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Cognition

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by Koan, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Even when I feel relatively well physically, I feel a kind of anguish regarding my inability to think.

    Yesterday I kept coming to the lounge and reading a thread I had contributed to a couple of days ago but simply could not pluck words from my brain. And, I wasn't trying to pluck fancy words from my brain, just your garden variety stuff like: me too, that sounds great, good advice.

    The struggle to think is so bloody painful.

    Does anyone have any useful strategies?

    Sigh
  2. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Hi there. I sympathize, as when I got my composite filling my MCS reaction was so bad I had true brain fog. And then when I got the tooth extracted 10 days ago he put "gelfoam" in there, which has caused me to be extremely weepy and weird ever since. From my reading of the MSDS sheet it takes 4-6 weeks to totally absorb. Uggg.

    When I don't get enough sleep, or fitful sleep, my cognition is impaired. I had been slowly titrating off temazepam for about 3 years now--the pima milk cystitis and tooth issues were so stressful, and during the winter pipe noise makes sleep difficult, so I haven't really titrated much in about a year. I was planning to get down to very low doses. I am down to about 8 mg from 30 mg. I was hoping to get down to about 4 or less over the summer but now it will have to wait.

    Anyway, as helpful as these benzos are for some of the issues involved in these chronic illnesses (such as excess glutamate, and muscle spasms etc), they have a serious downside. They do impair sleep over the longterm. They change how your receptors function. They essentially work by keeping a 'gate' open. Usually when your own gaba locks onto a receptor, it "closes" until the nerve has fired. Benzos stop that feedback system so your receptors get flooded. But the lose the ability to self-regulate. I think the lowest doses you can take are the best as longterm they lead to poorer sleep, and poorer cognition overall. I found that 10-12 mg is my "toxic" level--beyond that I get toxic effects. My sleep gets worse, really. I get tolerance withdrawal, which I was at, at 30 mg. And I'm goopy and less alert.

    So I recommend looking at Dr. Ashton's water titration. There is a yahoo group where they have a spreadsheet etc. The tools for water titration are a $10 blender, a 100 ml glass or plastic cylinder with measuring lines, a syringe (which I get on amazon.com) which is about a couple bucks, and some sippy cups or something small. You can titrate down, as I do, by tiniest amounts--1 ml at a time for instance--very accurately but smidges so there is no bad effect. If you notice any reaction, just stay at that dose until you are totally stabilized.

    It is autumn here so the days of warm sun are passing, but even a bit chilly it is still useful to sit in the park. I think fresh air and your beach/ocean breezes can help.

    You could consider lumbrokinase or nattokinase, although I know you're on a very tight budget so not sure how you could purchase that. These are enzymes that dissolve fibrin, which is often excessive in these illnesses. Then more oxygen can get to your tissues.
  3. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hey Jen

    Thank you for your thoughtful post which is waaay too smart for my suffering brain :eek:

    I actually sleep well (sorry to those who don't) after a lifetime of insomnia. I do use benzo.s to sleep, however. I must say, my cognitive issues were worse, as was all else, before benzo use. But, I sleep well now which is a blessing.

    My sleep really improved when I began meditating and, although one is not supposed to meditate oneself to sleep, I do. (Shhh!) I feel as though I finally found the off switch. Before finding it I counted myself lucky to get 5 hours and, before that, was the kid reading with the flashlight under the covers. Now I sleep as long as I want to - spit, spit, be gone evil eye!

    Oh, I did understand the bit about being near water! Water gives off negative ions which help to clear the... ahhhhh... head. In fact, a shower creates a temporary negative ion situation which can help in a pinch if you don't have a fatiguing illness which makes taking a shower a big, hairy deal. :eek:

    Before Xanax, my benzo of choice, I had negative ion generators in my office, my bedroom and my car. It's interesting and useful to remember that this used to be worse but, right now, it's kinda hard to believe. Maybe it wasn't worse, maybe I'm just more accustomed to it now.

    I will have to google the rest of your kind message.

