The scariest parts of getting floxed, for me, were the cognitive losses that I experienced. I lost my memory, my reading comprehension, my concentration, my ability to connect with people and have a meaningful conversation, my ability to understand what was going on at work, etc. I felt stupid. I felt as if my IQ had dropped significantly. My job, which I had done with ease before getting sick, suddenly felt difficult. I had trouble reading; books that I could previously understand with ease, suddenly became incomprehensible.
It was horrible.
Having my muscles and tendons not work like they used to was scary, but losing important aspects of my mind was terrifying.
I had always thought of myself as a smart person and to have that taken away from me was so, so, so difficult. Losing my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, etc. made me question my identity as a “smart” person. If I didn’t have those things, was I still smart? Was I still capable? Could I understand things that I needed to understand to be able to do my job, connect with my loved ones and identify myself as intelligent?
All of those questions went through my head. Both the questions, and the honest answer of – I don’t know – were difficult to deal with.
I tried lots of things to get my mind back. I’m not sure how much of a difference any single thing made, but cumulatively, they worked. I got at least most of my cognitive skills back. I’m not any slower mentally now than I was before I got sick – or at least I don’t think I am.
There’s not a protocol for what to do to get your brain back after getting floxed, so I had to guess about what would help me. I tried various things. Here are the things that seemed to help:
- Time. First and foremost, time helped. Getting back to a place where I felt as intelligent as I did before I got floxed took time. It was one of the last things to come back, but it did come back. I have recovered my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, ability to follow conversations, etc. Time was my friend. It healed my cognitive wounds along with my physical wounds.
- Meditation. Meditating helped me to gain my concentration back. If you can concentrate on your breath, you can concentrate on a book. Both are pretty difficult when floxed. Concentrating on the breath while meditating is difficult for non-floxies too. Attempting to do something that is difficult (meditating is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing in the world to do) helped me to do other things that were comparatively easy.
- Suduku puzzles. I did a suduku puzzle a day for at least a year. It engaged my brain. It helped me to concentrate.
- Reading. Practice makes perfect, as they say. I kept reading and eventually it got easier.
- Writing. I think that writing the articles that I have put online has helped me to organize my thoughts, remember information, etc.
- Researching. The articles about how fluoroquinolones affect cells are not easy. They’re actually really, really hard. Learning the language that is in the scientific journal articles that I now read for fun (well, to figure this stuff out, but I am doing it voluntarily so I suppose that it is “for fun”) has exercised my brain.
- Lecithin. I supplement lecithin. I think that it has cleared up some of the brain fog that I had. Here is an article about the benefits of lecithin – http://www.diannecraft.org/improving-your-memory-with-lecithin/ One thing to note is that lecithin is soy based so be forewarned of that if you can’t eat soy.
With all of those things, and some luck, I have recovered my mental capabilities. My brain fog has receded. My memory, reading comprehension, connectedness and concentration are as good as they were before I got sick. In some ways, I may even be smarter now than I was before I got floxed. I didn’t read biochem journals for fun before I got floxed. I didn’t know what lymphcytes or reactive oxygen species or acyl glucuronides were before I got floxed. I know what those things are now (okay, so I don’t really understand acyl glucuronides, but who does?).
I know that the loss of mental capabilities the happens with fluoroquinolone toxicity is really scary. Please try to believe that it will pass and that it will get better. It did for me. My mind recovered along with my body. I sincerely hope the same for you!