I’ve Sprung a Leak

No, I’m not talking about THAT kind of leak, for starters. I just wanted to clarify that before I go any further. I needed to share what I’ve been dealing with a lot lately… and that’s my memory. It seems that I randomly just don’t remember certain things. Even things that are repetitive, like paying bills, it’s all completely slipping my mind. Hints the title, sprung a leak.

Memory issues can be very embarrassing at times. I try to laugh it off as much as possible, but I can’t always find the humor in certain scenarios. I mean, I’ve forgotten my age before… more than once… and it’s MY AGE! Like seriously? How do I draw a blank on that? Some people have probably thought I was severely intoxicated or something.

I’m known to have something pop in my head, which I need to remember. I usually add it to my ‘notes’ section on my phone… but at times, I’m like, “Oh, I’ll remember that.” Not five minutes later, and I’ve already forgotten what I was supposed to remember. I’ve started keeping a small notepad on me, so that I can write things down when need be… But recently, with the weather going from one extreme to another, my hands have been giving me issues… so it just depends on how I’m feeling. It never fails that my brain goes in to overdrive on things to remember, thoughts, article ideas, etc. It ALWAYS happens when I lay down to go to bed… Go figure right?

Setting up reminders

I’ve started adding all of my important dates, appointments, etc. into my phone with multiple reminders, right as my appointment is scheduled, or things of the sort. Or else, I won’t remember at all. Before I started doing this, I would get a Courtesy Reminder Call from my doctor’s office the evening before my appointment, and I would still forget by the morning. I’m sure I drive my husband crazy with this, always forgetting things. Thankfully, he has seen it happen first hand, and knows that I’m not just ‘being lazy’ or irresponsible, etc. If I miss paying a bill, and I get a call asking me what I haven’t paid, and if I can pay today… they have to ‘note’ a reason for the missed/late payment. I don’t know how many times they marked as, “SHE FORGOT”. Then I’m frustrated because they obviously have record of this, and are wondering why I’m always paying late, and that I’m just making excuses or whatever, but that’s not the case. I’m about to the point that I’m going to hand off the financial payments to my husband, because I just don’t feel like my brain can retain the information, ever.

I’ve been at a friend’s house hanging out, and I’ll go inside to refill my drink or something, and after five minutes, walk back outside not even knowing why I went inside. I will literally stand there and try to remember why I came in there, go through my thought process, what I was doing at the time, etc. Oh, by the way, I am on medication to help with my cognitive/attention issue… but it doesn’t seem to help at all times. I do much better around the 11am hour. However, come about 4pm, and it’s like my memory just goes to sleep till the next day.

It’s so frustrating

The worst part is that I don’t even have any one, physically, to be mad at. I try not to hold any negative emotions inside, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable. I remember that I used to be so good and remembering people’s numbers, birthdays, names, all of that. Now, if I meet new people, they have to keep repeating who they are to me, because I forget, especially in a large group setting. It’s almost like it’s ‘sensory overload’. Also, trying to remember things so often, brings on the MS Fatigue big time.

Then there is the fact that if I get to know these new people and being to remember their names, if I don’t see them frequently, I will eventually forget their name, and I feel horrible about it. Before I was diagnosed, if someone forgot my name, that I knew and was around frequently, it hurt my feelings a bit. Now I’m on the other end of it, and it gives me a completely different perspective.

I’m sure I could write on this subject for days, but I’m going to stop it here. I will most likely revisit the subject in the future.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

(click on my name above for ways to reach me, etc.)

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (26)
  • tfs
    1 year ago

    Sweet article. I wanted to say something prolific but I forgot what it was !!! We do need to have compassion for ourselves even if the world doesn’t always agree. I can no longer work due to cog issues and extreme fatigue. I am also trying to figure things out. Today I am going to go for a walk, do my physio, and prepare a healthy dinner. I guess I have figured something out as I compose this reply: goal setting, manageable goal setting and routine is helpful.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    12 months ago

    tfs,

    Glad you enjoyed. You totally made me laugh out loud, and my husband kinda looked at me like i’m crazy… but hey that’s nothing new.

    I’m sorry to hear that you can no longer work due to the symptoms caused by MS.

