Memory holes…

“I don’t think I signed a lease,” I informed one of my caseworkers.
“Don’t worry,” she reassured me. “Everyone signed a lease.”
“Do you know for sure that I signed one?”
“Definitely,” came the reply. “I was there. You arrived with your Mom and your cats in cages then you put the cats in the bathroom and came downstairs and signed the lease.”

so much to unpack1That sounded like something I’d do. There was just one thing. I didn’t remember it at all. I don’t remember most of the day I moved. I don’t remember leaving my old apartment, what size the moving truck was, what the new apartment was like… it’s all a big blank. There’s only two things I vaguely remember; asking an unknown number of movers to leave the boxes in the middle of the room and coming back from somewhere with my Mom to find that my bed had arrived and the caseworkers had made it in brand new bedding. Those are also the only two pictures I took of the move.

I had a similar conversation with my friend S. We were walking back to our building after an evening walk and talking about adding each other on Facebook, even though she’s not on very often.

“I just want to give you a head’s up that I post a lot of LGBTQIA stuff on my page,” I warned. Which is kind of true. I haven’t been posting as much lately. Most goes onto my blog’s page.
“I literally do not know what that means,” she replied, “but I can guess. I know you’re into that, well, lesbian and gay stuff. You told me on our first walk.”
“I did?” I asked in bewilderment. I had no recollection of that conversation at all.
“I’m a panromantic asexual,” I continued, just in case that never got covered.
“I remember you saying that!” she said with a grin.
Welp I definitely had that conversation.

It is extremely disconcerting to forget something so deeply that no amount of prodding or reminders brings it back. It’s like a hole deep in my brain. I forget things so much already. I can be totally involved in a phone conversation, both listening and talking, and forget the whole thing as soon as I hang up. The same thing happens to my dreams; I wake up and they’re gone. I put everything down in my calendar and check it every single day (sometimes twice a day). And when I read a book, I read it twice. Simply because I discover all sorts of things I never noticed (or remembered) the first time around. All those things are annoyances. Forgetting beyond recovery is scary.

My family has a strong history of dementia, which is something I really hope to avoid, and my memory issues aren’t helping my worries. It doesn’t help that I’m currently without a family doctor. My old doctor retired and no one around here’s accepting new patients. Hopefully I’ll find one soon. Then I’ll have to write a list of concerns to tell them because otherwise I’ll forget.

Brain fog…

52309278_1026323154226556_4421792483340451840_nI was on the phone with my Mom when it happened.

“Mom? Can we stop off at Loblaws on the way home tomorrow? I just need to pick up a couple of things.”

There was a long pause then my Mom replied, “Kath, you already asked me this and I already told you yes.”

Yet another conversation that had vanished into the mists. One of many.

I place everything I can into my phone’s calendar and I check that at least once a day. But not everything fits a calendar. Too many things disappear… too many things I want to remember.

I’ll be in the middle of a thought and suddenly the front part of what I was thinking is gone without a trace. So I’m stuck with the back end… and I watch as it dissolves until nothing is left. Not a single trace.

This happens several times a day, it’s not just conversations that get sucked into the void. It’s an emotionally painful situation as it hurts my children to know that I’ve forgotten what they said but it’s a situation that’s out of my control. No matter how hard I listen, some things just don’t sink in.

I told my psychiatrist what’s been happening memory wise so he’s cutting out my evening clonazepam, which makes sense although I don’t know how it’s going to affect my sleep. I already struggle with fear and anxiety when it comes to bedtime (and going back to sleep in the middle of the night). I’m not sure what sleep will be like without the clonazepam.

I go about my days as best I can. I was going to make hot and sour soup for dinner tonight but, whoops, I forgot to buy soft tofu so I’m making pizza instead. At least I have all those ingredients. The cats eat when I do so I don’t forget about them, not that they’d let me anyways. And chores get done as I see them, or get written in a “to do” book.

It scares me. What if it’s early onset Alzheimer’s or dementia? My psychiatrist doesn’t think it is but dementia runs in the family. I don’t want to watch myself slowly dissolve away. At least brain fog isn’t actively destroying my brain.

And, for the ultimate in irony, I’ve forgotten the rest of what I was going to say. I’m going to have to plan out my blog posts in point form from now on so this doesn’t happen again. But, damn, it couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate post. Hopefully I haven’t written about this before (edited to add, yes, I’ve written about this twice in the past month or two and forgot about both times).

Now my foggy thoughts and I are off to make pizza. Wish me luck!

Fading memory…

I had a great introduction to my blog but I’ve forgotten it. Which has got to be the most unfunny joke ever but it’s also so very real. Sometimes I feel like my life is fraying. I’ll think something and then it’s gone. Or I’ll be in the middle of a thought and the beginning disappears, then the end is gone and I’m left wondering what happened.

Depression and anxiety are what happened. One thing I discovered is that permanent memory loss can be caused simply by having a major depressive episode. Depression and anxiety also cause memory loss simply because you can’t focus. If you can’t focus, you can’t remember what’s going on. And, of course, meds cause memory loss too.

Memory loss is so frustrating. I’ll have a conversation with my kids and I feel like I’m right there listening intently. It feels right. Then we get off the phone (or leave the room) and the conversation is gone, or most of it at least. I watch anime shows with Colin and forget the plot completely, making the next episode that much more interesting. And I’m routinely saying, “Wait! I had a thought! Let me see if I can get it back again.” Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. And we all get frustrated, the kids because “Mom’s not listening” and me because I was listening as hard as I could and everything disappeared anyway.

Then there’s the elephant in the room… dementia. When does this switch from depressive memory loss to dementia? I don’t do odd things like put my keys in the sugar bowl and my psychiatrist isn’t worried so I guess I should stop worrying too, although it not quite that easy.

Yesterday I lay down for a short nap. I’d just fallen asleep when my phone rang. It was my psychiatrist’s secretary wanting to know if I could come in for a cancellation appointment an hour after my nap ended. I’d have plenty of time to do both so I changed my calendar and lay down. I dozed for a bit when I woke then spent some time petting our oldest cat. That was when my notification went off saying my appointment was in 15 minutes. What appointment? I didn’t see my psychiatrist for half a week. Then the second notification buzzed and I remembered the call. I don’t think I’ve left the apartment that quickly ever. I was speed walking down the sidewalk, calling and calling his office. They called me back at the bus stop then assured me there was a second cancellation at 3:40pm and I could be booked into that one, which was a relief. But, it shows again how my memory’s shot. I put everything in my phone calendar lately and check it several times a day. I can’t just wing it, if I don’t write it down, it’s gone.

My doctor’s slowly weaning me off clonazepam to see if my memory improves and my brain fog lessens. I’ve been eating well and going for regular walks in the hopes of improving my brain too. Now to see if my memory improves.

Lara sleeping like a people

If having cats improved memory, I’d be a mental wizard