I have no memory. Really. I forget everything..dates, plans, where I put my keys, things I try to memorize, names...everything. I've only told one person that before this week. It seems to be getting worse as I get older and just thinking about my poor memory can reduce me to tears.
Let me go back to the beginning. I have a mother who suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) when I was 14. She has short term memory loss and some long term issues. Highly emotional situations are almost guaranteed to disappear from her memory. Her TBI made her children her caretakers and took our childhoods long before we reached adulthood. My greatest fear is of losing my own memory. I've seen the damage it does.
I fear this so much that I don't mention it to anyone, not my husband, doctor or best friends. I would just tell myself that if I became more organized, or wrote things down, or tried harder it would get better. Secretly I wondered if the concussion I got in that same accident had been worse than anyone suspected. I feared becoming broken.
This week, I worked up the courage to mention it to a close friend. "Do you think I have a bad memory?" I asked her.
"You have the worst memory of anyone I know," was the crushing reply.
I started quizzing other friends who all said similar things. "You forget everything." "I know that if we have plans that I need to call you the day before and the day of to remind you. If I don't. then you won't show up, or will double book." I was even told, "We all kind of warn the new moms in our group. Rebecca is the nicest person you will ever meet. She's the best friend that you will ever have, but her memory is crap. If she forgets something you have planned or repeats herself a dozen times, don't take it personally...it's just part of who she is. It's worth the effort to be her friend"
I hung up the phone after talking to the 5th one, and I cried. I was my mother. I had become a burden on the people I know and love. They have to cover for me and explain me to new people. I have great friends, but ....how horrifying.
I sucked it up and went to the doctor. It's a new doctor I've never seen before now. I picked her out of our provider handbook and then prayed. I prayed that she would be nice, and that she would have the wisdom to figure it out.
I chatted with the doctor for a few minutes in that "getting to know you" part of the appointment. She jotted down a few notes and then said, "So, what can I do for you today?"
I totally chickened out and said, "I've had really bad heartburn since the baby was born. It doesn't go away even with OTC medication." In my defense, I really do have heartburn and it really doesn't go away.
She asked me a few questions and then looked at me expectantly. After a long awkward pause she said, "And how are you treating your ADHD?" I was floored.
"I have ADHD?" I asked.
She smiled at me and walked away. She returned with a 4 page questionnaire and waited while I filled it out. She quickly scored it and then said definitively, "You have ADHD. I didn't need the questionnaire, but it confirms what I can plainly see." She went on to tell me that on a scale of 0-80 with 0 being 'your brain is slug-like' and 80 being 'your brain is on hyper-drive' I scored a 72.
Far from surprised, the doctor said that I has skipped around through 6 unrelated subjects in less than 10 minutes all while constantly fidgeting, and she said "Nobody talks as fast as you do unless they are from New England, on speed, or have ADHD." She told me a lot about my brains inner-workings and then said "I'm surprised you don't have pretty substantial memory issues with a score like this. I don't mean you forget the big stuff, but I would think you'd forget all the little stuff all the time." Is it wrong to hug your doctor?
I'm not slowly sliding into dementia. My brain just moves too quickly and too erratically to create connected memories. We just need to slow it down a bit, so we have.
I started a prescription 3 days ago and it should take 3 weeks to reach full effect, but oh my..the difference. She told me that if this was the right medication it would be obvious within a few hours. It was. The background noise in my brain went away. It's like getting rid of the static on a radio station. The noise I never noticed is gone.
I'm not damaged. I'm not a stupid person. It's not that I'm flake (although I may actually be a flake...I'll let you know in a few weeks.) I just have a brain that moves at warp speed, and that can be treated.
That evening, I waited in the living room for the Computer guy to get home and rehearsed how I would tell him. As I started speaking, he interrupted me, "What happened today? You're speaking at a normal person speed." With relief, I told him of my fears and the answer I had gotten....for once I told him something and went straight from A to B without my story meandering around and hitting all the other letters on the way. I could think in a straight line without distraction. If the next three weeks will make it better than this? I can't wait.
**Did you make it all the way though? Thanks for sticking with me!**