Reasons You May Have Brain Fog
Reasons You May Have Brain Fog
“Brain fog” isn’t a medical condition. It’s a term used for certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words.
The Real Reason That Going to the Doctor Gives You Anxiety
There’s a dull ache on your left side that’s been there since last Tuesday. Actually, it’s probably gotten worse since then, despite the hot pads and over-the-counter pain meds. Still, you’d rather wax your entire body than schedule an appointment with a doctor to determine the cause. Now that you think about it, you’re probably overdue for a checkup, too. “Has it been three years or four since my last health exam?” you think to yourself. Anxious “what ifs” about your health start flooding your mind, and you begin typing symptoms into Google for an inevitably tragic self-diagnosis.
If you’ve experienced something similar, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a pretty common experience to feel reticent about going to the doctor, said Dr. Barbara Cox, a psychologist based in San Diego. She explained that while this fear has many triggers — including having iatrophobia, the medical name for fear of doctors that affects just 3 percent of the population — the primary culprit is anxiety triggered by a fear of getting bad news.
Only 3 percent of the population has a fear of doctors — the majority of anxiety is actually triggered by the fear of the unknown.
“Many people feel anxious because they fear the unknown, and they let their imagination run wild,” she says. “They may imagine a worst-case scenario, when in fact going for, say, an annual check-up is the best prevention.”
Dr. Marc Romano, a psychologist, nurse practitioner and assistant medical director at Delphi Behavioral Health, agreed.
“The main fear individuals have about going to the doctor is that the doctor will find something seriously wrong,” he says. “Individuals typically only go to their doctor when they are sick. Therefore, the anxiety people have when they go to the doctor becomes a conditioned response. The association between anxiety and doctors is one that becomes stronger and stronger each time a person has to go to the doctor.”
Breaking the Doctor-Anxiety Cycle
If your anxiety is centered upon a fear of the unknown and an imagination that takes you to the worst-case diagnosis, it’s that much more important to actually schedule an appointment.
“First and foremost, you must rule out that something is seriously wrong,” explains Dr. Romano. It’s not easy, but even if you don’t receive a peachy diagnosis, that doesn’t change the facts. It simply means you have a name for what ails you, and you can begin treating and reducing pain and discomfort.
“Doctors are like trainers; their job is to keep you as healthy and fit as possible to avoid health problems from arising.”
“Second, it’s important to go to the doctor to reduce one’s anxiety, since living with high anxiety can actually result in something seriously going wrong, such as high blood pressure,” he says. Yes, avoiding the doctor and stressing yourself out about the “what ifs” can actually make you sick.
Regarding a routine checkup, seeing your doctor once a year (or whatever frequency is prescribed), means you’ll have a firmer handle on your health. These preventative exams are vital to your wellbeing since they help you avoid illness, and since they can help you lessen the severity of any pre-existing conditions, notes Dr. Cox.
Making the Visit Easier
Ready to schedule that doctor’s visit? Follow these expert tips to reduce your anxiety.
- Acknowledge the anxiety, then let it go: “If you find yourself thinking about your doctor’s visit, acknowledge that and tell yourself it’s normal to have anxiety, then focus your thoughts on something else less anxiety provoking,” advises Romano. He says that letting go of thoughts that trigger anxiety can be done by distracting yourself with things that bring you joy and keep you mentally engaged. Maybe that’s indulging in your favorite TV show, tackling that house project, hitting the gym or diving into a good book.
- Don’t be Dr. Google: Googling your medical symptoms is a downward, anxiety-fueling spiral, and it’s nearly impossible to get off the ride once you’ve begun. Not only are the most extreme cases documented more frequently than benign cases, you’re also dealing with confirmation bias.“With modern technology, it is inevitable that individuals will look up their symptoms, but it is important that individuals do not jump to conclusions and do not play doctor,” says Romano. “Individuals often tend to think the worst, and it is important to keep your thoughts in check and identify those thoughts are irrational and replace them with more rational ones. Suspend any judgements or conclusions about health issues until there is objective data to either confirm or deny the presence of health problems.”
Attack Anxiety Your 4-Step Guide to Overcoming Your Fear of Flying
- Do something relaxing before your visit: Cox encourages patients to do something relaxing just before their visit. For example, listening to soothing music while driving to the appointment, or completing a guided meditation in the parking lot. Even deep, steady breaths can slow your heart rate and help you feel more grounded and in control.
- Calm and distract yourself in the waiting room: “There are many things that people can do while sitting in their doctor’s waiting room to distract their thoughts from those that may be related to the doctor’s visit and causing anxiety to ones that are more pleasant and that induce a feeling of calmness,” says Romano. “With modern devices, individuals can easily distract themselves from worrying thoughts by looking at their emails, going on social media sites, watching movies, scrolling through their pictures on their phones or listening to music.” Cox adds, “Some people who are especially anxious may bring a friend with them to keep them upbeat.”
