This happens to me a lot. I am trying to point out something, for instance, “Look at that chair over there”. And the word chair suddenly won’t be there. I can’t find it, reach it, say it or even remember the first syllable. A few seconds or minutes later it comes back yet I know exactly what it is. And then I yell “Chair!” like I’m on a game show. Who knew knowing a word would make me so excited?
Word retrieval is just one of like a million problems people with neurological disorders and diseases have. There are so many things that go wrong on a daily basis, but this one is my biggest pet peeve so far. Like, I just had a very large myoclonic jerk while making my bed a few minutes ago. I was trying to put a pillow case back on and my arm jerked in such a weird and violent way I ripped the entire end off of the pillow case. It looks like a dog got a hold of it and had some fun. Needless to say, I am pissed about it because this is actually the second time. That was my last replacement pillow case that matches.
Back to the topic on hand. On the spot retrieval of words is frickin’ hard some days. And sometimes there is nothing to do but wait for it to come to you. That is usually what I do. However, I have been doing a lot of job interviews recently and I’ve lost my words in each one.
So what do I do? I pause and pretend like I am searching for a clever response. Once I got the hang of my word retrieval problems, it was easier to fake it. Also, taking a good 2-3 second pause before you start your sentence (with a tiny inhale, not a dramatic one) calms the nerves a bit and helps roll back the chances of a messed up sentence. I also practice responses repeatedly, out loud. That way it is less on the spot and more rehearsed.
Things that tend to make this worse are stress, obviously. But, there are other things I’ve figured out that I do and don’t realize that I’m doing and exacerbate this issue.
- Too much caffeine. It suppresses my appetite and I go longer without eating and become too jittery.
- Poor sleep. I am an adult, I know how to go to bed early and wake up on time (most of the time). I easily get caught up in a book and before I know it, it is 2am and I have to get up in less than 6 hours. And yes, I actually read. I doesn’t make me sleepy, it does the opposite.
- Worry. I worry over little things, and let them buzz around my brain like little annoying fruit flies. It is very easy for me to get hung up on something small and stay on it. It takes my focus away from the task, and I have to force myself to change my own inner narrative.
Before I start something important like a homework assignment or walking into an interview I have to remember what I am there for, how it will happen and what I am going to do (go back to the rehearsal). That way I am not sitting there speechless to start.
This is also where my memory palace and practice comes in handy. How I Use The Pomodoro Technique to Fight Brain Fog.
That really is all you can do, or all I can think of at least. Brain fog, word retrieval and just bad memory are a part of the package.
Also, if you haven’t already read it I had the awesome privilege of having Patrick McFarland the CEO of Korwave write an awesome guest post here on Epileptea. Patrick McFarland | CEO and Founder of Korwave . Give that a read and follow him on social media. Prototypes of the Korwave device are being sent out as you read this. Don’t miss out on the coolest and newest medtech just for epilepsy!