The Mighty Logo

34 Things Only People With Brain Fog Will Understand

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Most people have days when we’re a bit forgetful – when we can’t remember what we were going to say, or why we walked into a room. But for some, brain fog is a real symptom that results from chronic illness or certain medications, and it’s a lot more serious than just forgetting something small every once in a while. Brain fog can cause confusion and significantly affect your short-term memory and mental acuity. It can be extremely frustrating to be unable to recall important conversations, names or dates, and this can have a major impact on your social and/or professional life – especially when others don’t understand what you’re going through.

Brain fog can be one of the most challenging parts of living with a chronic illness, but if you struggle with it, just know you are not alone. We asked our Mighty community to share aspects of their brain fog that only others who have experienced it will understand. If you’ve experienced brain fog, the following may sound all-too-familiar.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “Struggling to hold a conversation with someone because you know what you’re trying to say but you can’t seem to get it from [inside] your head to outside your mouth.”

2. “Realizing you just took your morning meds. Twice!”

3. “I call mine ‘Dory brain.’ My husband constantly tells me to write things down. There are several problems with his suggestion. One is remembering to write it down, two is remembering where I wrote it down and three is remembering to remember I wrote it down.”

4. “The hurt and frustration when people think you don’t listen/pay attention to them when you are trying your hardest to act normal.”

5. “Getting lost while driving to familiar places. This one is scary.”

6. “Forgetting whole conversations I’ve had with family. When they bring up something they’ve told me I have to tell them I don’t remember. It’s so frustrating.”

7. “Solving a problem of any kind is like moving your mind through molasses, and you aren’t really sure you’ve solved it.”

8. “Finding the car keys in the fridge.”

9. “I constantly wander around my apartment in a daze because I literally have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing. I forget what I’ve gotten up for, what I went to the kitchen for. I am always lost and confused in my own home.”

10. “I put a password on my tablet this morning then shut it off and five minutes later I have no idea what my password is and am locked out of it!”

11. “How tough it is to explain to friends and family that you’ve been put on Alzheimer’s medication and Ritalin to help your focus and memory at the age of 26.”

12. “Even in my dreams I’m lost or I’ve lost something. I wander around in maze-like settings trying to find my way out. Last night I spent an entire dream trying to find my car! I can’t catch a break even while I sleep!”

13. “Having a massive internal vocabulary, but consistently and reliably resorting to words like ‘thingy.’”

14. “To be physically present but feel like you’re completely somewhere else. It’s impossible to understand unless you experience it.”

15. “I hate that my life is passing me by while I’m in a daze, unable to be fully present with people I love and experiences I want to savor. I live my life in slow motion but around me everything is speeding by and it terrifies me how much of life I am missing.”

16. “In conversation I will often say the wrong word or mix up phrases. Someone will usually say, ‘Don’t you mean…?’”

17. “How frustrating it feels to go from having a photographic memory to what I jokingly refer to as ‘Swiss cheese brain.’ I even print out little sheets that have each med and the time I take it on them that I keep next to where my meds are (with a pen) so I can cross out the time after I take a dose, so I don’t forget that I took it already.”


18. “Second-guessing myself even with regulatory matters in which I was recently considered an expert.”

19. “The other day I spent 15 minutes looking for my glasses. I was wearing them. It didn’t even occur to me that I could see.”

20. “You can be fine one minute and be in good conversation, and then it hits you like a bolt… you can’t remember what you were talking about.”

21. “Skipping whole chunks of a day in a blur, then having completely lucid and efficient thinking another day, then being exhausted and foggy at night again.”

22. “People often feel entitled to know more about my medical condition than I want to share because they want to know why I seem so confused. Of course, then I usually get a ‘Well, it’s just like getting old’ comment. Having brain fog isn’t like getting old. Especially pharmaceutically-induced brain fog, like I have.”

23. “Having to set phone reminders to take medication, to do housework or even to make sure I’m drinking enough water.”

24. “Talking in circles. Saying the same thing over and over trying to finish a thought.”

25. “Forgetting your list of things not to forget when going out.”

26. “Sitting down for a minute to plan your day and realizing a moment later you’ve been actually sitting trying to chase your thoughts for half a day. Then, you get confused wondering where the time went.”

27. “Getting anxiety when you call someone because you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to find the words to talk or if your mind will go completely blank.”

28. “Notes are taped all over my house. Reminders go off on my phone constantly. I must do something the moment I think of it or write it down or it’s lost in the vortex of fog.”

29. “Sometimes when I am at work I need to solve a problem, and it used to come so easily, but when the brain fog hits, all bets are off. It’s like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned. Like showing up for an exam on a subject you’ve never studied.”

30. “How completely terrifying it is when you’re unable to find the simple words you need to express yourself, and how degrading it is to have someone snidely correct you for a mistake such as misspelling or misspeaking a common word because you’re in a flare.”

31. “Looking at an object knowing you know full well what it is, but can’t remember what it’s called. Example: table, microwave, couch, fork…”

32. “I never win an argument because most times I forget what I am fighting for.”

33. “It’s more than just a mild case of just forgetting someone’s name in a conversation or forgetting to do something on your to do list. It’s talking to someone and being in the middle of a sentence and completely forgetting what you were saying. Your mind goes completely blank and you can’t get it back.”

34. “I had a great answer, but I forgot what it was by the time I went to type it out.”

34 Things Only People With Brain Fog Will Understand
Originally published: June 27, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home