South Park Self

Things I Have Forgotten Lately

I am generally very happy with the results of halving my anti-depressant dose, I am feeling my Sensitive Frondy Antennae connecting more and more with the world, in a good way. (Higher levels of cuddling my cats, and, metaphorically at any rate, my students, in the sense that current curriculum angst levels are very high and I'm getting an unholy kick out of being sweet to the gazelles and materially improving their overall states of happy). Most of the reduced-dose side effects - headaches, insomnia - are very manageable, and are giving me hope for stopping completely in a couple of months. Less manageably, the other side effect seems to be the unleashing of some bastard into the Personal Settings menu to crank Dodgy Memory up to 11, presumably while cackling wildly and twirling the villainous moustache. (For no adequately defined reason I am ascribing the villainous moustache and bastardhood to a knob-twirler of indeterminate gender skewing more female than not, but whatever). As a result, over the last few weeks I have forgotten the following:

  1. Repeatedly, to finish annotating my Masters student's dissertation. Every time I happen upon the item in my to-do list I am shocked and horrified, and set off immediately to open the file and finish, which lasts approximately a nanosecond before I forget again and get sidetracked.
  2. Repeatedly, to reply to my mother's last email, and/or Skype her. This becomes lost somewhere between sitting down at my home computer with the thought of "Right, must email mother," and actually scrolling back to the email in question.
  3. Repeatedly, to do something - anything - with the post I picked up from Phleep's campus postbox. It's sitting on my desk at home. I should give it to Jo(ty), or open and scan and email it, but I keep catching sight of it, thinking, gosh, must do that now, and immediately forgetting about it.
  4. Despite being rather pleased and excited by the topic (Frankenstein as science fiction), to prepare my Monday lecture. I'm repeating last year's lectures, but like to re-read and tweak my notes and refurbish the Powerpoint with reference to any new movies which have come out since last year. (Age of Ultron, as it happens. Totally a Frankenstein narrative). I set aside Sunday afternoon to do this, completely blanked on it, woke up early on Monday with a sudden shocked recollection, and had to do a hack job in 20 minutes. Although I scored a round of applause at the end of it (it was the final lecture in the series), so it can't have been too bad.
  5. In a complete and total sense which is somewhat alarming, the actual context and topic of the fairy-tale paper I thought I was writing. It has a whole media studies dimension I had blanked entirely, and on which I am not authoritative in any real sense, not without considerable reading for which I do not have time. Digging out the original email to read the topic was a nasty shock. I have had to withdraw from the project, causing angst and guilt, and rendering the Vladimir Propp library expedition null and void.
  6. In a complete and total sense which caused me to unsuspectingly answer her reminder phone call with a happy sense of gosh how nice to randomly hear from you what's up?, Jo(ty)'s Mount Nelson tea party. I was looking forward to that, if only in the vaguest and most futuristic sort of way. The discovery that it was actually last Saturday and halfway over when she called, was something of a distressing blindside.

Looking back at this lot, in fact it's not entirely about memory or even procrastination, most of those are things I quite like doing - it's about fragmented attention span and tendency to sidetrack. I spent most of Saturday morning vaguely reminding myself that I hadn't seen Jo(ty) in a bit and should invite her over to dinner and a Pandora-inspection and visa-shenanigan support session, which was presumably the desperate and futile attempt of my subconscious to alert me to the tea-party thing. If I'd had the capacity to follow the thought to its logical conclusion I might have remembered. But apparently not so much. Presumably my brain chemistry is registering its disapproval at no longer having its norepinephrine and dopamine levels moderated. Given that Wellbutrin is sometimes used to treat ADHD, possibly an attention-span response to reduced levels is not unlikely.

I just hope it equalises soon. My brain is all too frequently a soft, cheesy thing, but it's mine and I need it. Also, as a Public Service Announcement: if I've undertaken to attend some sort of Social Shindig in your company in the near future, it may be wise for the nonce to send me a reminder email, as I cannot in any way guarantee that I'll remember to check my diary.
Oh hey this sounds just exactly like me these days! Except I blame my fragmented attention span on babies. V similar effect to Wellbutrin, apparently. I ascribe this partly to the fact that when you are being constantly, like, CONSTANTLY interrupted, your brain basically forgets how to focus on anything, and partly to the much studied deleterious effects on the brain of sleep deprivation. Science says I can be forgiven. Still sucks though.

The only way to survive is to write absolutely bloody everything down, preferably in physical form, eg a diary or notebook that you keep somewhere prominent and check CONSTANTLY. And you'll still forget. But the constant reminders help. (I supplement this with a kitchen chalkboard, where I write the week's most important engagements etc. Then I see them every single time I walk in or out of the kitchen. Which is quite a lot. It helps.)
Glad you're slowly returning to an approximation to 'normal' life. The memory shall return, meanwhile what woollythinker wrote.
Also, peri-menopause apparently. My memory is shot to hell - the combination of discontinued meds, hormonal curve balls and Life(TM) is a perfect storm - so it's not just you, dim comfort though that might be. Although I just had three weeks off and the rest appears to have done wonders.