Have you ever put the dog in the freezer*?

Fibromyalgia, Pain Management

That moment when you walk into a room but forget what you went in there for.

We’ve all done it at some point or another but what about when it happens more and more frequently through the month, the week or even the day? Forgetfulness happens to everyone at some point or other, but many of us with fibromyalgia have more frequent bouts., We in the know affectionately call it ‘fibro-fog’.

Fibro-fog can be one of the scariest, as well as sometimes funniest, moments of your day. It’s much more than just forgetting things. It’s mixing things up, looking at someone and having a total blank on what their name is, unable to put your finger on that word for the thing over there on the table, which makes marks on paper for people to read later. Unable to concentrate and focus on tasks, unable to hold a conversation together which flows and makes sense. Appearing to be ‘away with the fairies’ for being less alert and coming across as not interested.

There is a funny side of fibro-fog, although I am not sure Bix, my poor dog, puppy at the time, would have agreed if I had not noticed what I was doing. She was being her usual mischievous self and needed to be told to sit quietly for a few minutes. Insisting on paying no attention to me whatsoever, I followed her into the kitchen telling her to get on her bed as I proceeded to open up the bottom drawer of the freezer, pointing into it, saying ‘bed, now!’ No wonder she was looking at me like she had no idea who I was.  I have lots of stories like this – like the time I lifted the toilet seat to throw my dirty socks into the washing basket. There are many laugh out loud moments in our house!

But there is a serious side that we can’t ignore. The scarier side is waking up and having absolutely no comprehension of what day it is, forgetting the name of the people you spend lots of time with or forgetting how to get home from a trip to the shops. The list goes on, but rather than focus on those awful truths, I want to talk about what we can do to help ourselves.

What is ‘fibro-fog’ and how can you reduce its effects?

The medical profession term fibro-fog to ‘include the loss of mental clarity (mental fogginess) as well as attention and memory impairment’ (www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). There is a lack of clarity as to what causes fibro-fog – whether it’s the pain causing the distraction or a direct symptom of the condition itself is yet to be confirmed. What is clear is that there are things that you can do to help reduce the frequency and severity of fibro-fog. Let’s look at these now.

– Avoid caffeine: drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated will help in endless ways. I am not too keen on plain water and so I opt to use an Aloe Squash diluted with plenty of water

– Use planners, set reminders or make to-do lists: I use a five week wall planner in combination with my iCalendar. For regular things such as taking medication, putting chlorine in the hot tub, chasing up information for a weekly notice sheet, anything that I need to do regularly and so often would forget about, I use the reminders app on my iPhone.

– Use mindfulness techniques to de-stress: depending on how my hands are working I will often use an adult colouring book, if my hands are too sore to use the pens I will sit in the garden, under the trees just listening to the world around me, a long hot soak – in the hot tub or the bath, both work really well. I love to listen to music, either through headphones or by myself in the car, and become totally immersed in every beat, every sound with the vibrations of feelings and emotions that are evoked from this are amazing

– Take warm Epsom salt baths: I found out about Epsom Salt about six years ago, it was one of the best discoveries and so wish I had known about them much sooner. Mixed with almond oil and lavender essential oil is a lovely way to relax just before bed (alternatively, a citrus oil will boost you and wake you up for the day). Make sure the water is warm enough – 37c

– Do not do too many things at once, in fact just stick to the one – you will get through much more that way

– Boost your oxygen in-take: I spend a few minutes of deep breathing each day. I have also opted for a more permanent solution. I am able boost my microcirculation at the touch of a button, twice a day, every day using the ‘magic mat’. Using the ‘magic mat’ for better oxygen delivery to your body’s cells from the top of your head right down to the tips of your toes.

– Have a good bedtime routine: I could write lots about this, but I think it is better placed in a separate blog.

While ‘fibro-fog’ is not something we can ever completely escape, there are simple steps we can try to reduce the impact it has. I’ve found the combination that works for me and I hope by sharing, you too can find a few natural techniques to add to your fibromyalgia battle kit.

If you’ve found any useful tips on your journey, please do share them in the comments. Sharing is caring after all.

Wishing you always, good health and wealth.

Stacey (A.K.A The Glen) x

*No dogs were hurt (or frozen!) I promise 😉

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