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DEALING WITH MEMORY LOSS AND MENTAL FOG

Recently I have been struggling with severe memory issues.
With my various diagnoses including fibromyalgia, I have naturally dealt with fibro fog. Fibro fog is best
explained like a cloud that descends over your mind. Thinking is very slow and sleepy. Movements
become harder and more exhausting because you have to push through that thick fog.
It is not always thick, but can sometimes be more translucent i.e. just a small amount of struggle. But
other times it can be so hard it is easier to not move and just sleep since it is so much work on your
already exhausted body to get things done.
Fog can also come from medications-named pain medications or any that have that sedative nature.
With medication induced fog, I have always been able to fight through it to do various things so I can
focus on helping my pain only. Fibro fog is harder to fight through and takes more out of you but it can
be done.
Forgetting things, forgetting where you are, even forgetting your own name, age, or birthdate is
common.

But today those two fogs are not like the memory struggles I am now going through.
With those two I can fight through the fog to remember, but with my new memory issues there is no
fighting through anything. It is a brick or cement wall. Blocking off memories, knowledge, even core
personality traits.
Fear is something that follows behind this memory failure. Fear of what else I could forget or if I end up
forgetting something at a pivotal moment. Like if something is in the oven, or if I forget to take my
medicine.
It has taken me 2 hours to take my bedtime medicine because my memory relapse would last 20 min or
so and I would think “I need to take my medicine” and then suddenly 20 more minutes go by and so on.
I forget conversations and big things that happened. My family has to tell me things at least 8 times
before I can remember a bit of it. My room is covered in notepads so I can write everything down. The
trouble is remembering to read the things I have written down.
By far the scariest part was when I truly forgot my name. Just an absolute blank and there was no
getting through the wall. I had to scour my room looking for something with my name on it.

If you have someone you know going through severe memory issues the very best thing you can do is be
patient. So many squabbles can come up in my family and it is all because I forgot to do this or
that(though I am disabled so my saintly mom takes care of all the chores).
Be patient, be prepared. Set things up so that someone can always double check on what your loved
one was suppose to do in case they forget. The things that disappear in our memory are not very
predictable -which obviously can make us so fearful.
With this fear can come anger. We may lash out or yell or get angry over seemingly nothing but be
gentle, we are losing things that no one is prepared to lose.

Anger at ourselves, others, fate, the universe, or God.
There will be anger. Fear is no easy thing to overcome. It took me months to recognize what was going
on, that it was getting severe, and getting up the nerve to tell my family what new struggle they would
need to help me overcome. I have had many humbling moments with my memory loss. Apologizing at
least once a day for my poor reactions to something that my lack of memory was at fault for.
Learning to go with the flow and learning to be okay with the trouble memory loss brings is no small
thing and it takes more than one person to overcome.
If you notice your loved ones struggling and reacting in anger when they normally wouldn’t have and
recognizing they are forgetting important things they would have easily remembered before. Please
reach out. In all my health issue struggles this memory loss is the one sure thing that has helped me
realize I need much more outside help than myself. We all do.
Be Patient, Be Gentle, Be kind, Be Prepared.
Be forgiving.
As my family knows, I ask quietly, “Please, give me some grace. I am just doing the very best I can.”

Image Credit: "holding hands" by waithamai is licensed under CC BY 2.0.