A broken speech bubble puzzle with mismatching pieces.

Lost in the Fog: Aphasia and Brain Fog

Aphasia is a condition where the communication center of the brain has neurological issues. It normally occurs in people who have had a stroke. Migraine attacks have symptoms that are very similar to a stroke too. For me, the aphasia is accompanied by brain fog. These symptoms are definitely a one, two punch during a migraine episode. It is incredibly hard for me to function with these two working to disrupt my life. I’ve had to make at least a couple of trips to the emergency room because my wife was so concerned with my uncharacteristic and disoriented behavior. Luckily there have never been any signs of a stroke.

The early signs of a migraine attack

I remember being a bit out of it when I had a migraine attack. It’s a feeling I couldn’t always put my finger on but I knew it was real. Going into a migraine had always been hard for me to notice. The symptoms were subtle and sneaky. I’d yawn excessively, I had a hard time staying on task mentally, and my left field of vision would get distorted gradually. I thought it was the lack of sleep or just the usual drag I felt in the afternoon after being at work for several hours. Then came the forgetfulness, loss of my thought train, and jumbled speech to mention a few symptoms. I knew what I was going to say but couldn’t get the word(s) out. It was downright frustrating and at times scary. It was like my brain had seized up like an engine with no oil!

Brain fog and difficulty focusing

During an attack, the aphasia usually passes once I’m out of the prodrome phase, but the brain fog lingers. I have always been accustomed to being able to multitask with no issues, but with brain fog, all bets are off. I find I have to really focus on just one thing and one thing alone. If I get into more than that I can be assured the task will not get done, or I can complete it but definitely not to my normal standard. Even having a conversation requires more focus, and still, there are many times I just get totally stuck and can’t continue with the train of thought. I forget what I was doing, or go to do something and suddenly forget what task I was going to do. Getting lost in the fog is only compounded by the pain of a migraine.

Letting others know about my symptoms

There are many other symptoms that I experience with a migraine attack, but my most concerning is usually aphasia with brain fog. The sheer frustration of being mentally frozen in a world where concise action is needed like yesterday is not at all compatible when you have a migraine! Many symptoms I’ve found ways around, but I haven’t found a way around the aphasia. What I have learned is that I need a good support system in place for when this occurs. My wife is a huge advocate for me, especially during doctor visits. I also made sure my coworkers were aware of my migraine condition, and they were willing to step into the gap and help with my deficit caused by migraine.

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