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What to Know Before Teasing Someone With Brain Fog

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I open my book and stare at the pages. I can’t remember what I’m supposed to do, how do I read? What are these things on the pages? This is brain fog.

I start a sentence, a few words in and my mind goes blank, what am I doing? What am I saying? Where was I going with this? This is brain fog.

I pick up my phone, why have I got my phone in my hand? What am I doing? Why did I pick my phone up? This is brain fog.

I start a craft project, do one or two perfectly — it comes to the third identical one and I cannot remember how to do it. This is brain fog.

I mean to say museum, my brain says prison. I look at an object and I can’t think what it’s called. Objects I need become thing, thingy, thing-y-majigs, what d’you call it, whatsits and that there. This is brain fog.

So what is brain fog? I found these two descriptions:

Clouding of consciousness, also known as brain fog or mental fog, is a term used in medicine denoting an abnormality in the regulation of the overall level of consciousness that is mild and less severe than a delirium. The sufferer experiences a subjective sensation of mental clouding described as feeling “foggy.”


Brain fog, also commonly known as brain fatigue, can be a mild to severe episode of mental confusion that can strike without warning. When this occurs, it is common to experience a lack of focus, poor memory recall and reduced mental acuity.

Now we all have those moments when we walk into a room and can’t remember why or do something and then think how silly it was, but brain fog is different. Brain fog takes over your whole being. For example, you walk into the room and can’t remember where you are. It can last moments or days and is more than frustrating, it’s devastating. On the outside I can laugh at myself, laugh at the absurdity of the mistakes I’ve made or the words that have come out instead of what I actually meant to say, but it does actually upset me. I hate that I constantly have to be reminded to do things and that conversations that I want to have with people have to be cut short when I can’t drag out of the depths of my brain where the words were supposed to be going.

The problems with brain fog don’t end there though. No, you see brain fog can be dangerous. Brain fog makes you forget if you took your tablets, even sometimes if you have them blister packed and there have been times when I’ve missed taking them altogether and other times when I’ve almost taken them twice (I’m lucky I have people around me who can remember for me). Brain fog when you are driving your mobility scooter and you press the go lever when you meant to stop, or vice versa can be dangerous for obvious reasons, too.

Now there are things that you can do to help with brain fog, and there are apps you can have, too. Trying to get enough sleep, eating well and keeping doing things etc are all advised. But all the advice is all well and good, but if you do all those things and still have brain fog, or you can’t do these things at all or in part then you are stuck. You will have brain fog attacks and they will hit relentlessly and without prejudice. It’s about managing them and just having ways around them.

So why have I told you this? For your sympathy? For your help? No, simply for your understanding. I want to let you know that while it seems fun to tease someone who can’t remember what they were saying, or has just done something really strange, it often has the opposite effect. While you are laughing and teasing it can cause a great deal of stress to the person who this is happening to, and can make things worse. So while I don’t expect you not to laugh if I’m finding things that I’ve done funny, I just want you to know that when you continue to make fun of it or when you remind someone of this constantly it can hurt. Sometimes, it will be that I’ve done something silly just because I’m a prat but sometimes it will be my brain fog, and when it’s happening all I ask is that you remember that I can’t help it and it might just be upsetting me, too.

Getty photo by demaerre

Originally published: March 3, 2018
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