I have been conscious this week of the amount of times I suffer from memory issues it seems to be a recurring issue for me. The number of times I have faced a cup of tea still with the tea bag in situ has been increasing and it’s annoying to say the least. Though to be fair at least I manage to get the drink, I have developed a new habit of starting to make a drink and then forgetting it and so my son keeps finding cold cups of half made tea.
I am trying to laugh about this because it is a part of everyday life for me and my alters, the other parts of me. If I let it stress me out then it would soon become an issue that dominated my life and distress me and I feel that really isn’t beneficial for me. I can though usually tell how stressed I am by the number of tea bags I leave in my drinks, it is an unusual marker to have.
The reality is that amnesia is just one of the many symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder and it’s something I am slowly learning to deal with. The harsh reality is that I seem to have the ability to forget so many things and so we have multiples of notebooks, or clothes I have no recollection of buying. In fact I properly have multiples of many things as I forget I have bought whatever object it is only a few hours ago and purchase some more.
Currently we have a lot of notebooks, pens, cleaning products, tissues and sweeties which I think seem to magically make there way into my shopping trolley. I don’t even like some of the treats we have purchased but obviously some part of me does. It can all be very expensive and wasteful and yet this is part of my life, I am forgetful and I seem to struggle with amnesia.
I can put something down and forget where it is just a short time later, this is more than ordinary forgetfulness this is serious and it impacts upon day to day life. I know my children are use to me losing things and they are now aware that when I do I get frustrated. We can end up searching for what seems like forever until we find the missing object, the house can end up in utter chaos as I frantically look for my keys or a book.
The day to day things I lose or the simple things I forget like a drink some how seem rather irrelevant when I think of the other things I forget. I don’t have a recall of certain times or events and so I can’t recall my children’s favourite cartoons or books from their childhood. I don’t have certain memories of my own childhood, I can now tell you where I lived but I can’t tell you the names of any school friends I had.
I have limited or no memory of significant things, things that matter and things that I should remember. I have no memory of my first day at school nor the children’s first steps, I can’t even recall house moving days as a child and yet I lived in 17 houses. This causes me much pain as I feel detached from the lives of others and from my own life.
It hurts to think I dissociated at these times and that I therefore have no memory of these events, I can only assume that another part of me was present. This isn’t normal forgetfulness or the sign of early onset dementia, it’s a sign of dissociative amnesia, it’s a part of my D.I.D.
The other day I sat down to watch a new cartoon side by side with my little parts of me, I’d never seen this one before it was chosen randomly. Imagine my surprise when suddenly my eldest son tells me this is his brothers favourite cartoon from his childhood, I had no memory of this. I argued about it, I even protested he was wrong, until I sat and thought and then I realised I had no memory of what my son had watched. The next day I asked other family members if they knew my youngest sons favourite cartoon from his childhood and they all knew the right answer, all of them except me.
I am not ashamed to say I cried, it hurt to think I had missed this and that no one seemed to notice either. To them I was there, I was distance maybe but there and yet in truth it was another alter who was there, a part of me whose memory is still blocked from my own.
Being forgetful and facing amnesia are parts of life right now and yet I guess I need to try and keep this all in perspective. Yes I lack those memories but parts of me will hold them and that is ok to accept and to come to terms with. I will one day break down this amnesic barrier and one day just one day maybe I will recall these things, that’s my hope. Of course I can’t be certain it will happen but by remaining hopeful I’m trying to not let it spiral me into a pit of despair.
I still might forget what I am doing or end up leaving the tea bag in my cup numerous times each day but its probably because I have switched alters, even momentary switches can cause this chaos and yet I need to face it and find a way forward.
That’s why I am trying to accept that such ‘forgetful’ incidents are just mere inconveniences, set to frustrate me a little but no more. I need to see it as a good stress indicator, a sign that I maybe need a break, or a chance to relax or unwind. It’s so easy to see the negatives in these things but I am learning slowly that by turning things around I can use this forgetfulness to help me, help me learn more about me.