General Question

Deshi_basara's avatar

Ever feel that you're decaying mentally?

Asked by Deshi_basara (396 points ) January 3rd, 2013

Lately my attention span has been decreasing. I can hardly watch a movie without zoning out. My cognitive functions are slower than they used to be, things make less sense to me, reading has become a little more than a chore and I often find myself looking for things that will talk to me or show me instead of reading a “how-to”.

Does anyone have an idea on how to get my mental edge back?

Side details:
I’m mid 20’s, I exercise regularly, college graduate. Winter hit and I no longer have hobbies since they are all warm weather activities. I live practically alone since my roommate is always with his girlfriend. I don’t have many friends; I work IT so I’m constantly staring at a computer screen and I work alone.

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21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

This is not normal for your age. Have you considered getting a check-up? Also, you need to talk to people. Join a meet-up group in one of your interests. Do puzzles.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@marinelife Unfortunately there are no meet up groups around here. I looked, but everyone under 40 is more interested in drinking when they have free time =/

Coloma's avatar

Not at all and I am 53. The old brain is still very sharp, it’s the body parts that are starting to tweak. haha
Yes, I’d suggest a trip to your doctor. Do you use a lot of marijuana or alcohol?
If so, this could be your trouble.

Are you depressed?
Depression can cause one to feel mentally slow and sluggish too, lack of attention because you are consumed with other thoughts.
Good luck!

Deshi_basara's avatar

@Coloma I feel depression would be worse than any alcohol or pot use…. Depression and I have quite an extensive history… But no, I don’t abuse either. Binge drank on new years but this feeling has been around longer than that.

I’ll see if I can’t find a Dr. (I’m out of network since I’m still on my parents health insurance =/ )

syz's avatar

Yes! It’s much harder to learn new skills than it used to be.

It sounds to me as if you need to be challenging yourself more often; what you describe sounds less like mental degradation and more like mental stagnation. Stop doing to the same thing all the time! Take up a new hobby. Take a class. Learn a language. Volunteer with an organization that you believe in.

Push your boundaries and do something that you never thought you could; learn to rock climb, travel to another country, perform at a poetry slam. Shake up your world!

Coloma's avatar

@Deshi_basara Yes, do, if you are still insured by your folks get an evaluation. You can also make sure you take breaks from the repetition of your computer work, maybe find some new interest that sparks your mind, read short interesting things, research unusual topics, do crossword puzzles, and don’t forget to breathe! lol
Seriously…most people are not even aware that they are simply survival breathing and deep breathing sends more oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Exercise too! More circulation to your brain.

Are you taking any antidepressant medications?
I used Paxil briefly some years ago and it was like being a zombie, it was horrible for me, and these drugs are not for everyone. If you don’t actually have a brain chemistry issue I think trying to combat depression with diet, exercise, positive thinking and making changes that bring you more joy is the best route.

hearkat's avatar

@Deshi_basara – Do you have out-of-network benefits? You would likely have a higher copay or deductible, but it could be important to get checked-out sooner rather than later.

Also, try to establish a sleep routine, as irregular and inadequate sleep could be at least part of the problem. Limit caffeine to the mornings only, and try to get to bed at the same time every night – allowing at least 8 hours. At your age, the body still desires many hours of sleep, but the lifestyle desires many hours of wakefulness. I read an article not too long ago about how even just staying up very late and sleeping in on weekends results in a ‘jet-lag’ effect on the body.

You’ve looked on Meetup.com for groups in your area? Search by interests, not by ages-ranges. You’ll probably find something in the area where you live or work. Does your job or your parents’ health plan offer discount rates for gym membership? Colleges, community education programs, and even some religious organizations offer low-cost fitness classes.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m a little confused from your description about whether you still exercise now that winter has come. You need exercise and lots of it. Make yourself get out for at least an hour a day, preferably two. Hike or run or bike or ski or whatever you can do in your area. If there’s a pool, do an hour’s swim a day.

