selfie of a woman in the hospital

How My #ChronicallyStrong Selfies Help Me Through Tough Mental Health Days

Sometimes it’s easier to put a filter on the smile, add a relevant quote and a few hashtags for attention than to really tell them how you feel. Filters allow me to have color in my face, pink on my lips and even a crown of flowers on my head, but it still doesn’t get rid of the exhausted person behind that smile. That person just picked lying on the couch over getting up and cooking something to eat, she chose to let people see the her who is smiling, the her who really wants to believe what she writes… the girl who believes one day she will be #beautiful.

Having spouts of depression this year has made me rely on these selfies of #strength, #chdwarrior, #bekind, #chronicallystrong… the physical, the tangible part of my struggles. What if I started posting #depressionhurts, #anxietysucks, #dontwanttomove, #nocontrol, #nolove…? Those hashtags scare people. Those are the hashtags that make that “friend” you haven’t talked to in two years text you “are you OK?” Those hashtags make people afraid to hurt you, like you’re made of glass.

The truth is I don’t want others to be affected. I’d rather deal with it myself and figure it out on my own. In one of my favorite books, “The Fault in Our Stars,” Hazel tries to explain why she can’t let someone love her, be her friend or even care for her: “’I’m a grenade and at some point, I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” and that’s what it feels like. Having a chronic disease makes you realize people will come and go – even before my depression and anxiety I felt like this. I’ve never been fully invested in a relationship because I don’t want that person to have to “deal” with me.

This is me. The scars, the pain, the pale skin, being afraid of pain – yet embracing it at the same time. The selfies I share make others think I’m OK, they won’t worry about me and I don’t have to keep track of who I’ve told what to. Selfies are never taken at 2 a.m. when you lie awake or 4 a.m. after you wake up from having a panic attack in your sleep. Who wants to see those? Who wants to imagine that you’re not the #chdwarrior #chronicallystrong person you have deceived everyone with?

It’s not a facade, it’s how I choose to show myself. I do believe I am #chronicallystrong, a #chdwarrior and I have #strength; those are the days I need to post those selfies. Those are the pictures I look at when I’m having a bad day, they remind me I am stronger than the thoughts that live in my head, the depression that leaves me in bed and the anxiety that cancels all my plans.

Through the past year I have learned new ways to love myself on days I want to scream, to let it out on days I want to keep it in and to remember that I’ve survived 100 percent of my worst days. Learning to love my #selfie one day at a time.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


jessica stipe arguing with a doctor

This Viral Video Shows What Doctors Need to Understand About Long Wait Times

Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Paige Wyant, The Mighty’s associate chronic illness editor, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway.

A woman from Florida named Jessica Stipe posted a video on Monday of the treatment she received from a doctor after calmly expressing her frustration at having to wait over an hour while sick and throwing up in pain. Though she made the appointment for 6:30, by 7:45 all the staff had done was take a urine sample. The video has been viewed more than 400,000 times.

I'm severely sick and came to Gainesville after hours with a 6:30 appointment . By 7:45 was not seen still in severe pain and throwing up in the trash can . All they had me do was pee in a cup to see if I'm pregnant …. ummm I know I'm not … I asked for my co pay back so I could leave and go back home to bed and try to be seen elsewhere tomorrow because I'm just that miserable that all I want is my bed . The Dr was mad I wanted my co pay back and was unhappy with having to wait so long and proceeded to cuss me out . My daughter recorded it because they were so rude . When he saw it was being recorded he snatched my baby's phone and shoved her when she tried to get it back . Gpd is here now but says we can't press assault charges even though it's all on tape because she has no injury .. wtf .. he took her phone and shoved her she is a minor …. never go there for medical care .* for licensing and usage please contact:

تم نشره بواسطة ‏‎Jessica Stipe‎‏ في 9 أكتوبر، 2017


Stipe’s Facebook post read:

“I’m severely sick and came to Gainesville after hours with a 6:30 appointment . By 7:45 was not seen still in severe pain and throwing up in the trash can . All they had me do was pee in a cup to see if I’m pregnant …. ummm I know I’m not … I asked for my co pay back so I could leave and go back home to bed and try to be seen elsewhere tomorrow because I’m just that miserable that all I want is my bed . The Dr was mad I wanted my co pay back and was unhappy with having to wait so long and proceeded to cuss me out . My daughter recorded it because they were so rude . When he saw it was being recorded he snatched my baby’s phone and shoved her when she tried to get it back . Gpd is here now but says we can’t press assault charges even though it’s all on tape because she has no injury .. wtf .. he took her phone and shoved her she is a minor …. never go there for medical care.”

