A Memory I’d Rather Forget

So, as i’ve explained in previous blogs- When I lost 2 years of my memory I couldn’t remember a thing from those previous couple of years until a few months ago. I’d randomly have flashbacks of little things and I wasn’t sure if they were dreams or lost memories that were coming back. I’d have to check with my partner as to whether these things had actually happened or not. For some reason, the few memories that have decided to make a come back have been coming back to me when I’ve been in bed drifting off to sleep. I’m sure im not the only one whos mind runs crazy then there trying to sleep!

A couple of nights ago I was laid in bed and a memory came rushing back to me that I’d rather stayed lost!  I became agitated and wound up all over again, I woke my partner up and started to recite the memory…

It was just under a year ago I think, my partner and I decided to eat out at Nandos. It was a lovely chilled evening, I was wearing sweatpants and no makeup (I rarely leave the house without at least some foundation and mascara on!), we were sat at a table for two and had not long finished our meal. Out the corner of my eye I saw a figure walking towards me. My heart sunk, my blood pressure rose, and my adrenanline started to pump!

It was my father.

We don’t talk.

I’d rather not go right in to reasons why, but he’s never been a father figure to me. He always let me down when he was supposed to come pick me up for the weekend- He would either turn up 3hours late or not at all. Over the years I’ve built my own views on him and let’s just say… It’s not sunshine and happiness.

I hadn’t spoken to him for a couple of years, I’d avoid him if I saw him in public, his youngest son who still lives with him had sent a few hateful messages to me over social media which I can’t be mad at him for… He’s been blinded by what his dad has told him and he only knows one side of the story.

So anyway, back to the memory of when he approached me in Nandos- He walked up to me, he was wearing a dark puffer jacket, dark cap and jeans. I looked up and was greeted with a ‘Ite, ya forgets am ya dad?’. I replied ‘Well, yeah actually!’. His attitude and the way he approached me was not a way any normal human with morals and their priorities in the right place would walk up to their daughter. Luckily, the resteraunt wasn’t too busy but I could feel the eyes of other customers burning as they watched in shock. 

I attempted to let him know how I felt about him not being there for me, letting me down, making me feel like it was my fault, but he answered with ‘You’re not a baby anymore, I don’t have to cradle you’…

SORRY WHAT!? 

1) You never knew me as a baby either, 2) I’m still your daughter so you should still show a tiny bit of care towards me no matter my age 3) You’ve just proved my point of how selfish your really are.

The next thing he said was ‘Your little brother is going to be here in a minute, you going to ignore him aswell?’. Well, for starters I haven’t ignored you (I was too wound up to not answer back to this kind of stupity that was coming from a grown mans mouth).

My legs started to shake, my hands got sweaty and I started to grit my teeth as I held back so much anger, verbally and physically. He walked off as if the stand up was over, I gave my phone to my partner and asked her to call my mum (One of the only people who knows how I really feel about him after how he’s treated me, she was the one whos shoulder I cried on when he didn’t come pick me up after I’d been waiting for hours and I knew she was the only person at the time that would be able to talk and calm me down). As my mum answered the phone he started to walk back. The next part of the conversation is a blur and im not sure whether that’s down to the circumstances and I just saw red and my mind has decided to keep it blanked out or whether the memory is still a bit broken after my memoryloss. But what I do know is my attitude became just as stinky as his and he soon walked off and left me to it. I took the phone from my partner and spoke to my mum. She said to me ‘Just get up and leave, don’t even acknowledge him as you walk out’ my reply was ‘No, why should I, I was sat here first enjoying my evening, why should I have to leave because of him?’ I can be a very stubborn person as it is but when I’m would up, it’s a whole other story!

