Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Reading problems

Does anyone else have problems with reading?

I am proud to have two degrees and a post graduate diploma- I COULD READ!

But since my fibro, I battle to read- I can physically see the words, but I just don't understand them.

I used to read books to relax- now half a page at a time confuses me terribly.

Short paragraphs (like the blogs on this site) are generally OK, but sometimes I have to read them twice or three times before it "clicks".

Reading out aloud is even worse, where I say words that aren't there, OR just read as if I'm five years old-

It's infuriating! (And no, it's not only when I'm tired- although then it's much worse)

Does anyone else have this problem?

17 Replies

This is interesting,, I used to be a avid reader, since before I was diagnosed I noticed the words on paper seemed to move, my son has Dyslexia, so I spoke to him about it, he recognised the symptoms as his own. I can't concentrate I have over sensory symptoms, not unlike someone with mild autism . Everything's changed for me. It comes and goes somedays am pretty good . Other days its really bad . I can't get through a chapter . I'm sure it's connected. Fibro is the common denominator. I've always felt not old ith numbers , that for me has always been a bit of a problem. But I've developed a Dyslexia problem I also reckon there's some mild autism there it's all on a spectrum anyways. I can't read or long as my eyes hurt, I'm thinking because your eyes work with muscle I think that could be fibro , but dyslexia is the brain , or at least I think it is,, so where's fibro come in with that, ! Who knows eh.. I'm interested to see the comments on this one ,, Joanne x


yes me too!

I also often have problems writing coherent sentences - it's like I'm trying to translate from another language into english.



Snap! I have ba and ma too. But I couldnt do it now. I have aspergers too and thats autism. I blame it on fibrofog as it comes and goes. Sometimes I find it hard to focus aswell and get tension headaches. Spelling is rubbish and finding the word youre thinking of? Makes you look really thick!xx

1 like

Oh so glad it's not just me! Used to be such an avid reader I used to joke I'd read the cereal box if nothing else was available. Now I can go for days reading nothing and often have to put off dealing with important mail etc as I can't understand them at first. So frustrating - I used to have no trouble studying and passing exams but had to stop my post grad certificate training in maternity reflexology recently as the knowledge just refused to stick in my brain and tackling assignments seemed like being asked to climb Everest. Such a shame as I was so excited by the course. Was so bad yesterday that had trouble dealing with a take away menu and had to get my daughter to phone it through. Usually forbidden fruit clarifies the mind but it seems my brain had packed up and gone on a weekend break without telling me! x


Oh thank you, thank you thank you! I am so pleased it's not just me. I love this blog purely to not feel so stupid!

I find the same thing with numbers too- getting them all jumbled up, when I used to remember mobile numbers easily.

It took me 4 tries to read one sentence last night. And took me 40 minutes the other day to calculate 20% on something.

It's a tough one, but I really appreciate hearing it's not just me.

Happy garbled speech to all! xxx


Oh yes! I used to be an avid reader, getting though three or four books a week... Plus readllegal contracts during the day. Now? I can't even read kid's novels. Lack of concentration... Reading the same sentence over and over again.. Not making any of it stick!


You are not alone in this, I too struggle reading sometimes. I can read and re-read something and it just does not go in. I have found that rhodeola rosea helps the brain fog and that helps me to read. I have an insatiable thirst for the written word but get frustrated when I just can't read. Take care.


I love my books but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to make sense of the words. I can read them, but they don't seem to make much sense. I can read a few sentences then I have to go back over them again cos I didn't understand or remember what I've just read! I thought it was just me and my age!!


...Hi...I can still read a couple of chapters of my book at bedtime but to be honest I skim over the paragraphs and once I've turned the page over I've forgotten what I've read. I used to love reading reference book and all I see are my beautiful books covered in bright pink underlined paragraphs so I can remember what they say...even that still doesn;t fo it for me....Menu's are the worst I have to leave that to someone else :)


I have diplomas in hypnotherapy, crystal healing, hopi ear candelling, and reflexology passed all courses with distinction - couldn't begin to use any for work as I literally can't remember s damn think soooooo frustrating ;(


Me too,

Iam a qualified (but retired nurse), also a qualified Therapeutic Masseuse, Image Consultant and Beauty therapist, but now unable to do any of it. I also used to teach and examine on First Aid at Work courses.


Me too, i thought it was my age. Used to love reading and couldn't put a book down but now i can't pick one up as i don't remember what I've read.


Hi cry baby --- very interesting question -- it can take me months to read a book and by the time I get to the end I can't remember what happens at the start or even the middle or even the title of the book!!!! Sometimes I can manage to concentrate for a few pages but other times I will read the same sentence 3 times over and still not understand what I have read!! It makes me sad that my niece can read 3 novels in a week and remember every little detail :(.

I also find the same problem with long films -- I lose concentration half way through and several days later I can't remember what on earth the film was about or what even happened.

Similarly when I am filling in forms or writing out a cheque it takes me ages because I have to keep 're-reading the questions or double checking what I have written.

Another issue I have with remembering things is when someone will say " do you remember that great place we visited on holiday 5 years ago ?" and I have no recollection of what or where they are talking about :(. Is this just me 'losing my marbles'? Xx


oh wow I can't believe the number of answers as I too struggle with reading. I can type tons but not even any good at reading it back. it takes me ages reading as well as typing and nothing sinks in. I held down a very responsible job, although havent worked for 17 yrs, I bluffed my way through promotion I'm sure as I still am to this day no good at instructions. can't make them out. I would rather watch a demo n something and pick it up from there, but you can't always do that.

I'm just glad I'm not alone... I do t tell many people that I'm no good at reading, but you have made that easier for me now (((hugs)))


Oh my word! That is me exactly phlebo123!

My husband loves watching movies and I can not remember them the day after we have seen them. I can sometimes recall which actor was in it, but other than that - BLANK!

The recollection of holidays, etc is very similar too- although there is a distinct difference in my memories before I got fibro and after. I had a vivid memory of people, places and just general stuff. Now Ican not even remember the date, the time, names of people right after I have just look at it or been told it.

And Sherbet and Mistymeana - I agree, a menu is the craziest thing to read- I am getting used to ordering the same things no matter where I go so I don't need to read a thing (or my darling husband decides for me!)

Taking instructions via email is torturous too- I feel really sorry for my manager sometimes when I just stare at him blankly! He must think I am seriously dim.

Thanks for the comments! xxx


Oh my goodness I thought I was losing my mind I have lots of qualifications but sometimes I can't believe I can barely read a magazine or a book I read words that are not even there miss some words out no recollection of what I've just read.noise and smell intolerant my family think im ready for the nut do I what is this all about. Im an interior designer which I can no longer do when I try to do drawings and plans it just looks like double dutch I can't make head nor tail of it .I have a real thirst for knowledge and learning about most things now sadly I have the attention span of a nat..Help whats happening to me!!!


I rely a lot on audiobooks which I borrow from the library, especially at night when I can't sleep because of pain or nausea. I still have to listen to the same bit more than once sometimes, because of difficulty concentrating, but at least it doesn't hurt me in the way ordinary books do as I can't hold them or turn the pages any more without pain. And it's nice and soothing being read to!

It doesn't help with work, of course - I'm a writer and teach creative writing (only very part-time in my home these days!) so have to concentrate on students' writing. It is really hard.


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