The doctor, Peter Gallogly, has since written a statement defending himself, claiming he makes no excuses for his behavior, but that Stipes had been “increasingly belligerent and abusive” towards his staff.

We can’t see what happened before the camera started rolling, but regardless, I was shocked and saddened by Gallogly’s behavior in the video. Stipe’s frustration with the wait time is a feeling I – and I’m sure many others with chronic illness – can relate to all too well. And it’s something I wish more doctors understood.

When I make an appointment at an after-hours clinic (like Stipe did) or go to a 24-hour emergency room as a chronic illness patient, it’s because I feel like absolute hell and cannot bear another second of whatever agony my body has decided to gift me with at that moment. I feel pretty awful most days in general, so my friends and family know that when I say I need to get to Urgent Care stat, something must be seriously wrong.

Sitting in an uncomfortable chair under the harsh lights of a bland waiting room is not fun for anyone – but when all hell seems to have broken loose in your body, every ounce of that discomfort is amplified and a single second can feel like an eternity. If I am willing to leave the dark, cool comfort of my bed where I have all my supplies at hand and endure the process of getting dressed, driving to the doctor’s office, sitting in the waiting room, speaking with people, etc., I must really be in a bad place.

So I can empathize with how miserable Stipe must have felt after sitting around for over an hour. I totally understand the feeling of just wanting to go home, even if you’re not leaving with any answers, just so you don’t have to sit around in an uncomfortable environment a minute longer. I get it. But clearly this doctor did not.

Doctors (and other medical professionals) are supposed to help their patients. In an ideal world, they would all be compassionate, listen to us, believe us, do whatever it takes to help us feel even marginally better.

That’s not what this doctor did.

In the video, Stipe tries to calmly and politely explain her situation – only to be met with rage from the doctor as he yells at her to “get the f*** out of my office.” Then, when he sees that Stipe’s daughter is recording, he lunges at her, grabs her phone out of her hands, and walks away with it.

I understand if there are long wait times at an office – especially if it’s a clinic that accepts walk-ins and emergencies. I understand if the staff is spread thin and managing more patients than they should. I’m certainly not happy about it (you better believe I was fuming after waiting nearly three hours to simply get my blood drawn yesterday), but I understand. It’s indicative of the larger, complex issues with our overburdened healthcare system that probably won’t be solved anytime soon.

In the meantime, what both patients and medical professionals can do is simply be respectful and do our best understand the other’s situation.

For us patients, I don’t want to suggest that we should be accepting of ridiculous wait times while we sit around in agony. We just need to channel our frustration into something constructive that will result in positive change.

On the flip side, doctors need to realize that the people sitting in waiting rooms aren’t just names on a list for them to check off. They are real people, and they wouldn’t have come to the doctor if they weren’t struggling with a serious issue. When they express frustration with the wait time, like Stipe did, it doesn’t mean they’re “impatient” – it just means they’re tired, sick, and want relief, even if that means going home.

The doctor in the video may be stressed and overwhelmed with the number of patients he is trying to serve, but that doesn’t make it OK for him to react the way he did. He doesn’t attempt to sympathize or try to understand where this woman is coming from. He is angry and defensive – everything a doctor shouldn’t be.

Although I am outraged by this doctor’s actions, as I’m sure others are as well, I hope this video can ultimately serve as a reminder of how important it for medical professionals and patients to treat each other with kindness and respect. Everyone deserves that. As those of us with chronic illness know, a little understanding and empathy can go a long way.

woman sitting on the toilet feeling sick

The Truth About Sick

Unfiltered, 7:00-ish a.m.

This is the part of being sick nobody sees. It’s also the part of me I never show.

While sitting on my toilet, covered by a blanket with the heater on me in the middle of a Florida summer throwing up into a trash can, expelling undigested food from yesterday through cold sweats and fierce pain, I hear the voice of my cousin David telling me recently the bravest thing I could do is show what being sick is really like, because maybe then other people who are sick wouldn’t feel alone. Maybe people who have never experienced “sick” could understand it, and maybe then we could work towards a better future.

