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Losing my mind?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

We all have one, a brain. It stores memories and lets us remember things. Right? Well, sometimes. As we age, things seem to get more difficult. Losing words is my biggest's always right on the tip of my tongue!

What is memory? According to The Human Memory:
Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in the human brain. It can be thought of in general terms as the use of past experience to affect or influence current behaviour.
There is a difference between an aging memory and one afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer's. How to tell the difference?

Here is a good guide I found online.

Normal age-related memory changes
Symptoms that may indicate dementia

Able to function independently and pursue normal activities, despite occasional memory lapses

Difficulty performing simple tasks (paying bills, dressing appropriately, washing up); forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times

Able to recall and describe incidents of forgetfulness

Unable to recall or describe specific instances where memory loss caused problems

May pause to remember directions, but doesn’t get lost in familiar places

Gets lost or disoriented even in familiar places; unable to follow directions

Occasional difficulty finding the right word, but no trouble holding a conversation

Words are frequently forgotten, misused, or garbled; Repeats phrases and stories in same conversation

Judgment and decision-making ability the same as always

Trouble making choices; May show poor judgment or behave in socially inappropriate ways

Cleveland Clinic explains some other differences in our brain memory as we age.

Preserved memory functionsDeclining memory functions
  • Remote memory
  • Procedural memory (performing tasks)
  • Semantic recall (general knowledge)
  • Learning new information
  • Recalling new information (takes longer to learn something new and to recall it)

What does this have to do with writing? A least for me. I am finding it harder and harder to bring out the words I'm looking for. It's becoming more of a struggle to craft that perfect phrase. I find myself writing simpler sentences.

And I have to admit, I'm not happy about this. It becomes quite frustrating to KNOW you know a word, but you can't remember it. Yes, it happens to everyone at some time but for me, it is happening much too regularly. Am I worried about dementia or Alzheimer's? Not right now.

As a writer, I am more worried about spending time producing a poor product for my readers and frittering away what is left of my life as I struggle with this. For now, I'm hanging in there - by a hangnail at times, but hanging nevertheless.

Ciao for now!


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