So I stayed, only for about 10mins but enough to make me feel like I’d made a point! I was not about to back down! In the past I’d stayed quiet when it came to expressing my feelings about him but now I’m a grown woman, I’m not scared of him and I’m not afraid to voice my opinion of him! As i got up and walked out I was still on the phone to my mum, she kept talking in my ear to keep me calm. I left Nandos and explained to mum right from the start what had happened. When my partner and I got back to the car I sat, had a good puff on my ecig, then it ran out! ‘It’s really not my day!’ I said to my partner. As we were driving home she attempted to cheer me up by helping me to see the funny side of it. We laughed about things that I should’ve said to him. Don’t you find that you come up with the best come backs after an argument or debate and then you’re kicking yourself wishing you’d have thought of that before! I still had a lot of adrenaline running through me but I was starting to calm down a hell of a lot.

Obviously im happy that another piece of my lost memory has returned but this is definitely something I’d rather stayed away. I had to re-live that whole experience and it was not fun. Hopefully if any more lost memories return, they will be happier than this one!
Thank you for reading.

Thank you mum for having to play the roles of both my mother and father a lot of the time as I was growing up and being my shoulder to cry on when I felt worthless and let down in those situations when all I wanted to know was why.

And thank you to my grandad for being the male figure in my life.

#forgetfulblogger 

The Forgetful Poem 


Apart from blogging to raise awareness I am also an mc. I write and perform my own music so I thought I’d merge the two together to produce a short poem about my memoryloss 😊

I may be very forgetful and find it hard to manage,
There’s still no diagnosis so it’s clearly more than average.

Sometimes it tries to conquer me but i refuse to tap-out, 

I am more than just my memory and these awful, random blackouts.

I try stand tall and hold my head high when in social situations,

But inside im sobbing, worrying so please have a little patience.

I may forget we were supposed to meet, but please do not dismiss me,

I’ve recently forgotten friends, I hope you can forgive me.

If you see me and I don’t acknowledge, please try not forget,

I simply don’t remember how it is we may have met.

I get wound up and come across moody, you’d understand if you really knew me,

I used to be more independent, so these changes really threw me.

I try to see the positives of negative times in life,

But sometimes it all becomes too much and I tend to cry at night. 

I didn’t plan for it to be like this, I took my memory for granted,

But forgetfulness has become so natural, it’s almost like I planned it.

It’s made me appreciate so much more, like what I may have been put on his planet for,

To raise awareness for something that has no name, I’m blogging for help, forget the fame.

 ForgetfulBlogger refuses to quit so I know one day, i’ll remember this. 

 #ForgetfulBlogger 

5 Quick Tips To Help Deal With Memoryloss

For anyone that suffers from memoryloss for whatever reason, whether it be Depression, Head Injury, Brain Tumors, Epilepsy or even something undiscovered like myself – We all have our own personal coping mechanisms but there are also generic tips you can take.

Something to also keep in mind is that the person suffering from the memoryloss is not the only one affected. Things like this also affect people that are close to us like family, friends and even work collegues.

This blog will explain what coping mechanisms currently work well for me and my friends and family that may worth trying yourself 😊

1 We are still human beings. We may have a medical condition that has the ability to change a lot of things in our lives but we need to try and keep things as “normal” as possible. We still need to go out and socialise like we did before we became forgetful. We still have lives to live. If like myself, you are still able to venture out of the house then do it! If you are still capable of working even if work needs to adjust to your special requirements. Memoryloss is an awful thing and can change so much in your life and can make you become extremely depressed which will make your memory even worse (it’s like a vicous circle!). If you’re close to someone that suffers from memoryloss then try to keep all of this in mind- Please don’t treat us any different to before.

 

2A good diet. I know it sounds soo cliche but it honestly does work. It isn’t just your brain that needs good foods but your body also needs it to be able to function properly and make you feel better in yourself which helps to have better memory. Foods that are rich in antioxidants, with good fats, vitamins and minerals provide energy and help to protect our brains against brain diseases. Obviously veg, fruit, fish and certain oils are all great but even dark chocolate is good for your brain! So there’s no excuse!

