I cannot remember if I have written about this or if I’ve just told so many people that it feels like I’ve written about it.
At school I loved maths and science, it made sense to me, facts, formulae, equations, it was logical and I just got it. At university I studied Engineering and later on I gained a second degree in Health Sciences. I worked in financial project management. Everything I did or wanted was researched, planned and executed. Anything that didn’t fit into my tidy logical boxes was disruptive to my need for order.
But then a certain life changing event occurred and suddenly I couldn’t plan, schedule and organise. Suddenly I was at the mercy of hospital and clinic appointments, waiting lists, test results. Even when I thought there was a plan, we didn’t stick to it because of adverse reactions to drugs, or new test results. I couldn’t organise my life in the safe and ordered way I was accustomed to because there were too many unknowns.
Physical health, mental health, recovery timescales, setbacks – everything was conspiring against my need to know the what, when, where and why (and how). My mind went from being a still lake to a whirlpool, a gentle breeze to a hurricane. As though a thick grey fog had descended over everything that I knew.
And time went on, and treatment finished, and physically I became stronger, but my mental health problems persisted. And the fog persisted. But the fog was now joined by a feeling of indifference, as though there was actually no point in planning because fate would derail whatever plans I came up with. I’m desperately trying to think of the word I want to use but, hey word recall is a huge issue for me…
As is memory. In brief, I cannot rely on my short term memory. I think of something and by the time I’ve picked up a pen and paper to make a note of it, I can’t remember what I had thought of. I have dreams and enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard to turn my dreams into reality but I can’t plan. I can’t organise, make lists, prioritise, or process what I need to do.
My logical, organised, neat and tidy brain has become wild and free. It cannot live by the constraints of time, resources, rational thought, instead flitting from one thing to the next as I remember something else and forget the first thing. Any task seems to take an exceptional level of concentration to complete, and even then it takes longer than it should.
Take this post as an example. I started writing this with a view to saying how I want to be a successful published poet but I’m rubbish at planning stuff and very forgetful!!! And here I am taking you on a guided tour of my rambling mind and getting precisely nowhere.
Bullet points (simple and short ones)
- I want to write poetry
- I want to publish (at least) one book of entirely my work
- I need to find a publisher
- I want to enter my work into competitions (preferably free ones)
- I need to organise the poems I’ve already written (in some way)
- I either need more hours in the day or I need to use my time better
Having just read back what I’ve written I’ve actually remembered the real point of this post, which was not ‘that I’m rubbish at planning stuff and very forgetful’, it was actually an observation that my GP made. He said that it seemed like my brain had been reprogrammed – from logical and scientific to creative and scatty (my words not his!).
Is this even possible? I guess after a stroke or something that physically alters the brain, but is it possible in me? From the chemo drugs, depression, ptsd, shock, ongoing meds (tamoxifen and anti depressants)? Am I destined to be ‘creative and scatty’ for ever more? Or could my brain gradually flip back to organised?
It certainly makes me think! And these thoughts go round, and round, and round, with no resolution…
p.s. well done if you made it to the end, this post mirrors what my brain does when I want to put salad cream (just an example) on the shopping list, which reminds me I need to actually get salad cream before it gets rebranded as sandwich cream, seriously leave the name well alone, Heinz.
Have a great evening folks xx