Perimenopause Brain Fog: 8 New Words I’ve Given to Everyday Things

Perimenopause Brain Fog: 8 New Words I’ve Given to Everyday Things | Catherine Summers, AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 Lifestyle Blog

My voice will get really high-pitched as I’m pointing furiously at the object, brain fog at max, going, “That! The drink – bucket – thing! Please help me, I want THAT…”

Translation: “I say, would you be so kind as to pass me my mug, please? Thank you ever so much, old chap.”

Partners of menopausal and perimenopausal women everywhere, I salute you. If you’ve managed to crack the language of Vocabulary Breakdown Brought On By Menopausal Brain Fog (VBBOBMBF for short, or maybe not that short) – one that is undoubtedly unique to her and her alone – then you’re a master of menopause management. An MMM. An Eminemanem.

Keith has yet to grasp the menopause language I’ve inadvertently created over the past year or so. It’s a language unto itself, one that I don’t fully understand myself despite its creator being yours truly.

One must understand that alternative descriptions for everyday things have to be made up of just 50 percent of my vocabulary, because, like the last crumbs of my glorious birthday cake last year, the other 50 percent disappeared sometime in the afternoon of the day I became a quinquagenarian.

(Bet you’ve not heard THAT word before. Goes to show that fancy schmancy words are still intact within my brain; bland, everyday words… er, not so much.)

 

[Reading time: 4 mins]

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Now, I’m not treating brain fog as a joke – nor, indeed, am I treating any perimenopausal or menopausal symptom as one. Although not an official medical term [pffft…], brain fog can be extremely debilitating. As so many midlife women are often at the top of their careers, dealing with kids growing up or leaving the nest, looking after elderly parents, having relationship issues, suffering from numerous age-related health problems, etc. etc., then brain fog on top of all that is the LAST thing they need.

A lack of ability to think clearly, feeling like your brain is full of cotton wool, frequent headaches, feeling spaced out, cloudy thinking… if you’re dealing with anything like this then it’s most likely what’s described as brain fog. It’s rough, and for me, it makes me feel a bit stupid when I can’t string a sentence together.

I cannot for the LIFE of me complete a sentence during a normal conversation with someone. Half of it involves me getting frustrated with how I cannot remember the most basic of er… what are they called again? Letter alphabet things you speak, you know…

Words. 😉

If you haven’t already seen your doctor about brain fog or any other out-of-the-ordinary symptoms – or anything else to do with (peri)menopause, book an appointment now. And as I always say, do not let yourself be fobbed off by anyone. Get a second opinion or ask to switch doctors.

And do a lot of reading up on the subject. Highly recommended: Menopausing by Davina McCall which I have read, and The Definitive Guide to the Perimenopause and Menopause by Dr Louise Newson which I want to read as I follow her on Instagram and she’s brilliant.

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Having said all that, there comes a point where you have to make light of things like brain fog… I have to, otherwise I couldn’t cope. I still have to see the humour even in bad situations. For example, I have so many body parts that hurt or give me pain that one day recently Keith said to me, “Is there any part of you that DOESN’T hurt?” – and if I couldn’t laugh at that, what could I laugh at?!

So here we have eight alternative words for everyday things that I’ve come up with recently. They weren’t the first, and they most certainly won’t be the last…!

 

8 New Words I’ve Given to Everyday Things

 

1. Heating box

AKA: The Oven. Ahhh, such a short, simple word. Oven. Yet it’s so hard to remember, probably because it’s SO tiny it’s easily lost in my perimenopausal brain. Yes, I think I’ve found the medical reason for forgetting words as a perimenopausal woman: they’re just too damn small.

If I can’t read it without my glasses on, it’s not coming to mind.

 

2. Drink bucket

AKA: A Mug. See opening paragraph. I’m rather liking this one, and I think I shall permanently adopt it for when I want a cup of tea in an exceptionally large mug.

“I’ll have a drink bucket of tea, please.”

 

3. Hot washing plate machine

AKA: The Dishwasher. Domestic appliances are something I regularly struggle with. You’d think this one was a bit easier as “dishwasher” is quite a satisfying word to say (say it with an exaggerated faux French accent and you’ll see what I mean). However, perimenopause does not allow satisfying anything, oh no. We’re women, so of course it has to be hard.

As a side note, I’ve always struggled with the expression “tumble drier”, I don’t know why. It always comes out as… you guessed it… dishwasher. Go figure.

 

4. Big green sprouty leaf sticks

AKA: Trees. Another super-short word, but my brain has to create a song and dance when talking about these sorts of things, so why use one word when you can use five?

 

5. Foot clothes

AKA: Socks. This is very much like the way that the German language describes things, i.e. quite literally. Socks ARE foot clothes, are they not? I love the German word for gloves, handschuhe; literal translation: hand shoes. It’d be interesting to know if many German women lose vocabulary during perimenopause as so many German words are just literal descriptions of things. I think they have an unfair advantage.

 

6. Hot sleeping cover

AKA: The Bedspread. I think we were making (stripping) the bed one weekend and I asked where the… the… hot sleeping cover was. My actual words may have been, “Where’s the bloody THING, you know, the big THING [cue blank looks from Keith], the, the, HOT – SLEEPING – COVER?!” And I can’t see anything wrong with that whatsoever.

