supplements.
• Eat healthily. Good nutrition plays a crucial role in our cognitive function as well.
What are some things that frustrate you, and what are some ways you have found to deal with them? I know fibro fog can be scary and utterly frustrating, but do some research and have conversations with your medical providers for ways that you can improve your cognitive function.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.