Word recall/ fishing for words.


I’m finding it harder to recall words i need to say, i noticed that i used to make up a word very similar and more than likely got away with it during most conversations ,but just recently I’ve been having stronger mental blocks and cannot recall mostly unfamiliar words. This has caused me to suddenly stop during conversation for a moment clicking fingers etc to try and get the word i need out, very frustrating and sometimes isolating. Sometimes I’ve arranged a whole sentence to cancel out the word i cannot find.

Its quite worrisome as i’m trying to progress in my career and its also produced a few awkward moments in conversions.

Does anyone else suffer with this, and are there any strategies to ease this problem?

Can it be an on and off thing?




Perhaps you are unconsciously making it worse by dwelling on it too much?

Don’t forget that perfectly healthy people do it from time to time too - not every little slip you make (physical or mental) is one that never happens to non MSers.

If you try not to be so self-conscious about it happening, and make light of it if it occasionally does, you might find it improves naturally. Most people think ability to laugh at yourself is a positive trait, so they’re not going to be thinking: “What a retard!” if a word slips your mind, or you accidentally get something muddled up - as long as you don’t make a big deal of it!

Years and years ago, long before MS, I remember being at a meeting where I tried unsuccessfully to make a point, as I hadn’t really got my thoughts clear before I started.

As the conversation moved on, but my mind carried on working, I burst out: “Excuse me! I think I’ve got a better idea what I was talking about now!”

Everyone thought that was (a) honest, and (b) funny - and I did get to make my point - much more coherently on the second try. People generally don’t think you’re an idiot if you’re good humoured about it.



Try to stop worrying about it and listen more to how other people speak - you will start to notice that everyone does it. I had a massive issue with finding words last year and although I’m much better now, I still have trouble. I don’t worry about it now (or rather, I don’t get anxious) and I’ve adapted my speech patterns so that if I lose a word I’ll pause and look up as if reflecting, gesture or talk around it until the other person fills it in or I find the word or an alternative.

For the holes in my vocabulary I’ve been talking to myself when I’m alone, reciting word lists (e.g. naming animals, colours, things that begin with the letter S) and just saying what I’m doing to keep my mental word lists active and try and rewire the routes to the lost words.

If you don’t stress yourself out about it and don’t bring attention to it, most people won’t notice at all. I used to be very articulate, now I’m very expressive.

If I completely forget a word, I will make every effort to “find” it once I’m away from the conversation, preferably without resorting to a thesaurus.

Hiya Tom I get this on and off aswell. It can be really annoying/frustrating when I’m standing there stuttering and saying “and erm… erm… it’s a… erm…” waving my hands about like that’s gona help get my words out…feel like a right fool at times! I used to find that sometimes if I heard a loud noise or something, while I’m talking - that can be enough to make me pause, then it’s almost like what I was in the middle of saying has completely deserted me. It’s like wtf?! What’s happened to my words?!! Personally I’ve found it’s way worse when I’m tired, my words can get really lost or jumbled up. Making a joke about it when it happens definately helps me. Seems the more I stutter and think think think of what the word or sentence I’m mentally grasping to find, the more elusive it becomes. I’ve learned to try and make light of it when it happens. Not always the easiest or appropriate to do though, I know. Especially when you’re at work. Do your work colleagues know about your ms? Not that you want to play your ms card but it might help explain why your words are off sometimes. Sorry man, MS is just a big piss take!

I suffer as well as does my brother who has not got MS. If you could hear us in conversations you would wonder if we were a double act. He is talking and can’t recall the word and I prompt him then the roles get reversed. We put it down to getting old he is 70 and I will be 60 this year.


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Try not to worry, it may make things worse. I often struggle to find the right word…if it happens I make a joke of it & sometimes even string people along by asking them which word I’m looking for & refusing each word they come up with! When somebody realises what I’m doing it ends up with everyone laughing with me I know this probably wouldn’t be good during a serious debate though… I also tend to swap letters & words around. Once when talking to a window salesman about the security, I asked if the windows were ‘shite tut’ when I really should have said ‘shut tight’!

Rosina x

A high dose vit b12 -Sublingual methylcobalamin 5,000mcg [ l get the ones that dissolve in the mouth - Kirkland- 300 quick dissolve tablets from amazon good]. Helps mental alertness and memory. l gave some to my elderly 91 mum to take - as she was worrying about forgetting things. What a difference in a month - she seems just like how my mum used to be. You can’t overdose on B12 - as you just pee it out.

Also, l take LDN - which l find amazing. As soon as l started on it - about 7yrs ago - l found my brain fog cleared and has never come back. And l have much more energy.

Hi Tom, I know exactly what you are talking about, it happens to me also. I had to give up work a few years ago and was blaming that as I thought I was going brain dead. I am at home so I watch quiz programmes in order to try and exercise my brain a bit. I could not cope with this problem at work like you, I would be far too self concious so well done you!

I get this as well. I take Ginko Biloba for mental alertness and realized the difference when I ran out for a week