Broken brain filter

Broken Brain Filter

Where do I get these crazy titles? Well, I get them from things that I personally deal with or have gone through. Now, what do I mean about a Broken Brain Filter? I mean, it sounds kind of odd, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

No filter with MS

What I’m referring to is the fact that, sometimes, my brain-to-mouth filter is ‘out of order’, in a way. Things come out of my mouth that I hadn’t planned on saying out loud. If I’m in a situation where it would be best to keep my mouth shut, my brain doesn’t get that message, and it comes out of my mouth anyways.

I know we always hear, “think before you act/speak”… but sometimes that just isn’t possible for me. I could be having an internal dialogue going on in my head, and will blurt out words all of a sudden, not meaning to. Has that happened to any of you?

There could also be times where I plan things out in my head to say, and I go to say them, but the brain-to-mouth filter doesn’t communicate correctly, and I make absolutely no sense in what I was trying to say.

A part of my cog fog

I feel like this is a part of my cognitive dysfunction, or what I like to call cog-fog, which I’ve written about in the past.

I’ve come to realize that my brain-to-mouth filter is ‘out-of-service’ when I’m fatigued - well more fatigued than what’s ‘normal’. It also happens if I’m stressed out, or in a busy environment. It’s like my head can’t deal with everything that’s going on, so part of it just decides to take a nap.

For example, the other day I was having a conversation with someone at the infusion clinic, where I was getting my Tysabri. We were just having a conversation about random things, and I went to say something, but it came out all wrong, and they corrected me as I corrected myself. But at least they understood what I was dealing with, and it wasn’t with people who have no clue as to what MS can cause.

To the point of embarrassment

I’ve been to meetings for my kids’ school, and I try to speak up to say things, but I’ve embarrassed myself so many times now, that I tend to only speak in the smaller group conversations. I don’t know what it is about a larger group, maybe it’s just too much going on at once, but that seems to have an impact on my brain-to-mouth filter functionality as well.

Those people, who know me and are informed on what MS is and how it affects me, understand it a bit more. So if I’m sitting there searching for a word, they usually help me out with the word I’m trying to find. I’ve gotten past being embarrassed about those situations, if I’m around people that I actually know and am friends with.

I’ve also noticed that the later in the day it is, the worse my brain-to-mouth filter gets. I’m guessing it’s because my medicine is wearing off, and I’m getting tired, and it makes my thinking process become disrupted.

Building frustration

I’ve even gotten mad at a word before. Yes, actually mad. I was so frustrated because I had the word in my head but I couldn’t get it out of my mouth, and it was ticking me off, so I started saying, “stupid word, why can’t you just leave my mouth. You stupid, stupid word.” Thankfully, I’m usually at home when I have these conversations out loud with myself, because I’m not sure what people would do or how they would react if I was out in public when it happens.

Trying to think of a word

It seems that my brain isn’t picky when it comes to being ‘out-of-service’. It doesn’t have to be complicated word, or a word I rarely use. It can be a word that I use frequently, but it just decides to play hide-and-seek in my brain. Do I sound as crazy as I think I do right about now? Oh well, there is nothing wrong with being a little bit crazy, being normal is boring anyways.

Jumping around conversations

I think one of the more irritating things that I deal with when it comes to my cog-fog and broken brain filter, is when I’m in the middle of a conversation, or stating something… I’ll get side tracked by something, then try and go back to the conversation and completely forgot what I was talking about. Even if I’m reminded of the subject I was talking about, I sometimes can’t remember what I was going to say. So I just have to let it go… Usually, when this happens, I’ll remember what I wanted to say when I’m laying down to go to bed, so I can’t really just pick up the conversation with the person again.

If it’s my husband that I was having the conversation with that I got lost in, I usually get really excited that I remember it, and just blurt it out to him. And he has no idea that I’m trying to continue the conversation from hours before then. I think he is getting used to it now a little bit, but it’s still odd for him at times I think.

Utilizing my time

Even when it comes to my kid’s homework… I make sure that we get this done right when they get home from school, if they need my help with it. Because if we wait to do it till later on in the evening, my brain does not filter the information like it should and I’m not able to help my boys with their homework.

Feeling like I need to apologize

I even find myself in a conversation at times, where I have to ask a question more than once. They will answer my question initially, but it’s like my mind just shuts off and doesn’t take in the words that they are saying. I feel bad when I have to do this, because it seems like I wasn’t listening to them when they were talking. That isn’t the case - I am listening, but my brain isn’t!

A lot of these things I’ve talked about when my brain filter is broken, I tend to refer to them as MS moments. My friends that have MS, understand what I mean when I say, “Sorry, was having an MS Moment.” But it’s hard to explain it to those who don’t “get it”.

Well, that’s where I’m going to end it for now. I could probably go on and on about this, but then I wouldn’t get anything else done that needs to be done. I am a big procrastinator at times, FYI.


Ashley Ringstaff

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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