Menopause Diaries #1 – Brain Fog

With increased number of women in the workforce, its important for everyone to understand this major life event called Menopause. I intend to write a series of blogposts regarding this because for long it has been a hush-hush topic.

In my first blog men-O-pause I speak about the fact that a Man’s corporate career peaks around 40 while a Woman’s might peak around 43 to 45. A Man is totally comfortable in his skin at 40 with the greys adding a dash of panache to his looks. On the other hand, a woman at 43 is at the start of a life altering event called Menopause.

Brain Fog and Menopause

From the year 1981, I have enjoyed public speaking. I was 12 years old and studying in my 7th std at Kendriya Vidyalaya Happy Valley, Shillong. I came third in class 7 for the first time in my life and suddenly I wanted some other stage to excel at.

From someone who was scared of speaking to a neighbour, I turned into a “speaking” monster, who would participate in every elocution/debate/recitation competition. I didn’t win initially but soon became good at it and won a few competitions. I came into my own in KV AFA, Dindigul where I was the EmCee for several school events.

Right through my corporate career I was known as a good speaker and have won several accolades for it….. Then I turned 44, and everything changed. It started with aches and pains that I had never known, weight gain that was familiar, inflexibility that was new and strange symptoms before my periods.

Within a few years into Peri Menopause, I started experiencing two very disturbing changes – my decision making ability was slightly impaired and I would search for words while speaking 😔. For someone who loves to speak, and who never was at a loss for words, this was disconcerting. And everyone who knows me, will tell you that I don’t struggle with making decisions. But it happened !

How to deal with Brain Fog

It was the Brain Fog at work .. When I spoke to some of my friends, I realised they were going through the same symptoms. Once I identified the problem, some of the steps that I took to help myself are as follows –

  1. I started making a list of decisions that I wanted to take.
  2. Took Krishnan’s help to hold me to a decision. I was driving him crazy by constantly changing the goal post 😁.
  3. Before every speaking assignment, I wrote down whole sentences with words I wanted to use. Much like a personal teleprompter.
  4. More recently, I have started to recognise that I am about to hit a brain fog situation and I call it out to Krishnan. That way, I wait till my head clears, before discussing any issue.
  5. Checklists help tremendously. Have got them for every activity nearly.
  6. Reminders on the phone are a blessing. I write all my To-Do’s and pick a couple that I want to prioritise that day and convert them into reminders. They still get missed sometimes, but at least I remember them 😆.

My friend had sent this brilliant video about How Menopause affects the brain, by Lisa Mosconi.

Do listen and understand this transition a little better.

Menopause is a major transition for women and just needs a lot of adjustments. For millions of years women have dealt with it and prevailed, so will we !!

13 thoughts on “Menopause Diaries #1 – Brain Fog”

  1. I am so thankful that you’re writing about this. Until I read this, I never thought brain fog was a thing. I convinced myself that i was losing my marbles. Perimenopause isn’t kind. Greatly diminished energy levels, Sudden inflexibility, severe cramping, very erratic bleeding patterns, somedays it feels impossible to cope

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  2. Just before I read this, my daughter came to hug me in the kitchen and I was like, I need a 50 feet radius from everyone. She smirked and said, ‘Everyone seems to like you but you don’t like anyone!’
    I am so glad you started posting on this! I look forward to reading more on this and I too will log more on this.

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  3. Thank you for documenting this Bindu..I was wondering why so many things are changing since last year when I hit 41…I guess I need to brave myself for this

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  4. I am so glad you started posting on this Bindu Mam! I look forward to reading more on this and I too will log more on this. At 46 I definitely wanted this. Thank you for pioneering in this area too.

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  5. One if the few things women need to check during this period is their hemoglobin levels. Ask the doctor for this lab test and check your iron levels and take supplements. The other important is buy heavy xxl pads if the bleeding is heavy and abrupt prior to menopause

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  6. True Bindu! Women do face this problem and it is unavoidable.I would say that I have been the luckier one … besides some memory loss now and then …I haven’t come across any physical complications.I definitely tend to get anxious and sometimes depressed but somehow I never related it to my age as even my daughter sometimes goes to such phase.But do keep us updated by such precious knowledge as it may be helping all of us some way or the other.

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