Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses

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LittleBoat

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Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses
« on: July 16, 2018, 10:35:01 PM »
Hey All,

Not sure where to put this.  Having trouble getting my mind around the definition of dissociation, so not sure if this is the right place.

Over the last five years, my mental health has deteriorated quickly.  I have had cognitive difficulties, difficulty carrying out simple administrative or household chores, short attention span and poor short-term memory.  I have C-PTSD and PTSD, along with bi-polar and serial suicidality.  Additionally, I am on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.  (I mention these drugs, as they may be a factor in my problem.) 

I got a "clean bill of health" recently, after many tests:  No Lyme Disease, MS, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I don't feel that I have symptoms related to autoimmune diseases, which would cause brain fog.  In addition, various brain scans showed healthy brain tissue, as well as healthy operation of the fluids/blood circulating around my brain.  No signs of memory degeneration related to Alzheimers.

So....Why can't I (a former English Professor and Grant Writer, with a Ph.D.) have trouble reading books above a 10th grade level?  Why can't I focus for more than a few pages at a time?  Or even focus on getting through one page?  What happened to my attention span?  And why can't I fill out a bank deposit slip?  Why do I get daunted by a pile of laundry that needs folding?  Why do I lose the capacity to keep things straight when setting up an appointment?  Why do I lose words when I talk?  Why can't I find my way around when I drive on routes that used to come to me automatically?   Why can't I make plans and carry them out?  Or multi-task at the most basic level, even, say, doing two small things at a time or writing something down while someone is talking to me?  I used to be a terrific multi-tasker, which helped me personally and professionally. 

My world is becoming one of Post-It Notes stuck here and there and then I just lose them.   

After my positive doctors appointment, I asked her if childhood trauma could cause cognitive faltering.  She said, Yes.  As can the meds I'm on. 

I am also realizing that, while I have a slew of flashbacks, my memory channels of GOOD things and times with old friends are hampered, disjointed, with blank gaps, which make me feel like I'm sort of just pasted together without a clear, linear how things have unfolded in my life, how I've made decisions, and how I've developed. 

Any clues?  Is this dissociation?  Is short and long-term memory re-gainable?  Can anyone steer me to research on this subject?

Thank you,
LittleBoat




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Kizzie

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Re: Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 05:41:19 PM »
Hi LittleBoat - So sorry to hear about all that you are dealing with.  Did you talk to your doctor any more after she confirmed that both trauma and/or meds can cause these issues?  What I'm wondering is if she had any ideas or suggestions about what you might do?

One thing that came to mind when I read your post was possibly seeing a psychiatrist because they are knowledgeable about medication and trauma and the effects of both on mental (e.g., cognitive functioning) and physical health. 

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LittleBoat

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Re: Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2018, 12:20:13 PM »
Hi Kizzie,
Thanks for replying.  I do indeed see a psychiatrist, who I've seen weekly for years.  She is aware of my med history, as well as my trauma history.  I will be talking to her this week about both meds and traumatic memory loss. 

I also read one of the articles you posted about dissociative amnesia.  That seems like a pretty good "medically recognized" fit with what I experience. 
Best,
LittleBoat

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Kizzie

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Re: Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 05:56:47 PM »
That's good to hear, I think that's probably the best person to help you deal with the symptoms you are experiencing.  If it is dissociative amnesia from my own experience with much diminished ability to function (not only cognitively but affectively and physically as well), it was when past trauma burst up and out faster than I could manage it.  I too had been high functioning on the surface at least and then too much stress and years of trying to suppress the trauma caught up with me and I fell apart. I went into survival mode and shut down which is what symptoms like DA are about imo - a response to being overwhelmed.  DA may keep you from remembering too much too fast?  :Idunno:

I don't know if this might be why you are experiencing the symptoms you are, but I'm glad to hear you have a psychiatrist in your corner  :yes:

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ah

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Re: Cognitive Disconnect and Memory Lapses
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2018, 03:55:33 AM »
Hi LittleBoat,

Sounds incredibly difficult, I'm so sorry.

I wonder whether the anti-psychotics might have anything to do with it. I'm no therapist / doctor / anything really but if it were happening to me I think I'd rule that out next as a cause or at least as a contributing factor. From what I've been able to read about anti-psychotics, they're definitely known to cause this type of side effect. They're notorious for it.

As for dissociation in general, for me it's what I do to get distanced from myself and my emotions. I space out, fail to hear things being said 'etc. when it happens. It's always related strongly to stress. Have you been very stressed lately? More than before? Did something happen (except the obvious stress of what you're going through mentally) to make it worse?

As for your memory feeling like it's disjointed experiences pasted together with gaps and no coherent narrative, I'm like you. I think that may be a symptom of cptsd. It's part of dissociation for me, for sure. I seem to have very odd memory. "Swiss cheese" would be an extreme understatement to say how weird my memory can be. And like you there's no coherent 'me' running the show. If you're in a lot of pain, it makes sense.  :Idunno:

You're not alone.