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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » General Support » Ways to Improve thinking?

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Author Topic: Ways to Improve thinking?
Andie333
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I am starting a new job on Monday -- the first time I've been able to work on more than a very parttime basis in the past two years.

I'm really grateful for this chance, and mostly, I feel up to it.

But my thinking is still a little compromised, and that concerns me. I've gotten back a lot of my memory, but remembering short term things sometimes elude me.

It can also be hard to process a lot of information quickly.

What I'm wondering is whether anyone has any suggestions of what I can do to exercise my brain and maybe help these things improve.

I continue to improve, at my slow, steady pace, but if I can move things a little more quickly, especially mentally, I'd love to know how to do that.

Thanks everyone!

Andie

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Cassie
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andie,

Going back to work, that's great [Big Grin] I am glad that you are feeling up to your new adventure.

Does your new employer know that you have lyme disease?

Repeating, repeating, repeating [Big Grin] is a good way to remember

Or like Ellen Degeneres said on Friday, say a little jingle [Roll Eyes] I love watching her show, she is [lol] and down to earth.

Good luck, and don't put too much stress on your self.

I went to college for Nursing when I was 38 finished 3 years then became sick with Lyme [Frown] Never did work as a nurse.
I didn't know I Lyme before going back to school.

Hubby retired early 53, so if I every get better I consider my self retired too [Wink]

Take care your friend Cassie [kiss]

--------------------
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shazdancer
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Write things down. Make to-do lists. Look at the list, even if you think you know what's on it. Keep a small pad with you at all times.

Focus on things the first time: where you set your keys down, for example. If you know you are prone to forgetting a task, say it out loud, to a co-worker or to yourself. The more senses you can involve, the more likely you are to retain it.

Play word games and number games that help you exercise your brain: Scrabble, Sudoku....

Take periodic breaks. If you are stuck at a computer, get up and walk around, even if it's just to go to the bathroom! Try and get some fresh air every day.

Forgive yourself when you forget. Everyone forgets sometimes, but just the fact that you are concerned about forgetting tells me you are probably a conscientious worker, and an asset to your employer.

Best wishes -- I'm sure you'll do great!

Shaz
part-time admin assistant
part-time gymnastics coach

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Andie333
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I think repetition is a really good memory tool, Cassie, and I appreciate you reminding me.

In answer to your question: when they asked me if I'd be interested in full-time work, I let my boss know I'd been very sick with Lyme Disease. So, yes, she knows...

Shaz, these are really good suggestions, esp. involving as many senses as possible and taking frequent breaks.

I have a Palm pilot which has been indispensible while I've been sick. But that can't always help with routine office type tasks.

I'm a writer, so in my work, I'm going to be assimilating a lot of new information then writing about it. It will also mean quite a bit of organizing and synthesizing.

I'm a lot older than most of my co-workers, so even without Lyme, there's that...

Maybe, as you suggest, I'll just try to have a good sense of humor about it. The stress is just gonna make things worse.

Andie

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just don
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You Youngen Andie,

Suduko DOES work for me.!!

Addition probs might help too.

Otherwise your general work is exercise of (the mind) itself.

I have always been a numbers person, some people arent. Do what you DONT like doing and get better at THAT!!!

That leads to terrific accomplishment and satisfaction of the brain!!

Just be grateful you arent an old dog like me and therefore too old to teach NEW tricks!!!being I remain--just don--

--------------------
just don

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Andie333
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Going against my skills would put me squarely in the math category, Don.

But in a weird sort of way, it does make sense.

I tried to work my first sudoku puzzle when I was first starting abx and my disease was really at its worst. I struggled and struggled and struggled until I finally walked away in frustration.

And that was in the category marked easiest puzzles of all.

Thankfully, I have made progress since, but on a math scale, it's nominal.

