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Any Body Else Have Foggy Brain?


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I am having a horrible time with my concentration. Any one else have this? I can not seem to retain info or concentrate. I made a huge mistake grooming a dog yesterday. Wrong clipper, making this australian shepherd about bald. Had to seriously apologize to my boss. Lack of focus. Could not een charge the guy for it, it was so bad. Thank god the guy was understanding. I think I need to re evaluate my need/desire to work/volunteer part time. I realize this is her business and livehood and I don't need to be screwing it up for her. I have a call in to a grief counselor to get some help. The crying episodes are becoming more frequent. My husband died, my friend died, my sister and I have departed ways and are not communicating and I need to mentally prepare myself for putting my senile dog down. My son's wedding is over and I am crashing. I am stuck in the guilt phase of this grieving and blaming myself for everything and can't seem to move forward.

Thanks for listening friends.

Blessings,

Becky

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Becky,

I also went thru some stages early in my journey with the same issues, what I found is I needed to slow down, I had days I could not concentrate enough to make routine choices, things I decided every day seemed in the fog as you say...you understand it's happening whiich is good, try and find something to relax your thoughts and mind, focus on things at your pace, when I discovered it was happening to me I would attempt to derail the issue with prayer and meditation...I also made notes to keep things in order as well...the crying is a normal healing process our brain does as humans so let the tears roll, the more the better, Crying releases endorphins which in turn relieve stress and allow you to feel better...I had the same issue now I just cry when I need to...

I pray things will ease for you and you may find some comfort....

NATS

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Dear Becky,

What you are going is entirely normal. I have went through the same thing. No concentration, like Nats I pray a lot each and every day. My brain has been in a fog sense last Thursday, not because of grief, but because of the C-DIF. It has just been yesterday and today it seems like my brain is getting back to normal. Of course Pauline always said I was a starter brain. Not to make light of it, but after a couple bad accidents where I was hit from behind. I had to start using notes. I still do to this day

Just take some deep breaths and rest, eat well, and just let the world, go by. In a few days you will be back in the right frame of mind. Like Nats said let out as many tears as you can. I think it is very important in our grief to seek help, even local hospice meetings has really helped me. It has only been the last few meetings that I can talk about Pauline, without breaking down in tears. At least you could see that you need some kind of help. Whatever that will be for you. Only you can decide what is your best plan of action, to be able to get out of the fog and see the light again.

God Bless you Becky, May the Lord, bring you peace into your heart and comfort you soul. I trust in God with all my being. He has never let Pauline and I down ever. Even when we could not see the light, He always took care of us, and now ME.

Dwayne

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Becky, like NATS and Dwayne said, you're not alone. I like the thought 'slow down'. When I was sick last Winter, I was doing things too quickly, I even fell flat on my face twice, in two different grocery parking lots because I was so weak, but in truth I was still moving too fast. Now, my dear Wife is gone on ahead of me, and I'm heeding everything she told me. I think back to how she cared for me, and I try my best to slow myself down and make myself a person again. Just 2+ months into this journey, and I truly go into a room at times and wonder what I came in there for. Then, instead of getting excited I just stop and concentrate on what I'm doing. I let my haste get away from me on Sunday when I was helping on an Ice Cream Social at the Church and I moved too fast, caught my arm on a cabinet and ripped away some of the (way too thin) skin. Now, I'm paying the price because I moved too fast. I will get it at some point. I honestly think you're being too hard on yourself. Take it easier and relax and don't get down on yourself. Pray for help, I do.

Earl C

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Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, moving slowly all go with the territory. First we are all stressed and exhausted when our loved one dies. Those two are enough to affect our thinking. I publish a magazine and forgot to put paid ads in it many times in the first few months. Thank goodness I also live in a small town where everyone knows what I am dealing with and I was able to just extend their subscription to ads. I could name a thousand instances where I forgot, could not focus, and more. It is better now at 17 months next week but I am not back by any means. Patience and being gentle with ourselves is my philosophy. Stress affects memory.

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Uh-huh. I figure it's permanent. It's been six years for me and I still can't read a book and have a hard time concentrating/focusing. I think it did permanent damage from the shock...that's my take on it anyway.

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Kay, I agree there may be permanent stuff done. I feel that I am compromised also but not like in the beginning...but definitely some damage that may not go away...I am sorry you have to add that to your struggles. I know these are tough times for you and I reach out with support. Mary

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Guest Nicholas

I echo all the above - forgetting things, inability to concentrate, plus lack of energy, enthusiasm, interest, carelessness, the list goes on and on ... literally, as I have to write a list for everything I need to do, maybe that is also my OCD, twice now I have forgotten to take my meds at bedtime even though I had put them out. Naturally, they weren't my sleeping tablets.

