During the first year of returning to work, there were so many things going on with my body and mind that I had to take note of what was happening to me. Early in the piece, I was just trying to memorize all the weird things that were happening but unbeknownst to me I was to have problems with my memory. As time went by and the list of occurrences were adding up, I found that trying to remember all of them was becoming difficult.
So I started taking diary notes whenever I could for I knew in my gut that something was not quite right. By recording these diary entries, I was able to start proving to myself that I wasn’t going crazy and that there was evidence and consistency of occurrences. Importantly, through recording such occurrences, I had made the discovery that it was my short term memory that was deteriorating and not my long term memory. It didn’t mean much to me from a medical sense for I am no Brain Scientist however it meant that I had narrowed it down somewhat for the medical practitioners to hopefully make some sense of.
Why Crazy? Well everyone all bar my Family, GP’s and Psychologist were telling me that I was ok so I must have been crazy.
As an example, when I would forget things at work, my work colleagues would play it down by saying “don’t worry I forget things all the time”. A similar response would be received from friends where my memory loss occurrences were “just normal”. In writing these examples I am in no means blaming anyone or hurt by these comments for everyone was being honest. They didn’t know what I knew or what I was experiencing…how could they?
These were frustrating times for me for I knew who I was prior to my incident and I knew that my memory was diminishing.
The response from the company Occupational Physicians when I provided them with this new information (short term memory) was more directed towards “I think your beating yourself up too much, we all forget at times”.
I then took this information to my GP with the hope that he may be able to run some more tests or have some insight on what was happening to me. My GP also had concerns about some of the episodes that I was experiencing and so he was to organise another series of tests. There would be many tests to follow throughout the year in order to find out what was happening to me. Apart from my family and Psychologist support, my GP in Karratha was the best medical practitioner you could want looking after you. He was always looking for answers and reviewing his previous assessments to ensure he didn’t miss anything. Most of all he believed me, he saw my pain, my anguish that something was not right with me and could see my desperation for answers. After all, all I ever wanted was to get answers in order to get better. After relocating to Perth, I have been very fortunate in finding a GP that is also very interested in me, my health and wellbeing and getting me the right specialists to assist in my recovery.
So why wasn’t anyone else listening to me…actively listening that is. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer to this.
I have thought about this at length and had many conversations with my wife about why my voice was not being heard. In relation to work colleagues and friends, there was a valid reason for they were genuinely trying to make me feel better about myself. When it came to company Occupational Physicians, I felt they were more on the level of passive listening as a pose to active listening. The majority of appointments with these professionals would usually end in frustration and worst case scenario tears. I always felt discounted!
Passive listening is not much different from hearing. For instance, many of us have found ourselves in situations where our minds would drift, we would lose our motivation in listening and consider the information we hear as a background noise or pretend that we’re listening just to be polite. We think that we are listening, but in fact we are simply letting this information go past our brain.