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My multiple sclerosis brain fog moments

I lose words more than I lose my car keys…and they’re harder to find too. I think conversations with me are more like a game of charades than actual conversations. I’m sure it frustrates those I’m talking too as they try guessing the word I’m fumbling around in search of. It can become quite comical too as I point, make hand motions and slap my leg in an attempt to help the process along.

ME: Can you hand me…? [as I point across the room]

FRIEND: uhhh…a pen? a glass of water?

ME: No [as I tap my thumb to my finger in a pinching motion unable to even describe what I’m trying to say. I sit in silence making hand gestures in hopes it resonates with her.]

FRIEND: Nail clippers? Scissors? Paperclip?

Minutes pass and all I’m trying to say is “Can you hand me the TV remote?” Simple, right?

Not being able to communicate can be frustrating. I do much better in writing. There’s nothing worse than trying to get your point across or share a meaningful moment with someone while losing the thought you where trying to share. Sometimes my attempt in describing a word takes so long that I actually forget the thought I had in the first place. It takes skill to keep me on topic. A skill I’m not always very good at.

Yesterday, I could tell my words were getting stuck and mixed up more than usual. When that happens, I have a tendency to not speak as much. I just don’t want to frustrate people…or myself.

You know how people say to pick and choose the arguments you get into. Well, I pick and choose each conversation I have as well. So if I choose to share a thought with you, it’s going to mean something because I decide to break out of my silence in order to chance a good flow of words.

I have noticed that the more frustrated I get, the more my words tend to get stuck. The trick for me is to stay calm and not allow my mind to wander in the conversation. That may mean I talk slower, talk more direct, and use shorter sentences. But that’s just my way of coping and working with my disability. It keeps me from getting too overwhelmed. I say what I have to say and move on.

When you find yourself getting lost in a world of words, know that it’s okay. You’re not going crazy and you definitely aren’t alone. There’s an entire population of us hand gesture, charade playing, word searching MSers out there. Take a deep breath and have some fun as you turn your conversations into a game of “Guess What I’m Saying.”

And always remember that laughing actually does makes things better. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t laugh at my own jumbled up, mixed up, messed up brain fog moments.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


14 replies
  1. pam
    pam says:

    talking to my dr concerning cognitive issues,i asked him is it ms. or being 64,he hesitated and responded “we will propably never know”..

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope it is really annoying when words disappear. I think it’s just not MS but also not just age. The worst pat is not losing words but when wrong words come out.

  3. Judith Norris
    Judith Norris says:

    To All Fellow MSers,

    It isn’t just MS. Talked to my stepdaughter who has fibromyalgia. She told me her words get stuck too. “It’s like the word is right on the tip of my tongue but it won’t come out,” she told me. So is it a neurological thing? I’ve had MS since 1958, taught music and reading for thirty years. Now at 78, I can blame my lapses on age. Still, it’s difficult.

  4. Gladys Torres
    Gladys Torres says:

    Hi everyone. I never write here. But today, I think we are similars and we are talking the same “language”. It is better to laugh.

  5. Cathleen
    Cathleen says:

    Penelope, I think you have been spying into my world…you explained my situation almost perfectly! I just don’t get too frustrated perhaps because my husband or my close family and friends tend to finish my sentences for me..correctly! (most of the time, lol) And, this so far is one area of this most annoying MS that I am able to laugh off, it helps!

  6. Jan
    Jan says:

    Thank you Penelope!!
    This is a guessing game for sure!! I point and stutter a lot when I’m really fatigued. I stop, calm down, and try again. It’s frustrating but sometimes very funny. 🙊 😬 🥰 🙋🏻 Jan

  7. Laura wessel
    Laura wessel says:

    I hate MS. It is trying to take my son, but He is fighting back hard and strong. Everyday is a new battle to be fought. Wr are 🏆🏆🏆🏆winning .to anyone with MS, my ❤️❤️❤️heart go to all. 👋🤚👋🤚👏👐🙌👏👐🙌🙌🙏👋🤚🙏🙏👐👁️👁️👁️❤️💔💔💔💓❤️💕

  8. Peggy Wills
    Peggy Wills says:

    Those Strange looks I’m given when use or can’t get the right word…😉 i blame it on the black holes in my brain!


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