Do you like your bacon crunchy or chewy? (We all know bacon is the ruler of all things good!) How about your bagels? Toasted or not? Really? I watched that movie? When? Or, my favorite <insert sarcasm here> we went there? Wow! That must have been cool. Unfortunately I don’t remember. More memories have been lost than I can count. Welcome to the brain fog that is my bipolar.
I tend to forget things. Sometimes important things, like birthdays or anniversaries, or who is my daughter’s latest best friend (this can change on a moment’s notice so I think I get a bye on this one). Anyway, needless to say, this can get in the way of relationships. We all know how important it is to remember the little things about someone, whether they are your child or your partner or even a friend. For my brain there is no distinction, I just don’t recall the details. I have had to ask my family numerous times how they like their bacon, or what kind of sandwich they like or even the kind of cereal they like, etc. I can’t imagine how it must feel for those I love to know that I don’t remember key events or those little details that mean so much.
There are many reasons why someone with bipolar might have brain fog and it happens with or without meds. However there are meds that can affect memory. Sometimes they are life-saving so the risks outweigh the benefits. Most of the time. So I use lists.
On the subject of lists, I have tons. Everywhere. I try very hard to keep up on what each person in my life wants, including how they take their bacon. I have to write down things I’ve done so I don’t forget as easily. Sometimes just reading it really helps trigger the memory. But back to lists. I use them for household stuff so I can remember what needs to be done each day. I use them at work for the same reason. It makes me very detail-oriented, something I’m told is a highly desirable skill at times. Personally I just find it a pain in the neck. I hate making lists.
Or sticky notes. Those are the worst. I have them all over my kitchen to remember recipes or remind me to pick up something at the store or to recall the details of preferences and such. I consider it payback for all those years I used to pick on my ex for needing to use sticky notes. I should have been more understanding. Instead I now have an onslaught of notes preparing to attack me from every corner!
What about virtual sticky notes? Those are even worse because I don’t see them in my face daily so I’ve found them less than helpful, although I know folks who rely on them daily. I use them for some key things and know where they are when I need them but still, they are just one more option and yet another thing to check.
These are just some of the techniques I use to stay on top of things. Sometimes it’s a lot of work to use all these resources but they do help. Fortunately my OCD gets the better of me and comes in handy in this situation. I tend to check every source before beginning a project and although it takes a few extra steps it’s worth the effort.