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What Were We Talking About?

What Were We Talking About?

Have you ever heard of people ‘zoning out’ or doing it yourself? I’ve done it a lot, particularly when I’m not interested in what’s being said. However, ever since my diagnosis, it seems to happen much more frequently than before; and I’m not even zoning out on purpose!

I get so frustrated with myself, because I’ll ask a question, or be talking about something with a friend or co-worker, then my mind just draws a blank. It’s like I see the words you are speaking, I can hear the noise you’re making, but my brain is not computing what your words are saying/meaning and computing in my brain.

Feeling guilty

I feel so bad, when I am having a conversation, and I have to ask people to repeat themselves. This can also be because I’ve lost some hearing, but it’s also because my brain is blocking the information to compute in my brain.

I know that some people have been put off when this has happened with me. Then I feel bad… and try and explain… but it’s hard to explain, unless you actually KNOW what I’m going through.

This can also happen when I’m thinking about something… working on something… etc. I can read an article online, word for word, and I will have absolutely NO idea what I just read. This tends to happen more frequently if I’m tired, it’s at the end of the day, etc.

Forgetting things almost instantly

There are also times that I will be engaged in a conversation, listening and responding… 10 minutes later, I sometimes completely forgot what we talked about. My husband has noticed this because we will talk about something, then like an hour later, I’ll bring it up to him… and he just looks at me weird, then informs me that we just talked about all this not even an hour ago.

I think he finally understands that it’s not on purpose. I think this issue can really be classified as memory issues and cognitive function… sort of a mixture. Let me tell you, where I work full-time, I have to remember mileage on an odometer of a vehicle at times. For example… I went out to a vehicle, checked the odometer and by the time I got inside to my computer I completely forgot the numbers. Mind you, I repeated them in my head the entire walk back to my desk. So I had to go back and do it again… and it happened again! So I ended up taking a picture of the odometer on my third trip, with my phone, so that I could have it plain as day in front of me.

So let me just issue a BIG apology to anyone that I’ve spoken to in the past, that I’ve had multiple conversations with about the SAME EXACT THING… I know I’m a broken record at times, but you will have to excuse my brain, it likes to go on vacations with out me, it appears.

I can tell that me asking people to repeat themselves, sometimes more than once… or bringing up things to them.. more than once, it can be exasperating to some… trust me, it’s exasperating for me as well, once I realize that we’re having a repeat conversation… I’m also embarrassed about it at times, to be honest.

***So I want to know from others, have y’all experienced this? Do you completely zone-out unconsciously?***



Ashley Ringstaff

(Click on my name for more about me and/or how to contact me.)

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.


  • tfs
    3 years ago

    I am no longer able to work, but in retrospect I can see cognitive issues impacting my relationship with others at work. I think it is imperative to be aware, and to take pause and rest when we require it. I DO NOT think it is okay to experience shame and guilt about this. I think my rambling style is very difficult for others in my life. Communication is very important. We need to be gentle with ourselves and others. Try our best. Take a step back to collect our thoughts. We need to be able to set boundaries with others if necessary, while acknowledging their frustration and (sometimes) our limitations.

  • Julie
    3 years ago

    I was alarmed at first when my ex-husband used to say, “you just asked me that”. When in fact, I had no recollection of asking him. I thought he was trying to freak me out. But then I started forgetting what I was talking about in the middle of a conversation! Now, I’m no longer a spring chicken but I was only 45 at the time. Hardly old enough to be losing my mind, but that’s exactly what I thought was happening. No one ever told me that struggling with words could be all a part of the MS.

    12 years later and I’m having more problems with words. I know what I want to say, but the word just won’t come to me. In the middle of a conversation with my daughter, I will say “oh you know what I mean”. Even worse, I will intend to say one word and something else will come out of my mouth without me realizing it. For instance, I intend to say “piano” and “orange” will come out. I don’t realize what I have said until the person I’m talking with has this confused look come over their face.

    It’s incredibly frustrating and at times is embarrassing. I’m glad I know now that cognitive problems are fairly common with MS’ers. Friends that understand now, I can have a good laugh with at times. I try not to get too embarrassed but it’s difficult for someone that has always had a love affair with words. Thanks a lot MS!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    3 years ago

    Oh my gosh! I really don’t know where I come up with the words that all of a sudden come out of my mouth … when it has NOTHING to do with the topic I’m even discussing!

  • potter
    3 years ago

    Everything you wrote is exactly what happens to me except my husband hasn’t excepted it yet that it is probably cognitive problems from my MS. He still in denial that anything really bad is going to happen to me. I tell him I am having cognitive problems but he just blows it off and says everyone has some problems. I did lumonsity for two years, when I first started I was in the high scores in everything. By the time the two years was up my spelling and math scores were in the toilet. I did my practice program every day my scores should have least remained stable. It was to depressing to go on with the program. Potter

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    3 years ago

    Hang in there!! I know it’s annoying. I feel like my “knowledge” goes up and down.

    I’ve had more luck just playing games on my phone to keep my brain power going!

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