So here it is. This is the me behind “I’m fine.” This is what living with a disease (or multiple diseases in my case) that are trying to kill you is really like. This is why I try to never make plans before 2:00 p.m. This is why I missed all the LBL breakfast meetings this year. This is why I missed your show, or rescheduled, or cancelled at the last minute. This is my reality. This is what happens behind closed doors. This is what it’s like to be sick.

A side note – “I’m fine” doesn’t mean I (or any chronically ill person) is suddenly not sick. If we say I’m fine it means “I am fine enough to be where I am doing what I am and I don’t want to talk about my sick parts. It’s an invitation to be present in the now and not dwell in the before.

Today, at least right now, I’m not fine.

The funny thing about chronic illness is that while we are always sick, what we consider the sick part can happen suddenly. It can end suddenly too, or it can linger for weeks on ends. My baseline is the flu of a well person, my sick is their Ebola. Most of us chronically ill folk get warning signs when we are about to get sick. Warnings which range from extreme hunger and pizza cravings to smelling gas. Sometimes though, like an unexpected guest, Sick just shows up with no warning at all.

Today I woke up with intense pain in my left leg, hip and foot. When I say intense pain, I mean the kind of pain that feels like the insides of your bones are being chewed on by little monsters with sharp teeth. Having pain is not really in itself something I consider as a sick thing anymore. I’ve been friends with pain so long that for me, it’s just a side effect of living. I wake up with pain of some degree every day. Today the pain actually woke me up. That also isn’t that unusual. In fact, this kind of pain is so usual that despite it, I woke up feeling OK. I hugged my dogs and human. My lovely fiancé made me coffee as he does every morning. I skimmed through Patreon and read Amanda Palmer’s latest blog. I thought about my day ahead and at that moment felt like I would be able to get through most of my original plans.

And then, Sick came calling.

Out of nowhere and yet back from somewhere because she is always lingering, Sick arrived. Because I am used to Sick showing up without an invite, I am always prepared for her visit. I sleep with a bag of medicine to offer Sick like a refreshment when she shows up. She is always hungry. I feed her pain pills, steroids, zofran, seizure meds, ice chips and all sorts of other goodies like a create your own tapas tray customized to whatever her delight is today. I try to bargain with her. I offer Sprite and soft pillows. Sick is often cold, so I keep a sweater with me at all times and dress in layers. I keep a heater and blanket in my bathroom to keep her warm. I bargain again, “You’re warm now Sick, and you’ve been fed all my best pills. I’ve given you my best pillows and cancelled my morning. I know you are tired, so can we call truce if I let you sleep?” Sick will never respond right away.

When Sick is present, my entire existence becomes about the comfort of Sick. I stand a passenger in myself, hoping she doesn’t destroy too much and watching helplessly while she invades my home, my body, my life. Everything I do is a bribe to encourage her to go away. Sometimes Sick stays for days. Sometimes for weeks, and sometimes months or years. Often Sick stops by for a few hours to feast on organs and steal some strength, leaving just as suddenly as she came. I know she is never far away though.

One of the hardest things about being chronically ill is introducing Sick to people around you without pushing them away. Sick is very private and possessive, and honestly, I don’t really want to tell you about how I sat on my toilet covered in a blanket vomiting and expelling food after waking up with crushing pain, but I don’t want you to be mad at me for cancelling plans again either. I don’t ever want to sleep for 16 hours in a row and miss your baby shower or birthday party, but it isn’t something I get to decide; and so, I would like for you to understand.

Being chronically ill and living with incurable disease strips you bare. I am so much more than my illness, but living through today takes priority over everything and sometimes just today takes all the energy I have and then some I borrow from tomorrow. Sometimes it takes that much to live through this hour.

When I see people out, I often hear some version of “Well, you look good.” Yeah, well, you didn’t see me throw up on my shirt and change my clothes twice because I had expelled my body onto myself uncontrollably from both sides earlier. You didn’t see me shivering in a hot shower with purple toes and fingers trying to get the blood to flow to my appendages. You didn’t see me wake up disoriented in a cold sweat when my sugar and blood pressure dropped at the same time. You didn’t see me last night when in the middle of walking my legs stopped receiving messages from my brain and I stood in one place willing myself to move. You didn’t see me when my lungs filled with fluid and I sat down where I was and my fiancé came running with the medicine. You didn’t see him carry me to the couch and work me through an Addison’s episode waiting patiently for me to come around again. You don’t know that I woke up four hours early to put preparation H on my swollen eyelids, clear my stomach of vomit, take extra lasix to pee out the fluid trapped in my swollen feet, peroxide brush the thrush from my mouth, oil my dislocated joints with medicine and heat, take a basket full of pills to make my body work enough to get by and cover all that up with carefully layered makeup and specific layered clothing that seems eclectic and fun to you, but really is just a colorful way to keep myself warm just to make it here to spend this hour with you. And how could you know? I’ve never told you. I’ve only said I’m fine or not said anything. The silence is deafening to me.

