Brain Fog

When one has a stroke, that’s a huge insult to the brain. When the brain is insulted, it gets crabby and you’ll experience brain fog. For the first few months after my stroke, I didn’t fully understand what the hell was going on. My brain was damaged and not working properly. I still have brain damage but the effects of it are much different now that it’s a chronic condition as opposed to acute. I still don’t talk and walk as well as I’d like but there are absolutely no cognitive issues. I can think very clearly, and I think I’m still quite smart. :). It just doesn’t seem like it to people that don’t know me well. Oh well, I’m way over being embarrassed by this.

Categories: Brain stuff, Stroke stuff

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51 replies

  1. Hi amy, This blog is great! You really are quite smart, and always have been 🙂 I enjoy reading your posts. Since I had disc surgery, the post about backs hit home. I try to think more about my postion when standing and sittng, and also checked out the website you listed, so thankyou, and keep blogging!
    much love, Aunt Marilyn

  2. Hi Amy, I’m glad the fog has cleared for you. My sister recently had a stroke, and she mentions thinking through a fog. Hence, my reason for finding your blog, as I search for information to understand, and get a bit of hope for her. Unfortunately, I have a fog problem too, but from a different problem.

    Just wanted to say hi, and thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Susan! You’re welcome. 🙂 When I wrote this, I was still experiencing a foggy brain but didn’t realize it. It’s clear to me now. It’s not a problem at all anymore.

  3. Had a stroke on Nov 28th and then a transformation of stroke on Dec 16th. My original stroke was caused by having a overactive thyroid gland which cause me to develop Atrial fibrillation and hence clots forming in heart then shooting off to brain causing stroke . I had rightsided weakness and rightsided visual problems but have recovered from the weakness and now been allowed to drive again however I still have some problems with my eye.but nothing that would legally and safely stop me from driving, my major issue now is since I had the transformation stroke which I was told was due to being started on warfarin treatment is the continual headachy brain fog I have. I wake up with it and sometimes it does improve over the day but mainly it just stays. I feel spaced out and detached from everything . It is a very unpleasant feeling and makes me worry that it will never go away. My husband and children are obviously worried and I have no way to reassure them. I also have checked if these symptoms are medication related but have not found evidence to support this. I have spoke to stroke associations /and nurse specialist who have/all said as long as you have no other stroke symptoms I should not worry. The headaches are not severe just a niggely feeling nothing that would make me rush to A&E . can anyone offer advice on this ???

    • Hi Susan, welcome! Will you be on Coumadin for the rest of your life?

      • Hiya Amy I have been told by my stroke doctor that I will be on Warfarin for life. However I have also been told by another doctor that as my stroke was caused by developing Atrial fibrillation due to hyperthyroidism once I have the thyroid problem sorted out then the atrial fibrillation should stop and then I would not need to be on warfarin . I have just had my Radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid (17/03/14 and I will have to wait to find out if it has been successful in treating the hyperthyroidism. I don’t know what to think really . I just want this headachy/brain fog to stop I do not have any cognitive loss and I will be returning to work shortly as a nurse caring for children/young adults with bone cancer and although the brain fog does not affect my ability to do anything it just makes me feel tired.

    • Hi Sue. I can’t offer advice to you, other than to tell you if you had your stroke November of this last year, that is relatively recently. Give it time is my only advice. My mom had a stroke 23 years ago, when she was only 49 years old. She was just experiencing one of her “brain fog” days today, and that is what brought me here. She doesn’t have them very often. The first few years after her stroke, she was in a pretty constant brain fog, but over the years it has definitely gotten better. She only has these foggy days, maybe once a month on average. Her movement is fine, and her speech (she NEVER shuts up, and that’s different). But her short-term memory and many processing skills were lost for her. She has regained a lot of the processing, but has to write everything down or she doesn’t remember. Anyway, the brain fog you talk about sounds a lot like what she experiences. The bad news is that 23 years later, she’s still having episodes, but the good news is they are fewer. Every day gets a little better (overall).

    • What is a transformation stroke. I had a stroke 2 yes ago and still can’t move left hand

  4. Hey Susan trying to find a place or community that might understand what I am going through. I had a cerebellum stroke in Jan 2010. It was very scary as dizziness hit me like a truck and then 5 seconds later it was gone. I was only 31 at the time so when I went to the hospital I was not taken seriously as something major happening to me. I was sent home that night told to come back in the AM for a CT, That night I suffered another dizzy attack at like 4 AM where I could not sit up in my bed without falling over. It was really scarry. I was scheduled for a CT at 8am so I just waited for my appointment. Once the CT was finished they knew there was something wrong they just told me I had a mass in my brain they could not tell what it was without a MRI. I was shipped to Toronto for the MRI and they found out that it was a stroke (which was a relief I thought it was a tumor) there was nothing they would do for me. I had no deficits so they put me on blood thinners for 6 months and monitored me.

