The Arthritis Foundation’s Good Living with Fibromyalgia Workbook offers some great suggestions on how people with ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia can handle and deal with the cognitive dysfunction that is part of the territory with these illnesses.
It’s so easy for us to lose our train of thought, forget what we were going to say, forget how to balance a checkbook and to even get lost driving in familiar surroundings when the cognitive dysfunction sets in. The Arthitis Foundation offers these basic memory and communication tips that can help you deal with episodes of minor cognitive dysfunction.
Repeat yourself. Repeat things to yourself over and over so you can’t forget them.
Write it down. Writing what you need to do or remember down on paper seems to help keep it fresh in your mind. Use a calendar or whatever works best for you.
Pick the best time of day. If there is something you need to do that requires concentration and memory, such as balancing your checkbook or following a recipe, pick your best time to do it. Many people with fibromyalgia say they perform best early in the day. ME/CFS patients will probably say their best time of day is at night or late evening.
Get treatment. If you are depressed, in pain and/or sleep deprived, these all can affect your cognitive ability. See the doctor for help.
Engage yourself. Reading a book, seeing a play, or working a complex crossword or jigsaw puzzle can stimulate your brain and your memory.
Stay active. Physical activity, in moderation, can increase your energy and help lift your brain fog. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about an exercise program that is right for you.
Explain yourself. Explain your memory difficulties to family members and close friends. Memory problems often result from stress. Getting a little understanding from the ones you love may help.
Keep it quiet. A radio blasting from the next room, a TV competing for your attention, or background conversation can distract your attention from the task at hand. If possible, move to a quiet place and minimize distractions when you are trying to remember.
Go slowly. Sometimes memory problems can result from trying to do too much in too short a period of time. Break up tasks, and don’t take on more than you can handle at once. Stress and fatigue will only make the situation worse.
To purchase the Arthritis Foundation’s Good Living with Fibromyalgia Workbook click here.