This ought to be interesting. I have “Brain Blur” this morning. I slept deeply last night, in bed by ten, so I can’t attribute this feeling to lack of sleep. I was in the middle of a dream when G woke me at 6 am. Maybe Brain Blur happens when the right hemisphere is dominant (sleeping dream state) and I move into a left brain activity (writing at the laptop.) As I pause to sip my tea I can feel it starting to clear a bit. Brain Blur is different from Brain Fog. I experienced Brain Fog when I entered the “sacred state of menopause.”
I remember trying to describe Brain Fog to my doctor as I sat deep inside it, wishing I had fog lights so I could “see” more clearly.
I told him, “In my normal state of being, my mind is a great problem solver. I seem to have a knack for approaching a problem or challenge of any nature and knowing what sequence of events will move me from where I am to where I want to be. It’s like approaching a puzzle with the pieces mixed up in a pile and knowing exactly how to sort them and order them so that the puzzle is solved. I always know what to do first, second, third and so on.”
“Since menopause started,” I continued, “my capacity for problem solving has changed.” “I now approach a project and my mind is confused. I don’t know what to do first! I can often see the parts of the problem, but they won’t order themselves. What I used to take for granted; that easy way of knowing that if I do this and that and then the other, voila, solution has arrived, is now gone. I feel worried and frustrated.”
I’m happy to report that “Brain Fog” is now gone. Dr. T. prescribed low dose 5 mg. Selegiline for me. Selegiline prevents the breakdown of a chemical in your brain called dopamine. It was originally developed for Parkinson’s disease but is considered obsolete for PD as much more effective drugs have replaced it.
I also learned about the nature of menopause. A woman’s body moves through its natural changes and leaving her child-bearing years is a big one. As her hormone levels drop to allow her body to stop the menstrual cycle, she is in a state of instability. I think of it as this: life before I started was menopause was my “normal.” Life after menopause is my “new normal.” What happens as I move from “normal” to “new normal” is a state of flux. My body is recalculating itself, adjusting and reorganizing. Symptoms arising from this period of reorganization include hot flashes as the internal thermometer regulates itself to the new level of hormones that are present. Mood swings and brain fog are also common responses of the brain to the hormones that are regulating.
The good news for me was this period of reorganization is not a life sentence. The body will at some point (how long it takes is very individual) reach its “new normal” and the symptoms will subside.
The “Brain Fog” has lifted. I am back to problem solving with the best of them. I am still taking Selegiline but weaning off it to see if indeed my brain’s new normal will feel like the previous normal. I’ll let you know how that goes!
- Cognitive difficulties associated with menopause described (sciencedaily.com)