 

3 – Have A System. Habits can be very powerful even though being repetitive can be very annoying… Unless you’ve forgotten about it lol! Having a system that works well for you, your lifestyle and people around you can be extremely useful. I have to take a fair amount of medication for my headaches and other health issues so I have a tablet box with the days of the week on it. I used to think this was just for old people so I felt silly using it at first but it’s actually really helpful. It reminds me to take my medication and it also let’s my partner know what painkillers I have already taken that day if I pass out and forget. If I have passed out and my partner has to go out to work then I’ll take some painkillers to get some extra sleep and when I wake up I will have a little letter written out for me from her which will tell me the date, whether I have work and what time, what time she will be back and if I had any other plans that day. This is a really useful system that works well for me and my partner.

4 – Write it down. Number 3 made me think about this one. I used to hate having little lists of everything lying around, my mum is one of those that has to do a list for everything! But since my memory has become a lot worse, I understand why she did it! I now love lists! Even if it’s just to write a list of the tidying and cleaning I want to do during the day, it not only helps me remember but I get a strange feeling of accomplishment when I’ve completed a job and can tick it off the list! Post-it  notes are also a great way to help me remember little bits. Stick them up on your fridge, cupboard doors, literally anywhere to help you remember anything! Me and my partner also have a shared calender app on our phones, we use it to write anything important that either of us need to remember- my shifts, her football matches and even our shopping lists. The app I’ve found best so far is called FamCal and it’s free to download so I would deffo recommend!

5 – Put objects in prominent places. Even people that don’t suffer with memoryloss can forget where they put their keys on a morning, we’ve all done something similar! By putting things in obvious/prominent places can be very helpful. For instance- I try to get my outfit, bag and lunch ready for work the night before when my partner is with me and can help me out if I need it. I make sure I have everything I should need for the day such as my work ID, my Fidget Cube, purse, e-cig & liquid, phone charger and so on and then I’ll leave my bag right by the front door with my keys. Also, in our flat everything has its place and although it makes the place look so much nicer it also helps with my memoryloss because if I lived in a home where things were constantly being moved about I’d become extremely frustrated with myself and whoever I lived with when I would be trying to find things not knowing whether I’d forgot where it’s supposed to be or if someone else had put it in and different place! So try to keep things neat, tidy and organised 🙂 

This was just 5 main tips that I feel could work for anyone suffering with memoryloss whether you’re old or young, male or female these are just generic things that may be worth trying if you haven’t already. What have you got to lose…? Not your memory 😉 

#ForgetfulBlogger 

The Fidget Cube Test

A couple of my work colleagues recently purchased a ‘Fidget Cube’ I’d never seen one before. They are used to relieve stress in adults and calm children with ADHD. When I first saw a Fidget Cube I immediately wondered how/if it would work for people suffering from anxiety. So, who best to try it than myself!

I purchased one from ebay, not wanting to spend too much as I couldn’t find much research for them to prove that it actually works (and I can also be a tight a*se tbh!).

It finally arrived in a small, black, zipped up case.

1st side is a smooth dip – Inspired by traditional worry stones that when rubbed tend to reduce stress and anxiety.

2nd looks like the face of a dice- It has 5 small buttons, 3 of which make a clicking sound and the other 2 are silent.

3rd is like a light switch- You can pivot the switch back and forth which also gives a small clicking sound.

4th is a joy stick- Perfect for gamers, it glides side to side, up and down, and all around.

5th has 2 different “fiddly bits”- 3 gear-like parts that roll and a small silver ball that rolls and also clicks in.

6th the spin- Similar to an old phone dial for a circular fidget.

I have put my Fidget Cube to the test many times in different circumstances

At work- I work in an office, sat at a desk all day so I do tend fidget a lot. Although my anxiety doesn’t peak too much at work anymore I do still use it when I’m walking around the building in case I bump into someone and have to actually socialise! So I just keep my Fidget Cube in my pocket and no one even knows. Unless some of them read this now lol.

Public transport– Luckily, I don’t have to use public transport very much anymore. I’ve always hated it though for many reasons. It’s dirty, rarely on time, can be very loud and it means being out in public where there’s usually lots of people. I’ve used the train twice since having my Fidget Cube and I must admit, I feel that it’s really helped. I just keep my cube in my pocket and fidget away. I sometimes just have the cube out on the table as it’s nothing to be ashamed of and if someone with high stress or anxiety levels clocks it and realises what it is, it may make them purchase and try it out.