 

7. Air dry blower

AKA: The Fan. Again, the shortest words are the hardest to remember. My vocabulary might now be a bit like the Hawaiian language, which only uses 13 letters. And F, A and N may now be excluded from my own personal alphabet, which will change each and every day, of course. It’s a theory.

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8. Taking off chemical liquid stuff

AKA: Nail Polish Remover. HOW on earth I’m meant to remember “nail polish remover” with perimenopausal brain fog is anybody’s guess: that’s far too long and far too much information to retain. I have no hope in hell of trying to remember that/those sort of word(s) for something; how about we mash it to make a portmanteau… Napor? Naiporem? The irony is I’ll probably retain those stupid names for it now but still not remember its correct name. =Sigh=

 

Your turn – what words have you created for everyday things? And do you suffer – or have you suffered – from perimenopausal brain fog? Share with me in the comments below…

 

Thanks for reading,

Catherine signature

 

P.S. No post on Wednesday, I’ll be back here in a week… I’m going to North Devon (Ilfracombe) for a short break. It looks like lots of walking in hot weather!

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25 Comments

  1. 5 October 2023 / 8:50 pm

    Oh, this was fun to read, Catherine! I can totally relate to all of it!

    Shelbee

  2. 28 September 2023 / 4:58 pm

    Ha ha ha, that’s funny. Have you written this about me? Lol Why does this happen? Thanks for sharing this C C C …Cynthia … He he he!

    • Catherine
      Author
      28 September 2023 / 5:39 pm

      I think many readers have related a bit TOO much to this, Jacqui!! 😉

  3. Marsi
    12 September 2023 / 2:45 am

    Hilarious. So glad I found your blog again after so many years of blogs disappearing. (I miss the pre-social media blogging days so much.) I enjoyed your posts on weight training, as I’ve just started a home routine to deal with my postmenopausal spare 15 pounds. Kind of tired of making excuses — to myself — for my weight gain.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 2:44 pm

      Aww thank you Marsi – it seems that many people are lamenting the decline in blogs, let’s hope we see some sort of revival as a backlash to all the social media. I know it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon, but who’d have thought that Twitter would fall from grace, as Snapchat did a little while ago? At elast my blog is mine and I have control over it…!

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the health & fitness posts too, I’m in the same position as you and know that I’m making a lot of excuses (or have been for a while). We CAN do this if we put our minds to it – we just have to get our minds in better shape first I think, it’s tough and can be a slow process but I still believe it’s possible 😀

  4. AC
    11 September 2023 / 11:46 am

    I thought it was just me! My best so far is “the earth ceiling” for the sky!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 2:45 pm

      Hehe earth ceiling is genius, AC! 😉

  5. 11 September 2023 / 11:20 am

    OMG I’m in stitches here!!!! And boy can I relate!! Jesus…I feel like such a bloody moron lately, I can’t remember ANYTHING. Michael is getting used to it now. He usually just nods, or manages to finish the sentence for me. I haven’t made up any words of my own though. I usually just end up saying ..”‘the thing, you know the thing, you know what I mean…” and he nods. Breathe.
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 2:47 pm

      Thanks Suzy! 😉 It can be SO frustrating, can’t it… I’m glad Michael is finishing your sentences for you, I’m not sure if Keith is listening to me half the time, I think he switches off LOL!!

  6. Lizzie
    11 September 2023 / 9:16 am

    Oh-so-relatable!! I’m trialling HRT right now and, to my dismay, it has done nothing to disperse the brain fog where vocabulary recall is concerned… So frustrating, it’s as if a portcullis slams down as soon as we try to retrieve the word, and we need a secret password to access it!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 2:50 pm

      When I was on HRT Lizzie (I’m in between different types atm, just having a few tests to make sure my GP puts me on the right one), I can’t say it helped with brain fog either. I think given the choice I’d rather be in less physical pain and be able to exercise and just put up with the brain fog if I had to choose (as long as it doesn’t get any worse). Secret passwords have definitely been created for me in the last couple of years too… how and when did that happen?!! lol

  7. Roberta
    10 September 2023 / 4:23 pm

    I like to think that this is the effect of leading a long full life! I can remember the Italian word for the hazelnut and chocolate ice cream that I had 15 years ago, but I can’t recall the name of that actor who was in Ocean’s 11 and ER and The Descendants. Despite seeing his face in my mind and knowing he is married to a beautiful lawyer named Amal. Our brains are full of long-term memory, and there is less and less room for short-term memory. And you are correct, the shorter the word the more likely it is to be forgotten.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 2:55 pm

      I have to admit I don’t have problems with names, Roberta (especially where George Clooney is concerned, lol)!! And isn’t it strange that we remember details from so long ago but can’t remember what we had for breakfast? I can be talking and then stop mid sentence, only to have COMPLETELY forgotten what I was even talking about. And I get super frustrated if anyone interrupts me because I just know that by the time they’ve finished I’ll have totally forgotten what I was even saying. If I’m talking to Keith and he goes to interrupt I’ll shout NO DON’T INTERRUPT I WILL FINISH AND YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME!! Poor husband…! 😉

