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14 Signs You Grew Up Experiencing Brain Fog

Brain fog is a common symptom of so many chronic illnesses, from fibromyalgia to lupus to migraine. Though the memory issues it can cause are often associated with age, chronic illness can develop even in kids, so many in our chronic illness community likely began experiencing brain fog while they were growing up. But most people with chronic illness know that kids’ symptoms often aren’t taken seriously or believed β€” and an invisible symptom like brain fog can all too easily be brushed off or chalked up to just “needing to learn how to focus.”

To shed light on how brain fog actually manifests when you’re a kid, we asked our Mighty community to share a sign they recognize now, looking back, that they were experiencing brain fog while growing up. If these sound familiar to you, know that you weren’t just “forgetful.” And if you’re a parent or medical professional, remember that kids can have chronic illnesses too, and deserve your support.

Here’s what our Mighty community shared with us:

  1. “Always needing subtitles when watching anything because my auditory processing is so delayed.” β€” Jenny C.
  2. “Having to re-read something over and over again to comprehend it. Literally.” β€” KellyAnn P.
  3. “I always excelled at math and grammar, but words always slipped my mind. I was tested three times for dyslexia. I could read just fine, but when I would try to formulate long speeches or just was telling a story, I couldn’t find all my words and would get ‘clogged up’ as I put it. I still do. I have a huge vocabulary and understand even complex medical terminology, but my brain just won’t put it together in order sometimes.” β€” Michelle J.
  4. “I had been reading at college level since I was about 9 or 10, but when I entered 6th grade, we were all tested and I was placed in a class which had vocabulary words such as cat, rat and mat. I’d had a migraine the day I’d been tested.” β€” Gretchen W.
  5. “Having days where I was asked my name and could not for the life of me think of it.” β€” Aimee A.
  6. “I played piano and had no trouble memorizing music until one day when I was 13, I could not memorize music at all anymore. Tried and tried to find a way to memorize music again but just could not anymore.” β€” Shawna D.
  7. “Not clicking on to things that are so obvious and simple to understand and then being called ‘stupid’ and ‘slow’ because of it.” β€” Chloe J.
  8. “My mom would have to teach me the same things over and over…like laundry. Same in school, I could not remember the simplest skills such as addition or subtraction.” β€” Jennifer D.
  9. “Not following directions or being able to remember little things. I have to write everything down whether on paper or in my phone. Otherwise I won’t remember.” β€” Lolo M.
  10. “Continuously putting things in the wrong spot, then not remembering where I put it.” β€” Vanessa S.
  11. “Never remembering people’s names.” β€” Ashley T.
  12. “When I was attending Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, I often drove right past my exit and before I knew it, I was crossing the border to Washington!Β Some days I have to think really hard to remember the route to take to places I’ve been a billion times, like the bank or a doctor’s office. Needless to say, I use my GPS way more than the average person because sometimes I just can’t remember how to get to familiar places!” β€” Danika F.
  13. “When I was a kid I had a hard time focusing on studying. In 6th grade I was diagnosed with ADD but now I realize that it was probably depression. I remember I would be studying and then out of nowhere I just didn’t have the energy to do anything and I would stare into space.” β€” Corrin M.
  14. β€œ[A] sign was when I struggled to concentrate. My teachers used to say there’s no point trying to communicate with me if I get tired because I just couldn’t. I still get this today…. every day at 3 p.m. on the dot, without fail. It’s a symptom of my cortisol fluctuating and my body trying to adjust.” β€” Hanna R.