Traumatic Brain Injury and Memory Loss

Let's face it - my memory in addition to a few other things, has not been the same since I sustained a traumatic brain injury TBI 16 years ago. The life and person I knew disappeared that day. Along with my short-term memory issues, TBI has created many struggles for my family and me.

Two big issues I struggle with are my short-term memory and multitasking abilities, which never were troublesome pre-TBI. I was able to remember names, faces, dates, family and friends' birthdays without trouble. I kept our family's schedule like clockwork, never missing a beat. Life today is very different -if things aren't written down, for example a doctor's appointment, running errands, returning calls or remembering appointments, I will undoubtedly miss them. My cell phone has become an invaluable tool for me. It helps me keep track of my entire life. My schedule, my son's schedule, social events, birthdays, holidays; just about anything I need to remember goes into my phone calendar. I have a standard phone without any bells and whistles, but it does have notepad which comes in very handy when I need to write something down and don't have a pen and paper. I no longer can rely on my memory for those tasks. I try to use any tool I can to help me get through each day.

My multitasking days are over. Doing two tasks at once is simply out of the question now. There once was a time when I could talk on the phone, do laundry and/or cook dinner at the same time all while helping my children with their homework. That certainly doesn't happen anymore. I have to concentrate diligently on one task at time. Moreover, concentrating take a lot more energy that it did pre-TBI. When I'm working on a project, or daily task, I cannot tolerate diversions. This includes music, TV, background noise and talking - I need silence. When there is too much commotion going on while I'm trying to complete a task, I can be easily overwhelmed. When I'm overwhelmed, I get cranky and frustrated. The best thing for me is to take things one-step at a time. Keeping a list of tasks or a "to do list" also helps me from getting too overwhelmed.

The limitations I now experience are hard to accept, and to be truthful, on some days, I still have problems dealing with them. For example, I still hate the fact that laundry doesn't get done in a day; rather, I try to do a small load every day. Many times this does not go over well with my son (nor did it sit well with my ex-husband) but adjustments must be made. If my son needs something washed and I didn't do it, he is quite capable of doing his laundry himself. The fact that I must use a calendar for my life doesn't thrill me, but I simply cannot keep every detail of my life in my head since my TBI.

Working within my limitations generally helps me stay on task, prevents me from getting overwhelmed, and helps my life run a bit smoother. Are there things you do in your life that help you from getting overwhelmed or staying on task? Would you share them with me?

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