28 People with Chronic Illnesses Describe what ‘Brain Fog’ Feels Like

            A symptom often associated with chronic illnesses such as lupus, is brain fog: 493x335_lupus_brain_fog_videofeelings of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity. Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms of lupus patients. Often times, its hard for loved ones and caretakers to fully understand the impact brain fog can have. If you are unaware of its indicators, you may assume its similar to that groggy feeling you experience before that first cup of coffee. However, its effects extend well beyond that. Oftentimes, brain fog is hard to understand unless you yourself have experienced it. Those who have experienced brain fog may also question whether their reactions or feelings are normal and whether others who experience brain fog feel the same way. When experienced in conjunction with a lupus diagnosis, brain fog can also be referred to as “lupus fog”.

            Themighty.com polled Facebook readers with chronic illnesses to learn what experiencing brain fog can really be like. The thought behind this was to gain a better understanding of symptoms of chronic illness to properly treat and assist those experiencing brain fog in the future. After all, there is no better education than awareness. Here are the answers readers came up with:


  1. “My mind feels as slow and achy as my body, struggling to take each step.” — Barb Silvestro
  2. “Imagine not sleeping for three days and then trying to understand quadratic equations.”— Melissa Austin
  3. “If someone is speaking to you, all you hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher. You know the person is talking, but you cannot decipher the words or the meaning.”— Lori Hughes
  4. “Imagine being shaken awake at 3 a.m. from an extremely deep sleep and asked what type of pizza is your favorite. You might give an answer, but because of your confusion, the answer might not be the ‘best’ answer, nor the one you would normally give.”— Ross Caynes
  5. “Imagine losing your keys five times in five minutes, absent-mindedly pouring yourself three bowls of cereal, struggling with remembering what you need to do next, forgetting the majority of the words you know when you need to say something and having an audience for the whole trainwreck that is your new reality.”— Paula J Frey Slater
  6. “You are swimming through JELL-O.”— Samantha DeGroot
  7. “I like to think of it as a library card catalog from the old days. I know I used to have the card in that drawer (that information in my brain), but the card is gone or misfiled now.”— Alyssa Schultz
  8. “Brain fog is like stumbling around in the dark with no clear path out. It’s like your brain being trapped in quicksand constantly.”— Rachel Johnson
  9. “Brain fog is needing a reminder to remind you what your reminders are for.”— Selena Marie Wilson
  10. “It’s literally like being in a fog. In fog, you can’t see far enough ahead of you. With brain fog, you can’t think far enough ahead.”— Kelly McCoy Hickey
  11. “Brain fog is like, y’know, what’s that word? Maybe, if I Google that term, um, that I used last week when I saw my doctor. Was that last week? Let me look on my calendar. Hmm, where’s my iPhone? Did I leave it in my pocket when I went out early? Was that today or yesterday? Oh, wait… Darn, I used to be so good with words. I can remember my SAT scores and got almost 800 on the verbal test, but now I can’t remember words. That is brain fog.”— Angela Oddone
  12. “Brain fog is like having the memory span of a goldfish. It’s hard to plan for the future when you can barely get through what you are doing now.— Sara Cohen
  13. “Brain fog for me is feeling completely lost in a familiar place.”— Cherie Rendon
  14. “It is not just stumbling on a word but losing your entire train of thought and sometimes even feeling as if English is not your native language.”— Judy Pamer
  15. “Brain fog to me is like being stuck in mud and trying so very hard to pull yourself out. It is exhausting!”— Penny Royer
  16. “It’s as if you’re walking around with an invisible eye mask; you should be able to see clearly but you cant.”— Hayley Gardner Shimanek
  17. “It can feel like drowning without the water. Like you are mentally struggling to get back to the surface, blurry vision and muffled sound included.”— Tifa Carlyle
  18. “It’s like your brain is an extremely messy desk and you can’t find anything, but you know you put it there.”— Julia Ann Lange
  19. “It feels like I have cotton candy in my head.”— Crystal Angela Sada
  20. “Brain fog is like a poor Wi-Fi signal — it’s half there, it’s half not, and you have no idea when your ‘browser’ will load!”— Arianne Gaudet
  21. “It feels like you’ve had one too many shots of tequila.”— Desiree Carbeil-Fortin
  22. “It is like you have a fish bowl over your head and cannot fully understand what is going on around you.”— Tiff Paige Miller
  23. “[It’s] like trying to think through a brick wall. The words, meanings, processes — all the things — are just on the other side where you can’t reach them”— Faith Merryn
  24. “It feels like you have been awake all night completing an assignment and after handing your assignment in, you have no idea where you parked your car.”— Kate Eastman
  25. “It’s like playing Charades or Pictionary with yourself. You know the word or name you want to use but you can’t get your brain to come up with the right answer.”— Sandra Martorano Tentler
  26. “Thoughts come into your mind, but they don’t stick. They dissolve away quickly and are gone.”— Chronic Beauty
  27. “It’s like a really bad hangover without the fun night.”— Bec Brown
  28. “It is like your brain is a puzzle, and the pieces are scattered all over the place.”— Bekr Usque Ad Finem

[For the article on themighty.com, “28 People with Chronic Illness Explain What ‘Brain Fog’ Feels Like to Them”, click on the themighty.com link above!]


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