Celiac disease is tough. And I don’t just mean it’s tough to have…which it is.
But the diagnosis itself can be really tough because the symptoms of celiac disease for one person can be totally different than the symptoms for the next person. I have heard from countless celiacs since I started my blog. And their symptoms before diagnosis were all over the map: stomach aches, diarrhea, weight loss, bad skin, bone pain, etc.
But many of them mentioned one maddening symptom above all else.
The one that is hard to put your finger on. The one that is so difficult for people without celiac disease to understand. And the one that is even more challenging to explain.
This symptom is brain fog.
Brain fog is the inability to think clearly.
It’s feeling a bit “off” without being able to clarify exactly what you’re feeling.
It’s the loss of your mental sharpness.
It’s the forgetting of words or names that should come to you easily but somehow now escape you.
It’s getting sidetracked mid-sentence and then forgetting what you were saying.
And it’s ungodly frustrating. As a matter of fact, I put this next to sheer exhaustion as my two worse symptoms when I get glutened.
I try to stay sharp; both physically and mentally. I do the NY Times crossword puzzle every morning to start my day. (Well…”attempt” to do would be more accurate. Still cannot even touch Saturday’s puzzle. I mean seriously? A four letter word for “catalan article”??)
I find this gets my brain challenged bright and early and sets me on the right mental path for the rest of the day.
But when I’m in a brain fog state? Forget about it. Nothing helps.
If you want to read an interesting article from the medical community about the gluten-brain connection, here you go. Here’s a sentence that jumped out at me:
“Many adult celiacs who have not been diagnosed and are not following a strict gluten-free diet have some of the same symptoms as persons diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental, psychological, or emotional disorders.”
Yowsa! It still just blows me away that something that can be of absolutely no harm to so many people (I’m referring to gluten) can be so debilitating to the 1% with celiac disease.
So the next time you’re talking to me and you get the feeling that I’m just not there, it’s nothing personal I assure you. It’s just the fog of celiac disease.