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I've been really worried about my mothers memory in recent months. I'm a hypochondriac normally only for myself but lately I can't stop worrying something might be happening to her. She's 51 (I'm pretty sure) and I've noticed she's been forgetting small things, never anything big like appointments or where she is or what year it is, but for example she can forget what she's talking about mid sentence at times and I have to remind her what she was talking about. She'll ask me the same question twice in an hour or repeat herself in the same way, or forget something I told her within a day or week. I know these seem really small but they're rather frequent, and beginning to get more regular lately.. Sometimes she seems better than other times. I think the thing that brought me here to ask about this was today, on Christmas, two of the gifts she gave me she told me were things I hinted at wanting but.. I have absolutely no memory of ever telling her I wanted those things. I love them, but I've never expressed any interest in them or mentioned them to her either. I'm worried she mixed up the memory of something else with something to do with me. The biggest thing that worries me is a couple months ago I found an "Alzheimer's and Dementia" leaflet from the doctors on the floor, that I definitely was not the one to bring home. I never mentioned it or picked it up but I can't forget it. She always jokes about having alzheimers/dementia but it scares me. I don't want to bring it up to her seriously because not only am I scared, terrified myself but I don't want to scare her either. I read that memory issues can be a symptom of menopause which I believe she is going through right now and I'm praying it's that, but I'd.. like to know someone elses opinion. I'm sorry for the huge paragraph, I'm a terrified hypochondriac and my mother is the only family I have. Please help me.

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Barb, Yes, exactly - enlightened is a good word, but scary for someone who is not there. Before I understood how widespread therapy-goers are, I thought only people on TV Sitcoms went to therapists for "problems." I thought that it was a terrible thing to let anyone know that you had "issues" with your parents or friends. Then I dated a fellow whose parents were "uppity ups" to me (I had a very provincial view of the world, so in reality they were just upper middle class).

Every one of the ladies I met when I'd visit the house would go on about some discovery she'd made with her therapist that week, and it was really interesting to hear. It actually gave me the idea that therapy was "the thing to do" and courage to give it a try. I am so thankful for my great therapist who helped overcome things that were holding me back. Cat, if you are reading this, please believe us that anxiety is widespread and you can overcome!

Hugs, Ann
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Surprise, I think what you mean by " nice people" are folks who wouldn't think it odd or troubling that some would seek out therapy, rather than acting out their issues or blaming others for their problems. In other words, enlightened people.
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Note to those not included in the definition of "nice" above: I am not excluding you from being nice people, but I struggled to find a word to describe the socioeconomic group I was thinking about. Please forgive me for my lack of creativity at 130 am 1/1.
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Catho, I have found that the majority of "nice" adults (college educated, above average incomes and/or great insurance) have been in therapy at some point in their lives, and they will openly speak of "my therapist says"! I'm one of those people who's been in therapy, and I tell my kids when they are teens that they need to go to therapy when in college when it is so cheap. Usually therapy is free or really cheap while you are in college/grad school. After all, I'm sure (jk!) I've ruined my kids' lives with *my issues* and they need to know how to handle **me**. If you are out of school, there are some places that use a sliding payment scale based on your income.

CBT really is thinking about how things fit together and it's really great to find out how to handle stress, disappointment, etc - particularly great for ideas for how to handle other people's problems, and recognizing when something really is another person's problem and not your own (hint: most everything is not my problem!).

When you start your life with a background in therapy, you really get a better start because you don't get entangled with the garbage your peers are stuck in. Therapists simply like talking to people and helping them solve problems. It has nothing to do with how important your issues are in the grand scheme of things - your issues make your life harder, and therapists actually enjoy helping you have a better life. Amazing that people would embrace this as their life work, but true!
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Barb, thank you very much for your concern, I really do appreciate it. I really should get help for it I agree with you, it's clearly causing me some problems!

It's always an embarrassing thing bringing up the fact you need mental health help but I'll see what I can do, see if I can muster up the courage to ask someone about it when I get the time. Hopefully that will be soon! Thank you so much for your kindness and support!
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Cat, please get some help for your mental health issues! You deserve a more peaceful life!

Dementia can happen to anybody. The early-onset type (before age 65) is more likely to run in families.

Forgetfulness and irritability are rampant in menopause. But all forgetfulness is not dementia. If a menopausal woman forgets where she put her keys, that is fairly common. If she forgets what keys are for, that is a bigger concern!

