brain fog made me do it
Blog,  Chronic Illness,  Mental Health

Brain fog made me do it

Brain fog is a very common symptom of any chronic illness, the fogginess of the mind clouding memory and cognitive functioning. It can make even the most clever individual feel rather silly, and it can make doing anything difficult.

So, in an effort to explain what brain fog feels like, and to try and laugh at some of the things I have done, I have decided to reveal all in this post. All the things I’ve done as a result of brain fog.

It is something that I’ve been struggling with a lot recently. My current job is great as it is not physically demanding, but it does drain my mental energy and I do find that brain fog has now become one of my biggest symptoms of chronic fatigue.

Ironically enough, I could not include everything on this list because I simply couldn’t remember them all, so please do feel free to comment with any of your best brain fog moments!

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brain fog

All the things I have done because of brain fog

Wash my hands after having a shower.

The number of times I’ve forgotten that I’ve just got out of the shower, and thought I’d just been to the toilet so I wash my hands by mistake. I just sort of look at the sink and assume I need to wash my hands. At least my hands are definitely clean though!

Forget if I’ve shampood my hair so having to do it again just in case.

I must use an insane amount of shampoo and conditioner compared to other people simply because I can’t remember if I’ve used it and then have to re-use it to make sure my hair is washed.

Having to go back and check if I flushed the toilet.

Continuing on the bathroom theme here, often I will sit down after going to the loo and suddenly think ‘oh goodness did I actually flush that!?’ and then have to go and check. I never actually forget but you always need to check!

Forgetting what I’m saying mid sentence.

This is a very common and frustrating one, as I will be having a conversation and then just in the middle of a sentence I will sort of trail off and completely blank about what I was saying.

I’d like to tell you that I could ask and try and find where I was in the conversation and get it back on track, but more often than not I give up and just hope I’ve said what I needed to say.

Forgetting what day of the week it is.

I think every one has days like this, where you just completely forget what day of the week it is. But with brain fog it’s more of a constant issue.

I sometimes wake up on the weekend and think I’m late for work, or go to bed on a week night thinking I can have a lie in the next day. If I have time off work it throws my week off completely – it feels like I’ve had a long Saturday or Sunday and then it’ll still be Monday when I go back. It’s a strange thing to experience.

Although it is an easy one to overcome, because you can just check what day it is!

Going into a shop for something specific and completely forgetting what it was.

So much time has been wasted walking around shops trying to remember exactly what I went in for. I know its important and I try to go back through my thoughts or my needs to try and figure it out. But I just can’t. Usually until I get home.

Sit and stare into the distance for much longer than I was meant to, especially on the toilet. A quick wee can turn into 20 minutes!

Man, I could sit and stare for Britain. I wish it was an Olympic sport. When I’m that tired I just live in my mind, having conversations, thinking about things that are coming up, things that can happen, things that I can do. And before I know it I’ve been sat there for half an hour. If I had things to do, it’s too late, I wasted my time by just sitting there.

Leaving important things off my shopping list, then returning to get the left over items only to forget again and come home with something irrelevant.

This normally happens with the food shop, which my other half does. But every week I forget to ask for something I need, then when I go to get it myself I come back with some biscuits or a packet of crisps or something like that instead of what I actually needed. It’s so frustrating.

Accidentally leaving important things on my todo list until the last minute then having to rush them.

I say accidentally, simply because I just don’t remember there are things that need to be done. Then when we are getting ready to go somewhere, the memory floods in and I realise I only have an hour to do something I was meant to do a week ago.

Take Christmas for example, I like to handmake presents. But there is a lot going on this time of year that I just forget that these things take time. So I end up having to rush them all at the last minute and then they never look the way I wanted them to. Its a shame really, I’d love to know what I could create if I actually spent the right amount of time on them.

Completely forgetting to send a birthday card on time even though I check weekly who’s birthdays are coming up (I’m sorry family, this year in particular has been bad for that one!)

Oh man, this one is just the worst. I really try and get a birthday card to every family member for their birthday, so much so that I have all their birthdays on our calendar.

Each month I check what birthdays are coming up, and each week I try and check who’s birthdays are coming that week so I can send the cards on time. And then the birthday comes and I get a Facebook notification saying its their birthday and I’m hit with an ‘oh crap, I didn’t get them a card!’.

Sometimes I manage to moon pig a card for the next day but its often a case of even forgetting to do that. Then a whole week has gone by (as well as another person’s birthday) and I’ve sent nothing!

I really am sorry family members. I have the best intentions but my brain fog makes following through with them almost impossible sometimes!

Misplacing EVERYTHING. Even things I was just holding, or am currently holding.

Have you ever searched for your glasses and realised they are on your head? Or looked for your phone and it’s in your hand?

Well imagine that but on a much larger scale. I do this at least once a day, with the remote control, knitting stuff, certain clothing items, basically anything I could misplace I do.

In the past I have been so tired I’ve forgotten how to correctly use cutlery, that was fun.

Picture a confused and tired woman in a restaurant struggling to properly hold a fork. It’s unbelievably frustrating!

I also constantly drop food on myself when I’m eating. Sometimes I have to wear a tea towel as a bib.

I don’t judge distance well, so anything drippy goes on my top. I have hoodies designated for eating that are just covered in things, so I don’t get any of my normal clothes dirty.

Dropping things. Today I actually almost dropped my bread knife on my feet – brain fog makes me extremely clumsy.

I drop my phone when I’m using it, I drop my hairbrush when I’m brushing my hair, my water bottle, just anything that I can hold I will drop. I also loose my balance very easily and trip over air.

Calling even my closest friends by the wrong name. Yes even people I’ve known for years, or people I see everyday.

When you look at someone you’ve known for years and can’t for the life of you remember their name, then you know you’ve got problems. I just can’t seem to hold names in my head for very long.

Forgetting the spelling of very common words.

Or forgetting words altogether. It can be quite embarrassing. I mean I write as a hobby, I should know words!

Talk to myself when I’m walking around, as I don’t realise I’m not just having a conversation in my head.

Yes I have been that person, walking down the street talking to themselves, only I think I’m just having a conversation in my mind. I’ve had to stop wearing headphones and listening to music so I can actually hear when I’m speaking out loud and stop myself.

Brain fog is a very frustrating thing to experience, but I am in the mindset of ‘if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry’. These things are quite funny, but it’s the most frustrating thing in the world to experience them every day.

Is there anything else you would add to this list?

Mental Health Blog Philippa Claire

If you liked this one you might like my post about what chronic fatigue really feels like.


  • Colleen

    You are so right!!! All these things truly happen
    to people who are chronically ill!!!

    Your list should be required reading for friends,
    family, care-givers and anyone who cares about/ or
    spends time with someone who has a chronic illness!!
    It would be very illuminating and helpful for everyone!!

  • Elizabeth

    I know what you mean, I had a shower the other day and when I looked in the mirror to brush my hair I couldn’t remember which side to put my parting. You have to laugh…

    • Philippa Claire

      I’ve also done this! It’s definitely an ‘if I didn’t laugh I’d cry’ kind of moment – because they happen every day!

  • Denise

    I have gotten into the shower with my glasses on so many times I’ve lost count. I have also been told about conversations I can’t recall ever having.

    Be strong my forgetful friend.

  • May

    Thank you! Your mention of birthday cards prompted me to remember a birthday coming up this week, and your mention of Moonpig prompted me to use that to send a card and gift! I also get brain fog from CFS and right now I’m recovering from a cold which is adding to it (plus I can’t go out and buy a card because I’m self-isolating with symptoms) so this post really came into my life at the perfect time.

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