I'm Fogged Up
To be honest, it’s taking me a lot longer than it should to write this sentence let alone this article. And not because my hands are flaring up: I have full physical functionality today. It’s because my brain is fogged up.
Memory issues and RA brain fog
I am 23. I want to feel like the rest of my peers: energized, sharp, and motivated. Instead, it feels like a challenge to literally just think. Ask me to remember what I did yesterday and it will take me at least a few minutes to recall. Forget about asking me what I did last week, last month, or last year. Usually, I end up cheating and checking my calendar or photos to jog my memory.
I was frustrated because nothing seemed to help the fog
I spent four years at university and I feel like I can barely remember most of the things I learned. My vocabulary feels like it’s taken a hit, too. In the middle of a conversation, I will stop mid-sentence trying to think of the word that I know I know, I just can’t remember it.
Frustrated is one word I’ll never forget. It is so frustrating that no amount of sleep, coffee, or exercise (things that are supposed to charge you up) does the trick. Some days are better than others and I have not figured out why; but overall, I don’t feel like I am ever at my best, whatever my best is. Maybe this is my best. I need a break, I’ll be back.
Brain fog management with rheumatoid arthritis
Since this brain fog is something I am going to be dealing with for the rest of my life, I figured I better make the most of it. As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The lemons being brain fog and the lemonade being the...uhh...chance to be overly organized?
Combating memory loss with tools
To combat my poor memory I have to religiously write things down, set reminders, and keep an accurate calendar. If I don’t, I will forget the things I need to do or the details of my life. While this is frustrating, I have grown to like it. I think it does make me more organized and, frankly, more detail-oriented.
I have 106 lists on my phone, and yes that number is correct. I have lists ranging from what the latest movies I’ve seen are (super helpful when someone asks me about the latest movie I’ve seen) to when my last injection was (helpful in keeping track of my injections and also knowing how long I have been on this medication). Writing things down really helps and I feel super organized doing it.
Brain fog made me lose confidence in myself
I was nervous to become an advocate for RheumatoidArthritis.net because I feel like some days my brain fog is so intense that I can’t even remember my own arthritis journey. I felt like I wasn't sure if I could give credible advice because I’m not confident about what has or hasn't worked for me.
I realize that I’m probably not the only one that feels this way and the best advice I can give to everyone on this site is an honest account of my experience with RA. And sometimes that means I can't remember a lot of things!
Here’s to hoping that my poor memory doesn’t get worse but then again I probably won’t be able to remember if it was ever better so we’re good either way!
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?