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UPDATED - brain fog/cloud feeling that is blocking my work

brokenpony

Confident
i experience some variation of brain fogginess that i’m currently interpreting as dissociation or stress-related symptoms almost every day. i feel some kind of: cloudy, woolly, fuzzy, blocked, soupy, lagging, glitching, like head is a balloon, brain is only partially attached, head pressure (tension headache?). it is almost more somatic than mental, though obviously it affects processing. it is like an actual feeling of thick foggy pressure soup static behind my eyes and sometimes it is accompanied by DPDR symptoms and sometimes just itself. my therapist has said she can almost feel it like a barrier between us and our connection when it is bad. it blocks my creativity more than anything. i’m an artist and i get blocked. that causes me a lot of distress.

it’s there more times than not, as an actual feeling. in my head. i keep getting it in my mind that it has to be physical but my bloodwork has always been fine, MRI from 5 years ago fine. i do have tmj problems also and catch myself clenching and try to be mindful but it is ofc challenging. no alcohol or drugs besides caffeine. maybe more water (i’m rarely thirsty)? but i can see in journals from 15 years ago that i am writing about this feeling to some degree, along with DPDR symptoms. so i feel like it has to be the trauma dissociation problem at least in part but there is no clear trigger for it i can tell. it just sets in and stays for awhile, sometimes days, i try to clear it with walking or something and that can sometimes help. i feel like there must be triggers i am missing besides therapy.

i also just don’t know if it is “brain fog” in the way people usually mean it. it’s not that i can’t think at all through basic tasks and am actually not all that cognitively impaired, i don’t think?, i mean, i can write this post! but that i can’t think the way i need to think in the moment, the way i can when i am not in it, which is less and less often these days. i can’t do MY work. i can’t connect. i can’t think the way i need to. i am not physically tired but brain feels so burnt out and glitching like a computer program that needs to be reset. it feels like a literal blockage. a drain that needs to be unplugged, a barrier that needs to be torn down so i can feel and think and see the world clearly. like everything is through a glass, darkly. it’s foggy rain like when clouds are on the ground and the sun needs to part it.

i think i am just under immense (cptsd related) stress but i can’t find anything that helps me. maybe i can’t shut brain off so it’s running on fumes. (fyi meditation and such makes things worse for me which i read is normal in some books about severe dissociation, need other ways to relax and be present.)

is this something you have experienced to such a degree and fixed for real?
 
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Hi. I feel you 100% my friend. Exactly same here. It's been like that for... a very very long time for me. It's cptsd stress, plus current life stress plus not being able to rest properly plus burnout plus bad sleeping habits on my side. I'm trying to fix that with my therapist. Medications don't help much in that regard.
I feel like I'd need few months of total rest. Sleep when I feel sleepy. Eat and drink healthy, no stress, only walks on sunny days and being wrapped in a blanket for the rest of the day. Not happening though. :-(
I'll keep my fingers crossed you will get better soon. Take care!
 
Hi. I feel you 100% my friend. Exactly same here. It's been like that for... a very very long time for me. It's cptsd stress, plus current life stress plus not being able to rest properly plus burnout plus bad sleeping habits on my side. I'm trying to fix that with my therapist. Medications don't help much in that regard.
I feel like I'd need few months of total rest. Sleep when I feel sleepy. Eat and drink healthy, no stress, only walks on sunny days and being wrapped in a blanket for the rest of the day. Not happening though. :-(
I'll keep my fingers crossed you will get better soon. Take care!
i’m so sorry you’re also dealing with it. i have also been on a lot of meds for mood and currently am on none because they didn’t fix it or made it worse in some ways.
 
