During a routine MRI after my daughter was born, a frontal meningioma was found – that is a small tumor in the brain sac likely benign. I was told at the time not to worry about it. In 2013, I asked the doctor specifically if follow-up was needed. He said no unless there were new symptoms. For about the last two years, I have been experiencing additional anxiety and short-term memory loss. I am unsure whether these are signs of the bipolar condition progressing with age or are symptoms of the meningioma pressing on the frontal lobe.
Friday, I had an MRI of the brain and should know the results next week. There is a part of me that is hoping it is pressure on the frontal lobe so that once removed my anxiety and memory loss should be better. It is craziness to think that way, but there you have it.
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.