Nicholas

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I appreciate all the responses. It is reassuring knowing it is not just me but yet another symptom of the grieving. I have made an appt. with the grief counselor for Monday... so ready to move forward instead of being stuck where I seem to be. Thanks for all your support here. It is very much appreciated.

Blessings

Becky

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Uh-huh. I figure it's permanent. It's been six years for me and I still can't read a book and have a hard time concentrating/focusing. I think it did permanent damage from the shock...that's my take on it anyway.

That's an interesting take. I've been thinking that, too. Even though quite some time has passed since my loss, I still find it hard for me to concentrate on certain things.

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Hi all, my memory was always faulty, just the way I always have been. However, it is worse. I find myself standing in the kitchen, wondering if I have fed the dogs. They have probably gotten breakfast twice many times. It scares me sometimes, I am so afraid I will forget something really important....I have sticky notes and reminders all over the place. If I don't write it down, chances are it won't get done. Mike used to tease me that I could hide my own easter eggs! His birthday is today, he would have been 64. That I won't forget.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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My thoughts to you on Mike's 64th birthday. I wrote Bill a letter on his birthday last January...it helps me and frankly, I believe he is around me reading my thoughts. I hope the day is ok for you. Thinking of you, Mary

PS My dog has, for sure, been fed more often and he gobbles it up as I stand there wondering if I fed him already.

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Well for those of you finding yourself with foggy brain, try not to be scared of it, it's something a lot of older people face so it can be lived with and adapted to, it's just we're facing it a little younger than we would have been. It helps to write things down, and it helps to laugh about it. I've had a hard time concentrating on reading, I can't read books anymore and I used to be an avid reader...I have noticed it helps to try and force ourselves to read just a little more, even if we find ourselves reading the same words over and over until we give up. It's the concentration that's hard. I can concentrate at work so that's good, and maybe it's because I've forced myself. And if in doubt about whether you've fed the dogs or eaten...do it again, better safe than sorry! It really helps to have a routine. My mom has dementia real bad and she has to write everything down. She doesn't have trouble remembering if she took her pills because they're in a container for every day of the week, but she sometimes forgets if she's eaten so I tell her to eat again if she doesn't feel full (she's only 80 lbs, she can handle it!). We've told her to write down on her calendar when her kids call or visit so she'll know she's not forgotten because she tends to forget and then think no one cares about her. She makes notes of when things are going to happen, like a doctor appt or one of us taking her out to eat and she posts it on her door so if she forgets what's coming up she can refer to it. Me, I live by my Google Calendar and reminders! Otherwise I wouldn't know what was happening that day/week! I have lists for everything, even my weekly chores and cross them off. I thank God I'm organized, it's a lifesaver for people with bad memories! Also, engage in brain stretchers, play games that cause you to think or reach a little higher, it helps ward off further damage and can even improve brain function. So does eating right, getting sleep, etc.

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I, too, had this syndrome and didn't realize how bad it was until some time later. I functioned, I did all the necessary paperwork, made all the necessary phone calls, etc. I thought I was doing okay until at about the one-month mark, I realized I could barely remember what day it was, let alone do anything requiring any mental effort. It wasn't until about the six-month mark that I started to come out of it and it was only then that I started to realize how bad it had been. I compare it to looking back to when I was a teenager... now I wonder how on earth I could have been such an idiot. Well, it's the same this time around. I look back to the week I locked myself out of the house (twice in the same week!) and wonder how that was even possible. I'd never done it once in my life before Glenn died and there I was, doing it twice in a week. It was only after I started to come out of it that I realized how bad it had been. For all I know, I'm maybe still not out of it completely, but my focus and concentration is mostly back, so I don't think it necessarily has to be permanent.

If I may, I think that part of the problem is that we don't use our brains in the same way as we did "before". I know that the effort seemed to be too great and then I realized that the old adage, "Use it or lose it" applied to me. I was deliberately avoiding having to use my brain and when I made a concerted effort to start reading, thinking, "trying", it started to come back. Just a thought.

Hugs.

Di

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Becky,

The foggy brain bit and the guilt will ease up over time. Not sure how long it's been for you, but now after a year I'm a little clearer and the guilt and remorse is less intense. I have long periods where I don't blame myself for things.

See my reply to Beth on the post about regrets. Or remorse. Now I can't remember what it was called. Uh-oh - foggy brain!

I work full time and have trouble remembering things I promised to get done. I'm easily overwhelmed. But then I remind myself that I'm now the only one in charge of the house and home - and our four kids, even if they're more or less grown. I have to remember so much more than I did when there were two of us. I had the luxury of being able to relax now and then and let my husband take care of things. We were a team. Now I'm a team of one. I can't expect myself to be able to handle things as efficiently as the team of two did.

Again, I'm not sure how far out you are, but I seem to recall that at eight months, I felt a major setback. Everything crashed down on me and I couldn't stop sobbing. Then after a while, it let up. I still cry, but not every day. I think this thing comes in waves. Feel free to e-mail me privately if you need an extra shoulder to lean on.