    Hope you got all of the goals completed that you listed.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • TheBillLarson
    2 years ago

    Wow. This was like reading my story, except I am not on any meds for the cog fog. Thanks for sharing! No tips here, as I am still trying to figure it out myself. Thanks for sharing some of what you do!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    TheBillLarson, Thanks for reaching out! It’s always good to know we aren’t alone in our struggles.

    xoxo
    Ashley

  • kitminden
    2 years ago

    There are several things to do to fight cogfog. A non-inflammatory diet. Eyelights glasses. Protandim. Also, use your google calendar and set it to show on your phone.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    @kitminden, thanks for the tips. It seems that my cog fog gets very bad when I’ve had a stressful day, or have been in the heat all day. 🙁

    xoxo
    Ashley

  • MSFighter
    2 years ago

    I couldn’t have read this at a better time! Today I was at my local Motor Vehicle office to renew my license. I had a bunch of documents and papers in my hands, as well as my wallet. My wallet is somewhat small but bulky. Not exactly something you can “lose”. Well…. I got in my truck to leave the motor vehicle office and off I went. I got home and gathered all of my things to go inside, and didn’t see my wallet. So, usually I find it on the floor or on my backseat, but not today. I somehow left the wallet at the Motor Vehicle Office!!!!! UGH!!!! So much ran through my mind…How?? Where??? HOW???? How did I lose this bulky wallet? How did I NOT notice I was no longer holding it??? Where did I put it down??? Now I am praying it is still there when I go back tomorrow morning when they first open!! Just 2 days ago, I had my credit card in my hand, went into Rite Aid, and then headed home. When I got home I realized I didn’t have my card. So, once again (and yes, you guessed it, this was NOT the first time I did this) I went back to the store. Once I pulled in and drove to where I had parked my truck, there it was. My card, on the ground!!! I lose things all the time and have no recollection of how they left my hands at all!!! I also can NEVER remember anything!!! I have so many tasks and appointments in my calendar on my phone that I actually look like I have a busy life.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    MSFighter, All that sounds like something I would do. I know that I’ve left my phone or keys at the check out line, and then get to my car and go crazy trying to find my keys or phone in my purse, and if it’s my keys, i’m doing this with a handful of grocery bags in my hand. I probably look like a mad woman.

    Thanks for reaching out. xoxo

  • Sinia
    2 years ago

    I am also currently not working due to my cognitive issues. I’m a RN (associate degree) which is the 2 year degree with that being said. I had worked very hard in a Company and worked my way up to a position that was actually posted for a RN,MSN which is at least 4 more years of college than I have. I was approached by the hiring Director and ask if I would be interested in the Associate Director position. I was given the position and unfortunately it was during this time I started having trouble. I know they thought I was on drugs or something because I kept saying I didn’t remember hearing a certain thing and was told over and over we talked about it yesterday in a meeting. That position was actually phased out in a year so I took a position that I had been the manager of for several years and I couldn’t do the job, got put on a ” corrective action plan ” which meant they were about to try to get rid of me. I knew that from being a manager so I was scheduled to see my neurologist and was put on short term disability which has turned into long term disability.
    It is terrible my husband had to have a colonoscopy and I didn’t take him because I didn’t know if I would remember what the Doctor said. I felt so humiliated it was terrible. I am only 52.
    I do however Thank God daily because I know it could be a lot worse.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Sinia, Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I’m so sorry you had to go through that whole ordeal in the first place.

    Wishing you all the best.
    Ashley

  • freedom
    2 years ago

    Yes and yes. I hate my cognitive issues. Out on long term disability from that. My faulty memory makes it hard to make friends. So i took tend to isolate myself. I even had one neurologist tell me I don’t see a lesion in you scans that would make you cognitively impaired. Most of mine are on the brain stem. Well whatever…all of us that suffer with this disease know that lesion placement does not always corespond with our disability. Hope im making sense.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Totally made sense to me. I’ve had neurologists tell me that I should be experiencing a certain symptom, due to lesion placement. But it’s like, then what else could be causing this??? UGH frustrating.

    xoxo
    Ashley

  • debspills
    2 years ago

    AMEN!
    You hit the nail on the head.
    I can sooooo relate to this article.
    Wondering if anyone else has problems answering simple questions? I (more often than not) have said “Let me process that and I will get back to you”.
    It makes having a normal conversation very difficult; therefore, I tend to stay home or stay quiet.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Oh my gosh! I have forgotten my age!!! MY OWN AGE! SOOOO frustrating, ugh.

