My memory has never been good, which is probably attributable to my ADHD. I grew up not knowing about this and just considered myself a failure. I was finally diagnosed in 2007, and it was a great relief! Since then, I try to go easier on myself.
Now I’m in my senior years and my swiftly failing memory continues to embarrass me when I can’t remember the name of the woman sitting at my table who introduced herself to me less than five minutes ago. My swiftly failing memory irritates my husband, when I forget, for example, to pick up his hearing aids on my quick trip back to our house. My swiftly failing memory probably annoys my cat, because I forget to clean her litter box every day, sometimes for several days in a row, when she finally just sits there staring at me until I figure it out!
My swiftly failing memory also causes me to pay bills late because I just didn’t remember to pay them on time!
I’m ready to leave to go somewhere and realize I can’t find my purse. I search literally everywhere for it and it’s nowhere to be found! Finally, I leave and drive with great caution because I don’t have my driver’s license. When I get home, I tell Dale that I must have left my purse in my sister’s car the day before and get ready to call her. He says, “Stop!” and points to a corner of the room. My purse is lying on the floor next to my computer desk. I swear it was not there when I was looking for it – I made sure I looked there, because I had told myself that my swiftly failing memory would forget I’d put it there.
I do things to try to combat my swiftly failing memory:
- Look at the dinner receipt for the woman across from me at the table – oh yeah, her name is Sharon.
- Write myself a note if that’s feasible.
- Make extensive use of my cellphone calendar.
- I (try to) remember to leave my purse and water bottle always in the same place, so I’ll always know where they are.
- I use mnemonic devices: so there’s a woman named Claire in my exercise class. I used to get her confused with another woman, Nancy St. Clair, because they have the same hairstyle. Now that I know Nancy better, I don’t get her mixed up but I forget the name of the woman in my exercise class. I use Nancy to remind me of her name – since part of her last name is the first name of the woman in my class!
These strategies sometimes work but often do not.
Sometimes it’s context – there’s a guy in my art class named Jim; he’s the only man in the class. A few days ago, I sat at the dinner table with Jim and his husband, Mark. As we parted, Jim said to me, “I’ll see you in art class tomorrow!” WHAT? He’s in my art class? There’s only one guy in my class and his name is Jim – OH, I get it! I felt really embarrassed for not remembering he was the same person, but it’s that when he’s with Mark, he’s JimandMark, and in my art class, he’s just Jim.
Jim was not offended by this – he simply laughed – and I felt glad I live in a community for seniors, where probably most of the residents have swiftly failing memory!
Written and posted for: Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge by Devereaux Frazier. Now that I know about this challenge, I hope to participate again!