Last reply 1 year ago
Cognitive issues or paranoia?

Hi guys, I’m 25 and I’ve been diagnosed with RRMS for about five years. I’m a freelance writer and one of my biggest worries is that cognitive issues will eventually effect my ability to write. I had a bit of a panic this morning when I couldn’t think of the word ‘bricolage’ for about 2 minutes. I calmed down after I told myself that it’s not unusual for healthy people to forget words from time to time, and names of French art movements probably isn’t a fair test.

I was wondering if you guys have any tips on keeping normal forgetting straight from cognitive issues? And how do you guys deal with that constant fear of getting worse?

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1 year ago

Probably slightly different for someone my age 77 but I’m learning Spanish as they say leaning a language is really good for stimulating the brain. I do it weekly via Skype with someone Spanish in Lanzarote. I also keep as up to date as poss with technology….iPad. I do sudoku, patience, and crosswords on the iPad (but as fast as I can.) I time myself. Probably best to have advice from someone your age. I’m pretty alert, so far…..Anyway, that’s what I do for what it’s worth but then I’m PPMS which is different. Good Luck @letty

1 year ago

Hi Letty, I’m 55 and it’s common for me to go to get a tool from my van, and when I get there I think “what do I want?” I forget things all the time, it’s frustrating but so what? I guess you just have to laugh at it. I’ve had ms for 27 years, just hope I don’t forget to wake up anytime soon! I don’t think you should worry about the future, it’s pretty much unknown for all of us. Control the controlables, my dear brother in law used to say, he was a 747 pilot for BA, he was a clear thinker. Don’t get bogged down by what you cannot control, enjoy every moment. Take care Letty.

1 year ago

Sometimes I think I am loosing it and the other times and am playing along with a quiz show answering most of the questions. I actually think writing helps you keep your cognitive skills, so do what you do best WRITE. Potter

1 year ago

Hi @letty I am 29 and my brain is the most important thing to me. I am currently doing my 4th degree (3rd masters) and intend to do a doctorate when I finish this one. I am really scared of losing my cognitive function. I have noticed I lose words and other memory problems, generally when I’m talking.

I have covered brain development and functioning in 2 of my masters and ability to creatively solve problems is crucial. The brain is incredibly plastic and so with any damage done the brain will tend to find a new neural pathway…so keep finding new ways to tackle problems, and new ways to do the things you do by habit, those auto-pilot things. If you are no longer able to use your normal pathway the more you do it the new way the more that new pathway becomes the new normal way. I would definitely say that writing is a good way to exercise your brain in that way.

If you want to “work out” your brain even more try and use different areas within writing and with additional tasks, particularly that involve progression. I have found that there is more understanding out there for physical things, e.g. if you start balancing on one leg, then progress to balancing on a cushion on one leg, then try stepping from one wobbly thing to another…that will build up that part of your brain (I use that example because I have balance problems). Equally it is true for cognitive aspects, you can do memory exercises, problem solving like crosswords, sudoku, logic problems, reaction time, learning a language (Duolingo is good!), learning anything new – words to a song, an instrument, how to draw an apple, just keep using it! The old “if you don’t use it you lose it” is true – but you can start building it back up again if you have all-but lost it – especially at 25, your brain is especially plastic into young adulthood.

And finally, I will add that doing things that cross physical and mental exercise is really important. That could be singing lessons or in a choir where breathing and posture are integral to getting the words out, making things with your hands like pottery or knitting etc., or sign language.

Hope that helps 🙂

1 year ago

Thanks so much for all your advice and reassurance guys. It’s really helpful. I guess we just have to try and put all the scary stuff out of our mind!

I’ve been thinking about going back to uni to do an MA but I was worried it would be to much. Maybe it would be the perfect way to push myself and keep my brain working!

1 year ago

@letty I got my diagnosis recently and had already started this course, however, I have had symptoms for ages so it doesn’t actually change anything. With a diagnosis it’s actually easier to explain what might get in your way and make allowances if you feel unwell etc. but it is effort…my way of staying on target is by being ahead of the game then when something comes I can sit back and then I’ll actually just be on par with the other students…yes it would be nice not to have to do that but I love learning too much and I have never been a take-it-easy person, I’ve always gone hell for leather at projects! If you want to start a course, just speak to the student welfare and equalities person, it should put your mind at rest.

It is scary, and I have a tendency to think about what might happen but in the end try to make decisions based on what is really happening and what can be known now otherwise I’d never do anything!

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