What Causes My Cog Fog and How I Manage It
Folks, today as of my writing this is the kind that leaves me gasping and reeling. It’s not the first day I’ve had like this, and it won’t be the last. Forgetfulness has increased 100-fold. It has been this way for a while and affects finances, work, and other day-to-day, routine activities.
I'm forgetting things
For example, I forgot to include many deductions before turning in my 2022 taxes to the accountant earlier this year. So I owed the IRS three times more than usual. It blind-sided me, but I was able to pull together the money and pay the government well before the April 18th deadline. That was pure luck.
What’s more, I have missed three out of four meetings during April 2023, simply because I forgot to have the meeting app put those dates on my calendar like I usually do. Other work-related SNAFUs involve completely forgetting how to moderate using the new Meta Business Suite module that I thought I mastered earlier in the week, only to scratch my head in utter confusion this morning.
But wait, there’s more!
Said head-scratching in utter confusion has become my new normal! I struggle to focus on one thought while the 99 others scream in protest. Head lowered, brow furrowed, lips curled into a grimace, I wince at the noisy complaining and try even harder to hear one faint voice. The longer I try, I can achieve it and soon maintain focus and become very productive.
One thing that finally got my prolonged attention was how to moderate the MS and IBS sites at Health Union in the proper persona once I was in Facebook. I have a different photo for each of 2 email addresses, so there was a 50% chance of getting it right. But the wrong one kept popping up. I learned which was the right one all over again.
Next week I might forget again and stare at the screen in embarrassment; yes, embarrassment, even though I was the only observer. I feel humiliation while I observe myself in this mode as a PLwMS.
Appalled at what I can forget
It’s just that I am amazed – read that as appalled – at what I can forget, how thoroughly I can forget it, and how familiar it ISN’T once I “remind” myself of it again, bringing on a fresh bout of humiliation. It should be a déjà vu moment rife with recognition, followed by requisite relief. Instead, it feels as weak and unsteady on its feet as a newborn fawn.
To a baby, the world is new. To the rediscovering me, the world should stop being so confounding. But I feel as troubled as a girl can feel, knowing that I forgot a whole big world into which I fit a little more easily yesterday, than the one I struggled to recall today.
It was really scaring me until I told myself something true: If I had Alzheimer’s I wouldn’t know it, or wouldn't be afraid I have it. A sobering final interview of Glen Campbell and his wife, Kim, showed a worried wife telling the camera—right in front of Glen—that she notices that he’s changed, but he hasn’t noticed, which he confirms with a relaxed smile. He went on a final farewell tour where he always seemed to recall the songs, lyrics, music, and how to play guitar. He eventually was placed in a facility that could better care for him and died there not long after. Sad for him and his family, but not necessarily my fate.
Figuring out my cog fog
So, what is causing my cog fog? My worsened short-term memory and balance, inability to focus and maintain learned skills from day to day, appeared not long after I started using hemp-derived delta 8 THC gummies for chronic insomnia.
Although delta 8 helps, I tolerate medication very well, which presents a bit of a predicament. One thing that happens is that I must increase the dose periodically to get the same effect. So I start with one gummy and slowly make my way up to 6, then reduce the dose gradually to zero. Then start at one gummy again.
Some day soon I will contact a sleep medicine doc and try another approach for managing obstructive sleep apnea and chronic insomnia. Until then, I can only try to stay on top of the balance and memory glitches by using familiar resources, my notes, friends, and colleagues.
Were you misdiagnosed with something else before receiving a MS diagnosis?