Among other craziness going on right now, I've had the unique fun of feeling my brain slowly wind down to the point of forgetting very common and long-known information. To describe it best would be to say it's the mental equivalent of walking through knee-deep mud with no stable land in sight. It's been a struggle and I watched it progressively get worse until I was forgetting what I was supposed to say each time I picked up the phone at work.... Let me stress that I answer the phone for work, several dozen times a night.
While forgetting things that make you a functional human being can be damned scary on its own, what was hardest for me was the feeling seeping in that I was no longer myself. Since the onset of this I have not had a desire to draw. The Unholy Ghost has parked in my guest bedroom and kicks its damn head out the door to check on me at least once if not several times a week. I was not my usual happy self, and I was worried that it was obvious my memory was going. What I was most concerned about was the affect it was having on my coworkers, in that I was forgetting information they had told me previously and I had appeared to remember. I was scared I was looking incompetent, but even more so I was scared that I looked like I was going crazy. For a bit I thought I might be fired once they caught on what was going on, and I kept my mouth shut.
The other side of this, when you have had ADHD all of your life, is trying to convince those that know and love you that there is truly and seriously something wrong. Appearing seriously worried because you couldn't remember what you walked in the room to do is not a thing to them, when they see you do it once a week. But when it is happening every day in every room you walk in to... the issue was the scale of things. And I got waved off by husband and family a few times before I could convey to them how scary it was.
The other side of this is that I have dealt with brain stuff before when they were initially picking my brain apart for the purpose of treatment after the ADHD was discovered, after I had a car accident that messed up my ability to recall words. I have dealt with therapists and psychologists and all manner of beasts that can prescribe magic pills, and it was not really a fun experience. I had one shrink advise me that I was far too masculine and that the only answer was to put faith in the lord and submit to those masculine figures in my life.. I had another that laughed at me an entire session because I didn't realize I had buttoned my shirt up properly and was one off. How hard is it to tell somebody to rebutton their shirt when they're meeting with you for treatment of ADHD? And yet another just wanted to talk about my feelings endlessly without resolution of any discernible sort. I am (hopefully understandably) wary of the mental health profession, as all encounters with them seemed like it was throwing darts in the dark and hoping to find something that would help.
But when I left work and sat down in my car, and could not remember why I was in my car or what parking lot I was in, I knew something had to give. This was only going to get worse, and I was really scared.
Aside from having to put up with the doctor looking at me with the kind of concern I reserve for people who have just admitted to self-harming, it was mostly painless. She was very straight forward, and her only real question for me was if I was going to be safe between now and the next meeting while they ran some tests. I advised her I was too damned busy and didn't have time for that kind of break, which seemed to relax her a bit. The rest of the visit she talked about what might be going on, advised it WAS unusual, and she had some thoughts on how to go forward.
It was nice to have it so straight forward. It was also nice to not feel like a freak, and to have confirmation that what I experience previously wasn't really proper treatment. It was more ideological experimentation with an improper dosage of Paxil thrown in for the amusement factor.
I'd had several thoughts going in to this about what might be going on, ranging on everything from exposure to high EMF in my new position on 2nd shift (I'm in front of a massive wall of monitors now) to brain lesions or tumors.
Say it with me, kids... "It's not a too-mah..."
But it might just be sleep disturbance. Used to be the cats would dance on me until I started flailing wildly to get them off, at which time the dog would then get up, and then the morning light would keep me from getting back to deep sleep even as I snoozed on and off. The cats started around 6 am, meaning I was being shorted on sleep every night. It's possible my brain just shut down to try and heal with all of that going on. The other thing is that our bedroom lets in ridiculous amounts of light, so in the evenings I am kept awake by street lights and porch lights, and the first glimmer of the morning sun usually taps me on the forehead on its way in.
So here's what we finally figured out would help fix the issue. A.) Sleep mask. I have been wearing one for the past week and while not 100% back to normal, I can see it from where I'm standing.
B.) Laughter. As in... the more I laugh, the more people I laugh with, the easier it is to remember things.
So affective has technique #2 become that I actually put out a call on Teh Intarnetz for people to make me laugh regularly. My coworkers have also been unusually and unwittingly obliging of this, too, which has done me nothing but good. It was my time with them, in fact, that made me realize I'd had one of my best nights troubleshooting in recent memory after laughing with them for a good 10 minutes. I've yet to troll the internet for information on why (....I've forgotten to do it repeatedly. Don't laugh.) but there is a noticeable "charge" to my brain after it happens.
Of course, the added side affects are being happy to be at work, having much more cheerful coworkers, and generally lighter and more productive atmosphere.
I sometimes laugh at these fad-science things that come out saying "go hang out with your girlfriends to bust depression!" or "talk with your family to feel a deeper sense of satisfaction in your life!" or god knows whatever else has come out recently. But as is frequent in my life, I was very wrong about the power of laughter. And you know I love being wrong, because that means I done learned something today.
So for now I'll be doing my best to laugh my ass off to keep my head on, and barring something serious -like it really is a too-mah- I think we may have this thing on the ropes. I look most forward to getting back my desire to draw every day, I miss it.