- Remind yourself that your doctor is on your side: “It is important to view your doctor as an ally in keeping you healthy by identifying problems before they get out of control,” says Romano. “Doctors are like trainers; their job is to keep you as healthy and fit as possible to avoid health problems from arising.” Communicate honestly with your doctor, who isn’t there to judge. Be straightforward about your medical symptoms and fears, and even mention that you feel anxiety about going to the doctor’s office in the first place. Your doctor will be guiding and reassuring throughout the process, and you will feel much more in control of your own health once you walk out the door — helping to ease the anxiety around your next appointment.
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If You Feel Like Dying During Perimenopause, You Aren’t Alone
Not all that long ago, it was fairly common to hear menopause described, often in hushed tones, as “the change.” But most of the “changes” actually happen during perimenopause, the years of transition leading up to the end of menses.
Perimenopausal symptoms can begin before your periods become irregular, according to the research of Jerilynn Prior, MD, FRCPC, an endocrinologist and the author of “Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Perimenopause.”
Of course, this fact continues to perplex some doctors and gynecologists who were taught to use irregular menstrual cycles to mark the beginning of perimenopause.
Most people recognize perimenopause and menopause as entirely natural life stages, but not everyone realizes the wide range of symptoms involved.
Along with insomnia, headaches, and hot flashes, you might also experience mental or emotional symptoms, such as:
- changes in concentration or ability to focus
- trouble with memory
- mood swings and difficulty regulating emotions
If a doctor or other healthcare professional is unable to explain your symptoms, this might only add to your distress. Know, though, that you aren’t alone: Feelings of depression and thoughts of death and dying are very normal during this time.
Our guide below can help you better understand these symptoms and get relief.
Thoughts of death, dying, and suicide often arise in response to pain and suffering, even if you don’t truly want to die.
“Perimenopause brings aging into our immediate consciousness,” says Vicki Botnick, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California. “Some meditation on death could be a healthy developmental stage.”
So, yes, it’s possible to have passing thoughts of suicide without any desire to act. You might, as Botnick explains, simply want to regain some control over your distress.
“When those thoughts become obsessive or lead to thoughts of causing your own death, you’ll want to seek support,” she cautions.
Plenty of treatments can help ease symptoms of perimenopause:
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications, including hormone therapy, can help ease physical symptoms.
- Therapy with a trained professional can help provide relief from emotional symptoms. and alternative therapies, including supplements and acupuncture, can also make a difference.
Of course, it takes time to access these treatments, and they might not work right away.
Thoughts of self-harm coming up in response to emotional overwhelm? These 7 alternatives may help.
A few of the most commonly recognized physical symptoms of perimenopause include:
These changes occur naturally as the levels of hormones in your body begin to change. They can certainly happen as part of the menopausal transition and aging process. But they can stem from other sources, too.
Stress in your personal life might leave you unable to fall asleep. This insomnia can lead to fatigue, which might drain your energy and lead to appetite and weight changes.
Some symptoms, like fatigue, aches and pain, and irregular periods, can have other medical causes.
It’s always a good idea to connect with a healthcare professional if you experience symptoms you can’t explain, even if you link them to perimenopause.
Make sure to describe all your symptoms, even ones that don’t seem relevant. Say, for example, you mention that you:
- wake up frequently during the night
- have headaches in the morning
- feel exhausted during the day
This could suggest obstructive sleep apnea, not perimenopausal insomnia.
How to cope
Your healthcare professional might recommend different treatment approaches, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Some treatments include:
You can also take steps on your own to improve symptoms, by:
- trying Kegel exercises or bladder training to help improve bladder control
- avoiding afternoon caffeine to help improve sleep
- taking herbal supplements, like black cohosh
- making time for regular physical activity
- staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet to ease vaginal dryness and reduce pain during sexual activity
Perimenopause-related cognitive and mental health symptoms can also prompt mental distress, like:
- anxiety and panic attacks
- increased bipolar or schizophrenia symptoms
- changes in memory, concentration, and ability to focus
While changing hormone levels can lead to imbalances that drive these symptoms, other factors can also play a part.
Perimenopause generally begins as you approach middle age, a life stage that usually includes plenty of changes, like:
- impending retirement and other career shifts
- children leaving home
- noticeable differences in your body, facial features, energy, and health
- parents or older loved ones in need of more support
- changing romantic relationships
Any of these can add to your mental load and increase your stress, not to mention worsen existing health symptoms. You might find it tough to keep track of everything you need to do or make time for yourself. The result? A drop in well-being.
Feelings of anxiety or panic might not directly relate to hormonal changes. Still, they can tie into perimenopausal symptoms.
- The unpredictability of your symptoms can leave you nervous and unsure what to expect next.
- Insomnia and anxiety can play off each other, creating a cycle of anxious wakefulness that’s difficult to break.
- Lack of sleep can worsen feelings of depression and affect concentration and memory during the day. can trigger feelings of doom or a belief that you’re about to die.
