19 Unexpected Side Effects of Fibro Fog


As those living with fibromyalgia know, one of the most common – and frustrating – symptoms of the condition to deal with is brain fog. This “fibro fog” can cause memory problems, difficulty with concentration and focus, and a lack of mental clarity, and can therefore have a significant impact on your day-to-day life and ability to function.

But the effects of fibro fog are far-reaching – and many of those who struggle with it may have been surprised by some of the ways it’s affected their life. To raise awareness and help others with fibromyalgia feel more prepared to cope with it, we asked our Mighty community to share an unexpected side effect of fibro fog they’ve experienced. If you can relate to any of the following, know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. I forget what I’m saying mid-sentence. Or if someone interrupts me I totally lose my train of thought and they will say, ‘oh sorry, continue…’ Then I say I can’t remember what I was talking about and they think I’m angry and spiteful for interrupting me but I honestly can’t remember what I was saying.” – Allison M.
  2. I forget how I was feeling. Was I sad? Was I crying? Am I happy now? It’s really weird.” – Guðbjörg G.
  3. I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ll be having a conversation and say a word but think I said another. Like if I’m talking about a memory or a person, I’ll think I’ve said the right name/word, but I haven’t, and the person I’m talking to gets confused. And I get confused about why they are confused, because I think I’ve said the right thing.” – Amanda G.
  4. I forget my kids’ birthdays or jumble them up. My kids just look at me with *that* look.” – Shayla F.W.
  5. I think the fact that it’s not always about forgetting things, sometimes it’s just feeling like I’m standing in a literal fog and everything around me is just blurry and in slow motion. But I definitely have moments of just forgetting where I am or what I’m doing/saying. It can be short-term memory issues or long-term depending on the day. It’s such a mess.” – Katelyn I.
  6. I got a new position but didn’t trust myself working in the pharmacy where no mistakes can be made, as I sometimes feel the cognitive effects. I needed a position that was less stressful.” – Lea J.
  7. Watching a movie then being able to watch it again because I can’t remember what it was about the first time.” – Dee F.
  8. I can’t make decisions. Take this morning, for example. I woke up one and a half hours ago and I think I was hungry or thirsty but my mind was too foggy to decipher which one. So I thought I’ll either get a drink or grab a piece of food. But the fog made it so hard to be able to break down the decision that I’m still sitting here having not had food or drink. The worst part is that I know it’s so simple, but the fibro fog literally blocks the part of my brain that knows how to problem solve.” – Alexandria P.
  9. When I’m in the middle of a fog triggered by stress, I start to slur my words. The first time it happened, I was working. My coworker thought it was hilarious, while I was almost in tears I was so scared and embarrassed.” – Miranda J.
  10. I forget even the most basic words at times. I’ll wind up practically playing charades just to get the word I’m thinking of out!” – Ashley A.
  11. Because fibro is invisible, and the public doesn’t know what is wrong with me, many people don’t understand when I ‘blank out.’ I have been at the cashier, blanked out completely and I couldn’t make change, so I tried to use my debit card, but I forgot my PIN number, so I had to leave the purchase and come back when I was feeling better. It’s so frustrating!” – Jen N.
  12. I forget where I’m driving to or feel lost in the small town I’ve lived in my whole life.” – Dawn R.
  13. I stutter, the words just won’t come out and I feel like my brain is a skipping record. Sometimes my brain fog can be so bad I am unable to read. I also forgot my address, how to spell my name, don’t ever ask me what day it is! I have to laugh, otherwise forgetting these simple things can be so distressing I cry.” – Jayne D.
  14. I once forgot how to count money. I work in retail and was counting out my register when I realized I didn’t know how much my handful of $20s amounted to. I almost burst into tears – up until that moment I had been confident that I’d been doing a good job at work in spite of my fibromyalgia. Now, I’m always questioning everything I do. Thankfully, my bosses are super understanding – my manager that night just calmly took the money from me and counted it out so I could do it with her. It was exactly what I needed to not totally lose it.” – R. Shay H.
  15. Having a conversation with someone in the morning, and by the afternoon you can’t remember anything you talked about.” – Bonnie P.
  16. I had to give up driving as it worried me how it was affecting me. Yes, the forgetting the destination and my rubbish reaction time for stopping, etc. started to scare me – e.g. what if someone steps out in front? Losing my thread when someone interrupts me mid-flow is embarrassing. Slurring words or not finding the right word for what I want to say embarrasses me terribly and I tend to clam up in company.” – Jo A.
  17. I couldn’t put gas in my car because I forgot my zip code. I eventually had to Google it.” – Katrina R.
  18. Walking into a room for an item, looking at item thinking that it looks familiar. Then leaving the room only to realize that the item looked familiar because it’s what I went to get.” – Carrie B.
  19. Too foggy to remember.” – Helene P.

Read the stories below to find out how our Mighty community copes with brain fog:

14 Products People With Brain Fog Swear By

17 Apps That Can Make Life Easier When Brain Fog Takes Over

The Small Tricks That Help Me Cope With Brain Fog

25 ‘Hacks’ That Can Make Life With Brain Fog Easier


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Fibromyalgia

A doctor treating a patient.

To the Doctors Treating My Fibromyalgia, Your Words Matter

To anyone in the healthcare profession that comes across someone with fibromyalgia, Firstly, thank you – you work a thankless job, and don’t hear those words enough. I appreciate everything that you do, for me, for everyone else, in an overburdened and underfunded industry. You work a job with the intentions of making everyone better. [...]
silhouettes of superheroes

Don't Forget the Superheroes Fighting an Invisible Battle Against Chronic Illness

When we were children, we argued over which superhero was the best. We rated the super powers, and we deliberated over which one we would have. Super strength, and the ability to throw cars at our enemies? Mind-reading and the ability to know everyone’s thoughts? Telekinesis, shapeshifting, super speed? How about invisibility? To slip in [...]
author of the article wearing a hat and glasses

To My Dear Sick Girl: A Message From Your Inner Self

As much as I don’t want to be honest I know I have to. It is good for me and it is good for those who need help as much as I do. In a previous time when I was feeling OK and my illness was cutting me some slack, I remember thinking I need [...]
woman speaking on stage into a microphone, and woman lying in bed with her cat

18 Photos That Show Why People With Fibromyalgia Are Strong

As those of you with fibromyalgia know, living with the condition is not easy. Not only do you have to deal with the assortment of symptoms and side effects fibro can cause, but then there’s also doctor appointments, treatments, medical bills, dealing with insurance companies… all on top of your everyday life and responsibilities. Life [...]