I invented a new term today: COVID brain. And I’m thinking that maybe you can relate…
I’ve been very forgetful lately, and I haven’t been able to quite figure out why. The other day, for example, I was going to meet my cousin for a nice walk along the river (while still adhering to good social distancing and mask protocols, of course). In other words, a good evening of fun, these days.
Well, I had to go back to my apartment three times. The first time I forgot my mask. The second time, I forgot my keys—so I had to retrieve my spare set to, in turn, retrieve the ones I had left inside. (Luckily, the restaurant around the corner from my apartment keeps a spare set of my keys… even though it was boarded up to prevent looting—that’s just how we live for the moment in NYC.)
Then, I get halfway to meeting my cousin… only to realize I had forgotten to bring the gift I had bought her!
It’s worth noting that I never forget anything. For the most part, my brain is like a steel trap—and once something is in there, it doesn’t leave.
So of course, when all of this started, I worried a little, and wondered if maybe I was finally getting dementia—I am getting older after all. Then I said to myself: Wait… you wouldn’t accept that from a patient. So you certainly shouldn’t accept it for yourself.
That’s when I decided to cut myself some slack, take a step back, and see if this was a one-time thing… or if it would continue.
Well, it continued. But before I panicked, I decided to take a good, long, hard look at what was going on in my life. And wouldn’t you know, the very next day, I had not one, not two, but three patients come into my office complaining of the very same problem.
And the reason why hit me immediately: We are all on overload. My home city may be one of the hardest hit during this pandemic. But every last one of us is living through history right now. And not one single one of us has been spared the impact.
Be patient with yourself
Just think about it: How many different things do you have to keep in your mind right now?
The news is relentless, and seemingly almost never good. If you’re a parent, you’ve been navigating homeschooling, and now a summer where the usual activities have all been cancelled or completely upended.
And even as parts of the country begin to open back up, we’re all still tethered to our homes in a way that we have never been before. Whether you’re alone or with family members, the isolation has almost certainly taken its toll.
I don’t know about you, but I find even the easiest of pre-pandemic tasks to be an enormous undertaking these days. For instance, even going to the supermarket is a worry. And in many places, you still can’t go to a non-essential store or a gym—all routines that are now on hold indefinitely.
So, it’s really no wonder we can’t think straight anymore, or be as effective as we once were. The trauma of this upheaval has been very real for all of us.
But the bottom line is this: Don’t beat yourself up. Be patient with yourself, and know you aren’t alone. We will get through this, and we will settle into our new normal… but until then, there are still plenty of things you can do to nurture your mental health.
As for me, I’m exercising at home every single day. You might also try meditation, journaling, or gardening. Just find something that eases your mind, and make time for it each day—especially during these strange and unusual times.
And don’t forget to lean on each other. We’re all just doing the best we can.
P.S. And if you do find that your memory lapses right now may be a very real problem, I encourage you to check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. This is an online, comprehensive protocol that outlines an all-natural plan to protect and restore memory, strengthen focus, and fight dementia. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!