Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Short Term Memory (or lack there of)

It can be frustrating to say the least while having this 'invisible illness'.  I call it invisible because it's different than someone who broke an arm or a leg or had an operation.  I'm not walking around in a cast, on crutches, my arm isn't in a sling and I'm not recovering from surgery.  Many people who are going through depression and or anxiety look like anyone and can be anyone. [Note: If anyone from the program is reading this no worries as I won't be sharing names or personal details of your situation in my blog posts.  I will be talking in generalities.]  Before I became ill I thought I had an idea of what it meant or what it would feel like to be 'depressed' - boy was I wrong!

The people in the program I attended were from all ages and walks of life.  Ages ranged anywhere from early 20's on up to the 70's.  Occupations of the people in the program: therapists/social workers, teachers, business owners, executives, college students, stay at home moms.  On my first day of the program I was scarred, anxious and depressed.  I didn't know how I would be received by others in the program or if I would be welcomed.  I quickly found out that everyone feels that way on their first day and that was one of the first things I talked about during group.  I felt accepted and welcomed by the group right away. Thank you! <3

One of the things I quickly found out that I had in common with others in the program was lack of memory.  Lack of short term memory. I found myself asking people the same questions about themselves and not realizing it.  Fortunately the people I was talking to had memory issues to, so they didn't seem to mind much as they probably forgot I asked the question before :-) In some ways it's kind of comical.  In my day to day life at home with a lack of short term memory..........

We were putting Christmas decorations away and I noticed a box of teddy bear ornaments in a box.  I told my husband 'we forgot to put these on the tree'.  My husbands reply: 'they were on the tree'.

Another embarrassing moment happened only this time in a social situation:  I bumped into the same person twice within a span of two days and completely forgot I saw them once already.  I then started asking them how their holidays were and as they started talking I kind of started to remember seeing that person the day before. I then asked them 'did we have this conversation a day ago?'.  The reply: 'yes' :-)

On the subject of memory and where do I put things?  I lose things all the time or forget where I put something within the span of two minutes.  I used to sometimes forget where I put something down (before the illness) now I forget most of the time where I put things, who I've talked to, what I've said.  I had dinner with a friend last night and within the span of 10 minutes I told her two times about some good news about a mutual friend.  My friend jokingly said: 'you most certainly do have a short term memory problem!'

This morning I lost my phone/forgot where I put it at the gym.  Thankfully someone turned it in and they found me in the gym to give it to me.  Check plus for getting a workout in today and thank you to my friends for meeting me there!

If any of my friends or family are reading this right now please be patient and be sure to send me a signal that I've already talked about something.  Perhaps a: 'I remember you saying that to me before' and try not to look at me like I'm crazy as I already feel crazy enough  :-)

It's going to take some time to heal from all this but I will continue to get better with time.  I'm also working on a strategy for when I leave the house to have a post it or a dry erase board with the following questions:  Going to the gym? do you have your: cell phone, keys, water bottle, mp4 player, sneakers.  Sounds silly but anything to help me get back into a 'normal mindset' is good for me.  My family may just have to deal with a few post it notes around the house :-)

PS - Thank you to everyone for supportive comments and emails.  It means so much to me and it is truly amazing how many people are going through this and yet no one talks about it!  Time to stop the stigma!  I've found many of us are 'invisibly ill'.  There should be no shame in that.  There should only be support.


  1. If it helps makes you feel better, I got out of the shower today and after almost drying off I realized I never rinsed my hair!!!

    1. LOL SWG! I'm laughing with you! I thought I was the only one who ever did that!

  2. I wish I could say it only happened once!!!