    :confused:
    Koan

    ETA I seem to contradict myself, perhaps, regarding sleep. Without meditation, Xanax could make me sleepy but my fretfulness would keep me awake during that window. With meditation, I am far less fretful and I can turn on sleep when the window is open.
  4. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Oh one more thing. Dark chocolate. Everybody scoffed at it helping CFIDS (study) but it does. It has precursors to good neurotransmitters. It's also anti inflammatory and helps relax your blood vessels. I am a little concerned as I eat 2 ounces a day of dark chocolate from Sharffen Berger and chocolate is processed in such a way that it ends up with lead often. I don't know how. But I have to have my chocolate.
  5. mezombie

    mezombie Senior Member

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    Can't think either

    He he, I can barely think clearly enough to figure out how to reply to a message!

    I'm with you, Koan, this is my worst symptom.

    I do better when I don't have to deal with too much that stimulates my brain. If I manage to read a bit on here, for example, it's best for me to stop, rest or do something physical, and then go back to something mental.

    I am embarrassed at the slllllooooowww way information gets from my brain into a typed message. I communicate better in person, I think. Often I just try to read and think, oh look, I'm not alone.

    Jenbooks, like Koan, I do take benzos for sleep (clonazepam). It's interesting that you say it may interfere with cognition. I think I've read that before. However, I find if I take a tiny bit under my tongue during the day, it can clear up some brain fog. I do try to take the least amount of clonazepam possible for a good night's sleep, but boy, that sleep is very, very important if I am to function at all!

    And now I have to get off, as usual, without re-reading because typing and reading on a computer screen is making me sick. I hope I made some sense.

    Marie
  6. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Jen

    I have a charming little chocolatier two doors away :D

    A beach, a chocolatier... can thought be too far away?

    Yes.

    Thanks for the chocolate reminder!
    k
  7. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hey Marie

    I know how you feel. And, because clearly I am not a very nice person, I am happy for the company :p

    I think the communicating better in person thing, which I share with you, is due to the constant clues, prompts and feedback one gets.

    Nevertheless, you are making wonderful sense... as ever.

    I found myself reading and rereading a sentence in my last, but one, post because I couldn't understand it and I could not determine if it actually made any sense or not.

    We should all lie down now!

    Peace out
  8. mezombie

    mezombie Senior Member

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    Chocolate

    It's times like this I wish I was computer-literate and could figure out things like Skype!

    As to chocolate, I'm always confused on that issue. I'm supposed to avoid sugar due to the abx I'm taking for Lyme.

    I know I saw the chocolate study, but can't remember if I read it. I very well may have and can't remember any part of it. :eek:

    If it's the caffeine in chocolate that's helping with cognition, I totally get that! I do need my coffee when I get up. I try to be good and make it half-decaf.

    Marie
  9. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Koan and Jen--

    You have thrown my brain into :p wordless confusion.
    Both of your posts always sound QUITE articulate to me, so go figure. Which is not to say that I have any idea how you actually feel inside your respective brain(s).

    I too suffer from insomnia, but canNOT take any pharma drugs. They whack me into crazy land. Lately I've tried the GABA for sleep, and it worked really well for a while (as many things do), until it started giving me strange side effects--waking up gasping for air, and an irregular pulse with shortness of breath the next day.:( What a bummer this is! I was only taking the smallest dose. And of course no one but me else gets side effects like these.

    Along with the inability to think clearly and concentrate, I get this uncomfortable pressure and agitation in the FRONTAL BRAIN area, which is my utmost worst symptom. When I wake up in the middle of the night, usually btwn 3-5, that's when it comes on strongest. It's a wired hyperactive feeling with no energy behind it. But there is also a distinctive pressure or contraction going on. Does anyone else get this?
  10. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    talking in silence, thinking in pictures

    It's also easier in person, because less words are required. You can have the luxury of sharing silence with someone, and the silence can say a lot. Even the silence at the end of a sentence can convey a whole spectrum of different messages. You can't do that with a bunch of words on a computer screen. There is not even a silence smiley. And what would it look like? O

    And also there is this thing about how we perceive reality. I often see things in images, pictures of my feelings and thoughts. And it is SO MUCH WORK to translate this into words. Sometimes it's so exhausting, and it never REALLY expresses how I feel. I'd rather paint a picture.

