I’ve always prided myself on having a good memory. When I worked on big children’s projects I always knew everyone’s name. My friends often tease me about how much detail I can recall – for example I can tell you the date I bought or acquired every set of sheets I own. Or at least I could, but nowadays my duvet-dating is a little fuzzy.
Over the last year or so I’ve found my short-term memory getting less reliable. I often struggle to follow conversations or to hold onto an idea long enough to share it. And I’ve been finding this quietly upsetting.
When Fat Sister turned up to help me have a wash last weekend I’d just put something down but I had no idea where. I felt overwhelmed by frustration, and all the rage of months of forgetting came rushing out. She was brilliant, calm, supportive and quick to get me refocused and into a hot soothing bath.
She sat with me while I bathed, and I explained the panic of forgetting and that the more I reach for a memory the more elusive it seems. In fact I’ve started thinking of it as ‘ninja memory’ because anytime I feel I’m close to recalling something I feel as if I get kicked away.
I’ve always understood myself to be neuro-diverse, ever since my dad told me as a child that my brain was like a badly tuned radio. But this has always seemed to be a consistent and stable state. Now, though, it’s not only physical changes I’m having to manage – the way I think is changing as well, and this is unnerving.
Talking things through with Fat Sister we agreed some practical steps – I’m going to try and rest more, practice meditation, be careful not to cram too much in, ask my support workers to help me remember things more, and keep a notebook to hand at all times.
By the time the bath was over I’d forgotten all my frustrations.