    Thanks for reaching out.
    xoxo
    Ashley

  • JennyVer
    2 years ago

    Oh my goodness, Ashley, you’re SO not alone! I used to have a memory like an elephant; I could remember my whole family’s schedules, phone numbers, and the name of almost everyone I’d ever met. I was fantastic at trivia games, too! But that’s all in the past now. Like you, I forget to pay bills, forget what I was looking for, and can’t remember someone’s name 5 minutes after I’ve met them.

    But I found something that helps: It got so bad that I bought myself an Apple Watch, just so I’d be able to set alarms and have them with me all day. I also have my calendar and to-do list on my wrist, with reminders and alarms, so I have a chance of staying on top of things. It’s been miraculous!

    I’m slowly learning that I can’t change the course of this disease, but I can change how I deal with it. The watch has become an integral part of my life, like an electronic extension of my faulty brain!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Oh! I was thinking about getting one, but haven’t worked up to it yet.
    Thanks for reaching out. Glad that you have found ways to help you out, during your “leak moments”.

    xoxo

  • Guitar-Grrrl
    2 years ago

    Oh, Ashley, I could have written this myself! Spot on! It’s so frustrating, though, if I talk about it. I’m told “oh, that’s age related”, or something similar. Grrr! Im 58, not 88! I’m well educated, did echocardiography for 35 years (the last 24 years in the operating room), and my sister calls me “a walking storehouse of useless arcane crap”! But ask me if I took my Baclofen five minutes ago, and I swear I couldn’t tell you. : /

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    SOOO annoying! Because we know that we have the ability to have a good memory, because we have has one before. Maybe we still have a GOOD memory, stored in our brains… but it just gets twisted and lots, kind of like a “file not found” notification.

    xoxo

  • Diana Chapman
    2 years ago

    This describes me exactly! The mental issues are hard to take – people say “oh you’re just getting older and forgetting things” – this is way beyond that. I will ask a question twice because I can’t remember the first conversation! Makes you feel crazy! Glad you shared Ashley thank you!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    UGH! I hate when people make dumb remarks. What can they say to be about this? I was diagnosed when I was 22, and I’m turning 30 this year. Not meaning to be judgmental, but they can’t blame that on ‘age’, in my opinion.

    xoxo

  • auspotts
    2 years ago

    Ashley did I write this? I don’t remember, lol. This is everything I have been going through recently. It is so frustrating and I too try to write it off with a joke. I am trying all sours of courses to keep my mind active,have even started writing captions on a comedy site. I can’t offer any suggestion , but can offer empathy. Will let you know if I find anything that works.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hey! Thanks for reaching out 🙂
    I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and you wouldn’t believe how many times people tell me, they feel like I took the thoughts from their own mind. Maybe we are all connected with our misfiring nerves? lol
    Anyways, wishing you the best!
    xoxo

  • meissie47
    2 years ago

    This could be me writing this article! …wow..thanks! It’s good to know it’s NOT just age.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    No, it most definitely is not ‘just your age’. No one has ever said that to me, because I’m still in my 20’s, but still. It goes to show you that other people of a different age group deal with the exact same issue.

    xoxo

  • saddison
    2 years ago

    You are most certainly not alone. I had to turn over management of my extensive medication list and interaction with the twelve medical specialists’ and their portals used to communicate between appointments to my husband long ago. Having acquired several co-morbidities along with my MS, has complicated my medical care to the point that I cannot handle it alone, and I have a master’s degree and worked with medically fragile children for over thirty years. The cognitive effects that MS has are indeed disheartening. We get knocked down, but we must get up again. Stay strong in spirit, sister.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    2 years ago

    Well at least I know I’m not the only one that depends on the hubby to handle it all. It just got way to overwhelming.
    Thanks for reaching out. xoxo

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