Men in Black: Migraine Neuralizer: How do you cope with the way Migraine/Headache Disorders can impact our memories?
I am seriously malfunctioning right now with a two day acute migraine with some seriously insane fatigue so lets see how much sense This will make shall we?
A good topic. Since I have daily migraines and many of them are acute and not treated (can’t overuse those tripans can we my friends?) what we have here is a situation where I am in a lot of pain when memories are being processed… and studies have shown this affects long term and short term memory. Duh. Don’t need a study to figure that one out. Anyone can test this affect… just break your leg and go to a crowded room and have a nice long conversation about Nietzsche or something and then five days later try to remember who was in the room, who that conversation was with and the details of it, not being on pain killer for the leg.
I admit for me it might be a tad affected by FM, sleep deprivation and lately topamax.
It rather has a dramatic effect. It was most profound when I am working because the pain is pretty intense and I am focusing pretty hard on attempting to do my job. And I did do my job to the best of my ability with more typos than my fair share and likely more small errors. The problem was I could have an hour long discussion with a customer, go into great detail with him, and then… the next day he comes in with a follow up question about his application and I do not recognize his face or name. Keep in mind, still working that application… just cannot recognize the face that belongs to it or apparently the name that belongs to the face. Because all those details that were not absolutely essential to my work task disappear within moments of that person walking away from me. It is like living in a weird memory bubble… if you are in close radius to me, fine, walk away… poof gone. I can refresh it by reminding myself about the application and it jogs my memory of the conversation and then I’m fine to carry on our conversation, but the face and name never become linked. Because of course Still in a crapload of pain. It is a pain haze existence. And it affects other things as well… I would ‘forget’ certain things I Knew as fact… how to do things, what policies were in affect… so I had cheat books, like I mean Binders I could reference when my brain blacked out on information it usually just Knew. Irritating as hell because there were times I forgot things and didn’t know I forgot them until the computer system came up with an error and I was like why the hell is this error coming up… oh, because my brain is operating on information from a Year ago and it doesn’t compute. Well then have to fix that entire application. Fortunately that was rare. More of a typo issue for me so my audit scores sucked because I could never find those damned little errors for the life of me but at least they don’t actually affect an application. Now I got around some of these issues with technology… like utilizing features on the work calender program to keep track of my applications and anything else I needed to keep track of, as well as have some daily notes in there. I would print of these lists of active applications, with names of applicants, for easy reference when they came in and had ways of trying to get them to say something so I could remember who they were… since I do this often in daily life I get fairly decent at it, although I suspect that blank look in my face gives away the fact I do not recall them and I hated that. Anyway, this way I knew what was a priority at all times. I had quite reference notes and of course binders of more detailed reference notes and bookmarked pages of internet reference sites for the industry I often utilized. I just became much more organized at finding places for the information I needed. Oh and sticky notes. I had lots of those around my computer right in my face as reminder of simple things. I seriously had one to remind me of how many weeks were in a year… because there was this time frame when I forgot this and my brain decided it was 56. Doesn’t help with poor concentration or worse aphasia but I got by the best I could given the circumstances. Poor pain management really inhibits memory I find but also just the enviroment is just so migraine unfriendly… if only you could work in the nice dark quietness. Like at home.
Anyway my memories so in the time I worked full time so for a long time are Hazy in the extreme. My spouse holds all the main details to those memories. ‘Remember when we went to dinner there? Who was with us that time. I know I was there and I know you were there. Who else was there?’ And he will be like ‘That was your birthday and your brother was there. Remember? We did this and this and then we went there?’ Oh yeah. Sort of remember some of that. So he is great for helping me remember, well, my life. I also have this tendency to take an insane amount of pictures when we go on trips because each of those is a memory for me… each visual image spikes the memory. I like to do this with any occasion but people don’t generally like this, but if I could get away with it I would.
In every day life what do I do to help with this insane absent-mindendness?
1) I utilize an app on my iPhone that is a planner to put in all my appointments with reminders and put in to-do lists and tasks… and I have to have to-do lists or things just never get done because I just forget about them over and over again. So mini check lists for simple little things… makes me feel like I’m ‘getting things done’. I also use the reminders on the iPhone itself.
2) Calenders- in addition to my planner I have major things posted on my calender in the kitchen so that I know they are approaching. Just a big visual reminder. And I have things on repeat on my Google calender so I know for example… mortgage payment went through account today or paycheque when into account today… those are to remind myself to do my banking.
3) I write notes- I am old school with my note taking on some things. I mean I have an app for that in most cases. But if I have an article idea or a story notation… I have a notebook for it. If I have something I want to discuss with my doctor I have a notebook for heath matters… when I post the appointment in my iPhone I will note in there what I want to discuss so I remember, but it is all tracked in a notebook so I remember.
4) I blog- If there is an article, study, site I want to remember it ends up on my blog or page. And if there is something going on with my health I blog about it and that is like my own health tracker so if I forget when something happened, or what side effect I had with such and such… I can look back at it.
June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.