If you suffer from depression, this is crucial for your depression as well. The lack of light in winter is probably affecting you. Depression’s symptoms include feeling stupider and doing less, not to mention all the horrible things that make it depression: feeling bad about yourself and hating yourself, and existential loneliness. I can imagine that seeing your roommate with a partner and you being alone, that doesn’t help at all, either. Although it’s probably better to be with people than all alone by yourself.

Also, as @hearkat said, make sure you go to sleep by midnight every night. Get yourself up by 8. Eat properly and regularly and healthily. No more snack food. No more Doritos. Are you gaining weight?

Stop using the computer and stop watching TV by 11:30 at night. Do some light reading or light stretching before you go to sleep. Don’t read about anything that will rile you up.

But get exercise. I think that that, more than anything, will provide a noticeable difference in your life.

Deshi_basara's avatar

I exercise regularly. Almost every day split between power lifting and cross fit.

wundayatta's avatar

Good. You would feel much worse if you weren’t doing that. Though you might want to supplement that without outdoor activities, too, if you don’t already. Fresh air really helps, too. I think it has to do with the change in scenery engaging your mind.

Deshi_basara's avatar

Temperature just hit 25 F, I dono how much time I want to spend enjoying the great outdoors =p

I’ll see if I cant find somethiing to do though. Thanks.

I’ll respond more in a little bit. Work picked up (finally).

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
wundayatta's avatar

The key to being outside in the winter is to dress right. Especially you must cover your head and ears and neck and hands. Your feet will warm up, as will your hands after a bit of exercise, so don’t pack them too tightly. Wear layers, so that as you get hotter, you can shed layers and not be too hot. If you dress right, the cold really won’t bother you. There’s really no good reason not to exercise outdoors if you dress properly.

flutherother's avatar

Try socialising and interacting more with people in real life. The stimulation may help take your mind out of itself.

JLeslie's avatar

I say depression also. I think depression ften stems from loneliness and then add in cod weather and grey skies and it is a recipe for the blahs. Blahs that can cause what I call brain fog. I think, and this is just me, not some sort of scientific thing I studied. That it can be a gift when times suck that the brain kind of numbs us. Our memory decreases and days blend together. But, it is a good thing during tragedy, things like mourning a bad loss. But, when it is happening when nothing is really wrong, not obviously wrong, no big traumatic event, just not very engaged in life, it actually can makes things worse. It gets harder to climb out of the hole. The depression hole.

Maybe research about the lights that help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Plan a trip or something that you can look forward too. Even better if it is to a warm sunny place. Really warm, bikini weather. I have friends who go to tge panhandle of FL in the winter and that is not warm enough in my opinion. Sure warmer than 20 degrees in MI, but they still have their body covered in clothing and the sun does not always shine. South FL, the carribean, MX, sounds better to me. If you always feel cold, kind of need to curl up under blankets and still are cold, turn up the heat. Consider taking some extra vitamin D and iron. I recommend you get those both tested, a blood test actually. You can get it in a typical multivitamin, but it is possible you are very low in both and need large doses. I just never recommend high doses without getting a test. I run very low in both, and getting my numbers into normal range makes me feel physically and mentally stronger.

Really make an effort to make a couple new friends. Ask people over or plan a meal or day out.

gailcalled's avatar

I would have said “No” until this afternoon when I left my keys in the car ignition for an hour and then left the same set of keys at the post office.

I simply have to be more mindful.

JLeslie's avatar

I meant to add I find it is very common that teens and 20’s who don’t drink feel lonely and often depressed. I was one of those teens. For me working helped, but I see you do have a job. There are people out there who don’t drink, but it is sometimes difficult to find them at your age.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I feel I have rotted both mentally and physically!

Response moderated (Spam)
rojo's avatar

Yes, I understand this type of thing happens with aging but I am not happy with it.

augustlan's avatar

Learning new things really does seem to help. I need to get on that, myself.

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