‘Cog Fog’ – a symptom experienced by over half of MSers. Issues include difficulty with concentration, understanding, memory, thinking and general confusion. I definitely have this. The thing is, so does everyone else, regardless of health issues. Speak to any adult and they will all own up to walking into a room and wondering why the heck they’re in there, or forgetting that really urgent thing they were about to say, or even losing concentration due to tiredness. With MS Cog Fog, however, this is meant to be a whole lot worse and long-lasting. There is no question that fatigue plays a big part, so too must the fact that most of us have pretty hectic lives these days; we are bombarded with way more information than we were ever designed to absorb from television, our smartphones, and the internet on top of the everyday hoo-ha in our lives.
I never know for sure if my Cog-Fog is a direct result of MS or actually an ongoing extension of Baby Brain, which offers up the exact same symptoms but usually on a less chronic scale. You see, the arrival of my Cog Fog coincided with the arrival of baby no. 1 and I have seen a steady decline ever since. I constantly find myself standing in a room with no idea how I got there or why I am there. Just the other night I was standing in the kitchen having abandoned the comfort of the sofa and an episode of ‘Neighbours’ to do something really important. But, what the flip was so important that I’d exerted such precious energy and interrupted my favourite show for? I stood there and looked searchingly around. I retraced my steps. I furrowed my brow. I blinked several times with wide-eyed blinkiness and I raised my eyebrows. What WAS I in there for? And then it hit me, MORE WINE! I had come to pour myself some more wine! You’ll always find that the most important things don’t lay forgotten for long; luckily I remembered this one before the usual midnight revelation once in bed.
I have become the queen of awkward silences too. I’ll often be chatting to family, colleagues, teachers, school mums etc and a massive blank will just descend over me; in that moment I will have lost all comprehension of what is being said or, indeed, of what I was about to say. I end up staring at people, which is probably quite unnerving. All of the pre-Cog profoundness that used to come out of my mouth has been lost in the abyss and I am reduced to a blithering bore who apparently has little to say; put simply, I have lost the art of conversation.
And just now, as I proof-read this post, I suddenly yelled, “Oh, yes!” and excitedly dug about in my bag for my wibbly notebook of ideas – I am now sitting at my desk looking desperately from the screen to the notebook and back again and I honestly have no idea whatsoever what I was so excited about. Most likely I had thought of something witty as heck to write or that I’d already written in the book, but I’m looking and I can’t find anything remotely witty in there.
So, what exactly causes all this confusion? Is it the MS? Is it the Baby Brain?
Or, could it even be the wine?