Or, at the very least, give yourself more resources to fight it!
Cognitive abilities are like muscles, in that they have to be developed and exercised regularly, even stretched to keep them flexible. We can’t necessarily avoid the cognitive deficits that come with some of our illnesses, or as a side effect of our medications. What we can do is improve our faculties, giving us a better level of overall functioning despite those deficits.
Ways to Improve Your Mental Fitness is an excellent article on the subject. I recommend reading it and noting some new things to try.
Personally, I find that doing things like a Sudoku or crossword puzzle or a couple of rounds of solitaire Mahjongg each day helps me “wake up” my brain and think better. I’ve long wished I had access to the Nintendo brain training game, Brain Age, as it sounds like just the thing.
I really worried about taking college courses, because I know that if I had to take an IQ test these days, my score would be markedly lower than it was pre-FMS. Happily, I found that taking the courses helped me to regain some mental agility. I still have memory problems, and all bets are off during a bad flare—but I definitely feel that I’m coping better on a day-to-day basis.
Now that I’m not in school formally, I’ve been learning to program. It’s another kind of thinking, and one I’ve thought about acquiring for years. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m doing it, and it certainly is stretching my mental muscles.
Making music is another thing that works for me. I’ve been re-learning to play the ukulele, something I originally learned in the second grade. I used to know how to play the piano, flute, and other instruments,1I’ve always been a singer, primarily, though and I’m surprised at how much I’ve forgotten about reading music. I “know” the notes, but I have to stop and think, “Now, wait, that’s two lines below the bass clef, so…” when it used to be as easy as reading any English text. The more I work with it, though, the more I find the exercise of thinking in another language to be useful as an exercise.
What are you doing to stay sharp? Have you tried any of the activities recommended in the article?