I know this is probably an old topic but, for me, it never grows old simply because it affects me on a daily basis. I possibly haven’t labelled it as such before, but I do feel anxious when someone challenges me on the validity of my memory issues. There’s a noticeable build-up of fear, anticipation and Déjà vu (having gone through it so many times prior to this) before my emotions explode, as I try to defend myself. Not a pretty sight…
Firstly, I know this is an invisible condition which makes it hard (even frustrating) for anyone who doesn’t have it, to fully comprehend or understand the challenges. More importantly, I have enough patience and understanding to explain to, or educate, someone first, more than once, to help them but…(And that’s where my empathy and justification on their behalf ends – especially if they are a repeat offender). If anything, I grow more resentful of these people…
I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months and even years trying to defend myself when it comes to my lack of remembering things. (Just for clarity, you should never feel like you have to defend yourself when your challenges are the product of forces outside of your control!). It’s not easy for me to explain why I can remember certain things and not others. It’s not easy for me to accept that this is what life is like now BUT, I’ve HAD to – in order to go on! I am NOT about feeling sorry for myself or creating drama, portraying myself as being weak, either.
The hardest struggle for me right now is when I’m left feeling inadequate, like a fraud and the clear clash of my “stubborn” personality, when it comes to remembering things. It’s not that I don’t put in the effort because I do and have, countless times before, which has only elevated my anxiety to a level of great discomfort. To put it into context, even after all these years and fighting the same battle, trying to explain that remembering directions are something I don’t even bother with and the reasons why, I seem to fall into the same slip stream. The same arguments ensue and quite frankly, they’re getting tiresome AF!
In my mind it’s simple!
I don’t remember directions very well, so I’ve developed coping mechanisms and ways around it, so I don’t have to. Hell, GPS was created for exactly this reason! Also, the things that have changed for me (I believe from the brain surgeries I’ve had and the effects of Hydrocephalus), are what I’ve learnt along the way and accepted there’ll be no change, and wasting my time, effort or energy on it, is truly exhausting and not worth it. Just like an ETV creates a detour for CSF to flow through the intricacies of my brain and bypass the obstruction, so too are my coping mechanisms – detours in the way I do things to get the same result.
Sometimes it might take me a little longer to get there but eventually I do…
I think it’s hard for any person who literally goes from living a “normal” life one day to living with some sort of Physical, Mental or Other challenges the next. It’s even more frustrating when you realise that this s*** is now your norm and won’t be going away anytime soon. Some people are lucky enough to simply be presented with memory or cognitive issues for a short while after their surgery and bounce back to the way things were – others are not as lucky.
The risk of this kind of induced-anxiety is, it can send you on a downward spiral of depression in the blink of an eye. I often wonder if those around me, who serve as catalysts and spark this flame, realise the mountain of emotion they give birth to…?
Probably not but, that’s still not an excuse.
As an empathetic person, I think I will find it very hard one day to feel sorry for them when old age eventually catches up with them and deals them a taste of the hand, I’ve had for the last 13 years. Justified or not, who knows.
“I‘ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou