We all know that feeling: the moment when we can't seem to think straight, when every little task feels like an impossible mountain to climb.
For many people with fibromyalgia, this is a reality daily.
This experience is known as fibro fog, cognitive dysfunction that can make it difficult to recall simple things, focus attention, and even stay coordinated.
But what is fibro fog exactly? And more importantly, what can be done about it? Keep reading for more information on this frustrating symptom.
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WHAT CAUSES FIBRO FOG?
What causes fibro fog is unclear, but it seems to be a real phenomenon. People with fibro fog commonly report an inability to concentrate or focus on things they are doing.
They report their memory is poor, and they have difficulty with everyday tasks, including reading or doing their checkbook. In addition, they may feel stupid and inept when doing any cognitive task.
Not everyone experiences fibro fog when they have fibromyalgia, but it can be very debilitating for those who do. Those who have jobs that require concentration often suffer from decreased productivity.
For some people, it means having to leave a good job because the brain does not function adequately enough to keep up with the cognitive portion of the job.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE FIBRO FOG?
It's essential to understand what to look for;
What does fibro fog look like?
What does fibro fog feel like?
Fibro fog can present differently for each person with fibromyalgia. There is no set fibro fog symptoms list, but some of the common symptoms include and are not limited to the following:
Poor concentration or ability to stay focused on tasks you're doing
Making mistakes because of decreased alertness
Feeling foggy in the head so that thoughts come slowly
Feeling lost in a conversation and having problems staying engaged when talking to others
Feeling increasingly more forgetful and even noticing memory loss.
Feeling that your thinking is slow and foggy
Difficulty working through issues logically
Increased mental fatigue
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may suffer from fibro fog as part of your fibromyalgia symptoms. It often goes along with the fatigue that many people with fibromyalgia experience.
If you notice any memory loss or changes in your mental well-being, it is always important to discuss this with your primary health professional.
HOW TO COPE WITH FIBRO FOG?
Fibro Fog can make you feel helpless and disorganized. In addition, it can exacerbate depressive symptoms due to the frustration created by knowing you're not living up to your potential. Fortunately, there are effective measures you can take to counteract Fibro Fog.
Set aside adequate time when you are doing tasks that require mental stimulation. Then, double-check your work to know you are doing the job correctly.
Do the most mentally taxing jobs when your mind is at the clearest, usually between ten am and three pm. These times also correlate to times when your physical symptoms are generally at their most stable.
Drink a little caffeine before embarking on a complex task. Caffeine can help stimulate your brain and lift some of the fog. However, be careful not to take in so much caffeine that you feel stressed, tense, or crash when the caffeine wears off.
Be patient with yourself. Fibromyalgia robs you of many things, including your ability to think through clearly when undertaking various tasks. Know that, with effort, you can still accomplish many of the things you used to do before but that it may take more time and effort.
Suffering from fibro fog creates unique challenges that make fibromyalgia much more than a chronic pain & fatigue condition.
When you have fibro fog, you can also experience low mood and depressive symptoms due to the increased limitations you are experiencing.
It can be helpful to seek the advice of a good psychotherapist or counselor who understands fibromyalgia and the cognitive issues that go with the condition.
They can help you find tips and tricks to improve your memory and maximize your concentration to live better with the fibro fog.