When I used to say to my husband. “What are you thinking?” and he would reply “Nothing” and I would exclaim, “You can`t just think nothing !!”. Well now I know you can with brain fog setting in in recent years.
It seems to be linked to a fall in progesterone and the sleep deprivation caused by insomnia. I usually describe it as my head feeling like there is a huge ball of cotton wool inside and little else.
But what does it really feel like? So many symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause we can physically see. Hot flushes, night sweats (ok it might be a bit dark for that one, but we can feel it!!), menstrual irregularities, dry skin etc. But trying to describe brain fog to someone else is like “trying to plait fog” (literally!) but I shall give it a go….
- I can`t focus on any one task at a time. I find myself standing in the kitchen surrounded by things to do and not being able to choose where to begin. I put on a podcast or the radio and it seems to snap me out of it. Perhaps it`s listening to and focusing on something else rather than trying to work out why my mind won`t work that helps?
- I feel floaty and light headed both sitting down and walking about.
- I can`t concentrate on writing for long periods of time, which is why I haven’t blogged this week. I find myself flitting from one thing to another. The thoughts in my head wont fall onto the key pad like they usually do.
- They say anxiety can cause brain fog, but for me it is the other way around. I start to feel anxious when my mind feels blank and unable to function as it once did. I am such a list maker, organised tidy person,I still make lists and then forget to look at them. So, when I am stood looking aimlessly at what to do, I feel anxiety rise in me. Because the feeling is so alien to how I used to be maybe?
- Bit dramatic, I know but I have worried I might have ADHD. My husband has ADHD and I watch him feeling like this an awful lot so he is quite understanding .“Do you think it`s catching?” I asked once in a moment of insanity. He rolled his eyes and so he should have!
- I also worry I have early onset dementia. Is this what it feels like I wonder as I am rooting around in the under stairs cupboard with the flashlight of my phone to see what I am doing and my husband appears behind me and says, “Why don`t you put the light on?” A classic brain fog moment.
- I forget names.Names of people. movies, songs, places. I put the timer on for anything that I cook in case I get distracted. I am always reminded of my mum’s friend who went to the theatre and had just sat down when she turned to her husband and said “John! I`ve left the eggs on the boil”. Can you imagine the panic? The house did not burn down but the smell was there for weeks. And they missed the show!
It isn`t all bad. There will be times like after I have edited this and done all my jobs (with mini speaker in tow) that I shall make a cup of tea and sit in a wonderful fuzzy world of my own, without a care in the world. On my morning walks, all is well in the world, just me, my dog, the outdoors and that piece of cotton wool preventing any interruptions. Catching up with friends for coffee is always a giggle as we in turn forget names. places and utter “what was he called?”, “what was I saying?”, or “can you read the menu, I can`t find my glasses”. And so, it goes on with us laughing in between at how hopelessly we are. It`s quite bonding in a way.
As I can`t see it and none of us knows how another really feels inside it is difficult to know I am not going a little bit bonkers. I swing between rising panic and being blissfully unaware depending on what needs doing. And I definitely prefer the latter feeling.
Until next time
A Foggy PP xx