This is my world, everyday! I’m not complaining but it’s a lonely place to be sometimes.
Do You Remember?
By Ashley Ringstaff—September 3, 2015
I wanted to touch base (again) on the whole memory issue with MS, because that has been a really big issue for me lately. (Previous Article: Disability Stereotype)
I’ve come to find that my MS has a ‘selective memory’. Meaning, I don’t forget everything that is said to me, for instance. However, there are ‘blanks’ in some of those memories. I can remember talking to someone, what we discussed, but there are key parts that my brain just seems to erase.
This can be frustrating to people we interact with, on how we can’t remember certain things. I just sit there and I’m like, “Yeah, I know it’s frustrating… try dealing with it!” But I don’t want to let out my frustrations on those I care about.
I’ve come to find that with the hotter months here in Texas, my memory took a huge change for the worse. My husband would ask me something, and not even 2 minutes later, I forgot what he asked me. It’s kind of like, getting up to go to the kitchen to get something, but once you’re in there… you forgot what you came to get.
I know many people, that don’t even have MS, deal with forgetting what they came into the kitchen for… and it’s funny to laugh it off. But do you know how frustrating it is, to go through that feeling every single day, multiple times?
Sometimes, when I forget about something, it’s not that it actually slipped my mind. For example, if I have something coming up, on a certain date or time… I know it’s coming up. I’ve prepared myself to go to the appointment, event, whatever it might be. But then my mind decides to play tricks on me… get caught up and forget the time. I don’t even remember what day or date it is sometimes. Yeah, I know… I can just look at my phone. But by the time I get around to doing that, I probably forgot what I was checking it for in the first place.
Before you say anything, yes… I write things down. I put them in my phone, I do everything I can… but I have to remember to look at these things. Do I set an alert on my phone or computer calendar? Yes I do… but if I’m in the middle of something, I’ll just dismiss it thinking, “Okay, I’ll remember that.” But in the long run… I completely forget.
This is all something that I file under my cognitive issues aka “Cog-Fog”. Do you now how bad it is that I was searching for my cell phone, to leave the house to go somewhere… when I was talking on it? I didn’t voice that I was looking for it out loud… I was just getting SO frustrated because I couldn’t find it. I will be looking for my sunglasses, and they’re on my head. The list can go on and on. Yeah, it’s funny to talk about now… but it was extremely frustrating at the time. Then I just got to feeling pathetic afterwards, that I did something so ridiculous in the first place.
Same thing goes for; “Oh did I take that medicine yet? I can’t remember… “, So what should I do? Yes, I’ve used a ‘pill box’ before… but guess what? I kept forgetting to refill it! Take in to account that I have two young kids, that I don’t want to be able to get into the pillbox… and I seem to be always on the run, it’s easier for me personally, to not use a pillbox. Cause my daytime meds; I need with me when I’m out and about.
Now, let me clarify that I’m not sitting here just whining and complaining about this issue. I’m sitting here writing this out, because I want everyone to know that I’ve been through it too. Sometimes, when I’m sitting here writing even, I’ll think of something that I need to do but I don’t want to leave what I’m writing, because I don’t want to lose my train of thought. Well, guess what… I end up forgetting what I needed to do, while I was writing. But if you look at it a certain way, It’s a ‘lose, lose’ situation… because I either forget what I needed to do, or I forget what I wanted to write about.
When I’ve lost something, I will literally go back and re-trace my steps… I even do this if I forgot about something I thought up, hoping that retracing my steps will jog my memory. This sometimes works, but not all the time. Mainly because I don’t remember the stupid steps I took in the first place.
Doesn’t this sound frustrating? For those people who DO NOT have a chronic illness, they try and ‘relate’ to this subject… by making it seem like it’s not that big of a deal, and it’s not just MS; Talking about it like everyone goes through this. You’re right, everyone DOES go through this. However, do they go through it on such a regular basis? Do they forget really important things?
Let me just do a comparison here. Because before I had cog-fog, before my diagnosis of MS… I had a really good memory at some point; like photographic memory almost. Did it disappear? Did the MRI machine eat it? Does that ‘good memory’ quality now have a big fat white lesion covering it now?
I think one of the biggest lies I tell myself sometimes is, “Oh I can remember that; I don’t need to write it down.” **rolls eyes** I sometimes think I need to have a post it note permanently attached to my hand or something, so that I can write things down that I need to remember that day, and I can’t really miss it on my hand… right? I would hope not.
Ashley was diagnosed with MS August 2010. She is a mother of two little boys and an MS advocate for MSWorld.org & embracing life for what it is and making the most of every day.