Multiple Sclerosis Community
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1421489 tn?1285529235

Cognitive? Issues

Over the last year or so I've found it increasingly hard to complete the more administrative side of my job, and it's now frustrating me quite a bit. I'm 27 and having been doing this type of work for 4 years now.

The admin side of my job involves quite a lot of numerical work, and also includes requesting information from lots of people, receiving their responses in individual 'bitty' emails (sigh, if only people would wait until they had all relevant information before responding...) and then filing in a relatively logical manner, keeping and updating an outstanding list, and also presenting the information received in large spreadsheets.

I have to keep a track of issues arising, e.g people not performing their tasks correctly, and report all of this on a regular basis into my manager. At the same time, I have to perform research to gain an understanding of other companies prior to doing work for them.

The things I'm having problems with are:

a) performing any arithmetic in my head at any speed faster than snails pace

b) concentrating on anything at all if there is any noise around me.

c) concentrating enough to be able to absorb information from large written articles

c) establishing what a question is asking me to do

d) working out how to complete a task: I know what the end should be, but initiating the middle steps to get to the end point seems to be taking a massive amount of time and mental energy, and a lot of going round in circles.

e) figuring out how to present information in a spreadsheet: where on the page I should put the information, which information I should put next to each other for it to make sense

f) remembering number longer than 5 digits long. This is SO frustrating, as a large part of what I do involves number transfer.

g) occasionally, trying to work out why a word is wrong, e.g. the word remember, writing rememember and not being able to see that there are too many 'ems' there.

I don't have any problem with understanding things that people have said, or getting my words muddled up or anything like that.

Maybe part of the problem is that I used to be able just to 'do' things, without much though as to how I did them... this 'just doing' is now no longer possible, and I don't really have a method to fall back on.

Anyway, does any of this sound like it could be caused by the MS? I'm trying to work out who the best doctor would be to talk to about it, because now I can see the quantity of work I can perform in day significantly decreasing (and hence impacting on the rest of the team) and can feel my frustration levels rising.


10 Responses
429700 tn?1308011423
Yes, to all nine!  The symptom of MS that I HATE the very most!  I was very close to throwing in the towel at work.  What I did was talked with my neurologist.  

There are many causes of this in MS.  I learned from my doctor that it could be (for me):  my blood pressure medicine, the MS, driving myself too hard at work, depression, lack of sleep, fatigue, or all of the above.  I talked with him about early retirement.  

I was very close to being put in the hospital to take me off of my beta blocker and on to something else (which I dreaded because I didn't want to go through a spell of daily migraines, which this helps), when I had such a novel idea (LOL) to cut down on some responsibilities at work first (which was only a $50 pay decrease a month).  

I also am taking more Provigil to help with the fatigue, which in turn helps a lot with the cognitive issues.  Instead of the half a pill of Provigil, I take a whole pill.  

Additionally, I make myself go to bed early.  I still don't sleep well, but I do get an opportunity to rest.  I have a pretty bad problem with spasticity lately related to my body temperature/MS which I will talk with my neurologist the next time I see him.

I also understand there are other medicines for cognitive functioning and fatigue.  I don't know what's available in Europe.  AND there are neuropsychological specialists that may help you or give your neurologist a better picture of what you're going through.

We (my doctor and I) haven't gotten to the level of early retirement yet.  I'm hanging in there by the skin of my teeth (is this an idiom used in the UK?  LOL).  

Take care,
429700 tn?1308011423
Oh, I have to add that my neurologist told me that I had ADD (attention deficit disorder).  Imagine that at my age!  I teach, and this is a common disorder with a couple of my special education students!  

He said that more than likely that ADD is related to the MS.  He said that increasing the Provigil should help with this symptom as well.  

1260255 tn?1288658164
Deb61 must have been reading my mind. Some of your sx do sound like they could be ADD.

