One of the most unfortunate side effects of my health issues is that sometimes I just plain forget things. I forget something I need to do, or something someone else said to me, or sometimes what day of the week it is.
It isn’t exactly humorous, though I try to make jokes about it. Sometimes, to be honest, it’s outright scary. Especially if someone insists they told me something and not only do I not remember them telling me that specific thing, I don’t remember anything about the alleged conversation whatsoever. Not even that it occurred.
I’ve even had the experience more than once of someone greeting me and telling me they’re a former classmate, coworker, or neighbor of mine…and I recognize neither their face nor their name. They’re completely nonexistent in my memory banks.
There are a few components to the problem, so it isn’t easily remedied. Because of trauma in my past, I’ve blocked out large chunks of my life between birth (or at least as far back as most people would reasonably be expected to recall) and age 36. Some of the missing classmates, etc., are probably somewhere in those chunks, but I no longer have–or want–access to those memories. There’s a reason I blocked them.
The things like forgetting something someone has told me recently, or not remembering to do tasks I’m supposed to do, has a more benign cause, though it’s still a problem. I have migraines and fibromyalgia, both of which are neurological issues that can affect memory. Unfortunately, that means that if I don’t write things down, it’s a crapshoot as to whether I’ll actually remember them. And even if I do write something down, I sometimes still forget; I just realized, for example, that I have a meeting to go to this coming week on the same evening I’d made plans with a friend. I had the meeting time written on my calendar for that date. I was looking at the calendar while discussing the plans with my friend. And yet it still somehow didn’t get through until just now that I was scheduling two things for the same time and date.
It can be frustrating for my family as well. My kids sometimes get irritated if they’ve told me something they needed me to do and I don’t remember being told, or if I think I’ve told them something but didn’t actually remember to tell them. Fortunately, they usually understand that it isn’t something I can help, and I have learned to be even more careful about writing things down.
There are ways to work around memory issues, but people who have trouble remembering things can also use patience from those around them. Not being blamed for something beyond one’s control makes it a lot easier to deal with.