I had many thoughts in my head for what I wanted to discuss in this weeks article. As happens for many, these thoughts disappeared as soon as I was able to sit down to actually formulate my thoughts into words. It may be easy to blame this on my disease or recent stresses of life. I have come to realize it’s perfectly normal as a human being, with MS or without to encounter.
This idea sparked a thought. For those with a “Chronic Illness”, do we tend to overthink these moments? Do we relate the lack of mental motivation to our illness? I recently saw the below picture posted on two Facebook MS Support groups called “#ChatMS” and its affiliate “Must Stop MS! – Keep S’myelin”. Groups I have been involved with for many years and which I have created life long friendships through.
For those with MS it is proven that Cognitive Disfunction is a real and proven symptom of the disease. I also shared this picture with another Facebook group I happen to Co-Administer called “Medical Musings with Friends”, I quickly discovered this Cognitive Disfunction, commonly referred to as “Cog Fog”, is an issue across many ailments.
Through conversations with those without chronic illness, I uncovered they too have moments such as these. Moments were it’s difficult to focus, to invest full attention into certain tasks. During the course of these conversations, I was told they do not have these moments anywhere near the degree a person such as myself with MS may experience. I want to be clear on something, I nor any of the people I have discussed this with, discount the legitimacy of certifiable Cognitive Disorders, symptomatic of specific diseases.
I often wonder how my level of cognition would be if not for MS. As I look back on my life, I know beyond a doubt, the disease has effected me since diagnosis 10 years ago. Not only physically rather mentally as well. In recent years I have had lapses of memory recall, along with times I could not remember small things such as where I had left my glasses or the stereotypical keys. I understand the average person will have these same moments, the difference in my opinion, is the frequency of these moments and for how long they last.
As discussed in previous writings, I have learned to adapt as best I can. Using reminders in my iPhone including Location Based Alerts. I have also become a “creature of habit”, always placing my glasses in one of two spots in our home. When I fail to, I spend the next 20 minutes looking for them! It was brought up in “Medical Musings with Friends” about forgetting where a car was parked. For this, again I will use my iPhone and the “Parked Car” function in Maps. If I cannot remember where I parked my car I will use this function to lead me back to it.
Which brings me back to the question of , “For those with a “Chronic Illness”, do we tend to overthink these moments? Do we relate the lack of mental motivation to our illness?”
Personally I try my best to not allow myself to overthink the moments where my cognition is not as strong as it once was. As difficult as it may sound, I am a realist with my disease. I know Cognitive Disfunction is a reality for me and countless others. It is how I live my life knowing this and not allowing for it to rule my life. I simply must adapt my strategies when dealing with the ever changing effects of cognition while not over complicating the issue. Cognitive Disfunction is common place for the most healthy of people. It just happens to be deeper seeded amongst those with certain complex diseases.
So yes, I tend to overthink my lack of cognitive focus at times. I do relate it back to my MS. What I refuse to allow, is myself to be drawn into a place where these thoughts consume me and my identity. During times of “significant disease activity” I am not able to overthink the situation anyway. What I try everyday, is to not look back at past experiences and over analyze the experience. If I did, I know it would bring me into a dark place.