I don’t want you to see any of that, so I accept your compliment as a compliment and disregard the question mark. I talk animatedly about things and listen with true interest. When we part and I awkwardly fumble over saying goodbye, I try not to listen to Sick telling me not to love you too much because I belong to her. Loving people when Sick is around can crush you both.

What you also don’t see is how after that hour or two with you when I looked well, I am completely drained. I go home with the kind of fatigue that only someone with chronic illness could understand. I don’t just need sleep or a better diet. I need a new body because mine is giving out. Over time I have traded broken parts for new ones and gotten adjustments to this or that. I’m a like an antique car that is really beautiful when it’s working and really expensive and irritating when it’s not. And like that car, I am always needing or about to need a repair that isn’t in the budget.

Today, well, right now really, because I’m still hoping to get an afternoon out of today, I am not fine. Today I woke up in bone crushing pain and ran to the bathroom suddenly to vomit in a trash can while expelling yesterday’s undigested food from my other end and shivering under a blanket in a cold sweat in front of a heater in the middle of July in Florida.

Today I am unfiltered. This is my life. I’m not even going to edit this post and try to make it wittier or look for grammatical errors because I’m too fucking tired and this is my reality. I’m not going to try to take a more pleasant picture of me sick either, because Sick isn’t pleasant.

woman sitting on the toilet feeling sick

My love just pulled in with my new heating pad, my birthday present of choice, and I’m going to try to bribe Sick to hit the road. Sick was kind enough to leave my hands unfurled today so that through my stomach pain while lying under blankets on the couch I could write my truth. So that maybe my silence wouldn’t keep feeding Sick.

I hope you hear me.

Sick keeps me in fear of talking about her. I am afraid that by sharing my truth about my relationship with Sick, you will love me less because fear of losing me will encourage that. I am afraid by sharing my truth you’ll be disgusted that I keep a blanket in the bathroom. I am afraid by sharing my truth you will stop inviting me out because now you know that underneath Fine I am not fine, and Sick is always going to trump your invite if she so desires. I am afraid that if I keep sharing my truth I will disappear and all you will see is Sick in my place. I am afraid if I share my truth, you will also see that Sick is friends with Dying and both of them are in my life whispering to me taking my attention and time from you. I am afraid if I share my truth you will see that I feed Sick because when she leaves for good it’s because her friend Dying took over and their friend Death will be near. I am afraid sharing my truth will be too much and you will go silent because Hallmark didn’t make a greeting card for this.

I am afraid if I don’t share my truth though, “I’m fine” will be swallowed by Sick far sooner. Mostly, I am afraid if I don’t introduce you to Sick that time will run out, and space between us will grow until Dying takes over and Death is down the road.

So here is my truth, gross and bare. My truth is my weapon against Sick. The more I speak my truth, the more space opens for Love and the less room Sick has to inhabit. Love is the fuel my body depends on to fight her. Love has pieced me back together more than once. Love is friends with Hope, and Hope reminds me of his friend Miracle who has come around before and maybe will again. Love and Hope are also friends with Joy and when Hope and Joy accompany Love, Sick takes smaller bites and I feel less Pain and Fear. Love is warmer than Sick, Hope is bigger than Fear, and Joy is stronger than Pain.

This is my truth about Sick, but I want the rest of my story to be about Love, and Hope, and Joy, and you and me and us. And maybe with that kind of story, Miracle might just stop by.

This post originally appeared on Upcycled Jane.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

trump signing aca executive order

President Trump Signs Executive Order Weakening the Affordable Care Act

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday morning that seeks to weaken aspects of the Affordable Care Act, a move critics say could drive up costs for people with serious health needs.

