It starts with something you can brush off: the standard where in this enormous mall parking lot did I leave the damn car?! Happens to everyone, no big deal, a brain fart. Until you realize it wasn’t just today at the mall; you’ve somehow spent most of your week feeling as if you’ve made major decisions behind a smokescreen. As if those brain farts were fogging up the place. “Brain fog is an inability to really punch through,” says Mady Hornig, MD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center. “It’s a vague sense of what you’re trying to retrieve, but you can’t focus in on it,” she says, “and the effort to harness the thought can be as draining as physical activity.”
- Brain fog is a symptom of chronic illness that makes it hard to think and focus
- People who care about someone with brain fog should be careful not to become frustrated with them and hurt their feelings
- People with brain fog may need additional time to process or feel “really present” in a moment.
“Brain fog can be one of the most challenging parts of living with a chronic illness, but if you struggle with it, just know you are not alone.”