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29 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Brain Fog

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If you have a chronic illness, you may have experienced brain fog at one time or another. Brain fog may be a symptom of your illness or a side effect of medication you’re taking, but either way, it can be extremely frustrating to deal with the impairments it can have on your short-term memory and mental functioning. When brain fog hits, you may find yourself struggling to carry on conversations or remember names, dates, events or simple words, which can have a big impact on your personal and professional life.

In order to manage the effects of brain fog, some people have developed certain coping mechanisms or tricks to help them navigate their daily lives. To better understand the ways in which people manage and respond to it, we asked our Mighty community to share things others don’t realize they’re doing because of brain fog. Maybe some of these will sound familiar to you, too.


Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “Repeating myself unintentionally due to missing or forgetting words in a sentence, and also stuttering words trying to remember words.”

2. “Pretending to comprehend whatever it is you’re saying even though my mind is a million miles elsewhere.”

3. “I take pictures of things I write down (like addresses or shopping lists) in case I lose the paper or leave it behind when I go to the grocery store. I also take pictures of the locked door and dog crate so I don’t get anxious that I left them open – I do this with candles as well so I know I blew them out before I leave town to run an errand and it really reduces my anxiety about accidentally burning down the house with the animals inside.”

4. “I tend to avoid outings and appointments because it’s just too hard to process so much information in a conversation.”

5. “Wearing a nice dress at work. Only my work bestie knows it is because I could only handle figuring out one piece of clothing that morning. Everyone else compliments me and asks what I’m so dressed up for.”

6. “Taking extra long showers because I can’t remember if I washed my hair yet, or I mix up products (conditioner on legs, shaving cream on head), one shaved armpit/leg, to name a few.”

7. “I encourage people to talk about themselves so I don’t have to speak.”

8. “When I know I’m having trouble, I take notes in situations where people don’t usually take notes. People think everything from ‘that’s weird’ to ‘she’s just trying to impress people’ to ‘she must be really organized.’ The truth is it just helps me follow important conversations and bring my brain back around if I lose the thread of what we’re discussing or I forget what I was going to say. It also makes it easier to figure out later if I missed something.”

9. “Taking your medication twice because you forgot that you took it before.”

10. “When I’m going through a thick fog day, I keep all conversation to a minimum. I rarely even text because I know I’ll forget to text people back.”

11. “I talk out loud to remember the things I am doing because otherwise I will forget in about 20 minutes.”

12. “I have to have my husband help me fill out the simplest of forms. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and depressing.”

13. “I forget names. Sometimes I don’t recognize new acquaintances. People think I just don’t care, but really I am struggling to think so much that I need to see a face twice or hear a name on multiple occasions to remember it, and that’s when I’m trying hardest.”

14. “Lists. I have so many lists just lying around my house with groceries, work, things I want to get, etc. When I am able to think of things I put it on a sticky note and forget about it. Leading to multiples of the same list.”


15. “Saying things like ‘top clothing’ instead of ‘shirt’ and ‘toast maker’ instead of ‘toaster.’ Usually people just laugh, and I can laugh it off, but sometimes it’s scary when I can’t remember words I know or people’s names.”


16. “I only talk about things in depth or detail via text message. I used to love to have deep and meaningful conversations with my friends and family, and was always told how articulate I am. But now, I’m lucky if I can remember what I was talking about halfway through the third sentence. It’s easier to put together a message via text and be able to pause – stop for a little while – regain my train of thought and come back to what I was saying before I press ‘send.’”

17. “I get snappy. When I lose my train of thought or a certain word I get angry when I can’t remember it, which just makes it worse. It usually just ends with me bursting into tears with frustration.”

18. “I use Waze for even trips I make regularly. Yes, everything is familiar and I ‘know’ where to turn but I don’t know by instinct during brain fog.”

19. “I am forever suddenly trailing off and staring into space. I just forget what’s happening in the middle of a sentence or in the middle of doing something and you can find me just sitting there, zoned out.”

20. “I do little music sounds or small snatches of whistling without realizing. I tell people it’s my brain playing background music while it searches for the thought or words I’ve lost.”

21. “I put absolutely everything in my phone. Names and descriptions of new people. Times of appointments that are only the next day. I have alarms for daily tasks. Post-its everywhere. People think I’m just super organized. Nope. I can’t remember anything without a reminder.”

22. “I get up to do something and then just freeze in space… I’m trying to remember what I got up to do.”

23. “I hesitate in my speech or stutter because I am searching for the right words and get frustrated because I was always known for my eloquence.”

24. “Losing the topic of the conversation and forgetting what I was saying in the middle of the sentence. Not being able to remember stuff by memory in tests. Forgetting friends’ birthdays and invitations I had previously accepted.”

25. “When my brain fog is bad, the large, grandiose words find their way into my vocabulary. It’s because my everyday words were temporary deleted from my brain and these fancy words come forward from the recesses of my memory.”

26. “I often tell my husband random things (like if I took my pain medicine, or some random reminder) because I know he will remember in five minutes whether I actually took my meds or only planned to and forgot.”

27. “I change the subject to cover for my total loss of what we were just talking about. Or I walk away, leaving people wondering if I’m rude, but I really have no idea that we were talking about anything.”

28. “I watch the same shows and listen to the same audiobooks over and over again because I get lost with new characters, plots or even faces if I’m having a bad day.”

29. “I stare blankly at nothing. People ask me what I’m thinking about, because they assume I must be in deep thought. Really, I just forgot what I was about to say, and couldn’t remember anything.”

29 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Brain Fog
Originally published: July 10, 2017
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