Melina

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The foggy brain issue is now causing trouble for me at work. I'm wondering if anyone else is having the same problems.

I work at the hospital, as a neuropsychologist. That's a psychologist with a specialization in neurology. Before my husband became ill and was diagnosed with cancer, I was, I think, pretty good at my job. Now I'm just barely pulling my weight.

I can't concentrate at work. I have to force myself to go to the office in the morning and end up staring at the computer screen when I'm supposed to be writing reports. At meetings, I can't follow what other people are saying. I forget things easily and have to be reminded, several times. Often I come in late because I haven't been able to fall asleep until closer to 4 or 5 in the morning. Though I do carry out neuropsychological assessments - testing clients, write the necessary reports and attend meetings, I don't do much else.

Finally my boss, the chief of staff, took me in for a talk and told me that I wasn't showing the same motivation and enthusiasm as before. I told him that it's been hard - the grief - and it's only been a year since I lost my husband.

My boss said that I should have come farther at this point - a year is a long time. Time to move on and get back to work.

How can I be expected to be enthusiastic when I feel the way I do? I wish I could quit my job, but how would I live without an income? I've got a house and four college kids to think about. And I suppose it's important for me to have something to keep me busy during the day. I'd probably just be lying around watching TV or crying if I didn't have a job to go to.

Right now I can't see how I will ever get that motivation and enthusiasm back. What's there to be enthusiastic about?

Melina

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Melina

Your post could have been written by me, which is why I am seeing the grief counselor weekly. He says it is entirely normal, our brain is processing the death of our spouse and their is NO time frame for this. Our brain is preoccupied with grief and dealing with our loss. I am working part time for a friend dog grooming, (I am a retired court administrator) just so I will get out of bed. She will give me some instructions and I can not for the life of me retain any of it after the first sentence. I was never like this before. It is the grief, along with the fatigue and insomina. Allow yourself time, patience and kindness to get through it however long it takes. I finally told her I can not do what she wants me to do, just not comfortable without making a mistake. I will do what I believe I can do and do it well. That is all we can ask of ourselves with what we have had to deal with. Is it possible that you can cut back on your hours a little to allow you some time to process/rest? Thoughts and prayers to you.

Blessings

Becky

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Melina,

Had a similar situation here at one of my part time jobs, was pulled into my bosses office due to the fact I speak of Mike frequently! HUH? but no problems with my work or attendance, and was asked to take some time off, gladly did for this allowed me to use some of my sick time that if I quit I wouldnt be reimbursed for......and plan on not having that position soon anyhow.....But have always wondered about those that work in the People Professions, how they can be so generous and compassionate to pts/clients they dont know, but frequently,with co-workers their expectations are so unrealistic! Take care! Dave

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I believe everyone who has posted a reply to this train of thought has come up with valid reasoning for these lapses. I like the idea that (for some of us) getting on in years has an effect on people, even people who haven't experienced the tragedy we have. Almost everyone here is having to face their new reality at a younger age than myself. I just turned 78 last Tuesday, so having a declining memory has been with me for a while, even before I lost my precious partner. What I have been able to figure out about my new life is that, regardless of age, we've all been stripped of someone who was our most valuable asset in this life, so I know that when my Wanda and I were together we operated as a team. What one of us may forget, the other one was able to remember, so in effect, as we (seriously) joked about many times was "it takes both of us now to make one complete person". So, now, with just (tomorrow) three months of this new life under my belt, I'm only half a person. I truly could be expected to forget things, I may not have the same concentration level that I had, but after all I'm living in a different world, and with your help, doing OK, not nearly as well as I would want.

Thanks to all of you working together, we can identify and work on all of our inner failures, but the one thing none of us should ever do is to get down on ourselves. We're coping, we're living in a world we didn't expect, didn't want. We miss what was once the focal point of our life. And, frankly, from reading the posts, in my opinion we're doing a great job of managing to recognize our own shortcomings. I haven't seen a post here by anyone who says they refuse to give it their best effort, and I know in my heart that's exactly what would be expected of us by our lost loved one. My message to myself, and I would hope for the same for you, is "just keep on working on getting better", and if I have down days or I have failures such as remembering something I should have thought of, it's OK, I'm only human, and I'm still just half the person I was when I had my best friend with me. I do know that trying to keep my mind sharp by doing crosswords or word exercises is a good thing for me in moving forward, so I try to learn something each day, even if it's something about keeping up the house, doing jobs my magnificent Wife did for many years. Brain exercise is important, and now that I don't have my caregiver when I'm sick, I need to do better at making sure I try my best to stay well. That takes time, energy, and thought too.

Good work, all of you, and to myself, "keep battling it, and don't expect perfection".

Lots of love and hugs to all....Earl C

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