Taking back what anxiety stole from me: Memory

I will start this post off by apologizing to my readers. It has been almost an entire year since I last posted. Really?! That is hard to believe. Time passes quickly and life gets busy. Neither are excuses for not writing what’s on your heart and mind. So with that being said I am going to try to make more time for what needs to be said. Today’s post is the first part in a series. I do not have a plan for how many posts this series will include, but will write until I run out of things my anxiety has stolen from me; this may take a while.

Today’s topic is very difficult for me to write about. It is arguably the biggest recurring consequence with which anxiety has left me. I was reminded of it just this morning in my relationship. And the last several days at work. And if I am honest all the time. Whether I am out in public and I see an old acquaintance of whom I cannot remember their name, or I am speaking with someone regarding my favorite hobby and forget a term commonly used to describe a process or reminiscing with my boyfriend and can’t recall a memory he can see vividly- there is no end to places in my mind to which I find I am temporarily barred access. It’s like trying to scale a brick wall, but getting halfway up and realizing it goes up for an eternity. It’s like having an item just in reach but my fingertips brush it for my arm is not quite long enough. Really, those are nice ways to express this extreme frustration. Why can I not remember that name? What is the term used to describe the pressure building in a cylinder? When did we go visit that park? For the life of me I do not know.

The above are a few examples of the seesaw my mind insists on riding. The mental block, the fog, the fatigue, the stuttering, the memory loss- none of it occurred before my anxiety rose so high I was having panic attacks daily, meltdowns weekly and a daily sense of aggravation and a racing heart. Do you experience those feelings too? Do you find those things can be exacerbated by medication? I am curious what your experiences are with anxiety and memory. For me, not being able to recall a word or stumbling over myself as I try to explain why I forgot again at work is an instant fear of lost of respect and intelligence in front of others mingled with anger and frustration inside myself.

All is not lost, however.  I will not let this mental aggravation remain and label me unstable. I will scale those walls until the wall runs out. I will play memory games and write thoughts down until my mind remembers how it once functioned. I have found by doing these things for a little while though that these actions are not enough in themselves. They must be coupled with calm practices of talking myself down when I become anxious, taking a moment to breathe some fresh air, writing down my fears and respond with reasons why they are unfounded. And of course having support from those who know this is not the real me. Those who can walk beside me and remind me that this frustration will not last. That the only way I will continue to fall down the slope of forgetfulness is if I stop climbing the mountain.

When will the peak of mental clarity surface? I have no clue. Will it resurface? I believe so. If you struggle with feeling stupid, mistrusted and disrespected because of effects anxiety has had on your mind, please know 1) you are not alone 2) you are NOT those things and 3) clarity will come back. I would love to hear from you- what daily practices do you have that exercise your mind to help with forgetfulness and faulty recall? What has helped and what hasn’t?

As always, thanks for stopping by. I hope you find some level of comfort here, knowing you are not alone.

-Sarah

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