I wouldn't worry about the gift thing. If you loved what she gave you, she probably did pick up some clues that they would please you, without any conscious hinting on your part.
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Cath, if your regular doctor isn't listening to your concerns about your mental health, you can find a different doctor, or you can perhaps go through your health insurance directory to find out the name of psychiatrists ( medical doctors who prescrible medications that treat problems like anxiety and depression) and/ or psychologists and social workers ( who use various modaliries of therapy, including CBT) to treat.

You deserve consideration and treatment of your very real problems! I am terribly sorry that no one is taking your mental health seriously! I felt the same way many years ago, but getting the right treatment ( a combination of meds and talk therapy) has allowed me to lead a much more productive and peaceful life.

Please give yourself a New Year's gift and find out about treatment options. And let us know how you're doing! We care!
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Hi BarbBrooklyn, no unfortunately I'm not. I've been suggested CBH for other things before but I've never really let anyone know about my terrible anxiety or hypochondria especially so I'm not sure anyone would even believe me about it. Nobody seems too interested in my mental health.

Hopefully someday soon I'll find someone to talk to about it. Not even a week ago I had a 4 hour breakdown convinced I had a fatal illness, lol. It's a real problem..
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Cath, are you seeing someone about your anxiety and your habit of "catastrophizing"? It might be worthwhile to seek out some cognitive behavior therapy.
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Thank you so much for your replies, you have no idea how relieving it is to hear these things lol. As she's the only family I really have I just panicked a bit. As far as I'm aware nobody in the family has had early on-set alzheimers/dementia, but I have read it's not strictly something inherited and anyone can get it. I made sure to research that before asking which definitely didn't help my anxiety haha!

Apologies if I've bothered anyone or wasted anyone's time here, but my nerves really have been settled a little, I'm thinking a bit more rationally about it now. It probably is just age and menopause. She's actually had a lot of issues sleeping in recent months, probably gets 3-5 hours a night max and has to take long naps during the day then works 8 hours day shifts and sometimes 4 hour night shifts too, I bet that isn't helping her memory either..

I have a lot to learn about what it's like to get older. It was nice to hear some relatable stories haha! Thank you again for your patience!
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cathodoer, as we age we do get more forgetful. The best way to explain it is our brain is like a lot of filing cabinets and each cabinet is filled to the brim as we get older... thus it takes longer for us to find that one slip of information we are looking for. Sometimes I will remember the answer at midnight :P

I use to be able to go grocery shopping without ever writing out a list. I don't dare try that today.

Blood pressure pills will tend to wipe me out brain wise, same with antihistamines, and with anxiety medicine.

And yes, menopause can cause a whole long list of issues... one being insomnia, thus if one isn't getting a good night sleep, that can affect memory, too.
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A big question here is if she has a history of early-onset Alzheimer's in the family. If she does, it would be more of a concern. If not, she may just be forgetful. As life goes on, there are all these little things that you have to get done. I find myself being very forgetful. I think it is because there are so many little things that my brain gets cluttered. I never forget the big things, but I can forget if I already took out something for dinner. I'm really bad about looking all over the house and yard for my reading or sunglasses, only to look in a mirror and see them setting on top my head. Doh! I think it's normal, but it makes me wonder if I'm totally losing it. And I can't even blame menopause. I blame all the little things that I have to do.
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Sigh.

The other thing you could do, in terms of setting your mind at rest and since we're stating the obvious, is say to your mother that you couldn't help noticing the leaflet, is this something she is worried about and if so would she like to talk about it.

Because either it was from one of the many many charities who are mass-mailing these things around for awareness-raising exercises, or it is indeed a subject she's concerned about and she did pick up a leaflet from her doctor - in which case she might appreciate a bit of support.

So: EITHER there is no problem OR there could be a problem, of the sort which will not go away just because you're afraid of it.

"Present fears are less than horrible imaginings..." Find out what you have to worry about. It's always better than worrying about what you might find out.
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Thank you for the replies, I had no idea menopause could cause memory issues and it's relieving to hear someone confirm it.. I suppose rationally thinking that does seem much more likely!
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Most likely menopause. Offer to go to the dictor with her, but leave your own hypochondria at home. Time to get the legal paperwork in place if it isn't already starting with powers of attorney.
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51ish? Menopause can really screw up the memory and is much more likely than dementia.
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