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Memory/Cognitive Problems

Discussion in 'General' started by Marlene, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    On Saturday my husband and I went to a gem/mineral show. I studied gemology for two years at the university level. I have learned a ton of information on this subject. From scientific measurments to the lore of gem stones around the world and everything in between. My memory has always served me very well in recalling information on this subject. Basically I could pick up a stone and it's like a card with all of the information about that stone would pop up in my mind.

    Well...that's how it used to be. Saturday my memory and all of my learning failed me spectacularly. I would look at or pick up a stone and then nothing. Or I'd remember a sound in the name or a letter that the stone began with. But it would take five to ten minutes for me to remember the name. Or I would read the name someplace else. This is just not how it's been for me. I was so frustrated with myself! My husband tried to make a joke that it was my age creeping up on me. I know that's not the case. This is a very recent development. As in since my symptoms started.

    I know that cognitive and memory problems are common with PTSD. The thing that's bothering me the most is that, for my whole life when things went to shit, I always had my mind, my memories and what I had learned. This has been the safe place for me to go. Now it feels like I'm losing this piece by piece. When my symptoms first started I felt like I was losing my mind. Now I feel like I'm losing my intelligence. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me. I mean, OMG, I'm such a nerd that I read physics books for fun. Losing that or having access to it limited is something that's really upsetting me.

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  3. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    Oh Lisa, I'm sorry. I know what you mean. I've been feeling my memory (especially short-term) and brain power draining away since my symptoms got overwhelming. I was the same as you in that I always had my job, my projects to lose myself in. It's extremely upsetting. I wonder if I'll ever be able to write again (beyond here and journaling) or concentrate on anything challenging for a long enough time to be productive again.

    I wonder if it's a matter of using all our energy to get through the day and simply not having enough left over?

    Meanwhile I've been trying out online word and other games and doing crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles to try to keep my brain in some kind of shape. Pretty pathetic for someone with a graduate degree, but I just can't handle more until I'm feeling better.
  4. She Cat

    She Cat Policy Enforcement Banned Premium Member Sponsor $100+


    Anxiety has a tremendous strain on our minds. I really think that this is what your dealing with. When I am really anxious, or having anxiety.....I have shit for brains!!!!!! Nothing gets through.......

    Also I'm not sure of your age, but there is the lovely thing called Menopause which tends to make you feel like you couldn't graduate from Kindergarten, even if they gave you all of the answers......

    Hang in there....This to shall pass...I promise. I used to be really bad, but I am much better now with the memory.....

  5. nathan

    nathan Active Member

    i have memory problems too. like she cat said, anxiety can make it hard to think straight or recall anything. i dont know if your taking medication but that can also have a huge impact on memory. i know when i was taking various anti epileptic meds i would forget words, i would forget what i was talking about in mid sentence and math was impossible. i felt like an imbecile and that part of my life is still a haze. as discouraged as i got sometimes i knew it was just a side effect of my illness and medication and not my intelligence slipping. hang in there, things will get better.
  6. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Thanks all.

    I know when I took meds or when my anxiety is up I have memory (especially very short term) problems. Thing was, Saturday was (aside from my frustrations) a great day. I was out with my husband and I was doing something I really enjoyed. No anxiety, no fuss, no muss.

    My intelligence is something that has always been a really big part of how I view myself. In a world where who I really am has not been enough for a lot of people, this has been part of me that has been enough for me. And losing the ability to recall what I've learned how I used to is very discouraging.

    Every part of my PTSD has been tough. But I've always known there was a way to fight it somehow. I guess that's one of the reasons I've never given up because I knew I could fight it some way. This is scary for me because I have no idea how to fight it.

  7. nor

    nor Well-Known Member


    I believe that it will get better for you. Your agonizing over what happened on Saturday is putting increased anxiety on yourself. You could be compounding your PTSD even more.

    She Cat does have a very good point. When I started menopause, my memory went to mush. I prided myself on remembering names, dates, account numbers, events and so much more. I always felt like I had my dad's brain. He is very elderly, but sharp as a tack. Well, once peri-menopause kicked in, all that became history. I couldn't remember anything. That combined with the PTSD and taking medication made things really really bad. I thought I would never get my intelligence back. I too have a masters degree, and I felt like I hadn't gotten out of kindergarten.

    Well, I am relieved to say that as my menopause is coming to an end, and I have dropped some of the meds I was on, I am starting to regain my memory composure. I'm not panicing, as much, prior to remembering things. Numbers are coming back more freely. I still question myself if they are correct and will check to be sure-but I have been remembering correctly more frequently.

    I have spoken to many of my friends going through menopause/peri-menopause and they all are experiencing the same thing. It can start as early as late 30's, early 40's.

    Please don't misunderstand what I am saying-this biological change may be starting to cause more havoc on your memory along with the PTSD. Menopause is not the only answer to your problem. (I had a therapist tell me that ALL my problems revolved around the fact that I was going through menopause-needless to say, that didn't help at all).

