Soon after I became a first-time parent to my (now 29 month old) son it wasn’t long before I began to notice that my memory had gotten A LOT worse. I was forgetting when appointments where and jobs that needed to be done, although I’d forget some things it wasn’t on this scale. Back then I thought it was just baby brain and after a few weeks or maybe a month or two that I would ‘snap out of it’. But I didn’t. Fast forward to 2015, I was diagnosed with depression. I had been struggling with depression for years despite not really knowing, although I did have some inklings, and having my son just enhanced everything.
My memory problems are directly linked/caused by my depression. Many people aren’t aware (and neither was I!) that depression can cause short term memory loss, although that makes it sound a lot worse than what it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is really bloody difficult but saying that I have short term memory loss sounds like I have a whole different problem. Although, saying that I have a bad memory also just sounds a lot like everyone else. Generally, most people will say that their memory is shit and can joke about it but mine is on a whole other level. On one hand saying I have a bad memory doesn’t quite measure up but saying I have memory loss… I kinda feel like I’m overreacting.
Living a normal life and getting through each day is a major struggle. So that I can function like everyone else I have two to-do lists, three notebooks, a calendar, alarms and scheduled texts from my partner. I also very often leave out scrap bits of paper with notes written down so I can find them in the morning. For me, these notes and reminders are what get me through each and every day and every one of them has a different use:
- To-Do List #1 – This tells me what housework I need to be doing, meals I need to make, which bin needs taking out and when – mainly all home related
- To-Do List #2 – This one is entirely work related and tells me all of the tasks I need to be doing and the deadlines
- Notebook #1 – I use this to take out with me when I go shopping, it tells me which shops I need to be going in and what to buy etc. I use this one for anything I need to remember about going out
- Notebook #2 – I use this notebook to write down which dinner I’m making and how to. Generally, I forget how to cook come stuff.
- Notebook #3 – Misc – because sometimes I need to just scribble random stuff down
- Calendar – Appointments, Events etc
- Alarms – General care stuff like brushing Joshua’s teeth
- Scheduled Texts – To take my medication
And believe it or not, having all of these aids doesn’t always work. My partner still has to text me throughout the day if he knows that I have an appointment or something that I really cannot miss, as often I will also forget to even look at my lists, even though they are littered throughout our home. In addition to forgetting what I need to do I also find it difficult remembering conversations, what people look like, names and anything of that nature. My partner will often say something to me and within a matter of seconds or a few minutes, I have completely forgotten what was said or that the conversation even took place.
I’ve recently come to realise that my two-year-old has a much better memory and sometimes I feel like my toddler is the one looking after me! Unfortunately, there isn’t really a treatment so all I can do is just get on with it. The bright side? Well, there isn’t really one but if I HAD to give one then: at least one day if/when my depression improves so will my memory loss.