Fatigue and Memory.
I can remember most things. Information for uni. Things I did in the past. Many embarrassing incidents from 20 years ago. The barcode from a bag of mixed fruit when I used to work in a health shop. The entire lyrics to The Travelling Wilbury’s Tweeter and the Monkey Man.
But for the life of me I can’t remember what I did this week. Or last week. Or yesterday. Or even this morning.
It creates a sort of panic, when talking to people. Inevitably they’ll ask what I’ve been up to – and I can never answer. I’ve spent frantic minutes before they turn up trying to list things in my mind so I’ll have something ready to say when they ask – only to forget again minutes later. Not that I get up to much, these days – but it’d be nice to remember the small things I have managed to bimble through recently.
I really hate it. I always feel like a conversation stopper – I don’t want to explain that I just can’t remember. It feels like defeat, like failure. During conversation flow, I don’t want to say ‘well, just give me half an hour whilst I write it all down, look at my notes, and try and fill in the gaps, then I’ll get back to you’. So instead I panic and look to my husband to fill me in, dread in my stomach, my memory a grey blank. That pause that’s just too long, whilst I try and think of something, anything.
I’ve started practising before zoom calls. What have I done this week. What have I done this week. What have I done this week. I think I’ve got it in my mind – but then I’ll forget again.
Not to mention forgetting just words in general. Things like ‘light’, ‘curtains’, ‘door’. Instead I flail in the general direction of the doorway whilst attempting to describe a ‘rectangular thing that’s made of wood and goes in a frame and you walk through it’. I scare myself sometimes.
I have this condition, and will have it for goodness knows how long, maybe forever. The thing that is still hard, half a decade later, is admitting it. I can’t admit it to myself, most days, let alone other people. There are very few people in my real life that know about it. So I keep pushing through, making excuses, never articulating the real reason I have no idea about what I’ve done during the last few days to weeks. But not only do I wish I could be off doing exciting things every day, I can’t remember the more gentle, slower things I’ve done instead.
Would it be so hard, when someone asks what I’ve been up to, to just be straight with them? To say sorry, I have memory problems, I can’t really tell you right now, but I’ll be able to after I’ve had a while to myself to think about it?
I started writing down what I’d done, but then even forgot to continue doing that! Maybe laughter is the best medicine with something like this. It helps me get past that initial dread and feeling of abject failure, tinged with a little panic and fear.
So, a solution, then. I will write things down, and I will try my best to remember to keep doing so, and I will take those notes with me. Any suggestions are very much welcome. Do you struggle with memory or word-finding too? Have you any tips that help?
Stickman Communications Short-term memory card (I love their keyring cards and have a few myself)