Amazingly, I've been suffering from brain fog for a few years now and this is my very first post on the topic in any forum. Why and how I've let it go on so long without proper research is something I'm finding hard to answer myself, and any attempt at an explanation will just sidetrack from the issue at hand. I've now reached the age of 20 and am dedicating to getting my life on track and improving myself in all aspects of life. Tackling the incessant brain fog is not a part of my plan; my aims, ambitions for life cannot even come close to being realised without at the very least lessening the effects of this affliction..
So, like some other sufferers, I went a long time without even having a name for the problem and actually didn't realise there was a problem for quite some time. I have great trouble remembering when it surfaced, and have difficulty in general remembering my state of mind at various points in recent years. I was one of the top performers in primary school (american elementary school) and, towards the end of secondary (high) school, even attaining the best results in the equivalent to the American SATs. These exams were all based on rote learning, and for me it was sheer determination and consistency that allowed me to perform so well. Brain fog was a major hindrance throughout most of the 6 years of secondary school, most notably in social situations. I had a group of friends for the first two years but I was (maybe not unfairly) ditched by most all of them and only managed to secure one really close friend for the remainder of my time there. Outside of school, I then shut myself off from not only peers but family, spent the majority of 2-3 years in my bedroom playing computer games and watching tv shows/movies. Admittedly, I've spent way too much time (specifically in my 'formative' years) passively watching TV/playing games and in the beginning blamed my BF symptoms on this. But I came to the realisation that lots of kids do this kind of thing. Eat ****** food, watch too much TV and don't engage intellectually. But they don't all wind up with this kind of ailment. There has to be something more to it. And so, one year into college, I've finally been able to overcome my extreme apathy and am now trying to actively improve myself. Hence this post.. baby steps :P
Dan, I don't know what I really have to contribute to this thread, but of the many forum posts and articles I've read on the subject, yours is the first one that has made me want to write about what's going on for me. And for that, I thank you. Everything you said struck a chord, except maybe the fact that you experience some days of normal functioning. One problem in this sense lies in the fact that I don't really have a reference point for 'normal' functioning. My brain fog has been an everyday occurence. Though some days my mood and BF are better, I haven't hit what I consider to be my potential for higher functioning in years. That is, without the aid of nootropics. (More on that in a bit).
Some of you guys apologised for writing long posts, but I fear I may churn out a novella here if I don't limit what I want to talk about. I'll stick to two things. Firstly, I would ask for your recommendation on what steps to take in the beginning to narrow down the possible sources of the brain fog. What are the absolute must dos? I've been to a doctor, had blood tests which all came back fine. My GP then recommended a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and a holistic medical practitioner. Both are going to be expensive, and the GP didn't exactly go in depth into what I was saying so I wonder if her recommendations are hasty and I might be best advised to delay these consultations for now. It seemed to me like she immediately thought 'depression', which at the time actually took me aback. We had actually spoken about my secondary school years and that they were a lonely time for me, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I might have been going through depression. It seems much more obvious now. I can't say I'm depressed these days, and I've never taken any medication to combat any kind of mood disorders. I strangely feel like I'm not 'with it' enough to even have depression. I'm like the opposite of bipolar, these days nothing gets me really happy and nothing gets me really sad. Like dan said, you're functioning on autopilot. I can also greatly identify with the anhedonia you mentioned and find that although I play music, volunteer etc, not many things give me a real sense of pleasure, and even fewer things make me happy. With everything I do, it seems to be just going through the motions. Living for the sake of living, with no sense of purpose and no sense of where I want to go or who I want to be.
Back to the must dos, I've been exercising and eating better, staying hydrated, eating more fruit, vegetables, protein, good fats, ensuring I get essential vits and minerals, restricting the bad stuff etc... These changes have had good effect on my mood, but the effects on the BF are negligible. I assume you addressed food sensitivies/intolerances before exploring other source of BF. I've been considering seeing a nutritionist/dietitian. I'd also like to see a neurologist. Have you had scans done? I can't imagine them doing much good, but I feel I'd like to, as much as possible, rule out the potential physical and neurological causes of my BF. It is possible (and may I be so bold as to hope probable) that it could be greatly improved if not eradicated by something early on in the diagnosing process. Though I haven't yet read any cases of severe brain fog being fully reversed, there's always hope (any links to such cases would be more than welcome
). So to sum up, where should I go from here? I've only began my path to discovery and I'd like to learn what I can from someone who has put a lot more effort, thought and research into the condition (kudos on that, btw). I know this isn't an active thread anymore so I'm not putting much hope into a response here, and I won't exactly be waiting with bated breath, but if you did reply it'd be swell :P
I'm gonna forget about that second point for now, because my fingers are tired :P - but if somebody picks up on this message I'll bring it up then.
If you've read this far, fairplay.