Man, some days I just spring out of bed with my head filled full of things and activities planned and my list of appointments written down with the help of my wife and friends. Short term memory loss can be an absolute Bitch sometimes. Like anything, the more you find ways to address it, the less of a dysfunction is present in your skill set. Over the years the nicety of carrying a notebook in my pocket morphed into a necessity. Driving all the way into town and then forgetting why you are there just sucks. Walking in some place and being asked what you would like to purchase and having to smile and slowly compose yourself while you flip through your notebook just makes it seem like you have your shit together even for a moment.
Boys and girls I do not have my shit together, I just forgot.
Realizing you have a way of dealing with a personal hurdle and not be embarrassed by your adaptation in front of others is key. Everyone forgets and everyone wishes they had written that something down. Take a lesson from me, carry a notebook. It helps with your memory. It also shows others how valuable they are in your life when they see you write something down “they” feel is important. That is how I try to deal with my insecurities, I write down what I think is important and I try to make others feel acknowledged.
Recalling long-term memory in my mind can be frustrating as well when I often only have fragmented events supported by pictures and paperwork my wife meticulously filed away in our cabinet years ago. Hell much of the time I can hardly even remember ever leaving the US. I look at my DD-214 and deployment orders and want to scream because at times, they are just meaningless pieces of paper. I’ve cumulatively spent over six years of my life in the Arab nation. And sometimes all I have to show for it are scars and pieces of paper in my filing cabinet. Now ain’t that a Bitch?
I gotta be honest, I’ve questioned the long term effects of antidepressants and pain killers and alcohol on the human mind. After relying on them for so long and then after finally pushing it all out of my life I see such an incredibly positive difference in my ability to interact with people and then BAM! All of a sudden I can’t remember who the Hell this person is who I apparently spoke to the day prior and is being so friendly to me. The vertigo, ringing in my ears and headache will usually pass quickly. The memory cloud not so much. Those are the times I bite my lip and try to employ social dynamics in my interactions. Someone will likely call this person I’m speaking to by their first name and although I probably spoke to them yesterday I’ll be able to re-confirm their identity. I have learned “fake it till you make it” is not just some cheap pyramid scheme saying. It is literally a euphemism for many aspects of life. I dare say your average expert in business or even medicine didn’t get that way by trying to impress everyone with their immediate perfection. They did it by accepting their faults, realizing no one will EVER feel sorry for them and pressing on.
I think that is how this is gonna get done. Like my brain farts and I can’t remember where the Hell I left my car (hey there’s an app for that) and other everyday interactions there are always methods to try and improve my situation. Right before I retired I became close with a crusty old Marine that had a way with words. He was crabby and often had a short temper. I could tell he’d been a few places and seen a few things in his younger days as well. As much of a prick other people thought he was, I always thought good on him for being comfortable with who he is regardless of what others think. He would talk to me for hours and he understood how to push forward when things go sideways. Marines train for that. Marines prepare. Marines are taught to improvise, adapt and overcome. And if that does not work they will simply destroy everything in sight and move on to the next objective. Marines are taught to not take things personal.
I wish everyone was taught to look at their problems that way.