Katie McDowell, Life & Leisure

When the brain fog hits, who do you blame?

Katie McDowell

I have about a half dozen half-finished columns sitting on my computer.

No, not about. Exactly. I have started — and stopped — writing six times in the past week.

I’ve got one about home and what that entails. One about the sneakers I wore to ruin (go, me). A nowhere-near-complete ode to my dog, Tulip. A medium-length ditty about Chad’s magical hat. The beginnings of something about walking on the beach, and a pretty good bit about skeet shooting.

Maybe you’ll read them all, or at least a few of them, someday.

But not today. Because no matter how hard I tried, my thoughts refused to coalesce on any topic, despite how much I had to say on the subject.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Brain Fog.

I would be tempted to blame COVID for this lingering curse, but as it began plaguing me long before my June illness, the culprit — at least, according to my research — seems clear.

I accuse Perimenopause of committing the crime in the Office with the Hormones.

I also highly suspect it in the murder of cognitive function in the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, inside my car and on the streets of my neighborhood.

If I had a billiard room, conservatory or library, I’m sure it would kill it there, too.

That’s right, folks. I am on the cusp of The Change. And it’s a precarious spot indeed.

Perhaps there are people who think I shouldn’t talk about this here — and that’s OK, you can go do the puzzles on page 6 instead. Because a large part of the problem, as I see it, is that no one talks about it, anywhere.

So when you’re standing in the middle of the street, trying to pull out a word to describe something and having zero luck, you’re left wondering whether you’re having a stroke, or a premature senior moment.

Or maybe you just had to go back inside for the third time since leaving for work, having forgotten yet another something you need, and are now bursting into tears as you grab the peach you washed and wrapped up for your lunch, because you’re tired and irritable and didn’t sleep well thanks to waking up repeatedly, drenched in your own sweat.

Purely hypothetically, of course.

Could be it was only after Googling various combinations of the words “symptoms,” “middle age,” “forgetfulness,” “mood swings” and “exhaustion” that the internet gods finally gave you some answers.

“Ohhhhh,” you might say to yourself. “I wish someone had warned me.”

Then you may laugh. Or cry. Or get hot. Or have to pee. Or all of the above.

Because, well, perimenopause.

The thief of concentration. The bringer of perspiration.

The normalcy slayer no one cautions you about.

She is real, she is serious.

She is the reason you aren’t reading about clay pigeons today.

Don’t blame me.

Blame biology.

Katie McDowell is the managing editor and lifestyles columnist for The Dominion Post. Email her at kmcdowell@dominionpost.com.