Brain Blips

This week Aoife Kirwan discusses 'brain blips'

Cognitive blips or brain blips are the second most irritating MS related issue that I deal with. I am 29 years old and rely on lists, diaries, reminders and alarms to make sure I don’t forget to do things. This really bothers me from time to time. My brain doesn’t always agree to keep up with the pace of my lifestyle. I like to be busy, but my brain does not! My cognitive issues seem to go hand in hand with fatigue, so if I manage one, I seem to manage the other. I often wonder whether the fatigue is causing my cognitive issues or whether it’s the other way around?? I do find when I get tired, my brain slows down, I begin doing things absentmindedly, I lose my train of thought and have trouble finding the right word. I also misplace things- my phone, my car keys, my car! I have often parked somewhere and after a few hours shopping forgotten what level/location!!

There are times that my brain blips have caused endless laughs. One morning I was quietly getting ready for work, I was running a few minutes late and trying to get ready at a faster pace than my brain could manage. After all the fussing, getting bags packed, lunch made, checking the iron was off and door was locked, I got out to the car and was on my way to work when I realised - I had forgotten to put my skirt on. It's a situation where you could laugh or cry, but I opt to laugh at these things.

Something that bugs me, and I can't seem to laugh at is when I go to Google something, then look blankly at the screen as I try to remember what it was that prompted me to open Google in the first place. It was my focus seconds ago and then nothing, it's gone. Similarly I can walk into a room and completely forget why I went in there in the first place. Losing my train of thought or having difficulty finding my words is particularly irritating during an argument or debate. I hate when I have a strong and valid point to make and when an opening to share my pearls of wisdom presents itself - it's gone, no words come out and victory escapes me once again. Later I think of what I was going to say that would have swayed things in my direction, but what good is later!

I have learned to know my limitations and accept them. I know that I hit a wall around 3pm for about two hours. I try to work around this, I use this time to do less complicated tasks and go back to more complex jobs once I have come out of that slump. Making sure I am well rested and hydrated is very important too. As I say, lists, diaries, alarms and reminders - while I complain they are indeed helpful tools to make sure I stay on top of things. Whether someone lives with MS or not, we all have blips now and then and that's okay.

Do any of you have any useful tips to help with memory or cognition?