Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fibro Fog

     Fibro Fog is a term that describes symptoms dealing with memory, concentration, communication, and learning.   The fog can last from a few minutes to several days.  It is usually worse during flare ups, stressful situations, or sensory overload.  Fibro Fog is one of our worst symptoms, but sharing our stories helps us laugh at ourselves and ease the fog.
What Happened to my Words?

  • All of us forget words sometimes.  Usually we forget names or difficult words we don't use very often.  When you have Fibro Fog you can't remember the words for objects you use all of the time.  You know that you know the word, but your mind is blank.  While telling my daughter what I packed in her lunch, I suddenly drew a blank.  I laughed and said, "Well, it's something good, I'm sure.  You'll have to tell me what I picked out when you get home."

  • Soemtimes the harder we try to remember a word, the more words slip away.  I have been known to say things like, "I wan't to see that movie with that one guy.  He was in that tv show that we saw awhile ago.  He just got divorced and now he's dating that actress..."  It drives my husband crazy.  :)  Luckily, my daughter and I are often on the same wave length so we can add words to the conversation for one another.

  • Another crazy symptom is thinking the right words but saying something totally different.  It took me a long time to realize I was doing this.  When people would tell me I was doing that, I thought they were joking or had misheard me.  When my students catch me doing that, I usually laugh and say, "I'm glad someone is still awake and listening."  They laugh and we move on. 

A Converation?

  • As you can imagine, Fibro Fog makes it difficult to have a conversation with people.  You may see us talking and suddenly forget what we were saying in the middle of a sentence. 

  • Sometimes we hear you talking but we have no idea what you are saying.  The words don't make sense.  If you suddenly see us frown or look annoyed, there is a good chance we are stressed about what is happening to us.  Try not to take it personally.  We will tell you if we are bothered by what you are saying.

  • Telephone calls are especially difficult.  We don't have your body language or visual cues to help us.  When the Fibro Fog is bad and I'm talking on the phone, I get very stressed.  My mind won't focus and I can't understand what your words mean.  When you pause for me to say something, it takes me a minute to understand what you said and then find the words to reply.  I don't mean to be rude.  I do care about what you are saying and I am listening. 

  • If you notice us talking slower than usual, it usually means we have Fibro Fog.  It helps us immensely when you talk a bit slower.  Trying to talk to a fast talker is stressful when you are lost in the fog.
Where Am I?
      We absolutely hate this symptom.  It is scary to be in a familiar place but have no idea where you are.  This happens often in places like the grocery store or parking lot.  Ever see the Seinfeld episode where they are lost in a parking lot?  That is what it's like when this symptom hits. 

    Number Nemesis

  • We cringe when you ask us for our phone number or address.  Sometimes we mix the wrong numbers together.  Once while on the phone with a stranger, I realized I had given her the wrong phone number and had to say it again.  She sounded annoyed and said, "Don't you know your own phone number?" 

  • Sometimes we add when we mean to subtract.  You may want to let someone else count out the change at the store or balance the checkbook if you have this problem.

If you have experienced Fibro Fog and have stories to share or helpful tips, we would love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below.