    I had a time adjusting to my balance but it was not major. I put it as it felt like I was wearing someone else’s glasses. Things were just a bit off. Not a lot to be alarmed but enough to notice. I have had intense that I can only explain as waves of just noise/pressure in my head, like a wave of adrenalin that only last for 1 second. Problem is that it triggers panic attacks and anxiety because it makes me feel off balance. This has been going on for years and is starting to affect my quality of life. I have this foggy head feeling that my mind if just not quite there or can focus. Very frustrating. When I talk to my Dr i get the “you should be lucky your alive” speech and it seem like my problems are ignored or marked as not important. I am just curious how others survive with the constant feeling that something is wrong inside your head like you don’t feel like yourself anymore.. is that depression or from the stroke? It can be very frustrating and my partner cannot understand and she is worried and she should not need to..

    Just looking to reach out to others that suffer from this so I can maybe get a grip on this as it seems to be getting worse and I want to trust my mind what its saying and telling me about how I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell it but I don’t trust it anymore..

    • Sorry meant to say Amy not Susan…

    • Welcome Caspan. My advice – get a new doctor. Any doctor that gives you the you’re lucky to be alive speech should lose his license to practice medicine.
      It’s the stroke. I don’t always have the feeling but I do a few times a week. I call it my fuzzy head feeling.

      • you’re talking about foggy feeling or for me its like intense waves of what I can only describe as adrenalin because I have both. I am sitting and all of a sudden its like I can feel everything inside my head for a split second its like a wave. Scares the crap out of me.

        • Wow that does sound scary? Do you get any lasting effects after it happens? Have doctors given you ANY help with this issue?

          • Nothing lasts it just there and then its gone but it sometimes does trigger a panic attack and i start to get tunnel vision because I am scared of what happened.. Sometime i think I do it to myself. I have had many MRIs since the event because of me worrying something is still wrong.. They keep coming back as unchanged. But I do not feel like myself at all.. I have had water tests to my ears to see if it was an inner ear issue it came back fine.. just so frustrating and no one to talk to because no one understand how it feels.. that’s when you get into depression that you spend a whole day concentrating to ignore it your exhausted..

            No help from docs been to 3 different neurologists.. those are the ones that tell me this is side effects fo the stroke i have to live with it and i am lucky to be alive..

            • I also had a cerebellum stroke…may 18th of this year. at 58 years old. Interestingly, my thyroid medicine was too high so has been changed. Doctors don’t help at all I am finding…I have equilibrium issues but keep hearing ‘give it a year’…. I also have these intense ‘episodes’ that starts in my liver with a pressure, then I get dizzy (this almost always happens early in the morning before I get up). My diabetic nurse says that the liver kicks out more insulin to get you goin in the morning…but its very uncomfortable for a flash. Fatigue and fuzzy eyesight is also transient but irritating. Damn….will I ever feel normal again?

            • Caspan, I know exactly what you are talking about! You are the first person who was able to describe what I feel. Thank you for puttting that into words for me.! I recently suffered from having 2 strokes. Just returned home from hospital.

              • It has been a hard few years, I have struggled with this, just fighting to make it through the day to get home to fall asleep from fighting it all day. Trying to ignore what was happening to my mind but it is exhausting. I don’t know if going to speak to someone helped but my mind seems more at piece, I am not sure if it’s has been time. I still have anxiety attacks all the time but this again I fell is mental related because of the issues. If you need someone to talk to let me know because it can’t hurt !

              • Well if you ever need to talk, I think that has helped me a lot. Therapy to just keep me from feeling insane…

              • In 2002 at the age of 31 yrs, I suffered a right vertebral artery stroke that has effected my cerebellum. I too have “brain fog”. And what I refer to as “brain zaps”. I have had a constant dull headache and brain fog without any relief since that day.
                I can TOTALLY relate to your feelings.
                It has been 15 years of this.
                I am hopeful that maybe someone who is on this blog will have a fresh idea for me.
                It is nice to know that there are others out ther who “get me”.

  5. I had a posterior stroke mid october and my fuzzy brain waves are getting worse. My balance and motion was affected. I can walk ok though. My left hand is a but numb but i can use it, but there are days i wake up and have these pressure waves all day accompanied with palpitations and if i try to lift anything the pressure comes and then the wave, or ripple or fuzziness. Call it what u like, it is awful. Deoression does not begin to cover what i feel. I wonder if i will ever be normal again. Doc just said may never heal. I may never work again he says. Prior to stroke i ran about like an idiot every day working shopping cooking etc. Now i can feel dizzy just trying to make breafast. Grrrr!

    • I would think that it’s going to improve a ton. Your stroke was so recent, your brain is still traumatized.

