Brain Fog and Mild Memory Issues (from Chronic Stress?)

Edited , 3 users are following.

Hello. For some background info, I'm a 28yoF and I've always been a somewhat anxious person, prone to social and health anxiety in particular. As is was the case for many, 2020 was a terrible year for me, I became rather obsessed with my health and the health of my family (mainly because of COVID). So chronic stress would be an understatement.

Also, being isolated and having little contact with my friends and people in general has had a deeper impact on me than I anticipated at the start of the pandemic.

A month ago I went for an MRI for some migraines and it came back clear except for some tiny white matter lesions which led me to (google and) become convinced I have MS. In the meantime I was cleared by two neurologists and my anxiety about that has lessened, but not disappeared.

Shortly after reading about MS I started developing mild related physical symptoms that I had read about, such as tingling, tremor, eye issues etc. (I made a post here about that a while ago).

To say I'm now completely convinced those symptoms are 100% caused by anxiety would be a lie. But I'm inclined to believe that is the case. Anyway, now, more than a month later, most of them have dissipated.

What worries me now is the brain fog I have sometimes and the fact that sometimes I cannot remember words (not in speech, I'm usually fluent, just in my mind when I start thinking about what I want to say). They're not common words that I use every day, but they aren't very rare ones that I use once a year either. Every time this happens I panic a lot and I can imagine that doesn't help my mind clear up much either.

I also noticed that I have some mild memory issues (I can't remember some actor or celebrity names right away, which I used to be very good at before). All in all not something that would worry someone else I guess.

I brought this up to my therapist and told her how I find it strange that this happens now and not a month ago when I was way more stressed. She said that many such symptoms (including the physical ones I felt before) happen after the fact, meaning after the trauma or stressor has disappeared or lessened.

Can anyone relate to this? Should I be worried?

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  • Posted


    Similar to yourself, I had an MRI on my head due to strange head sensations and was surprised / pleased that all came back clear. If it is of any help I suffer from brain fog pretty much every day, I start off the day feeling normal and then during the day (happens at work, not at weekends when am home ) the fog slowly moves in. My head feels tight like there is a band around it and balance is off, does this sound familiar - if so it is almost certainly anxiety - I suffer this too and have no idea how to be free of it.

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    • Edited

      Now that you mention it, yes, I also feel it more during the work week than the weekend (particularly if I'm out and about during the weekend). I don't have balance issues, but I do get the tight head sensation often, like the beginning of a tension headache but it doesn't always turn into a full blown headache.

      I don't doubt I suffer from anxiety, I'm sure of it. I'm on edge most of the time. As a mundane example, I was walking outside earlier and a dog came towards me and I felt my pulse shoot up immediately and continued to tremble slightly for a few minutes after ... I love dogs and I was never afraid of them before, not like this. But now almost everything feels like a threat.

      I'm hoping that with therapy and restrictions easing off, I get the chance to feel like a normal functional person outside of my house again.

      Take care and thank you for answering! 😃

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    • Posted


      Yes, it does feel like a tension headache for me too. Funny you mention heart rate, I daily wear an activity tracker watch - during a walk with the dog at the weekend my heart rate was normal, however going for a walk during working hours it was significantly higher !

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  • Posted

    it’s all stress and anxiety! I have been going through this for over 30 years and nothing bad has ever been found and tests. I can also tell you please don’t worry about the white lesions. It’s not an indication of MS. I also have those. My daughter who is a therapist in rehab said that many of her patients have those lesions on their reports and all of them are very healthy older people who have most likely had them for years in years. Many people get those.

    MS is diagnosed on an MRI and if your MRI is normal then nothing to worry about. also, the occasional memory lapse is also related to anxiety.

    Once you get anxiety managed a little bit better, you will notice that your memory will pop right back. It’s really important to get a handle on this so that you feel better. please please please stop reading about MS and other conditions. You will scare yourself for no reason and then your symptoms will get worse because you are telling your brain that something is wrong when there’s actually nothing wrong

    . My best advice to you would be to get on with your life and do things that make you feel happy and joyful! Just those things alone have a huge positive impact on your brain! It’s actually a proven scientific fact!

    take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Those are the main areas and if they are taken care of you will live a great life! ❤

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