Tell me about…Fibro Fog?

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Fibromyalgia produces a number of conditions that are part of living with an invisible illness. 

One of these is cognitive dysfunction or Fibro fog. Due to sufferers feeling confused, experiencing short term loss of memory and mixing up words.

Before I was aware I had fibromyalgia I was often told;

‘Your a scatter brain…’

‘Why do I have to keep repeating this to you…You should be able to remember…’

Usually because I’d had forgotten the time I’m meeting someone or instructions about completing a task.

I used to feel frustrated that others had fantastic memories but I had no ability to retain information.

Now I know why, I’ve been suffering from fibro fog.

It’s true most people at some time in their lives have difficulty recalling things but with fibro fog it can suddenly hit you out of the blue.

At it’s worst I’ve found myself standing in front of someone I know and chatting to them as they look familiar but I cannot remember there name or anything else about them!

That’s really embarrassing!!

Or perhaps even worse than this I’ve forgotten to take tablets I need to help me feel better.

I end up remembering to take them days afterwards and feel annoying with myself for forgetting something so obvious.

What’s causing these symptoms?

Probably the most likely explanation of this is due to poor sleep quality. Added to this fatigue and the daily routine of living with pain all contribute to the severity of Fibro fog.

How can I cope better with these symptoms?

It’s been documented that fibromyalgia restricts the blood flow to the brain. Managing pain levels by practicing some  simple relaxation exercises or meditation and mindfulness can help.

When l was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had great difficulty relaxing. Learning some simple relaxation exercises helped me to cope better with the pain, and gradually I’ve found my symptoms have improved. I’ve worked out ways to lower my stress levels and experimented with different techniques for improving the quality of my sleep.

Look at my posts on  meditation , mindfulness , sleep exercise and diet. These all play an important part in contributing to our general health and well-being.

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Other ways to remember important information

Making a list of tasks you must do, perhaps keeping a diary or getting a calendar to make a note of important dates.

The most important of all is to not worry about getting things wrong it’s inevitable that we will forget something important. I think we tend to overcompensate for our short comings. Better to get what we can right and accept what we cannot and move on.

The power of plants 🌿

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Ivy Photo by Nick

This week I’m discovering why my favourite indoor plants can improve the quality of air I breathe indoors.

With improved insulation materials making our homes more energy efficient. The gases from synthetic materials and other pollutants are sealed inside our house with us.

Indoor air pollution is a major problem; as we spend a large proportion of our time indoors. Particularly those of us who suffer from illnesses like fibromyalgia.

The likelihood of developing air pollutant related illness can increase. Statistics show there has been an increase in the cases of allergies, asthma, chemical hypersensitivity and cancer due to this.

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It was NASA researchers, during the 80s who discovered that plants can purify and refresh the air in sealed compartments. During their research into life support systems for missions into space. Their findings provided the evidence that plants removed volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in a series of tests.

By introducing plants into the home the air quality is refreshed; plants act as natural air purifiers. Being in amongst nature or bringing it indoors has the added benefit of reducing stress levels.

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If you work mostly indoors or in an office; buying some plants and keeping them in your environment can, in the long term improve mental and physical health.

Some of the best plants to choose are those that have a high transpiration rate; meaning they carry a larger amount of water from the roots to the leaves. They are more efficient at improving our indoor air quality.

I have chosen some easy to grow varieties for beginners:

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Peace Lily Photo by Nick

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

One of my favourites is peace lily, it’s a foliage plant and it looks attractive with it’s white flowers (spathes).

Peace lily requires semi-shade but not direct sunlight.

It’s easy to grow and look after; although not a good choice if you have pets or young children as it is extremely toxic.

Feeding is required in summer and remove dead leaves and flowers to promote new growth.

Water in summer keeping the compost moist and less watering required in winter. Misting the leaves occasionally will help to improve humidity. Keep out of cold draughts.

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Spider Plant Photo by Nick

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A spider plant is easy and quick to grow and look after.

It prefers a partially sunny and shady spot, and it’s ok with dry air.

Water regularly letting the soil dry before rewatering again.

In winter less watering is required and feeding with house plant food in the summer.  Occasional misting in summer if it’s very hot. Dead leaves and unwanted runners can be pruned.

The spider plant produces runners on which mini plants form; these are great for propagating into new plants.

Wait until they have grown to a reasonable size and then cut off the runner. Plant on in a small pot with compost.

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Common Ivy Photo by Nick

Common Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy looks very attractive with its trailing foliage.  Many ivy varieties exist; including variegated versions.

Ivy is a climbing plant with aerial roots which can be trained to grow on trellis and other structures outdoors as well as indoors.

Ivy is easy to grow and care for plant.

Ivy prefers a shaded site and can be grown in full shade. Keep out of direct sunlight in summer.

Water regularly keeping compost moist and feed in summer. Regular misting in winter and summer in hot dry conditions indoors.

Dead leaves and unwanted growth can be pruned to keep it looking healthy.

Have I included any of your favourites here?  If you have any suggestions please let me know.