you walk into a supermarket, collect everything on your list and get back home, only to realise that you have registered almost nothing about the trip. you didn’t notice what was on sale or whether the person at the cash register was male or female. Or worse, you got to the supermarket and just stood in front of the shelf, leaving without your shampoo because there were just too many choices. Welcome to brainfog.
What is it? It’s a feeling of dizziness or foggyness that is not a result of alcohol or drug use, but one of the symptoms of something else. People describe it as:
• can’t focus on one thing or anything
• unable to put thoughts together
• everyone moving and talking but no energy to understand what is going on
• a state of blankness, or thoughtlessness
It is a state similar to anxiety , but without the feeling of panic. It’s almost a panic attack, but in slow motion and without the fear or adrenalin rush. You are unable to focus, unable to put together thoughts and often can’t make decisions. It’s sort of like being locked in. You are still receiving sensory input but cant react.
Often, people with brainfog can still function at work and with everyday life stuff that is routine and doesn’t require a lot of thinking. But it can have a huge impact on my social life, and many people find it impossible to leave the house, or when they do, find that they can’t enjoy the outing.
Here’s how one sufferer describes it:
I have these days where I’m at home and I cant desire what to do and my mind is racing. Sometimes I just say fuckit and stay home and sleep or zone out on TV, and sometimes I go out thinking that maybe it will snap me out of it. The problem is that when I do go out I’m still in a fog when I get there and can’t focus on my friends, or the event or whatever.
The worst part of this is the huge impact this has on my social life. Even when I do manage to drag myself out of the house, I often sit against the wall, locked in my head and unable to interact with the world.
Brainfog is a vague term. It doesn’t showcase the severity of what is happening, or its causes and effects, and it often varies hugely between individuals. It’s like someone telling you “I feel sad”, but you aren’t sure what “sad” truly means.
To understand why brainfog happens to you, it would be better to study it, and find out why it happens. A parallel analogy perhaps would be, if you feel sad, why do you feel sad? One of the ways to relieve sadness is simply to know “the reason for the sadness”. For instance, when i feel sad, the moment my brain signals to me that a test has gone badly, i get the instant relief of “it is okay, it is because of the test”. Brainfog is much the same. Understanding what is causing it may not solve the problem, but it does allow you to stop blaming yourself.
If you have any mental health issues active, then brainfog can come from anywhere. Perhaps you just simply didn’t sleep well last night, or didn’t have enough minerals in your body. Perhaps a problem from yesterday has carried over into today. Perhaps it is PTSD that you are dealing with, or something else. Different causes have different solutions. A person dealing with PTSD who experiences brainfog is very different someone with ADHD who is dealing with attention issues. Often they are overlapping, which adds to the complexity of rewiring.
If you experience brainfog frequently or in high intensity, it’s going to be a really good idea to see a professional. It can reach a point where it interferes with your ability to function in everyday life. If you understand the cause, a professional may be able to help you find ways to deal with it. If you don’t understand the cause, you are likely to be experiencing the symptoms of a mental health issue, and it will always be best to identify that and learn as much as possible.
• Bebrainfit – Stop Brain Fog
• Rodalenews – Five Ways to Clear Brain Fog
• Wikipedia – Clouding of Consciousness
• Chronic Fatigue – About Brain Fog
• Mental Health Daily – Brain Fog Causes: A list of possibilities