    It really sucks that we have to experience that on top of everything else.
  8. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    Hey girl! Remember your talk with Hercules on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a parking lot? Well, if you can remember that Then you are OK! Whether you realized it or not, sometimes you are stressing and things go haywire. You were enjoying yourself, but that does not mean that your "demons" were not hard at work screwing with you. As the expert on lost memories--LOL--since I have NO memories, this is a small bump in the road. And the other guys are right, let it go!! My therapist once told me that it takes all our engery and focus to just function some times and memory takes a back set. Speaking of talking in a parking lot on a sunny day!?!?! Nov 10th is another chance to repeat our meeting! Want to???? Herc
  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    OK...thanks for the mild ass-kicking. This post was frustrating me too because I felt like no one was understanding what I was trying to say. Going back and rereading it shows me that y'all do.

    Saturday was just the straw that broke my back. It became something that I couldn't just ignore anymore. This has been an ongoing issue since my symptoms started. The severity comes and goes. Since I was feeling so good on Saturday, I figured that it was not going to be an issue. Wrong...again.

    If this is going to continue to be an issue (and from the little bit of research I've done so far, it seems that it will be) then it's going to be another battle figure out how to fight.

    Any suggestions?


    BTW-Herc, as far as I can tell with my schedule, the 10th is fine. You bring the umbrella and I'll bring my big hat. I don't want to get burned again.
  10. metis-siren

    metis-siren Active Member

    I'm not mentally able to write a long post, but I wanted to thank you for bringing this up - I'm definitely having trouble with my memory too. It's good to know I'm not alone and maybe share what works for keeping our sanity in tack while we work through it? It's driving me batty with midterms and general retention of information but I'm trying not to beat myself up for it.

    At the very least we have to be gentle with ourselves, we deserve that.
  11. She Cat

    She Cat Policy Enforcement Banned Premium Member Sponsor $100+


    I don't think fighting it works.......Been there, done that. It's called just letting it happen. Do word games, scrabble, find a word, ect... Just to keep the mind working. Between Menopause & Ptsd........Shit I was a babbling idiot at times. :rofl: It does get better though!!!!!!!!!! I find that now that I am over the one year thing....I am doing better, not 100%, but better with the memory. I still will be talking, and completely forget a word.....a name.....or the entire thought.... But it's better than it was before.
  12. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I didn’t mean to blow off the whole menopause part of my answer. I was tired last night and it just slipped my mind. When my symptoms first started, they mimicked a lot of peri-menopause symptoms. Since things have calmed down with my symptoms, I don’t have the peri-menopause symptoms any longer. But since I’ll be 40 in four months, I’m sure that things are starting to get onto that slow down spiral towards the big M. Gee…it gets worse when you add menopause to PTSD??? Boy, I can’t wait! *rolling eyes*

    Wendy, you said don’t fight and just let it go. Sorry, hon…no can do. For me, everything about my PTSD has been a fight to get back to some sort of normal. Even if it’s been a normal that I’ve had to reinvent for myself. And if the battle is partly fought by me doing word puzzles and such…so be it. But to not fight (for me) is to give in to it. And I’m just too damn stubborn to give in.

    Rather than ignoring these ‘moments’ when they happen to me, I’ve begun to pay attention. There’s really no rhyme or reason or pattern to them. It’s almost like there’s a short circuit in my brain. Sometimes it’s really short lived and other times it hangs on for a while. Saturday was a big ‘hang on for a while’ day. Today at work, I was filling out a form and the first line was ‘Date’. I remember staring at the page for most of a minute. Not only could I not remember what date is was, I couldn’t understand what the word ‘Date’ meant. Then things clicked back and I was able to continue. But these intermittent brain shutdowns are a real pain in the ass. But they come and go at their whim. Of course when my symptoms kick up, so do these. For the longest time I blamed it on the meds. Then I blamed it on the withdrawals from the meds. Now, since it’s not going away, I guess the blame goes onto my brain and what the PTSD has done to it.

  13. wildcritter44

    wildcritter44 Active Member

    Oh words of Wisdom come to me so I can share..lol

    Hi Marlene,

    I too, am doing the menopause thing-- yup it sucks there is no way around that.

    At least the ranger doesn't have that to deal with, Thank God. Ranger has a lot of issues with the memory thing.. Some of it is meds, some of it PTSD, some of it is ..:dontknow:

    I am sorry to hear it is soooo frustrating for you. ranger gets that way as well and then he gets mad :mad: and yells. The poor dogs come and crawl under my chair lol. He's not yelling at them -- just in general. I usually attempt to determine what the cause is and then go from there.
    It would be frustrating to feel like you are losing the information that you are so acustom to recalling.
    It sounds like it's not really gone, but a little slow in coming back to you..Hopefully that will be encouraging that it is there.

    Any way Hang in there, I wish I could say or do something to help.

    Take Care
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