Memory Issues

blurry photo of green trees

November 6, 2018

It’s almost a month post-concussion. I haven’t been willing to acknowledge the memory issues I am struggling with. I make post-it notes for myself – to remember my laundry, take my pills, turn off the stove. My mom has noticed but I try to avoid it and not talk about it. It just adds to my long list of symptoms. I find I am still in denial about a lot of things.

I find myself going downstairs, standing in various rooms of the house and forgetting why I went there. My Mom tells me I keep asking the same thing I had just asked her about five minutes prior. I have no recollection and I am starting to feel annoying. My sister jokes that I’m Ten Second Tom from the movie 50 First Dates, who forgets everything ten seconds later. I try to joke and laugh about it to cope but really, I am feeling a little scared.

I voted or attempted to vote today. I really didn’t feel well enough to but went anyway. The ballot was blurry and it was exceedingly difficult to track lines and fill in bubbles. It was almost as if the bubbles were moving. Standing in the little cubicle, I started to panic. Squeezing my forehead to provide some relief of the pressure in my head, I tried to rush through it to make it more bearable. I couldn’t even remember who I voted for. After, I felt defeated, shameful. I was left with a pounding headache, nausea and double vision. How could something so simple be so difficult for me? 

I try to stay “active” in some form by going on daily walks. It doesn’t compare to my activity level before the injury but at least it’s something and I do enjoy being in nature. I attempt to entertain myself on the walks by listening to podcasts about murder mysteries but also podcasts on traumatic brain injury because maybe I will hear something helpful to my recovery. I also want to attempt to keep my brain sharp but I guess it’s not so sharp if I’m having memory issues. 

I went on a walk in my neighborhood yesterday – a walk I have been on many times but decided to take a different route home. I ended up on a trail in the woods that I thought would meet back up with the main street although it never did. The path split into three other directions and I had no idea where I was or where to go. I started to panic a little.

I thought maybe I could just turn back but I had forgotten where I came from. I slowly started turning in a circle to observe my surroundings and different outlets and the panic kept heightening. Suddenly, it felt like everything was spinning around me. I felt like a speckle in the middle of giant trees that had blurred together into one. It felt like I was walled in. I think maybe I was panicking more so at the fact that I should’ve known where I was but didn’t. 

I became hot and sweaty, the ringing in my ears intensified, my head and heart were pounding. I stopped the podcast and crouched down on the ground and focused on my breathing in an attempt to calm myself. I became scared being there alone and lost. I picked a trail and started running as fast as I could. Everything was blurry, my head pulsating and my surroundings were spinning but I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. Relieved, I made it to a street I recognized. Eventually, I made it home. In retrospect I don’t even know why I was panicking so much because I was in my neighborhood and close to home. 

It was so irrational. Maybe I should really start acknowledging the memory issues but something is stopping me.