19 Unexpected Side Effects of Fibro Fog

By:Paige Wyant
The Mighty

As those living with fibromyalgia know, one of the most common – and frustrating – symptoms of the condition to deal with is brain fog. This “fibro fog” can cause memory problems, difficulty with concentration and focus, and a lack of mental clarity, and can therefore have a significant impact on your day-to-day life and ability to function.

But the effects of fibro fog are far-reaching – and many of those who struggle with it may have been surprised by some of the ways it’s affected their life. To raise awareness and help others with fibromyalgia feel more prepared to cope with it, we asked our Mighty community to share an unexpected side effect of fibro fog they’ve experienced. If you can relate to any of the following, know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. I forget what I’m saying mid-sentence. Or if someone interrupts me I totally lose my train of thought and they will say, ‘oh sorry, continue…’ Then I say I can’t remember what I was talking about and they think I’m angry and spiteful for interrupting me but I honestly can’t remember what I was saying.” – Allison M.
  2. I forget how I was feeling. Was I sad? Was I crying? Am I happy now? It’s really weird.” – Guðbjörg G.
  3. I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ll be having a conversation and say a word but think I said another. Like if I’m talking about a memory or a person, I’ll think I’ve said the right name/word, but I haven’t, and the person I’m talking to gets confused. And I get confused about why they are confused, because I think I’ve said the right thing.” – Amanda G.
  4. I forget my kids’ birthdays or jumble them up. My kids just look at me with *that* look.” – Shayla F.W.
  5. I think the fact that it’s not always about forgetting things, sometimes it’s just feeling like I’m standing in a literal fog and everything around me is just blurry and in slow motion. But I definitely have moments of just forgetting where I am or what I’m doing/saying. It can be short-term memory issues or long-term depending on the day. It’s such a mess.” – Katelyn I.
  6. I got a new position but didn’t trust myself working in the pharmacy where no mistakes can be made, as I sometimes feel the cognitive effects. I needed a position that was less stressful.” – Lea J.
  7. Watching a movie then being able to watch it again because I can’t remember what it was about the first time.” – Dee F.
  8. I can’t make decisions. Take this morning, for example. I woke up one and a half hours ago and I think I was hungry or thirsty but my mind was too foggy to decipher which one. So I thought I’ll either get a drink or grab a piece of food. But the fog made it so hard to be able to break down the decision that I’m still sitting here having not had food or drink. The worst part is that I know it’s so simple, but the fibro fog literally blocks the part of my brain that knows how to problem solve.” – Alexandria P.
  9. When I’m in the middle of a fog triggered by stress, I start to slur my words. The first time it happened, I was working. My coworker thought it was hilarious, while I was almost in tears I was so scared and embarrassed.” – Miranda J.
  10. I forget even the most basic words at times. I’ll wind up practically playing charades just to get the word I’m thinking of out!” – Ashley A.
  11. Because fibro is invisible, and the public doesn’t know what is wrong with me, many people don’t understand when I ‘blank out.’ I have been at the cashier, blanked out completely and I couldn’t make change, so I tried to use my debit card, but I forgot my PIN number, so I had to leave the purchase and come back when I was feeling better. It’s so frustrating!” – Jen N.
  12. I forget where I’m driving to or feel lost in the small town I’ve lived in my whole life.” – Dawn R.
  13. I stutter, the words just won’t come out and I feel like my brain is a skipping record. Sometimes my brain fog can be so bad I am unable to read. I also forgot my address, how to spell my name, don’t ever ask me what day it is! I have to laugh, otherwise forgetting these simple things can be so distressing I cry.” – Jayne D.
  14. I once forgot how to count money. I work in retail and was counting out my register when I realized I didn’t know how much my handful of $20s amounted to. I almost burst into tears – up until that moment I had been confident that I’d been doing a good job at work in spite of my fibromyalgia. Now, I’m always questioning everything I do. Thankfully, my bosses are super understanding – my manager that night just calmly took the money from me and counted it out so I could do it with her. It was exactly what I needed to not totally lose it.” – R. Shay H.
  15. Having a conversation with someone in the morning, and by the afternoon you can’t remember anything you talked about.” – Bonnie P.
  16. I had to give up driving as it worried me how it was affecting me. Yes, the forgetting the destination and my rubbish reaction time for stopping, etc. started to scare me – e.g. what if someone steps out in front? Losing my thread when someone interrupts me mid-flow is embarrassing. Slurring words or not finding the right word for what I want to say embarrasses me terribly and I tend to clam up in company.” – Jo A.
  17. I couldn’t put gas in my car because I forgot my zip code. I eventually had to Google it.” – Katrina R.
  18. Walking into a room for an item, looking at item thinking that it looks familiar. Then leaving the room only to realize that the item looked familiar because it’s what I went to get.” – Carrie B.
  19. Too foggy to remember.” – Helene P.
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