Thursday, May 07, 2015

Detour Through My Mind...

I recently realized something new about my brain and how it works. It is something that has led to me and other people being frustrated. I didn't figure it out until fairly recently and haven't written about it yet because, well, I forgot.

And that is the issue.  I don't actually forget things. As far as I know, I haven’t actually forgotten anything at all. Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine was in town and we were talking about when we went out to dinner a year ago. I immediately remembered where we ate. I remembered the name of the waiter I had not seen before or since. So the information is all there, but sometimes it seems like the car keys that have been put in a place where we won’t forget and then we can't remember where they were and suddenly when we find them, we remember putting them there and the logic for choosing that space.

My brain works like that now. As far as I can tell, I don’t really have that spontaneous memory that I used to have, that most people have. I don’t remember to call people. I don’t remember to write. I don’t actively remember that someone is ill or has an ill relative. I remember these things when there is a trigger. I will see a picture, go to a place or someone will mention it and all the knowledge is there. Without the trigger, it is very hit or miss. It’s like when you wake up in the middle of the night with that amazing idea and you know you should write it down but you don’t and then you wake up and it has been forgotten and stays forgotten until something triggers it and it all comes rushing with back. I get that all the time.

Things that are part of my routine, I remember. I noticed that I usually phone John around the same time each day. I remember to feed the dogs because it happens at the same time each day. I need things in a routine in order to remember, or, and  it pains me to say this, I have to make lists. Looking around my office right now, there are lists taped to the wall for all the things I need to do that are not part of my everyday tasks. Things like expense reports, updating marketing materials and so on.

I understand that people think I have forgotten them or that I just don't care. That isn't true. I forget to phone or email Ulco. In fact, I saw an update from him on Facebook that made me remember to plan some trips for his visit that then reminded me I have been meaning to write about this issue for a couple of months. That is the normal process and it is difficult to explain. It’s difficult for me to understand. It was something I didn't notice, because it’s not like I can’t remember things. I remember most everything, I just need a trigger of some sort to bring it to the surface.

So if I haven't called, messaged, emailed or reached out to you, I am sorry. It is nothing personal at all, I have just temporarily forgotten to, thanks to two brain injuries in less than four years. But if you call, text or reach out to me, that will be enough of a trigger to contact you. It may not happen all the time, as if I see something late at night, by morning, it’s been filed away for another time. Be patient and try again.

I am trying to send emails and make calls when the triggers happen, but it’s not always possible.  It's somewhat frustrating, but then I don't really remember the frustration until it happens again.

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