@brokenpony I'm still not sure about the meds. Without them I'm dissociated, anxious, crying mess, with them I'm just dissociated mess. I should be practicing therapy to learn to deal with problems and function properly, but without meds I'm even less functional. I wish you will be able to heal from this state soon. I'm a programmer, and my work gets severe hit from my current state as well.
i’m an artist
Can I know what kind of artist you are?
 
it’s there more times than not, as an actual feeling. in my head. i keep getting it in my mind that it has to be physical but my bloodwork has always been fine, MRI from 5 years ago fine.
i get this feeling so frequently that i don't count the times any more than i count the times i empty my bladder. another day, another dizzy spell. ditto on the absence of causes that show up in medical testing. i treat it like a physical symptom on two counts: 1) there are physical phenomena science has yet to identify, much less measure. 2) focusing on the physical gets me further than the slippery slopes of why and wherefore. i call that, "grounding."
 
@brokenpony I'm still not sure about the meds. Without them I'm dissociated, anxious, crying mess, with them I'm just dissociated mess. I should be practicing therapy to learn to deal with problems and function properly, but without meds I'm even less functional. I wish you will be able to heal from this state soon. I'm a programmer, and my work gets severe hit from my current state as well.

Can I know what kind of artist you are?
i am a writer!

i hope you are able to heal as well. i think i may be encountering invisible triggers and need to figure out what they are.
 
i am a writer!
That's so cool! I know how hard it can be - during high school I'd spend whole day walking back and forth when trying to write an assignment. Then I'd scratch everything and start over and over and it still didn't sound good. And that was just the first paragraph. 😭
i think i may be encountering invisible triggers and need to figure out what they are
Yes, this. I'm self observing for the therapy to identify those. Writing Trauma Diary here actually helps with that.

May the Muses be with you!

@brokenpony I also invite you to our thread where we collab to write a story: Collaborative Storytelling: Building a Plot Together
 
i searched this forum for this symptom again and came to find my own post. from march.

i am still in this place and have barely had a moment free of it. all day i try to work through the static in my skull. i am so tired of it. i have a deadline and i don't know if i can meet it because of the foggy blurry state of my brain. it's as if my brain just will not move to do what it needs to do, and just circles its own drain?

maybe this is is just some kind of avoidance of feeling alive. i would rather hurt at this point, but sometimes when i say that i think it's because i've forgotten how it feels to hurt. but it also feels like i'm not even allowed. i don't even know what that means or if that makes sense. it's like i am in a coma and trying to wake up all the time and then i wonder if that is actually possibly true.
 
? but i can see in journals from 15 years ago that i am writing about this feeling to some degree, along with DPDR symptoms. so i feel like it has to be the trauma dissociation problem at least in part but there is no clear trigger for it i can tell.
It's my early warning system for my stress levels rising... about 95% of the time.

The other 5% it's what happens when I try to think/talk about my unprocessed trauma.

UNLESS

...I'm in semi-casual trauma therapy. (As opposed to intensive 4-20hours a week). If so? Then Brain Fog is part of my everyday, to greater or lesser degree. The only way I can get a break from it is to take a break from therapy for at least a couple weeks. Even a once a month 50 minute session means Imma be eyeballs deep in fog for about a week before & after.

This is one of the (many!) reasons why I prefer to do trauma therapy in bursts. A couple weeks/months of intensive therapy, followed by 6-12 months of living my life & working on my own, and them bringing that progress to my next "burst" of trauma therapy. As the frequency & length ( 2-4 days a week, for 2-4 hours a day) nixes that aspect of my avoidance symptoms, I get a helluva lotta work done, both trauma-wise & life-wise.

So brain fog retreats back to bring 95% early warning symptom that I'm trying to do too much, without blowing off enough steam before/after.

is this something you have experienced to such a degree and fixed for real?
Fixed? No.

Found a really effective series of workarounds so it's only in my life for a few minutes here & there? Yep!
 
I’m not sure what you’re doing therapy wise to help but I find the brain fog occurs when I’m in a flashback or dissociating without me realizing it. Feeling frustrated at myself for trying to work through the brain fog just makes it worse. It helps to do some grounding techniques that will make me feel safe and protected in the moment.

This book has really helped in terms of relieving the brain fog and just getting a break from my own mind:

Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists by Kathy Steele, Onno Van der Hart, and Suzette Boon
 
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