Andie
[Wink]

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trails
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yes humor is always a good way to deal! it wont improve your thinking but it will make you feel better and hopefully those around you.

you bring up age and it could be that SOME of the thinking stuff is related to the big PAUSE. And in that case your employer or employees should be able to relate or get a chuckle from your experience. blame everything on menopause--it is easier for most people to take and understand than lyme is.

good luck!
dont stress, you are going to be okay,
you have been much worse before,
best
trails

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Geneal
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Dear Andie,

Congrats on the new job!!!! I know that it is hard to train for short term memory.

Your brain usually decides what is important and what is trash. The important info gets saved into long term memory. The rest goes out the window.

The info has to stay in short term memory long enough to get incorporated into long term memory.

Thus, repitition really helps. Lists, reminders, etc. are all really good helpers.

I found a website called greatdaygames.com. There are many free games there.

Simple things like solitaire, spelling and math related card games are there.

I found this has really helped me think more clearly. Plus it is kind of fun.

Just remember we all compensate for what we don't have at 100%. Kind of like wearing glasses when your vision isn't 20/20.

Good luck at the new job.

Geneal

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Andie333
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Maybe some of this relates to mid-life changes, and granted, it wouldn't be a hard sell.

I think I'm going to go to the games site geneal suggested (thanks for that!)

And hold onto the humor option; that somehow suits me best.

Thanks to you both for the good wishes and encouragement!

Andie

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MariaA
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I"ve said this in the medical questions section, but I think I've gotten a lot of help from neurotoxin binders such as LOTS of chlorella (like 2000 mg 4 times a day) and prescription Welchol (something Dr Richie Shoemaker talks about in the book Mold Warriors). My LLMD thinks some of people's concentration/brainfog problems are due to toxins which can be mopped up with agents like this.

Maria

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Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

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siggy
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After a one year break from my studies, I am now trying to get back on track. I find the biggest problems are the cognitive challenges. Trying to write a 1200 word essay is quite a challenge.

Pre-lyme that would be a piece of cake. Now it needs some planning. So far what has worked best is to sit down, write for about 15-20 minutes, have a looong break, then write some more. That way I actually get things done.

This is not how I would prefer to work, but as long as it works. Still don't know if I will be able to finish studies this year though.

Anyway; sudoku is great for excercising the brain. And I found something called majhong (sp?)on pogo.com which was great fun. Easiest level of course [Big Grin]

Pushing my brain doesn't help, just makes things worse. So when it shuts down, I just leave it be.

It is great to be able to laugh about it! Takes away so much pressure and makes life a wee bit more fun. Keep going Andie! Congrats on your job!!

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hatsnscarfs
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For me detox is the most important way to keep my brain functioning. In order to resume a full work schedule (which I'm doing successfully right now) I make sure I drink a lot of water throughout the day. If I don't, brain fog sets in fast. Make sure there is a good supply of filtered water & a big glass at your workplace.

I soak in Epsom salts most mornings before work, this makes a big difference.

Bring healthy food to work.

Keep notes, have a good system, use it as if you have no memory. Some days my memory vanishes. By using a system, no one knows when my brain is gone.

I think getting my memory back is based 95% on toxin & bb removal. Attempting to exercise my brain with puzzles is tiring. Jigsaw puzzles are relaxing though.

I avoid stress as much as possible. I focus on soing the important things first in case I feel worse. I work extra on days when my head is clear. I do simpler tasks on brain foggy days.

Good luck with the job.
hats

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bettyg
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andie, they've said the immediate things that came to my mind so i'll just add these about being organized to write about things:

time management taught me to handle each paper ONCE;

. reply to it

. FILE it in a new file to start organizing for that specific thing you're doing

. if you file it, start a piece of paper or in word, show the name of paper and contents as well as the DATE/AUTHOR in case their is a later/earlier version too!

