This Bipolar Life: Among the Cobwebs

Pushing through the cobwebs of my gray matter can be both a challenge and sometimes even entertaining. Short-term, long-term, and working memory, basically they’ve all be shot at by years of medication and they’re full of holes through which my memory effectively disappears.

Imagine trying to solve even a moderately complex puzzle. You have all the pieces in front of you only to find that while you can be a whiz most of the time and put tons of them together you frequently run into moments where you can’t even estimate what the next piece should look like much less where it would fit. That’s what brain fog feels like to me.

Sometimes it comes in handy though. It’s a bit pleasant to be able to watch the same movie over and over again because I can’t remember the plot much less the ending. I find the same thing to be true with books, although I don’t read as much as I used to (working on this!), where I get to be surprised every time I flick through the pages. Plus it’s always delightful to look at photos and discover new memories!

My kids think it’s great most of the time. Mainly because I can even forget discipline stuff. Like, I won’t remember that so-and-so is grounded, or that another kiddo has already asked me for money and I probably shouldn’t give more. I don’t always have that capacity. But, while it often works in their favor other times it is more difficult. You know, like remembering the things parents generally remember such as clothing sizes, food preferences, friends list, medical condition information, and more.

This really doesn’t even capture the impact to my wife. She spends way too much time being my memory  bank and without her I’d have very little recall of a great deal of my life at this point. I’m rather lucky she’s willing to put up with the fact that I can’t remember huge swaths of details of things we’ve done, places we’ve gone, people we’ve known or things that are important to her. I just don’t function that way any more and haven’t for at least 10 years.

Finally, it’s been hard to admit I’ve been struggling at work, especially in an area I have little ability to control. Influence? Yes. And I do that through a large variety of memory techniques, including writing down a ton of information so I can recall where I’m at during the  day. That doesn’t mean it always works though and occasionally I find myself in a panic when I think I’ve seriously forgotten something. I have to furiously sift through my notes to find an answer (thankfully I generally do) and hope I don’t come across as inept or inadequate. That being said, I’m fortunate enough to have a workplace where colleagues and employer are aware, understanding, and supportive to the extent the job allows.

So, you go save the world (something I’ve long wanted to do) I’ll just be over here clearing away the cobwebs. Eventually I’ll find a way back I hope but for now I’m going to cling to today and appreciate all that it offers, especially as it’s unlikely I’ll remember it in a couple of weeks.

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