This is one of the harder pieces because it is about some of the things that means so much to us as human beings; our memories and our minds.
I have always prided myself on having a reasonable mind and have enjoyed many of the interesting and creative things it has allowed me to do over the years! That’s not to say that it has always been my friend but I believe it has always been my best feature.
But then things began to change…
if I am honest I would have to admit that I have always had a less than reliable memory for things like names, sequences of events and some short term memories. I always thought that maybe I hadn’t used the best concentration at times. Recalling some things could be torturous and made examinations the most difficult things to endure. I developed some techniques and work arounds over the years but things still got progressively worse.
I used to laugh at my memory problems but now it is no longer funny. My cognitive abilities are struggling and so is my ability to do some of the things I loved.
A large part of who we are is contained within our memories, and our ability to express ourselves. What people can’t see or ever understand is how autoimmune diseases can rob us of these intimate and precious abilities because people can’t see inside our minds.
These days I can struggle to read, concentrate, recall words, remember events and people, and even find it hard to spell. It’s been a long time since I looked after any financial transactions and banking, hubby does it all and has full control and power of attorney. I find all of these things, like banking and finances, particularly difficult and heartbreaking, so much so that this is the first time I have ever spoken about it publicly.
Today I will constantly have to reread a sentence as I will have forgotten what it was about by the time I have finished. If I don’t write something down it will not be remembered and I can start a sentence and forget what I was talking about by the time I have finished! My husband is very patient and much more patient than me! I go into rooms and forget why all the time. Sometimes I struggle to use the microwave and must concentrate on how to heat my wheat packs.
If I don’t write something down, set reminders in my phone or ask hubby for assistance I would struggle so much more and even forget to take my important medications!
I have done many things to try and redress these challenges like constantly doing crosswords, word games, set iPhone reminders, meditation, take vitamins (even those ones that claim to help memory and brain function), I leave post-it’s around the house and try to remember one thing every day from my past, no matter how small. I feel better knowing that I am trying my hardest every day!
Although there are many things in life that we might prefer not to remember, there are far more that we want to store forever, however when illnesses changes the way our brains function and our cognitive abilities we have no choice about what we can or can’t do… and that is where I am now… and it keeps getting worse.
There are so many things from my younger (healthier) days that I would dearly like to recall when times are hardest and most painful but they may be gone forever now or waiting for someone to remind me of them, I can’t really say for sure. I can only hope for the best.
Ironically when you can’t always recall a lot of the past, and the future is unknown, we are forced to try and make the most of today. And that’s what I endeavor to do. Everyday.
What is waiting for me, as memories and other abilities become harder, I can’t say for sure but I am grateful for anyone who tries to make some happy memories with me each day.