Anyone remember that old commercial from the 80’s that was an anti drug campaign. It was the one with the fried egg.
I was a teenager in the 80’s when this came out. I thought it was a pretty powerful message even then and still do. Some people think it was corny and lame. In any case I would love to make a new video with something like “this is your brain” and then “this is your brain on menopause”. Same ending message though “FRIED”. I personally think menopause has fried my brain. Obviously not in the same sense as drugs, but I often feel like I have lost some brain cells in the process. This actually started years ago. I was always level headed, extremely organized, had a great memory and lots of focus. Years ago I started noticing that I became more absent minded, many times I had to refocus my brain on what I was doing because I lost concentration. Lately it has been much worse. It takes a long time to wake my brain up especially in the mornings to even doing simple tasks. I am constantly checking after myself to make sure I have done what I was supposed to. I have labeled myself as a “checker”. Multitasking can really no longer be in my vocabulary because now I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. My long term memory still is very good, but it is the short term memory that I tend to lose. I have trouble remembering what I did last week or what I had for lunch the other day, etc. Most days my brain just feels tired and worn out.
I did some research from various sources and here is what I found from the experts. The term “brain fog” really does exist in the medical community. Again, this is the same old broken record… the cause is the constant change of hormone levels…the same cause for every annoying symptom. The changing hormone levels not only affect the reproductive system but the whole body, and the brain is no exception. When the body tries to keep up with the failing estrogen production, the brain chemistry has to compensate. Sometimes this compensation is mild and hardly noticeable. Other times there is a huge rise and then an abrupt crash. The latter is what can bring on the really unexpected behaviors that may not be typical of your formal self. This includes forgetfulness, the inability to make decisions, trouble with completing work projects, and the list goes on and on. Luckily, research has shown that these cognitive changes tend to be temporary and women should not panic that these symptoms are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Furthermore, many scientists add that these seemingly declining brain functions are actually amplified and driven by some of the other factors involved during menopause, particularly mood swings and poor sleep quality.
There are tons of research studies and articles on this, but they basically all state the same thing. Women should not fear that they are going crazy. These are all normal symptoms that will level out once menopause has been well established. It is the initial stages of menopause that carry the most burden.
I figured out some ways to cope with this brain fog burden and still trying to find new ways to cope. One I would like to share now is how to deal with the absentmindedness. I calendar everything. Not just appointments and stuff you would normally put on your calendar, but I write down specific details in each day that I need to remember to do. Sometimes I even use post it notes everywhere to keep me on track. Every time an idea pops in my head of what I need to do or follow up on, I immediately write it down so I won’t forget. Yes, I have a separate “to do list” like normal people of projects, home improvement stuff, grocery list, etc. But I am talking about the simplest tasks, like if I need to call a friend to meet for lunch, etc. Once I am done with that task I throw the note away or scratch it off my calendar. I get a feeling of accomplishment, plus I know that particular item has not been forgotten.
So I keep on battling the brain fog monster and hope to maybe one day return to some resemblance of my formal self where I was organized, clear headed and productive.