The executive order asks for federal agencies to expand small businesses’ ability to band together and form associations to negotiate and buy cheaper, less-regulated health insurance. These associations and healthcare options would be expanded across state lines and wouldn’t be subjected to many ACA rules, including requirements for mental health coverage, maternity care, and regulations against charging more or denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

It also seeks to expand short-term limited duration insurance, which provide a limited amount of benefits and aren’t subject to ACA mandates and rules for those with pre-existing conditions. Under the ACA, these plans are limited to three months, intended for people between jobs or moving off their parents’ health plans. The executive order seeks to extend these plans to a year.

The order also seeks to expand businesses’ ability to use health reimbursement arrangements, which allow employers to pay for employees’ medical expenses, outside the regulations of the ACA.

Proponents of the order claim the changes will create more competition among insurance companies and create more insurance options at lower prices. Critics say Trump’s changes will allow healthy individuals to leave the ACA marketplace to buy cheaper insurance elsewhere, leading to increased healthcare costs for those with serious health needs who are on ACA-regulated plans.

“It would essentially create a parallel regulatory structure within the individual and small group markets that is freed from the various consumer protections established,” Spencer Perlman, a policy analyst with Veda Partners, told Bloomberg. “The end result could be a death spiral for ACA-compliant plans.”

Trump said the order was just “the beginning” of his ACA changes and that he will still pressure Congress to repeal and replace the ACA.

“I’ve been hearing about the disaster of Obamacare for so long, in my case many years. Most of it outside in civilian life, and for a long period of time since I started running and since I became president of the United States I just keep hearing repeal replace, repeal replace,” the president said at the executive order signing at the White House. “Well, we’re starting that process and we’re starting it in a very positive manner.”

The executive order will not go into effect immediately. Federal agencies will need to allow public comment before rewriting regulations, which could take months and won’t happen in time for the ACA’s next open enrollment period between November 1 and December 15.

Update Oct 13 2:00 a.m. PST: Late Thursday night, the Trump administration announced it would stop supporting cost-sharing subsidies that reimburse insurers for reducing the deductibles and co-pays of lower-income Obamacare enrollees — despite the fact that insurers must continue providing these cost-sharing discounts. The American Psychological Association said in a statement, “This decision will be particularly harmful to working families and individuals who will no longer be able to afford their premiums.” For more information, click here.

illustration of a woman's face by the author

When People Say Your Health Trials Will Be Valuable 'Someday'

As people with chronic illness, we are so often reminded of something that I believe is of great detriment to our well-being: when well people tell us our health struggles, our personal challenges, the great storms of our lives “will someday be useful.”

I’ve grown to loathe this idea. I realize it is meant to be an encouragement; however, it causes myself and my brothers and sisters in pain deeper despair.

“Someday?” It’s as though they are reminding us that we don’t have as much to give until we are restored to health like them. I completely reject anything of the sort! It’s not only ableism, it’s spiritual degradation.

I believe you and I are worthy and valuable just as we are. Yes, right now. You were no more “special” when your nervous system was functioning properly, but I can attest that the memory of wellness certainly has a shining halo around it.

We feel so small and insignificant after illness devours our lives, and those we love in its wake. There is no “after the tsunami lifts” with chronic illness, as we are always seeking out cover, our safe places are constantly being destroyed, and the physical and emotional turmoil can feel endless. My personal peace rests in my faith, a relationship which has grown inside of my own tsunami.

This message of purpose is one I write on frequently, because I struggle so deeply with the whispers that my life isn’t enough, I should be doing more, and I wonder if I would be more valuable as a person if only my body worked again.

I realize this is my pride speaking, however.

In those moments when the whispers win, I have forgotten how many opportunities I’m supplied with to have an impact, even in the very midst of my personal and physical battles. Maybe, and probably because of my struggles, I’ve been allowed these chances.

What seemingly small opportunities and connections might you be taking for granted in your own life?

The next time someone reminds you that all the pain and difficulty you’re battling will be worth “something” someday, please remind them that pain doesn’t have to stay hidden, and that your time traveling the path of illness is not a waste.

I don’t believe we have to wait until we’re perfect for our lives to have value. If that’s true, then I guess we will all be waiting forever!

Are we supposed to see the silver lining in every storm before we can learn from it? Even in the very middle of the battle, your experiences and your willingness to relate to and comfort others is so rare and valuable that it stands out among the noise and busy crowded world we live in.
It’s so easy to withdraw when the going gets tough. In time, however, we feel so marginalized and isolated. You do have a voice. Your story, your purpose, your personal gifts matter – and you are needed in this world. We greatly undervalue the quiet connections, asking others how they are and actually listening in return, sending a note by mail to a struggling friend or letting someone know they’ve been in your prayers.