   I hope this blog is useful for anyone suffering from stress, anxiety, ADHD or any other issues which may result in a Fidget Cube being the answer to all their fidgeting! It comes in many different colours and is also small enough to fit in your pocket or to be hidden in your hand if it’s something you don’t want others to know about.

 I would highly recommend this small but successful device😊

#ForgetfulBlogger

Just Another Appointment?

#forgetfulblogger

20/02/17 I had an appointment at the JR in Neuroscience. I already had it in my head that it was a waste of time being there. Just another appointment with no answers. Luckily i don’t suffer from what some may call “White Coat Syndrome“, if im honest, i didn’t even know what this was until someone asked me about it. And if you are also unaware of this it means- People with this syndrome exhibit a blood pressure level above their normal range in clinical setting (Dr’s surgeries and hospitals). The term white coat comes from references to the white coats traditionally worn by Dr’s. So, luckily I don’t have a fear of hospitals or white coats! I just don’t have much faith in them at the moment.

My name was called to enter the Drs office. He was a very polite man (not wearing a white coat though!), introduced himself to my partner and I ‘Nice to meet you’ he said.

He asked what my understanding of this appointment with him was ‘I have no idea if I’m honest’. He said that was ok and asked me to give a brief description as to what has been going on since May. I tried to make it as brief as possible but he kept asking me more questions so I’d go into a little more depth about it all so this “brief description” ended up taking about 35mins! 

He started to focus on the fact that I have quite a high level of anxiety and was asking about previous counselling sessions I’d had for my anger and anxiety. It was then that I started to get an understanding for what this appointment was all about… It was basically another damn counselling session! My partner had to take a day off work and drive me to Oxford for a counselling session!? Once I’d got this into my mind I felt a little annoyed but I tried my best to stay focused and answer all of his questions. 

Hands starting to sweat as I rub them together and jiggle my legs whilst stutterin as I become more and more anxious with all attention being on me – ‘How was your childhood?‘, ‘What sort of cancer did your mother have‘, ‘do you have any siblings?‘, ‘what we’re your previous counselling sessions like?‘, ‘How old were you when your father left?‘. He even drew up a rough drawing of my family tree! This guy now knows more about me than most of my friends and family do. I’m starting to feel a little uneasy, I’m not very good at letting my gaurd down and explaining how I felt during what could be described as tough times from the past.

I started to realise where he was going with all of this. He was about to blame all of these blackouts and the memoryloss on my anxiety! Man was I right! So I’m feeling a little knocked down by this approach. I’ve always said that many Drs will just give you a random diagnosis just so you feel you have an explanation as to what is happening to you even if it isn’t precise. And now this guy had just proved my point.

Yes, I understand that my anxiety probably doesn’t help, but now this Dr has made me feel like it’s all in my head! As if I don’t feel crazy enough when I come round after passing out and I’m convinced everyone else is wrong about the day and time!

‘Now, don’t feel like I’m telling you it’s all in your head because it’s not, it’s very much real’. What!? ‘Do you like reading?’ He asked. Well I’d never read a full book until recently, but now I love reading books on psychology and how the brain works. ‘Perfect, I’ve got a book that you may enjoy, it’s called – It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan. Is this man for real? One minute he’s telling me it’s not in my head and the next, he wants me to read a book about it being in my head! Well, I’ve ordered the book but I’m not sure whether I should read it as it may just wind me up even more! But if I do get round to reading it I will make a blog of my review 👍

I came away from this appointment feeling quite let down in a way. I understand that he was trying to help and see it from a different point of view but I couldn’t get those words out of my mind “It’s all in your head“. But he’s the Dr, right? So he should know best. And he feels that the stress my anxiety is giving me may be a cause to my headaches as I tend to overthink things and wind myself up, putting myself under stress that could be avoided. 

At the moment I’m willing to give anything a go to try and get this all to end or even calm right down. So he has prescribed me some new medication, it’s something that people with epilepsy take to calm them down apparently. He’s also going to sign me up to a group session to talk about my anxiety. I said I’d try my best to attend but, ironically, I have anxiety so I’m not exactly a huge fan of socialising, especially when it means sitting in a group of people I don’t know! 

