For me, brain fog was like walking in molasses. That’s how I would describe my mental state after my MTBI, caused by a horse accident in 2001. Before my brain injury, I was high functioning, organized and had a great memory. For example, after the accident, I thought I could work on my Quicken accounting program on my computer. I remember starting to post checks and I couldn’t understand why it took me so long and why I kept making lots of mistakes.  Other things happened like bouncing checks and missing appointments, being there at the right time but the wrong day. I used to pride myself on keeping my calendar of appointments and staying on top of my To Do List, my Tooo Dooo Liiissst.  Everything took so much longer to accomplish.

Brain Injury Hope FoundationWhen I drove my car to places I was familiar with, I would get lost. Brain fog would set in and I would get confused and couldn’t understand what the problem was. Then frustration would set in, which amplified the confusion and by then I couldn’t find my way. I really shouldn’t have been driving, but the doctor didn’t tell me not to…… least I don’t remember. And of course, my memory was a huge problem, short and long term memory.

Brain fog can be caused by many things like concussions, chemotherapy, menopause, and mothers may experience it after childbirth, etc. Sleep deprivation has become the norm for Type A personalities, by trying to fit ten things in a five thing day….over achievers, super moms, and trying to meet corporate demands. You would be surprised how much you can accomplish, in less time, with 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. If that’s not always possible, how about trying 20-minute power naps, meditation or just 10-minute walking breaks during the day.

The Good News is that I have regained my memory and cognitive skills with the help of my cognitive therapist. She is a speech-language pathologist that specializes in neurorehabilitation. There are cognitive therapists that are psychologists that work with behavior….so don’t get them mixed up.  It did take several years for my recovery with incremental successes along the way. Noticing the improvements in like 3 month increments, I was hopeful and encouraged to keep on going.

Sleep is still very important. When I don’t get my eight hours of sleep for a couple of nights in a row, I notice that I’m not as sharp during the day.  If I get overtired, foggy brain does show up. It feels kind of like jet lag.  That’s when I know that I can’t make good decisions and I definitely can’t write clearly or work with numbers.  The next morning after a full nights sleep, I’m sharp and alert again.

Blog by Laura L. Whittemore

MTBI Survivor and Thriver