MS Cognitive Dysfunction Frustration and Tips: Part II

Maybe some of the feelings and tips shared here can help you.

Continued from MS Cognitive Dysfunction Frustration and Tips: Part I

Of all of the challenges presented by multiple sclerosis (MS), I have found that the cognitive problems make me the saddest. Ever since I was a little girl, I accepted that I would never be a fantastic athlete or dancer, but that I could always rely on my brain - at least I told myself that after consistently finishing every race in dead last place or being the last person chosen for any team, besides those made up of “mathletes.”

For me to eventually realize all these years later that I am losing much of the brain power that I have always relied on feels like I have been abandoned by my closest friend and left to fend for myself in a foreign land.

I have received many comments from my readers over the years, expressing the same feelings of frustration and sadness. I’d like to share some of these, along with some tips that have helped in some of these cases:

“I also write things down on calendars and Post-it notes. Plus my sister set up my phone for alarm to go off to remind me of medication time. I still do my reading even if it means rereading a section and sometimes I will ask myself ‘what did it just tell me?’”

“I have lost my perfect spelling ability, and find myself using a dictionary, often for basics. I don’t like distraction, but I NEVER have. I can’t think with superfluous music, but I NEVER could. I can’t do math, but I never could! I make lists for everything, but I always have. But I work out and ride my horse and travel… Maybe I have found so many “workarounds” for so long that I am used to it!. Some things may just be a normal part of aging, or just a personality trait. It’s ok–just make lists and carry on!”

“I have noticed that a lot of the things I had to do, I am having some difficulties doing now for instance, I have to use a calculator this do math and I used to love math.”

“I can remember what I did when I was 20 but I can’t remember what movie I saw last night. There is a positive side to that; I get to enjoy the movie twice. My job requires me to do a lot of writing. My biggest problems are I forget what I wanted to say in mid-sentence. On top of that, I forget how to spell even simple words. Sometimes rather than fight to find the spelling or looking it up, I just change the word. I have written 2 books and countless articles so this is really frustrating. I haven’t really found anything I can do to help the cognitive issues except write a lot.”

“When I was diagnosed I was suffering so greatly from cognitive disorders that I felt I might be placed in a home. I was getting lost in Walmart and I always had to have someone help me go anywhere. Even though I had paralysis through most of my right side this mental disability is the most painful. It just hurts not to be “smart” like I used to be. What I do to help with that is I find ways to bring a smile to other people’s faces every single day. I appreciate the people in my life that help me out. I show my gratitude in every way possible. I don’t know how long I will get to express my love to the people I have in my life and I want them to know how much they mean to me now. It really does take my mind off it. I live by this quote by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“The fog was part of my life for 13 years except for the 9 months of both my pregnancies. I was diagnosed August of 1999. Still relapsing remitting, thank goodness. I thought for awhile I would have to quit my teaching job. The fog and slowness of processing was taking its toll. Since August of this year I started juicing and following the fruit and vegetable protocol of Dr. Wahls. It has been 9 weeks. The improvement in cognitive function is so unbelievable I am scared to jinx it by telling people. The “fog” is GONE.”

Read more about cognitive dysfunction and MS: 

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