I’ve been struggling more and more lately with memory problems. There are so many things in my past that are completely blank, which does have some benefits. However, there are negatives as well. For example, I don’t remember what pushed me over the side and decided to get sober. I don’t remember most of my childhood and I don’t even remember my time in college when I was taking classes on campus.
In addition to my memory problems, I’m also having a hard time finding the right words when speaking. I did some research and found out that this is called Aphasia. There are different types of Aphasia. Mine appears to be Expressive Aphasia, which is when the person knows what they want to say, but has a hard time communicating it to others. I’m worried that this is going to get worse. It’s been pretty difficult and annoying to deal with. I see my psychiatrist at ECT tomorrow morning, so I will probably mention it to him and see what he has to say.
I have so many different struggles that it makes me wonder which difficulties have been there all along, and which ones are side effects of medication or ECT. Something has to change. Whatever it is, I really need to see some improvement. Hopefully I don’t have to wait too long. The three biggest struggles that come to my mind are memory loss, trouble finding the right words when talking (aphasia), and trouble making decisions. I mentioned these issues to my psychiatrist the other day. He told me that the aphasia is most likely caused by the Lithium. High levels of Lithium can cause aphasia in some individuals. Even though my Lithium level is low, it can still cause aphasia. I chose not to make any changes to my Lithium because we are already making a couple big changes such as increasing my Clozapine dose and stopping ECT treatments. It’s not a good idea to make too many changes at once. If something does happen (positive or negative), I wouldn’t know which medication change caused the new effect.
The memory loss is definitely from ECT. Since I have decided to stop doing ECT treatments, I’m wondering if my memory will get better and how long it will take for it to improve. Part of me is curious if my memory will get back to what it used to be; I’ve done 33 treatments and I’m not sure if there are any long-term side effects. Some of my medications, such as Lithium and Tegretol, can also cause memory loss. There is a possibility that some of my memory issues are from the medications, which means it’s possible that my memory won’t return to what it used to be. I guess I just have to wait and see about this issue. I hate waiting.
Problems making decisions is another issue I’m dealing with at this time. This is known to be a difficulty with depression. The only problem is that I still have the same issue when I’m manic or even hypomanic. The problem isn’t going away. I have difficulty making small and large decisions. Sometimes I can’t even figure out what to eat when I’m in my own house. My husband will ask if I want to go do something, like go bowling. I don’t know what I want to do, so I just tell him that I’ll do whatever he wants to do. I think that’s frustrating for him, at least I imagine it would be frustrating. Sometimes, he will ask me if I want something. For example, he will ask if I want ice cream. I respond to him by saying that I don’t need any. Then he tells me that he didn’t ask if I needed any, he asked if I want any. I don’t know how to answer that because I don’t know what I want. I wish this was less difficult to deal with, maybe one day it will get easier.