  8. Debby
    9 September 2023 / 5:41 pm

    Haha, I can’t remember!
    Seriously, the brain fog is real, it’s quite distressing. I did an MA in my late 30s, I sometimes reread my dissertation and wonder how the hell I managed to write it. It’s a good reminder that I did once have a functioning brain, though.
    I was on HRT, but it didn’t really do much for that, or for much else to be fair. Perhaps I didn’t get the right one for me, but you don’t seem to get much choice on the NHS.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:00 pm

      WOW Debby doing an MA in your late 30s is amazing! Kudos to you! I’m in between HRTs too, if I had to choose between HRT sorting out my physical pain and my brain fog I’d definitely take the former… I’ve always been a bit of a clutz and my short term memory has never been great tbh. But it’s worth persevering with the HRT if you can, maybe revisit it? See another doctor perhaps? It’s worth pursuing because those who’ve found the right one and found it works have reported to have had their lives changed, it can be that transformative x

  9. Lynn Jones
    9 September 2023 / 2:40 pm

    “Taking off chemical liquid stuff”

    Do you lose guessing points if you thought the answer to that was “Is that jet fuel?” #SeniorMoment

    Perhaps it’s better than ‘nail squidgy pot thingy’, though, for one of those nail dip in a sponge, umm, pot thingies.

    Gah, brain fog and the bumble about for the right word. FWIW, there was an article where researchers suggested that by 50ish, our brains are so full with words and other fluff, that there’s just a lot more to rummage through. Can we agree to call this the *Big Handbag Effect*? 🙂

    Have you found yourself watching a film or reading a book, getting half way in, and with the soft fingers of déjà vu, then remember watching/reading it years before? Well, it’s nice to get the rewatch value! 🙂

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:06 pm

      Haha YES to jet fuel, Lynn!! It could totally be that too 😀

      I think anything with the word “squidgy” in it is great, it can be applied to loads of things that we can’t remember the word for. Definitely want to now call it The Big Handbag Effect…!

      Oh and we BOTH do the déjà vu thing with movies, all the time. We were so confused about which Mission Impossible movies we’d seen we’ve had to watch them all in order just to get to the one we hadn’t seen. Took us all the way to Mission Impossible FOUR till we realised that was the one we hadn’t seen (even though I kept saying We HAVE seen it! We HAVE! – we hadn’t 😉 )…!!

  10. Jenn
    9 September 2023 / 12:51 pm

    Air mover = fan. The fog is real!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:07 pm

      Oh now Jenn that is a MUCH better description of a fan!! Love it! lol

  11. Amanda Sebestyen
    9 September 2023 / 10:00 am

    I suddenly lost my memory when I had an early menopause – can still remember blushing (NOT a hot flush) when I was standing in front of a really well-known sculpture and couldn’t remember the artist! Given that my job was reviewing art… and I’d always been able to learn poems of by heart in record time too. Unfortunately the prescriptions for HRT really didn’t suit me and each one had a different nasty side effect. But sisters, there is hope! Eventually my memory came back of its own accord, not as sharp but functioning again. What a relief. Now that I’m in my 70s though , I’m getting that different issue you talk about, where I can’t remember specific things and give them different names. In my life, it’s always the names of machines that are a problem and get mixed up. I’ll say – or think – telephone for television and vice versa. Or dishwasher for washing machine. Or computer for … you get the picture. I’ve never had an easy relationship with machines, took years and years to learn to type or use the easiest tech and still avoid social media because it’s ‘too new’!! A helpful person explained that our memory is like a tree with branches: we can still travel along those branches so far but the twigs start dropping off at the end. memory loss also shows you what your mind prioritises and what things it finds less important.
    Perhaps you know the joke about Rose? https://www.ajokeaday.com/jokes/elderly-jokes/memory-loss-drzgr6pnpb
    But you may all be too young for that story to ring a – what’s that thing that makes a pinging noise at the front door?!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:14 pm

      Amanda I’d not heard that joke before… that’s painfully accurate, LOL!!

      Good to hear your memory came back by itself, it’s such a shame you didn’t get on with HRT but I know it can be so hit and miss and take years to get right. Love that it’s not just me who mixes up gadgets and appliances – I just cannot fathom why I have such a problem with the… the… tumble drier. That’s the one 😉

      Love the trees analogy. Makes perfect sense. Our minds are basically having a decluttering session I guess!!

  12. Lise
    9 September 2023 / 9:41 am

    PS: My husband has also asked me what parts of my body actually don’t ache!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:15 pm

      hehe it’s awful, isn’t it Lise – you feel like you’re constantly moaning, lol 😉

  13. Lise
    9 September 2023 / 9:36 am

    I have been living in a foreign country trying to learn the language for the past 8 years. Now I cannot speak correctly in English or said language! Must be the brain fog…

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 September 2023 / 3:17 pm

      Oh no to mixing up the languages!!! I can imagine that’s a whole different level of brain fog new words…!

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