Shock and Memory

Almost exactly 6 years ago, I left my husband. It was the hardest decision of my life and took a year of agony to make it. We had been together for 13 years and he was my first boyfriend. All my hopes, dreams, and plans for the future were entwined with him.

I placed a high value marriage and it wasn’t conceivable to me that I would ever get divorced. My grandparents celebrated 50 happy years of marriage, my parents 40 and counting. I thought I would be like them too.

But I needed to leave and 6 years after the hardest decision proved to be the best decision I ever made. I have a beautiful happy life now, one that I couldn’t possibly envisioned for myself 6 years ago.

There are MANY topics I could write in relation to this life event. However, as the 6 year anniversary approaches one of the scariest things about that time was that my short-term memory vanished, completely! I have been blessed with a great memory, so when mine vanished I thought I was losing my mind. I understood where the saying ‘brain like a sieve’ came from. I had to carry a note book with me at all times. That became my memory. It was full of lists (actions, shopping lists etc) and notes I had made during all my conversations. It didn’t matter who I was talking to, a lawyer or my family or friends, it all went in the notebook. Otherwise, I had no recollection of what was said. Also, the memory loss made me feel disorientated and activities that I had been doing for years like driving or taking a shower would take me longer. I had to talk myself gently through the action steps otherwise the ‘next step’ didn’t automatically happen.

As the emotional shock wore off, and my life settled into its new normal, my memory returned. But the memory of me losing my memory didn’t. Now, when I notice even a slight slip in its standard and I ask myself what is going on in my life? There is usually a form of stress in my life that I hadn’t given much thought to. Yet, the fact that my memory is reduced means it’s more upsetting than I had realised and I need to practice some TLC.

How does this apply to you? When someone picks up the phone to schedule their first coaching session with me, it’s usually because
they are under stress, their ADHD has become worse and they need help.

The ‘worsening’ of ADHD during stress differs for everyone, but it could be, memory becoming worse, disorganization, being overwhelmed, problems making decisions, problems with relationships, job performances, time management issues, procrastination, or a little bit of everything.

When you are under stress, whatever the cause, the negative ADHD symptoms do get worse. So here are 5 tips about what to do when it happens to you:

1) Develop coping strategies. Mine was to carry a note book and talk to myself (I realize that sounds strange). Do what works for you.

2) Know that you aren’t ‘losing it’. While it might feel scary at the time, this is only temporary. When the stress passes you will back to your usual self again.

3) Practice Advanced TLC. When you are going through a stressful time your body is being pushed to the max, and needs extra
special treatment to work the best it can. This means, eating tasty healthy food, getting extra sleep, getting emotional support from family and friends, doing gentle exercise and doing 1 simple fun activity a day, like reading a book or watching a movie.

4) Pay attention to your own body and what it’s telling you. My barometer is my memory.  But yours might be something else. Perhaps increased anger, or anxiety, or letting things that wouldn’t usually, upset you. When you notice that that is happening you can take action to avoid the cause and practice TLC.

5) Get some ‘Rescue Remedy’. This is natural remedy that calms and soothes and makes you feel less stressed
and anxious. Because it’s natural it can be taken by anyone.

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