I have concluded there are three types of memory.
There is the obvious one that is subdivided into short-term and long-term.
Long term memory is no problem. If anything it’s improving with age and I have discovered [not always happily] that doing my memoirs has brought back a lot more memories of the past. I have still forgotten great swathes of time which is fine. I console myself with the thought that there are few people alive who can remember in detail what they were doing on any random day in the past. Also the longer I live then the more there is to forget so that’s fine too.
The short term memory is definitely taking a plunge. It is possibly evident even on this here site when I scribble about something I have covered in the past but forgotten about. And don’t ask me what I had for dinner last night! I’m not worried about the short term memory as that is just a function of ageing and is to be expected. It’s a sign of normality.
The other two types of memory are weird though.
One is what I would term hidden memory, though some would call it muscle memory. This is where I do something and don’t even remember doing it. Several times I have discovered a fresh mug of tea beside me with no memory of making it. These are the events that I do so frequently that I don’t have to think about them and they fail to register in my consciousness. Sometimes I will find myself standing in front of an open fridge with the sudden realisation that I have filled a kettle, boiled it and poured a mug of tea and am in the process of fetching milk without having thought about any of it. It’s a bit like that phenomenon where you are going for a drive and your mind wanders and you suddenly realise you have covered many miles without any recollection of any of the journey.
The last type of memory is a real bugger. That is false memory. This is where I think I have done something when in fact I haven’t and am remembering doing it on a previous occasion.
I went to bed on Sunday night. I was tired and looking forward to a grand kip. As the clock in the next room chimed twice I was still reading with no hint of sleep to come. Then three. Then four. By five I was really pissed off and was wondering what the fuck was going on. The last time this had happened I had forgotten to load back my evening pills but I distinctly remembered taking them this time. Herself had even reminded me and I had assured her I had taken them. Around half five I finally dropped off. Two hours later I was wide awake again with no chance of any further sleep. I got up and felt like death warmed up.
I made my morning mug and went to take my morning dose and there were last night’s lot staring at me! I distinctly remembered taking them but there they were. I was obviously remembering the previous evening.
Today is the first day this week where I am close to normality. Monday was shit all day and yesterday was a lot better but I still had after-effects.
I have reminders on my phone to ding at me with a message – “meds”.
Now I have added more reminders, five minutes later – “Are you really sure?”