. file 13 garbage it


i used to keep like a dennis the menace joke book at work. when it got stressful, i'd take it out for a couple of minutes of belly-laughing and then resume the hectic schedule! [Big Grin] [lol]

i'd also admit to people, your name is on the tip of my tongue, but it just won't come out right now; please tell me your name again, and forgive my embarassment! [Embarrassed] best wishes! [Wink]

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Andie333
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More really good suggestions, everyone; thanks!

hats, I like what you wrote about detoxing. I did try a cleanse but it was months ago. At the time, it made me feel too weak. I think I'd fare better tnow.

Siggy, I'd find a paper that length daunting, too. I'm better wtih shorter items (reading and writing them). Also really like the idea about taking breaks.

Betty, I could sure use more efficiency and appreciate your system. Thanks so much for posting it!

Andie

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mag
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hi andie,

being in a fog was so frightening for me
Was not able to read several sentences with out being confused.
i was working with out a diagnosis - the whole neuro and toxin syndrome.

I write short to do lists
i have one little books with pages that are easy to rip out or carry the book in my purse.

i thrived on multi tasking - being a workaholic- this causes intense pain in the brain now.
In order to go on - I keep my limitations in mind. Looking back at where I was in comparison to where I am now is encouraging

Lots of water and snacks with my supplements in the car and at work, Lemon with molasses help the toxins leave..
.
.
work on and enjoy

mags

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bettyg
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andie, glad you liked my tips on organizing.

forgot to mention

2nd idea on starting a file and listing of what you put in there, to keep adding to separate list. that's why i love the pc; i can have master in machine, and add; SORT IT A-Z before printing!


i've also been the type of person tackling the HARDEST jobs first .... break them up as much as possible so you feel like you're making progress.

then when i get to the easy part; i'm loving it and the pressure is off!

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PinchotGail
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Andie,
Wow, so glad to hear you got the job!!!

Everyone wrote some very good ideas.....I second the detoxing....Chlorella is great 2-3 grams a day.

My 14 year old noticed her brain works better taking PHOSPHATYDL SERINE and phosphatydl choline. I really noticed a difference in how her brain worked to; not forgetting as much and not getting as confused [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

Dr. Guberman's Brain Health ... a website for you to read about these 2 supplements.....

We get ours here at Designs for Healthclick here as suggested by our LLMD.

Gail
 -

--------------------
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an
indomitable will ~ Gandhi

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susan2health
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Deep breathing (Andrew Weil style) or walking for even a few moments in a hall or room helps me get more oxegen and helps clear brain. Outside is better as the air is usually cleaner and higher in oxegen than indoor air.

When I was well enough to work, and I got foggy, I would take a 15 minute break and climb stairs in the office building when others were taking coffee or smoking breaks.

Also, keeping my blood pressure up to 110/70 with cortisol, herbs, water, salt and potassium helps also. See Cheney's article on http://www.dfwcfids.org/medical/cheney/heart04.part2b.htm#top

I am so happy for you--to be able to work. Sigh.
But I'm expecting a good year. I'm asking to be able to dance by year end. (I use to do ballet and ballroom.)

May it all go even better than you could have imagined!

Susan

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Andie333
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Well, I've completed week one (in a herx... [Roll Eyes] 0

Things were very, almost painfully slow, but maybe that's a good thing.

mag, how scary to have brain fog without knowing why! It was hard enough when I knew the reason.

But I appreciated you and Gail both mentioning detox. I'd actually forgotten about the lemon water and always felt like that helped me. I'll try it again.

Betty, more tips...and they're good ones.

Susan, just in this week, I've also found walking outside and taking a few deep breaths every hour or so is invaluable.

Plus, I continue drinking LOTS of water, which means...well, lots of bathroom breaks as well.

Thanks again everyone...and now, I'm going to really relax and enjoy the weekend!

Andie

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MariaA
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well, it should be obvious, but of course the bathroom breaks (or sweating) ARE a part of detox also.

