It’s 7:33am, still dark, and the wind has woken me this morning. I’m feeling a little groggy headed to be honest as I have a lot going on at the moment – a career change, fertility treatment starts this month plus various anxious thoughts rolling around my mind. As a result, I’ve noticed a new symptom that, to be honest, I didn’t even know was a symptom! What is the new symptom? Let’s see if I can remember…
Just before Christmas, I noticed a lack on concentration, more-so at work. I put this down to my lack of motivation for the job, as I was beginning to lose interest in what I was doing and couldn’t stop thinking about what could become of me should I choose to venture on my own. In meetings, my thoughts would drift off, I’d be faffing on my phone or just thinking random thoughts, then come back in the room at the most awkward times when someone would ask me a question I couldn’t answer. I wasn’t too concerned though, as this happens to everyone and I knew the job wasn’t for me anymore.
As Christmas closed in, I began planning presents for people, and this was where I noticed a change. I’d sit thinking about what I could get for people – a chair for my niece’s new desk, a pair of earrings for my girlfriend, a new ring for my Mum, all fairly standard gifts that they’d all requested at some point or another. However, a few days later, when I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d decided to get them. I really had to think what it was I’d planned out, and sure enough after deep thinking I’d have the list in my mind again. The problem was, I didn’t act on the list and sure enough a few days later when my Mum asked what I was getting my niece, my mind went blank. It was only when she asked ‘are you still getting her the chair?’ that my mind was refreshed. That was when I noticed that for whatever reason I couldn’t remember them and I don’t know why.
To try to remember, I sat and made a list in my phone (below is the actual list), where I’d planned what to get them so I could at least remember, and this helped. I had a point of reference for when I needed to begin buying, and as I did I crossed them off.
Even then though, it didn’t fully fix it. As I’d sit thinking “what have I bought?” I’d panic because I hadn’t got my mum anything a few days before Christmas, that was until I checked the list and noticed ring and cd had been crossed out, and as soon as I had seen them, I knew exactly what I’d bought. It’s as if my mind went blank completely until I saw the tiniest clue, and it all came flooding back.
Although this worried me, after Christmas I didn’t give it too much thought (you could say I forgot, ha!). It’s only recently that it seems to be happening again and this began to worry me. I’d get a text from my girlfriend to say ‘You left the door unlocked this morning’. Now, I NEVER leave the door unlocked, I’m usually obsessed with the thought that we’re going to be robbed, but for some reason the other day I did. There’s been times I’ve had to come home to check because I couldn’t remember if I’d closed the garage door, and sure enough when I get here, I have.
Then yesterday, I had a message from her asking if I was in a rush, with a photo of my keys still in the lock. KEYS. STILL. IN. THE. LOCK. I’d actually locked the door, and walked away while leaving my keys there. My brain thought “That’ll do, I don’t need to take them with me”. This freaked me out because it’s unlike me, I don’t do this kind of thing. I’ve always lost stuff, forever misplacing my wallet or car keys, but something like leaving my keys in the door is out of character. I jumped on twitter to express my blind panic to 3500 people and the response was amazing. I had over 50 messages from people to tell me they go through the exact same thing due to their anxiety and depression. I didn’t even know it was a symptom yet here I am receiving tonnes of notes from people to tell me I’m not alone. Many other people deal with the exact same memory loss and lack of concentration that I’ve been dealing with but not linking to my anxiety. I’m going through a lot of change at the moment, and a lot of anxiety as a result of this change.
Because of the response, I wanted to share my story, to show that for every person experiencing something related to their mental illness, there’s so many people before you that have suffered the exact same thing. They’ve been there and done it, and are capable of offering advice and guidance that might just change your life. So whether it’s publicly or privately, if you’re struggling with a symptom lets talk about it. There really is no reason to suffer alone anymore. Had I not mentioned anything about my forgetfulness or lack of concentration, I’d be sat considering I’d either got amnesia or early onset dementia (yes, this did run through my mind yesterday).
So, I’m approaching this grey, blustery day with a sense of relief. I might forget who I am, what I’m doing or where I’m going, but at least I’ll have 50 other people wandering around aimlessly with me!