So at the moment that appointment seems pointless, just like the rest. But who knows, maybe if I can get my anxiety under control, it will stop the headaches, which in theory should stop me from passing out. I’m willing to give it a go but I don’t have too much faith in it all at the moment. Keep your fingers crossed for me! And if you have anymore questions about this appointment then please feel free to contact me 🙂 

#forgetfulblogger 

Into The Deep – #ForgetfulBlogger 

Ok, so I was overwhelmed with the support I received after posting my first ever blog and got so excited about my next entry – But I had no idea where to take it from there! I turned to friends and family and asked- What is it you would like to know about my experiences with blackouts and memory loss, so that I could go into a little more depth with it all. So here goes…

#ForgetfulBlogger

-Do you ever remember things that you have forgotten and are there ways you can get any of those memories back or do they come back randomly?

During the “big blackout” that I had where I’ve lost 2 years of my memory I have remembered a few random things. Usually something jogs my memory like in 2015 our bungalow got flooded from a burst pipe, we had to live in rented accommodation while our house got sorted. I had forgotten all of this but I used to go past the house that we temporarily rented almost every day and one day something just jogged my memory! I remembered that we had lived there for 2 months! Sometimes I could just be laid in bed thinking and I have to ask ‘was that a dream or is it a lost memory from the past 2 years?’ lol. If you can imagine waking up from a deep dream but when you try to explain it to someone it all seems quite blurry- THAT is how bits of my memory come back. When I have these smaller episodes of blacking out – I tend to loose the last 2 or 3 days and most of that slowly comes back over about a week.

-Do the Drs know if its heredity and has anything like this ever happened to any other family members?

No, they cant see any signs to say that its heredity and nothing like this has happened to any family members, that I’m aware of.

-Do you know you’re about to pass out or is it sudden?

I can never remember what or how i feel seconds before i black out, but during the lead up to me passing out- I will get a severe headache, a lot worse than it usually is. This usually gives me and others around me an indication as to what’s about to happen. Ive been told that I also become very quiet and quite withdrawn from whatever is going on and round me. My partner has told me that my veins In my hands stand out and become raised which I am assuming is to do with my blood pressure rising from whatever is happening inside my body at the time.

-Can you remember your initial thoughts when you first come round after passing out? What goes through your mind when it happens now?

When all of this started it was very confusing and quite scary when I first came around. Id usually be surrounded by my mother and partner and sometimes an ambulance crew. I remember the first couple of times thinking ‘I wonder if I’ve lost another 2 years or if my memory has all come back’, neither of which was right. I used to worry and get a little scared, I didn’t know  what was going on and how I ended up on the floor. Now it seems to be a regular occurrence – I wake up knowing what’s likely to have just happened and just think ‘Oh not again’, my partner asks how my head is, whether I’m in pain and what day I think it is. I still have some slight confusion when I come around and I feel quite vulnerable at first but I recover a lot quicker now.

– What was it like when you first blacked out and came around feeling like you’d travelled to the future, how was it adjusting to every day things?

Well I thought it was all a huge joke that everyone was in on! I was determined that it was still 2014, I’d get upset and angry because I thought that everyone else was wrong! The Dr’s were constantly asking questions to find out how much of my memory had gone and I’d get would up and annoyed with them. I did get a little bit cheeky – Id memorise signs around me so that when the Dr’s or my family would ask ‘Do you know where you are now Daniella?’ I’d remember all the signs id seen. They caught me out most of the time though! When I was allowed to leave hospital and I walked into my house a lot had changed in the past 2 years. I became quite upset and agitated with all of the changes I could see around me. I had to ask where so many things were including my own belongings in my own home. But, on the plus side – I had a whole new wardrobe, a lot more money, and a much better partner!

-What sort of tests have you had done so far?

