Tag Archives: memory

(Not So) Total Recall

Lately I’ve been wondering if my gaps in memory are because of bipolar disorder or something else (aging? genes? I don’t know…).

Over the weekend I triumphantly proved these memory hiccups I’ve been having existed to an audience of zero. That’s right, I only had myself around to say, “ah ha! I knew it!” -but it still felt slightly gratifying.

When I boarded the bus I looked up the name of the cross-streets I needed to get off on. Michigan and Marginal. Those were the streets.

I sat, repeating the names over and over again to myself at the bus trucked along. For maybe two or three stops I repeated the names over and over again in an attempt to remember the names of the streets.

Then, ten minutes later, I suddenly realized I couldn’t recall. Michigan and what? It started with the letter M… 

Try as I might, I couldn’t remember the name. I had to look it up all over again.

This was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. This sort of thing has been happening a lot lately, and when it happened on the bus I nearly screamed, “HA!” because it was like catching my brain in the act of forgetting.

The thing that makes me believe it might be bipolar related is that I’ve been struggling a lot lately with racing thoughts and spacing out. It is as if my mind is either overwhelmingly engaged in something lately, or it isn’t engaged in anything. When it is highly engaged, there is too much information flying around to be able to remember the name of a street that starts with M. And, when I space out, the opposite is true. It is like trying to hold thoughts in a sieve, everything just falls out through the holes in the bottom.

I have also recently taken up losing words again, where I am talking and have trouble finishing my sentence, or I lose the next word I am supposed to say.

“Looks like it is going to…” Rain. Say rain. Wait, what is the word? There was a word I wanted to say here… crap.

People have told me that lithium has had this effect on them, and I can’t exactly discredit that theory, but I’ve been taking lithium for a long time now and (like most things) this lame brain syndrome seems to come and go in something like waves. This wave lately has made it very difficult to hold conversations, write blog posts, remember where the heck I am going, and keep anything in my head for more than a minute or two at a time.

My other theory is that it could have to do with insomnia. I’ve been having one hell of a time trying to sleep lately, my anxiety has been so far out of control that I am too busy laying around at night with racing thoughts or spacing out to be able to sleep. This has resulted in a few really attractive tantrums by yours truly, as the act of not being able to sleep feels something akin to physical torture.

Realistically, I don’t know. The answer is as elusive as the name of street that started with the letter M. It is on the tip of my tongue, but there is nothing there but a blank spot.