    So Koan--I see you as a dark red moon shape, drifting above earth toned branches, that look like Chinese characters. There are three birds in a lower right branch and another one by itself flying off to the mid-upper left.
  11. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Dreambirdie, I don't have that symptom but I will say 3-5 is a low-cortisol time. There are more heart attacks adn such at that time.
  12. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    That's an interesting observation, Dreambirdie, about needing fewer words and being able to employ silence to effect.

    I must say, though, Marie and I have semi annual phone fests where we use every word ever there was - correctly! Well, mostly correctly :p

    It's interesting because neither of us are big phone users and we usually feel as though we will be unable to do much more than grunt and mumble for a minute or two. In actual fact, we race along in a torrent of heartfelt speech for quite some time.

    I don't think it's because we have these conversations when the brains are working well. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's not it. I think it's a combination of prompting and knowing you are communicating in a situation of complete understanding. I think we probably forget what we're talking about or can't find words or get confused much more than I think we do because there is no embarrassment involved.

    Anyway, when in doubt: CHOCOLATE!

    pace ~ English and Latin
  13. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Yes, and complete understanding happens when I'm talking to someone who speaks the same language. Which is such a darn special rare thing.
  14. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    That's why adaptogens before bed make sense, considering my adrenals are always struggling.
  15. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Re: sugar in chocolate. Get Scharffen Berger 100% dark chocolate--it comes in bars (for baking?). It's scored. I take 2 ounces, and put it in the microwave for 20 secs so it starts to melt, then I use a toddler's plastic spoon to sort of lick it...slowly over the course of the day. If it's too bitter for you (it's not for me) add some stevia or a bit of vanilla or honey.

    It has different stuff than caffeine. It's definitely like a drug tho ;).

    Dreambirdie, I find heat shifts me to a more parasympathetic mode (along with waking my bf and asking for a peanut oil rub very slow on my back only with cold pressed organic peanut oil. I know Edgar Cayce recommended this as a healing oil and I think there's something unique about it.) Therefore I have a couple bucky warmers (bucky.com). They are very well made and with washable covers. I microwave them for three minutes and lay them either along my spine or else across my midriff. See if that helps. You can make yourself a warmer if you prefer (our of rice or buckwheat in a big cotton sock).
  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Bucky warmer? I have never heard of this. I have a musician friend named Bucky, so you were giving me ideas there. ;)

    oh... I get it, bucky like buckweat. Will check it out. thanks
  17. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    Cognition...

    The best thing I've found for improved cognition has been injecting hydroxy B12.
    Maybe sublingual B12 helps some people think better too.
  18. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    I'm very close to nailing a certain pattern of vary strong responses to various supplements (mb12, adb12, methylfolate, l-carnitine fumarate, etc) and has "tolerance withdrawal" as it is often called with benzos or at least intolerable side effects. Anxiety is oftenh present as a symptom. This appears to include many posting here on this page. There is a reasoanbly complex biochemical reason for this kind of reaction to benzos along with finding startup on some supplements to be intolerable. I believe I have identified it. I need your help with some more information to nail down the pattern. Thankyou.



    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/showt...554#post258554
  19. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    It's not migraine, sinus headache, cluster headache, or another kind? I get migraines. A mild one or before they get worse, is like pressure or mild throbbing. It is worst slightly rear of my hairline.
  20. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I can't take drugs either. I tried valerian for sleep and had bad side effects :(

    LOL!

    Yes in person is so nice.

    I like chat too. My brain is better at forming text sentences than spoken. It's better at reading than hearing words. Sometimes my brain is bad at text.

    In chat sometimes I let there be silence. Or ...... that is silence :)

    I think our lowest cortisol time changes if we have a bedtime that is not like 10-11 pm norm.

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