    • I would suggest that you get a good counselor, you will need someone to talk to. I have tried to fight mine for years by myself and it tears you apart inside. The frustration the anger that you’re not the same anymore. Mine has not what I believe is PTSD and I now have anxiety attacks and I fight just to get through some days just so I can get to bed so you can sleep. It is a very hard time and it’s scary also. I have this fear of it happening again so when you feel those waves it causes panic attacks… please make sure you have a support system in place that is not your partner or a friend as they will constantly remind you of the issues each day with a “how are you feeling today” “is it bad today?” because of course what this does is just remind you of the issues the days that you finally forgot about it or a day you are feeling better. It can be frustrating to be reminded of it. I hope you feel better soon it does take time to heal of course and everyone is different. Don’t be afraid to ask your neurologist as many questions as you have to make sure you are okay…

  6. Caspan still got them four years on though! That scares crap out of me. I have almost stopped my physio and going out for walks already because i cannot cope with feeling that my brain is moving when i walk. I know it is wrong to give up so soon but unsure how to get back on track. Will take any advice.

    • Is it the feeling almost like your wearing someone else’s glasses, like ground is not exactly where you think it should be? Because I did fell that for some time. I think the waves still happen but you learn to ignore them more. They become common place and they don’t scare you as much.. but the dizzyness for me got a lot better with time. My left fingers go just that tingly numb all the time. I was told this is because I had a stroke in the life side of my brain and it cannot control the resizing of my vessels any more so I get blood but not enough some times to keep my fingers from tingling. I guess your vessels expand and contract to let more blood down them. This is what they told me anyways. I think understanding why things are happening helped me a lot to know I was not having another stroke.

  7. Since my first post in december i was healing great until this week. I had palpitations on and off for five days then a massive floating type attack. Heart thumping so fast, feelings of intense brain pressure and vision issues. Rushed to hospital and now discharged with no answers. I feel like i did The day after my stroke last october and then some. I cannot get out of bed. I still have palpitations, rushing to brain etc. Has this happened to anyone else ?

    • I’m sorry Carol. I can tell you that the first year after my stroke I had TONS of weird, scary feelings happen and was in the ER every other week. Like you, never got an answer about anything, not even an educated guess.

  8. Caspan and amy – did they pass?

    • Yes they did, I still get weird feelings from time to time but not like that.

    • For me it was like in the last 3 months my brain stopped doing weird things like that. I still get them once in a while but I blame myself for them because i think they are mini panic attacks. Because what happened I am hyper aware of anything that happens inside my body as I also had 3 collapsed lungs when i was 19.

      I would ask your Dr for one of the pam drugs. I used clonazepam to calm my anxiety this all caused but only used it when it got really bad. Maybe a smaller dose could help just take the edge off. It is a lot to deal with to be honest and can be overwhelming.

      So for me I had the stroke just over 3 years ago. I am still not 100% but i am feeling better in the head, the fog has seems to passed for me

  9. Caspan. Bit good news for you there. From reading your messages i know how hard it is. Like snakes and ladders. Climb up fine then slide down again!

    • Find a trauma counselor to talk to. This helped me so much having someone to talk to that can understand PTSD as that is a lot of this for me.It never hurts just to have someone to talk to. I find loved ones are the wrong people to talk to because for me I would have good day and then a loved one would ask ‘how are you today’ that would cause me to think if it and just was frustrating. With a counselor you go and talk and the conversation stays there. It really did help a lot, and asking my partner to just only talk to me about it only if I bring it up.

  10. Hi All….I am so thankful for all the posts here….my stroke 1 year ago is definitely life changing….good to see that you all experience the same weird head feelings that come and go…but I am progressing. I have people tell me all the time…’you don’t even look like you had a stroke’….well walk a day in my shoes and you will feel it. Yes Caspan…like wearing someone elses glasses or I say like walking like a drunken sailor without the drunk. I still experience that weird adrenalin/liver rush and don’t know what that is…but not panicking when it happens

  11. My husband just had a stroke at 39 y/o. He is healthy and runs and works out several times a week. The only cause they could find was a hole in his heart, which we will get repaired soon. His stroke was large, affecting the occipital and parietal lobes of his brain. He has minimal residual effects…left vision blurriness with about a 10% cut from visual field, some numbness and tingling in left arm, and THIS fuzzy, out of body feeling you all speak of. His stroke was less than 2 weeks ago and it’s absolutely driving him nuts. He says he’s “tired of feeling weird.” This is the only website I’ve found that I feel accurately describes what he is feeling. He has convinced the doc to take him off blood pressure meds because he feels that may be the cause. I sure hope it is. If it’s not though, at least there are other people out there dealing with this issue and hopefully it will subside with time. I hope and pray that it goes away for all of you. Any advice I can give him that will help him through this??