So, when I started getting these horrendous headaches I went to the opticians to see if it had anything to do with my eyesight as I do wear glasses. They noticed that my peripheral vision in my left eye was absent. I had numerous field tests at the opticians and it was handed over to my local eye hospital but apart from slightly bad vision in my left eye, there was nothing serious to be seen and nothing to link it to my headaches. Things with my head kept getting worse, I tried almost every painkiller that could be bought over the counter and they just weren’t touching the pain. I ended up going to my Dr Who organised tests for sinusitis and when that showed nothing and they referred me to a neurologist. Through them I have had a lot of MRI scans, neuoropthalmology tests, an EGG test where they wired up my head and checked for any abnormal activity, and when I was in hospital I had a lumbar puncture done to check for any infections. None of which explain whatever condition it is that I have.

– Do you ever talk to your friends and family about the effects this has on them, it must cause a tremendous strain on your personal relationships?

I don’t think I’ve asked them outright as I believe I know how it must effect them. Obviously my mum, sister and partner are extremely  supportive and I understand the strain it must have and still puts on them. Luckily I knew them all before 2014 lol. My close friends are also very supportive and patient and have a slight understanding of what goes on and maybe after reading my blog, you too will have an insight as to what goes on. My work colleagues I think it was most strange for. They had a rough idea as to what had happened but I don’t think it really hit them until I first walked back into the office again. They obviously remembered me but had to treat me like a stranger in a way. They have also been very supportive and helped me while I re-trained for my job again which I’m extremely thankful for.

 -Does it effect your everyday life like going out?

It doesn’t stop me from going out altogether, no. I don’t worry too much about passing out while I’m out in public and that hasn’t happened yet. But if I’ve already passed out I tend to be a bit vulnerable for a day as im still getting used to the fact that my memory has gone back a day or two. I tend not to go out by myself very often anyway so I’ve always got my partner, mother or a close friend with me for reassurance. When I first lost my memory I did worry that I’d see someone that I’d  met between 2014 and 2015 that I couldn’t remember. Or, I’d worry that I might attempt to speak to someone that I’d stopped speaking to between 2014 and 2015 for whatever reason but I think I’ve caught up with everyone now!

Thank you so much to everyone that participated in helping me to write my second blog – Into The Deep.

 

 

First blog – The Forgetful Intro 

My name is Daniella. I am 25 years of age (apparently lol).

I suffer with what some may call “blackouts”. It starts off with a headache that becomes severely unbearable and I lose consciousness. When I come back round I tend to lose memory of the past 2 days or so. Dr’s and specialists have no idea what this is or what the reason for it may be.

This all started last year when I was at work one evening with an awful headache. I took myself out of the office, sat in the kitchen and took some painkillers. I then collapsed and was found by my colleagues who then called for an ambulance. I wasn’t taken to hospital and the medics put it down to a migraine. 

A few days after this random episode I went out for a meal with family and when I got home I passed out again. Only this time, when I came around, I had lost the past 2 years of my memory, I thought it was 2014 and was understandably very confused. I was in and out of the Dr’s and hospital for some time and ended up being kept in on a ward for a couple of nights. 

I thought it was one huge joke or TV show and everyone was in on it just messing around. I kept waiting to see a camera pop round the corner. I was convinced it was still 2014. I’d forgotten all about my new job, I forgot passwords for my online banking and social media, I had a new partner (luckily I knew her from years ago and she wasn’t a complete stranger!). I was, in a way, quite fortunate that apart from my new job there were no huge changes in my life from 2014-2016.

Numerous tests were done, hundreds of questions were asked but no answers were given and I was discharged. My notes are still getting passed from Dr to Dr. I’m still being poked and prodded by specialists. And I still have no answers. 

I have been retrained at my job thanks to the company and my employees for being so supportive. I have got used to a whole new wardrobe and style. I’ve slowly rebuilt relationships with people I had met during 2014 and 2016. And I’ve just simply adapted to “a new life”.

With my blogs I hope to help people in similar situations. Learn and share coping mechanisms. And maybe start some sort of awareness. Because although I have so many supportive people around me, I feel so lonely due to  the fact that no one can see it from my point of view. 

So please bare with me as I’ve never done a blog before but I hope you enjoy reading my journey 🙂 

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