Sleeplessness and related emotional distress can absolutely give you the impression that you’re dying. It can also make you feel like you want to die, just so it all stops.
“Physical symptoms, exacerbated by hormonal shifts that affect serotonin production in the brain, can bring on depression and suicidal thoughts,” Botnick says.
She adds symptoms can feel particularly distressing when they hang on for years, with no sign of relief.
How to cope
Talking with a therapist is a good next step, but it’s also important to connect with a healthcare professional if you’re worried about symptoms like memory loss.
They can help you rule out other possible causes, including genetic disorders or early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Depression and other mental health symptoms might not always improve with hormone treatments that improve physical symptoms.
A therapist might not always have the ability to pinpoint the direct cause of these symptoms, but they can still offer essential support.
“Both medical doctors and therapists can offer invaluable tips for healing,” Botnick says. “A therapist can assess your level of risk and suggest methods of treating depression and intrusive or suicidal thoughts.”
You might also notice changes in your mood and emotions during perimenopause, including:
- unusual irritability
- feelings of sadness, grief, or loss
- sense of helplessness or depression
- feelings of isolation
- diminished self-esteem
Certainly, hormonal changes can prompt abrupt shifts in your mood, but plenty of other concerns can complicate emotional health.
You might, for example:
- have difficulty coming to terms with changes in your appearance
- fear losing control of your body and feel helpless to weather the changes
- have difficulty with unpredictable and disruptive symptoms, like incontinence or hot flashes
- feel frustrated by insomnia that persists despite fatigue
Emotional distress related to perimenopause could create tension in your relationships. But existing relationship concerns can also fuel conflict and worsen mood symptoms.
Narrow-minded views of aging that suggest your life is nearly over can also trigger a general sense of despair. In reality, you’re quite possibly only around the halfway mark, with plenty more to enjoy.
How to cope
Reaching out to loved ones can make a difference, especially when isolation fuels your distress.
Friends don’t understand? Consider joining a support group of others experiencing similar concerns to reduce feelings of loneliness and perhaps even form new friendships.
Mindfulness and meditation practices can also make a difference, especially in combination with therapy.
These techniques help you learn to stay present and sit with painful or unwanted emotional states without acting on them by exploding in anger, dissociating, or numbing yourself, explains Botnick.
Specific therapy approaches can also help you manage thoughts of death and suicide.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can help you identify, challenge, and replace exaggerated or distorted thought patterns.
Dialectical behavior therapy takes a similar approach, but it adds in emotional regulation techniques.
‘Naming and shaming’
The former Latvian foreign minister said the report had received a whopping 1,210 amendments so far. MEPs will get to vote in the plenary in March.
Kalniete is seeking to find the right balance. «My challenge is not to make the report into a Christmas tree,» she said, referring to not wanting to make the final report lose its focus. Nevertheless, she expects the 33-page report to double in size.
She said the negotiations are likely to focus on «naming and shaming».
«If we name the right-wing or left-wing political parties — and we know that in all member states we have that sort of populist parties, anti-vaxx parties receiving different financial sources from outside — and we name a few of them, then what about the rest?» she asked.
There is also discussion about which countries to name in the report. The majority of MEPs are likely to go for categorising the threats.
«The lion’s share of all disinformation comes from Russia and China. […] Then there are countries with growing assertiveness in disinformation,» Kalniete said, adding that these countries don’t have a global approach, but only focus on issues that are important to their national interest.
She also mentioned Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Indonesia — highlighting that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia also aim to enlarge their influence in the Western Balkans.
Kalniete said discussions are also focussed around what more to do about digital platforms, a key tool for spreading disinformation.
The commission has set out a code of conduct, which is voluntary.
«Over 90 percent of platforms percent signed it, but they are not following the voluntary obligations what they agreed, we insist it must be mandatory,» Kalniete added.
When asked about the Pegasus spy programme that was used to put journalists and activists under surveillance, including by the Hungarian government to spy on reporters, Kalniete suggested that there needs to be legislation which makes the software producers responsible for misuse.
«Not only those who are using it, but also those who are producing it, they have to be responsible for what need the programme is acquired for,» Kalniete added.
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These are just my initial thoughts based on the information we know at present. As we have already seen over the past few weeks, there is little point in planning long term at the moment but with Double Gameweek 22 on the horizon, I think we simply have to – even if you’re playing your Free Hit, you’ll still want to look at fixtures around the double.
If you’re saving the first/second Free Hit chip, every transfer you make from now should be for a team that has already had a fixture postponed. It is also worth looking at which teams have a good single Gameweek already in Gameweek 22; West Ham stand out immediately. Their pending fixture is Norwich, which would give them a double of Leeds/Norwich, both at home. Everton are scheduled to play the Canaries as well and will likely have leaky Leicester tagged on.
We will be discussing Double Gameweek 22 and much more on this week’s episode of the FPL Wire; do check it out in the link below when it lands.
Merry Christmas and stay safe.
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