  12. I had my stroke a little over a year ago (Aug 7th 2014). It was an ischemic stroke due to AFIB ( which I didn’t even know I had). The stroke caused an infarct in my right frontal an parietal lobes. All in all, I guess I came out of it with minor deficits. I had numbness in my left hand which turned into pain on lot of my left side. And yes, the brain fog and off balance feeling. Showed up several weeks after my stroke and have not gotten better, with the exception of a few good days here and there. Some of you have given some good description of what I am feeling.. I tried to explain these feelings to two neurologists ; the first one said it was not stroke related….I fired him. The second Doc really can’t explain nor does he try. Along with the weird head feeling, I also get an uneasy jittery feeling along with heart palpitations. The Neurologist put me on Amitriptyline for the pain, and now the cardiologist has me taking metoprolol for the palps. My theory is the stroke affected my serotonin levels in my brain which has everything all whacked out. I’m going to try to see a neuropsychiatrist to see if my issues are due to chemical imbalances caused by he brain trauma. Though I’m sorry you folks are suffering like I am, but it is a bit of comfort knowing I’m no the only one. Maybe one of us can find an answer.

  13. My husband had a mild stroke affecting the left thalmus 2.5 weeks ago. He has a desk job as a data analyst and returned to work from home a week later. This is his first week going to the office. He is complaining of fogginess, inverting words when he types and having to think harder about things he wouldn’t have to think about at all before the stroke. He is also very tired all the time. How have you all dealt with returning to work? I wonder if my husband should be on a reduced work schedule and/or work from home where there is less activity and stimuli than at the office. Luckily working from home is an option for him. He is 49 years old.

    • Hmm, well for me personally I didn’t go back to work for 3.5 years. I was still almost dead a week out from the stroke. There’s no way I could’ve gone back to work in the first couple because the fatigue was so bad. I’m rambling, sorry. Honestly, I’m still learning how exactly to balance everything.

  14. Hey everyone. I’m glad to here I’m not alone with the “haziness”, “dream-like” feeling. At first, I believed it was the medication, Keppra, they had me on. I’ve been on the Keppra for about a month now and though it has subsided briefly, I feel that the haziness is just from the stroke. My stroke was 3 and a half months ago and I am 21 years old. I’m afraid I’ll have to deal with this brain fog for the rest of my life and it scares me.
    I also feel like my cognitive abilities are slightly impaired, but I can’t tell. I’m hoping everything comes back, but I’m afraid of the idea that they won’t. I can work through the motor deficits, but I can’t continue living with the feeling that I’m constantly in a bad dream. Let me know what you think everyone. And I hope you all continue to recover.

  15. I Understand the fog discussion! Drunken sailor is a good visual and description. I had a cerebral stroke 2 months ago. It has affected walking and coordination AND created this “fog” that is actually the worst part for me. I also get tired fast while doing anything, including typing or talking! Anytime my eyes are open and I’m not laying down it is present. I was in a rehab hospital for a month and made good improvement on coordination, walking, etc, but no real change to the fog scale.

    I went to first outpatient rehab PT appt today and the therapist mentioned a visual acuity set of exercises that they had just been trained on. It was described as retraining of motor, inner ear, visual and brain com. It sounded relevant for my condition – we’ll see and I’ll report back after we have had a few sessions.

    Thank you!

    • i just had my stroke 9 days ago. I sometimes feel the dizziness and slight nausea then is goes away. My right leg and arm were affected. Im now walking with a cane some days better then others. The hands sometimes tingle, we all this better?

  16. Has anyone had neck and back pain after their stroke?

  17. I am 51 – Had a stroke 6 days ago – I abused myself – never concerned with Blood Pressure – or sugar – I paid the price with a stroke, but I am the luckiest person ever. No deficits except the foggy brain syndrome. I am now on meds (passed a stress test with ease have had pet/cat/MIR/ the grape like stroke next to my thymus. not in. I think the beta blocker I am on is giving me Muscle fatigue. Anyone have anything for the Fog? By the way – smoking, eating and zero sugar is now in place.. My levels are normal. Anyone?

    • good for you for “getting it”. Brain fog is rather insidious…had a stroke 3 years ago now and the brain fog is now only when I have pushed it too I use it as a warning to rest. Never discount rest

  18. Hi guys, I had my stroke in December 2016 and although I have no obvious effects,cognitively, I still very affected. I’m not as sharp as I was prior to the stroke. I second guess myself and I am not as confident as I was. I feel in a constant spacey state of fog. I just want the old perky, smart me back. the fact tat I experience these things brings me a sense of anxiety and depression. I go to work everyday (I’m a teacher) but still I feel not quite right. I am on anti anxiety and blood pressure medication and that’s it so far. i’m glad I found this blog because post stroke it was difficult to find a stroke support group in my area. I’m still curious of how to work through the fog


  1. Brain Fog and Migraines – mycerebellarstrokerecovery

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