Maria

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Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
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bettyg
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quote:
Originally posted by Andie333:

Betty, more tips...and they're good ones.Andie

andie, what tips are you using now besides mine, then i can expand and give you many more that helped me! i always found EASIER/LESS TIME to do things.


make sure your workspace has everything in its place; things you use ALL the time, are right there by you; NOT put away somewhere wasting time.

have a FOLLOW-UP TICKLER FILE!

have a file folder jan. - dec.

in it, have things you want to followup by DATE NEEDED in each month's file. CHECK IT FIRST THING DAILY to make sure nothing is overlooked on any deadline!


if you do the same type of work daily or occasionally, i wrote up notes on HOW TO DO as a reminder for my lyme mind. as different things changed, go to your notes updating that info.

when i left my hwy. road secretary job, i had 3 full 2" binders full of EVERY TYPE OF PAPERWORK required for that job! next woman who came in, just started throwing them away.

clerk typist gave her hell for this as she used them daily. a few years ago, i stopped at the maintenance bldg, and some of my OLD how to do notes were still there being used by countless others! that was a high complement to me; they were still useful. [Wink] [Big Grin]

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Andie333
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Betty,

AFter just a week on the job, it seems my tasks are going to be all over the place -- basically writing and editing everything from newsletter articles to three-page ad spreads, profiles of clients to packaging and product descriptions.

The co's now going international, growing quickly, and offers a consumer product and service.

Not sure yet if there will be a routine to it all, but I'll keep you posted.

Andie

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bettyg
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andie, then with the variety of work, it sounds like my suggestion of writing notes per job MAY help you as they could come back later, and you wouldn't have to reinvent HOW you did so and so!

thanks for telling me more about your new job. [Big Grin]

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5dana8
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[hi] Andie333
Good luck with your new job!

I found anything I can do with numbers or cross wrod puzzles do help keep my mind sharp-well maybe just not as dull [Smile]

Take care &
Blessings
Dana

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5dana8

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Andie333
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thanks for the good wishes, dana, and for the suggestion about word and number exercises.

I've actually found a place to play boggle online. In pre-Lyme days, I was a pretty formidable boggle player. Not anymore. Playing's humbling, but I also think it keeps me a bit sharper.

Interestingly, my score on boggle increases when I'm simultaneously listening to music.

Maybe I get more relaxed...and maybe I need to think about doing that at work!

Andie

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Carol in PA
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Andie,
There are a number of supplements that are supposed to help with brain function.
Vinpocetin is one that comes to mind.

Last time I shopped at iHerb, they had a special sale on this:

Natrol, Brain Speed Perform, 60 Tablets
SRP: $39.99
Our Price: $4.99
short expiration date (June 2007)
http://www.iherb.com/store/ProductDetails.aspx?c=Herbs&pid=NTL-04364


Natrol, Brain Speed Attention, 60 Tablets
SRP: $39.99
Our Price: $4.99
short expiration date (June 2007)
http://www.iherb.com/store/ProductDetails.aspx?c=Herbs&pid=NTL-04364


Huperzine A is a natural compound extracted from the Chinese club moss Huperiza serrata.
Worldwide studies have shown that Huperzine A supports learning and memory by protecting acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that acts as a messenger molecule in the brain.


I bought some to try, as the price was so low.
Haven't tried it yet, as I'm in the middle of trying some other new things.

Carol

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lymeout
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Andie,
Congratulations on being well enough to go back to work! We are so happy for you. I want to support the suggestions for chlorella and any other detox remedies. They are essential. Also, the phosphatydal choline. My daughter has been taking this since spring or summer. Another thing you may want to consider if you find yourself at a plateau and these things aren't enough is neurofeedback- brainwave stimulation. There have been studies that show its effectiveness at restoring brainwave balance after brain injury. Chronic infection/inflammation does injure the brain!

My daughter and I played scrabble almost every evening through the summer; and she does word puzzles constantly.

If I remember, you were trying mangosteen juice. Did you ever try the Xango? And did you have any good results from it?

So glad to hear that you are getting better!

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