These days I’m spending a lot of time preaching to my 11 year-old son about getting organized—all so he can remember that he has math homework, needs to take a sack lunch tomorrow and to please, please brush his teeth before he goes to bed. In the midst of all of this, I’m trying to help myself remember a zillion things, too. He’s in his infancy in terms of learning how to multi-task in his mind and I’m in the middle of perimenopause.
Memory, memory, memory. Will everything come back to me once this stage of life is over? I sure hope so. More and more I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I didn’t brush my own teeth. It kind of sucks (and, feels yucky).
It’s true. One of the many documented symptoms of menopause is memory loss. Those of us who are suffering from memory loss know what’s it liked to be silently trapped in our own mind trying to remember people, places and things. I thought I was going to go insane just yesterday as I was trying to remember the word “ottoman.” On my list of things to do for the day was, “order thing to throw clothes on.” Then I spent two hours trying to remember what it was called. I finally had to resort to googling, “thing at the end of the bed.” Lots of things came up—including lots of benches—but, one of them was ottoman. Thank goodness. I’m now getting an ottoman.
So, what am I doing to help both myself and my son—one in the developmental stages of memory and the other, well, simply just his aging mother? Here are some tips for all of us in either category–things that I have found especially helpful. I found this funny and useful list in the Huffington Post shared by writer, Janie Emus (www.theboomerrants.com):
- Take Photos– On the pretense that you’re putting together a digital display of your work place, take photos of your co-workers and store them on your cell phone along with captions. When their name whooshes from your mind, pretend that you’re reading a text and take a quick peek. Ah, yes. I’m talking to Trixie, the ex-stripper turned receptionist.
- Call Yourself– If you need to remember to take your calcium after dinner, call yourself and leave a message on your answering machine. I’ve done this a dozen times. Usually by the time I get home, I’ve forgotten all about having made that call. I see the blinking light and get excited over who might have called, only to realize it was myself.
- Make Lists– On your phone. Your computer. On an old-fashioned yellow pad of paper. I even leave Post-It notes on the fridge door and on the bathroom mirror reminding me to read the list that I left by the side of the bed.
- Put Your Keys in the Fridge– If you have leftovers from lunch or have used that precious hour to grocery shop, place your keys in the refrigerator along with whatever it is you do not want to forget. Of course, you may spend quite a bit of time looking for your keys. In which case, you should leave a note on purse reminding you where you put them.
- Create a Numbering System– In your mind, number the activities you need to perform before going to bed. Number one, take fish oil. Number two, charge phone. Number three, brush teeth, and so on. By doing everything the same each night, your mind falls into a pattern.
As the parent of two children, I have always believed everything is a phase. That’s how I am holding onto hope that my memory will return to normal once menopause has passed. Sure, it sounds unlikely—but you never know. Right now I’m taking a picture of this blog entry, so I remember to try and remember if my memory has returned.
Happy Memories of March! Steph
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