My DS, age 20, is ADHD, and thus I am very familiar with the sx. I read your post and the possibility of ADD was screaming at me, especially looking at concentration and organizational skills.

Some of your other things may be related to not exercising your brain enough. Point A- with simple math. We get so reliant on computers that we do not use our math skills. My background is accounting/finance. In the old days, I used to be able to calculate 1/138 in my head. Now with using Excel all of the time, my brain is more accustomed to the higher level of designing the spreadsheet to solve the problem rather than the basic math.

With your last point in terms of spelling, please try to use spell check whenever you are on a computer. It won't catch everything, but will help to cut down on the type of mistake you described. A lot of us have to print out something to catch our errors that spell check does not pick up; for some reason, the brain does not see the mistakes on the computer screen, yet picks them up quickly on paper???

Ah, the wonders of the human brain. Great when it works well, frustrating when it doesn't work the way we want it to.


PS- I'll read this after I've posted it and wonder why there were so many typos, even tho I tried to proof it 5 times before posting!

Avatar universal
Oh blimey!

That last one : knowing a word is wrong but not being able to see WHY- drives me mental and seems to be happening to me more and more. Or I'll see a word online that someone has spelt incorrectly but for the life of me not be able to think of the correct spelling.

Also I have days when I cannot spell something as simple as the suburb I live in. Up until the beginning of this year I was living in "Strathpine".  I recall numerous times having to spell that over the phone to people for whatever reason and saying "S - T - R..........................umm........." stuck.

Last week my son had his first ever English Essay to wrote for homework. I used to be an A student who excelled at essay writing. But I sat there for HOURS thinking.....umm...........ummmmmm.........what's an essay and how do you write one.........."

Which all ***** rather a lot as I have long wanted to spend time writing stories (just then I had to think long and hard how to spell "stories") and now I have the time but the brain is on holiday.........

Avatar universal
PS , since when has "s...u...cks" been a bad word? "The baby s ucks on his bottle". 'The child s ucks his drink through the straw".  Silly censor.
198419 tn?1360245956
You describe a lot of what I deal with too. Wish I could say it gets better.

What I find is ways to compensate for those limitations does get better with time. You'll learn various ways to do what you do best but it may take you longer and you have to check yourself so much more.

You'll hate it the whole time, Jepster because you never had to work so hard at what use to come naturally.


338416 tn?1420049302
Jemm - the p rick test also gets bleeped out.  I guess they don't want ANY nasty talk - which I can understand, but I've never seen anybody talk nasty on this forum.

Jepster, unfortunately there's no easy answer.  You have to assume that you won't get it back.  You may - but assume that you don't, and plan accordingly.
1421489 tn?1285529235
Thanks :) I talked this over with my GP who thinks it might be due to various different stresses I've been under at different points throughout the year, which seem to have coincided with the points where I've been under the most pressure work-wise. She could well have a point, especially as a lot of the above are caused by this fugginess which seems to have settled in my head which I guess can be pretty stress related.

She's going to wait and see how things are for the next few months and then see about carrying out various tests. She did say that it was a good idea to also mention it all to the new neuro when I see him in November just incase he has a different take on the matter.

Phew, I think!

338416 tn?1420049302
I went to the neuro to talk about my cognitive problems, and he was condescending - told me I was 'confused' because of the diagnosis.  Paugh.  He had no idea how bad off I was, and how different I was from before.  

So I asked for a neuro-psych exam to measure my baseline cognitive function.  Which was actually a lie - I knew I was having problems, but he was being obstructionist, and so I had to work around it.  It found that I had some mild cognitive impairment, and the psych recommended Aricept.  So I asked for some samples from my neuro, and he got mad at me!

But I stuck to my guns, got the samples, and found that they really did help.  I stayed on Aricept for five months, until I felt that I'd regained much of my functionality.  Or at least as much as I was going to!
338416 tn?1420049302
So all that is to say that stress is a possibility, but mild cognitive impairment is very common for people with MS.
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