This original blog post on memory loss and mental illness posted almost 2 weeks ago has had the most traffic of any of my posts: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/mental-health-is-health.com/473
For that reason I am revisiting it. With this update, I am trying to understand when people experience memory loss, what kind of memory loss it is and how long it lasts.
- Are your memory issues associated with certain episodes of mental illness, meaning they just occur when you are in a depressive state or manic state or the equivalent for you?
- Do these memory issues linger after the episode is complete?
- In other words is your memory loss temporary during the episode or does the memory loss remain after the episode is complete?
- Are you more likely to experience short-term memory impacts or longer term memory impacts?
- What coping mechanisms like writing notes, leaving reminders on your phone have you adopted to help manage the memory loss?
- Do these mechanisms help you manage the memory loss?
- Would you say the memory loss is mild, moderate or significant?
- Have you talked this through with your care team / doctor / therapist?
- Do you believe the memory loss is a function of the mental illness or the medication or both?
- Do you feel covid-19 is a factor in your memory loss?
My memory loss issues are largely short-term — where did I put the car keys or the phone? I also might forget going to a certain restaurant a month or two ago. My memory issues tend to exist during and after episodes and are not episode-specific. The memory loss is there whether I am showing signs of bipolar break-through symptoms or not but are worse for example when my anxiety is high. So far, I have not taken this up with my therapist and my doctor since the problem has been on the mild side. But since the memory issues may be getting more prominent I will likely share with my therapist and my doctor at my next appointments. I am not sure whether the memory loss is medication-specific or illness-specific. I use notes and to-do lists all the time to help manage as well as a few reminders on my phone. I use a hand-written calendar to track appointments and dates. I also use my online calendar to manage appointments as well. I have a bulletin board set up in the kitchen as well to post things that need my attention in the short-term or mostly in the long term. I would say covid-19 is a huge impact since all the days do run together one to the next.
Thanks for sharing your insights on memory loss as you are able.