Sunday, 16 March 2014

Memory? Where for art thou memory?

I would take an educated guess that the most prevalent issue found among the brain injury community is short term memory deficits.  Furthermore, I would say that in fact it is not truly short term memory that is to blame but rather the short term recall of said memory.
Either or will suffice when it comes to this injury in as much as almost all brain injured survivors state this is an ongoing concern.
We all know of amnesia.  I suffered from it in my car accident in 1977. To this day I have no recall of the accident.  This is caused by the trauma that the brain shuts down to protect itself from dying from the shock being inflicted on the body at that moment in time.  Well thank God for built in computer systems that protect you from having a heart attack brought on from fear of what your eyes are seeing.  I survived, so it works well.  I would not recommend you try this at home because it also means that you probably got  some kind of rattling of the brain to which you were diagnosed with a concussion.
Just trust me that the body has many built in safeguards to protect you from dying.

My interest lies in the short term memory that we often allude to.  What is it? How does it impact on me overall?

I believe more people have suffered from this anomaly some time in their life.  Most likely in school.
Have you ever studied for an exam, received a question that for the life of you stumped you, yet you were certain you knew the answer.  When you left the exam, suddenly the answer popped into your head, like it was there all along.
This is the short term recall memory issue I am referring to.  While you were under stress, the answer was lost in a sea of confusion.
This is the constant state a brain injured finds himself or herself in on a daily basis.

It adds to frustration, anxiety, depression, anger and may even see the person withdraw from society because they no longer feel they can contribute in a meaningful way to something as simple as a conversation.  It is hard to fathom a conversation where you stutter as you try to recall a pertinent piece of information that contributes to the general flow therefore you find yourself pulling back in hopes you won't be found out.
It in fact is the opposite to coming out of the closet.  In fact you withdraw back into it until you disappear.

The answer lies in who you surround yourself with in the arena of friendships.  You may lose some friends but if you are open to well meaning, non-judgmental types then join a brain injury group.  I often sound off in my brain injury group online and no one cast fault, blame or calls me down.  They know exactly where I am coming from.  They accept me for my struggles because chances are they have similar horror stories.  No one can appreciate or understand the plight of a brain injured unless they too are brain injured.  It a private club that you do not want anyone to join but are glad when they do because it means you are not alone.

I am not going to suggest solutions because what works for one may not work for another and that is the problem with brain injury compared to all other disabilities.  there is no one fits all cure to the problem and each case is unique and unto its own.

What I can say is that if you acknowledge memory as being an issue then it is the single most concern you will have to contend with long term.  Deal with the memory and see the anxiety and anger subside along with all the other traits brought on by it.

It means accepting new limitations.  Can you structure your life where the memory is less intrusive?

I place my keys in my hat along with my wallet, my lighter and smokes.  I always wear my hat so if all my belongings are in it including my cell phone then I am good to go.  I will not get into heavy repairs to the house where a lot of tools are required.  If I put the wrench down and go and get a screwdriver I will forget where I lay the the wrench and frustration results.
You know what your tolerance is.  work within that construct and you will succeed!

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