I’m Not An Airhead – I Have Brain Fog

Yesterday and today were both bad ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia days for me and today I had to work for 4 hours.  My son kept saying to me, “Mom, you really ought to call off.  You’re not in any shape to work.”  But even though I was feeling pretty bad, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t make it for the 4 hour shift.  I tried to explain to Logan that part of life is working sometimes when you don’t feel well and that you will have to work when you would rather be doing other things.  I also explained to him that if I thought I felt bad enough that I would be jeopardizing my health any worse, I would have stayed home. 

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, the store is getting busier and today was no exception.  I like being busy because it makes the time go faster, especially when I don’t feel well, but I also struggle with normal tasks and functions that I have been doing on the job for over 2 years now when I feel bad like I did today.  It gets embarrassing sometimes because the brain fog that us CFS & Fibro patients get will cause us to forget the most routine things.  Sometimes I feel like I need to wear a sign around my neck that says, “No, I’m not an airhead…I have CFS & Fibromyalgia.  Please ignore the brain fog today.” 

I am also normally a good multi-tasker but on the bad CFS & FM days, I really struggle anymore with the multi-tasking and that is hard for me to deal with because that used to be one of my strengths and one of the things I was always praised for on the job.  Now I feel like my body can’t handle more than one thing at a time and my brain can’t handle more than one thing at a time. 

Cognitive dysfunction or brain fog is defined as unusually poor mental function, associated with confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.  A number of medical or psychiatric conditions and treatments can cause such symptoms, including heavy metal poisoning (in particular mercury poisoning), menopause, fibromyalgia, ADHD and sleep disorders (including disrupted sleep). 


Many of us with CFS & Fibromyalgia will have trouble completing sentences or getting our words out when the brain fog hits.  It is an awful feeling to know that you know the answer to something but your brain just won’t work. 

The physical shortcomings always seem to somehow bring back the emotional shortcomings that I have with myself – not being good enough; not being smart enough; not being pretty enough…It seems like every insecurity comes alive because the physical body does not function properly.  I’m off to bed, hoping that tonight will bring a good night’s sleep and tomorrow will be a better day….physically and emotionally – without the brain fog!

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  1. Evelyn Gallego says:

    Hi, I am 17 in my Senior year of high school and I have felt this way for a year now. All this time I thought that there was just something not connecting because everyday in school I can’t recall an thing I just read or I can’t formulate sentences fast enough. My family and peers have all been seeing me digress but I’ve been trying to change everything about myself to change this feeling. Today was the first time I ever realized that other people felt this way too and when I read this I realized that this is exactly how I have felt everyday; when people talk to me I’ll completely forget what they said or I will forget something immediately all the time or the fact that your hear just feels empty all the time. My main thing is that I want to know if there is any treatments for this. This “brain fog” is starting to cause me to get depressed because I can’t preform well in my honors classes and I am unable to live the life I want to live. Thank you and I hope to hear back from you soon.

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