Society does not measure these acts as successes, but what if you redefine what success means in your life? You may have very little energy to spare, but what you have to share is precious!

We become so focused on perfection, staying hidden until the right moment to present ourselves shiny and clean, having overcome our difficult and uncomfortable circumstances. This is what society applauds. But don’t we each have unique and valuable wisdom to share that comes with the daily perseverance of ongoing trials?

It’s one thing to be debilitated by a body that relentlessly fights against you, but please don’t believe the lie that you are less-than or it will hurt your spirit.

This post originally appeared on A Body of Hope.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

click n dig, peppermint oil and post it holder

14 Products People With Brain Fog Swear By

Brain fog tags along with so many health conditions our chronic illness community deals with every day. Anyone who’s experienced it can relate to that overall feeling of extreme tiredness and haziness in your head, combined with memory issues that can make it hard to remember what you need to do today and concentrate on the task at hand.

When brain fog is making everyday life tough to manage, you might find that putting certain strategies in place helps offset its effects. And there are many products out there designed to keep you organized, remember where you need to be, and help you stay alert. We asked our Mighty community what products they swear by that help them deal with their brain fog. Check out their recommendations below.

Just so you know, we’ve selected these links to make shopping easier for you. We do not receive any funds from purchases or downloads you make.

1. Dry Erase Board

dry erase calendar board

Besides just being fun to write on, dry erase boards can be an easy, highly visible place to write down appointments and notes for the whole family. A board with a built-in calendar like the one above adds an additional layer of organization.

“[I use] a dry erase board in my house that I continually update with new things to do and erase them as they are complete,” Mahala Howard said. “I also put everything in my phone at the exact moment I make appointments which helps a lot.”

Buy the dry erase calendar decal featured above for $24 from PB Teen. 

2. Tile App

tile on key ring

If you’re constantly losing things, check out Tile. You can hang the small, square “tile” from your keys, backpack, or anything else you tend to lose. Then, you can open the Tile app on your phone to see its location on a map and set off an alarm that emits from the Tile itself. You can also press the Tile to make your phone ring, if you can’t find your phone.

“I love the Tile for my keys, which I always lose track of. I can ding my keys from my phone. Technology is helping me a ton right now,” said Mary Oster Boumeester.

Buy the Tile featured above for $25 from The Tile App.

3. Post-its

post-it dispenser shaped like cat

Post-its aren’t the most glamorous or high-tech solution, but there’s a reason they’ve been around so long — they work. Buy a cute dispenser to help make it more fun.

I keep yellow Post-it notes in my bathroom, in a box, with a green flair pen. I post notes on the mirror, so that I’ll see them in the morning. Then, I either complete the task, or I transfer it to my phone calendar and my Outlook calendar,” Peppy Mozzani explained. “Finally, I write a note on another Post-it and stick it to the back of my apartment door. Whatever works.”

Buy the Post-it Cat Figure Pop-Up Note Dispenser featured above for $9.58 from Amazon.

4. Notebook

notebook that says good vibes only

Yes, it’s a little old-school. But notebooks are often the easiest, fastest way to jot down reminders and look back at notes from previous weeks. Find a beautiful design you’re excited to carry around with you.

“Writing everything down. So basically paper and a pen or a notebook and a pen,” Cassidy Schod recommended. “Helpful for appointments so I can write down what I want to remember to talk about and also write down things my doctors have said so I can follow through and research more about it.”

Buy the journal featured above for $16 from Minted.

5. Reusable Water Bottle

s'well water bottle in blue with snowflakes

Many in the community told us keeping a beverage beside them to sip periodically can help give them a jolt when they feel their alertness sliding. An insulated reusable bottle keeps warm drinks warm and cold drinks cold, depending on which you prefer.

“Sometimes a warm drink sitting at a desk helps me feel productive (does not have to be caffeinated, that might kick anxiety up, so mellow tea or warm milk or warm cider could do the trick),” said Daria Wozmak.

Buy the water bottle featured above for $24.99 from Target.

6. Click ‘N Dig Item Finder

click n dig receivers and fob tracker

An alternative to the Tile system, Click ‘N Dig utilizes small receivers that can be attached to your frequently-lost items. Then, press the color-coded buttons on a tracker similar to a key fob to make the receiver beep and flash.

