The memory is a funny creature. Sometimes preferring to hide away in its lair, hibernating until it awakens, rising to the surface slowly like a bubble weaving and bobbing its way to the top. Or so it seems to me.
The brain stores, somewhere amongst the million or more neurons, thoughts and feelings in neat little pockets of moments, fleeting and sometimes lost. They can be hard to retrieve whether recent or from long ago, linked by a variety of buried trinkets hidden by a layer of dust.
How they’re locked away is a mystery to most, their retrieval system similar to that of files saved on a hard drive, always there ready to take out and pore over like a text book.
It isn’t immune to viruses, illnesses that attack those areas we rely upon. The muscle memories, the long term recollections from decades of learning and miscellaneous bits of useless trivia, and all the current activities such as ‘what did I eat for lunch?’ ‘Where are my glasses?’ ‘Did I take my medication?’
From Traumatic Brain Injuries to Dementia, Alzheimer’s, tumours, MS, and Epilepsy, the pathological, physical, emotional, whether psychotic or organic, shreds of images, floating in and out of focus, long forgotten people and places, are shuttered behind closed doors. [For some].
Before my Epilepsy diagnosis. Before I hit 50. Before the years of wear and tear showed signs of an outdated system becoming obsolete, I had a terrific memory. One that could hold onto thoughts and to do lists all night while I slept. I could say to myself, ‘ don’t forget to take dinner out of the freezer to thaw.’ Or ‘remember to get stamps at lunch and mail out so-and-so’s birthday card.’ Such simple everyday stuff we tend to forget amid our busy lives. Flitting here and there, speeding across time to cram an extra hour into days already chocked full to the rim and overflowing.
Unfortunately, I no longer have the aptitude to recall my to do lists. I cannot rely upon my memory to remind me of tasks I must focus on. I constantly lose my glasses, my phone, the notebook I use for doctor’s appointments, the multiple pieces of scrap paper and pens I keep handy. I have no clue what I had for lunch on any given day. Couldn’t tell you what I did yesterday or what’s on my agenda that day or tomorrow.
After 3 temporal lobe resections [aka lobotomies], my so called memory bank is cut in half. The remaining lobe overloaded, overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions once shared. It’s no wonder I can’t absorb all the details from our conversations. Not surprising I must repeat the same questions over and over hoping something will stick. It takes a lot of physical power and mental acuity to focus on the words, expressions, definitions, background that comes with every story told. Without writing everything down, it’s almost impossible for me to dip into that storage system, pull out the appropriate box, wipe off the dust and cobwebs and digest the details found within.
So many times I’ve gone to perform…something…the thought slips away….
So many times I’ve entered a room for some purpose….but…what…why did …what was I going to do?…
An overworked mind.
Yadda – yadda – yadda.
We can make all sorts of excuses, explain away the reasons for this n’ that. But. There’s no escaping the fact our inner workings labour away 24/7 and will eventually run out of gas.
Does my deteriorating memory equal dementia? Early onset Alzheimer’s ? A seizure perhaps?
No. not necessarily.
It means, I’m normal. Just like everyone else. The only difference is what, when, and how long a memory will last.
So, sorry it’s taken over a month for this post. I kept forgetting…got distracted… enjoy your week.
*and as always, the above are my thoughts and not directed at anyone other than myself.