“This has provided me great relief and avoid tears. (The ‘Tile’ product wasn’t user friendly for me. Too complicated.) When I lose things it is highly traumatic. There is the shame, frustration, and above all the unrelentless obsession to never rest until I find the important item,” Laura Norcutt-Watkins said. “The trackers also can be stuck on flat objects. I have them on my keys, work badge, iPad, cell phone, purse.”

Buy the Click ‘N Dig Model D2 Key Finder for $18.99 from Amazon.

7. GPS and Car Phone Holder

car phone holder

If your brain fog causes you to forget how to get from one place to another, the GPS tool on your phone is invaluable. A phone holder that connects to your dashboard makes it easier (and safer) to use your GPS while you’re driving.

“One thing… I use constantly is GPS. If I’m going anywhere alone, there is a chance I will forget where I’m going or how to get there even if I go there almost every day,” Jocelyn Cook said.

Buy the Mpow Car Phone Holder featured above for $8.99 on Amazon.

8. Weekly Pill Organizer

anabox weekly pill organizer

The last thing you want to do is forget to take your medication or take it multiple times, forgetting you already took it. A pill container that divides your pills into daily slots can help you stay organized.

“[I use] a weekly meds container so I know what I have and have not taken,” Mikayla Hollis said. “Sometimes I forget to take certain meds or I might accidentally take double thinking I forgot and that really messes with me!”

Buy the Anabox 7 Day Pill Box featured above for $26.12 from Amazon.

9. Origins Peace of Mind

origins peace of mind

A few dabs of this peppermint-infused formula gives off a tingling sensation meant to lessen tension and pressure and increase alertness.

“Not only does the minty smell help my alertness but you can also rub it on painful places and it helps!” recommended Tory Rossow.

Buy Origins Peace of Mind for $14 from Origins.

10. Echo Dot

amazon echo dot

Amazon’s Echo Dot is entirely voice-activated, so if you don’t like writing notes or typing reminders on your phone, you might enjoy asking “Alexa” to help you.

“Between different alarm sounds, to-do lists, timers and grocery lists, Alexa keeps me on track,” said Amanda L. Vandervort.

Buy the Echo Dot for $49.99 from Amazon (you do not need a Prime membership to use most features).

11. Yearly Planner


Planners offer an extra layer of organization than a regular notebook, making it a good option for those who want the calendar functions of an app, but written out. The Ink + Volt planner above includes space for weekly goals, reflection, celebrating accomplishments you’ve made and journaling prompts for more self-reflection.

“I write things like the weather, what I wore, how I felt and appointments in my planner,” said Brandi Vandygriff.

Buy the planner featured above for $29.50 from Ink + Volt.

12. Audiobooks

iphone with audiobook on the screen

When brain fog makes it hard to concentrate, audiobooks can be a huge help. You can find anything from bestsellers to indie picks or even textbooks, and you don’t need an e-reader if you’re able to download them to your phone or laptop.

“[I get] textbooks in audiobook form instead of regular book form because hearing it while experiencing severe brain fog helps me get through college while suffering with very severe postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome,” said Dina Hollar.

Download audiobooks from Audiobooks.

13. Evernote

evernote app

Evernote is a note-taking app that helps you stay organized in your personal and/or professional life. You can add notes in a variety of forms, including text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDF and web clippings, and have everything saved in one place. For more phone apps that can help you stay organized with brain fog, check out our community’s recommendations.

Evernote — I write notes for every doctor’s appointment. I can access it on my phone or computer. The rest of the time I use calendar alerts and reminders,” said Melissa Mullis Shriner.

Download Evernote Basic for free from Apple or Google Play.

14. DoTERRA Essential Oils

doterra peppermint oil

Dabbing a few drops of peppermint oil on your skin or using it in a diffuser is recommended as a pick-me-up during foggy moments.

“I used DoTERRA peppermint oil for my migraine today. First time doing it. And it actually helped a lot. I got the migraine aura and the brain fog was real,” said Brittany Blackwood. “I put the oil behind my ears and on the back of my neck and it helped tremendously! Would highly recommend.”

“I have fibromyalgia so peppermint mixed with coconut oil (to dilute) is good for the fog, just put in your hands, cup your hands, close my eyes, and inhale,” Sarah Robertson recommended.

Buy the peppermint oil featured above for $27.33 from DoTERRA.

Real People. Real Stories.

150 Million

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.