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Meds, Memory Loss and My Support System

Approximately three years ago I started noticing that something wasn’t quite right. At first it was little things, like putting my glasses in a desk drawer instead of on my nightstand like I normally would. That was just the beginning. It progressed rapidly. Within months I was forgetting things more often. I would have a doctor’s appointment and instead of going to my doctor’s office, I would almost arrive at one of my children’s doctor’s offices before realizing I had forgotten where I was going. It would take several minutes of concentration before remembering where I was supposed to be going. Eventually, my memory issues were so bad that I was forgetting whole conversations. For instance, the week before spring break a couple of years ago, my ex-husband called and wanted to know what day I wanted to meet him so Bee could spend spring break with him and his family. We got into a huge argument because I had made plans for us for spring break. However, he insisted that I had told him he could have spring break visitation. I argued that we had not spoken about it previously. Finally, we agreed to share spring break. Later, my mom told me I had previously told her that Bee’s daddy was going to spend spring break with her. Again, I argued that I didn’t remember having that conversation, but my mom was insistent that I had.

I finally consulted my doctor about it. She decided it would be best for me to see a neurologist. After several tests to make sure there were no tumors or other abnormalities in my brain, the neurologist decided it was probably medication related. Several of the meds I was on could cause dementia after prolonged use. So he changed some meds and added a new one. The main reason for this medication was to slow down and/or improve memory cognition. My PCP also did some blood work and discovered I was extremely B12 deficient. So on top of the med changes, I now have to have a B12 injection monthly.

Gradually, the memory loss was getting less noticeable. However, three years after the beginning of my memory issues, I am starting to have issues again. I was told that the B12 had been as affective as it was going to be. Now I live with the short term memory cognition on a daily basis. My children are more aware of the issue and try to help. For instance, if I don’t hang my keys up by the door, the girls will find them wherever I misplaced them and hang them up. I misplace money often throughout the house and they try to keep up with my coming and going. It scares me to think where I might be in the next five years. As I have learned, medication can only take you so far. I have a support system in place to help me out when I am having a particularly bad time. Before I do anything, I always let my girls know where I’m putting something. I usually don’t go anywhere by myself anymore. I have an outrageous fear that one day I won’t remember how to get home. I try to plan ahead as often as possible. As I said before, I have a support system in place to help me during difficult times. Currently, my biggest issue is not being able to remember whether or not I have taken my medicine. I have taken steps to try to keep up with that. I have a pill box and that helps. However, I sometimes forget to fill it. My girls are teenagers and very capable of helping me out as much as possible. The most important thing I have learned from this experience is it is important to have a strong support system and realize you don’t have to do things alone. I have always been very independent. It scares me to think how far these issues will progress, but with help from family, I know I am not alone.

Read the rest of Angel’s blogs for IBPF here and check out her personal blog here.

Comments

This describes my situation 100%. I'm going to my Neurologist today and showing him this article. thanks!

I too have memory loss. I thought it was my age or that I had had ECT years ago. I'm going to check with my doctor to see if my meds need to be changed or blood work done. Thank you for your post.

I can't remember when it started (memory loss both long term and shortterm). I was so afraid I was getting early dementia like my mother, so a neuropsychiatrist tested me for hours. It was so confusing that I stopped the test, sobbing. The resulting diagnosis was medication-related memory dysfunction. I am so sad. I can't remember much of my daughters' early childhoods. My dear husband patiently tells me the stories my brain have lost. I can't remember why I go from room to room, and I consult my phone calendar frequently throughout the day. I too take B12. This has progressed over years, and I, too, am fearful of the future. It is scary to know I will lose the little memory I still have now.

Cognitive impairment is a common bipolar disorder symptom. A cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new skills, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. It forced me to give up trying to old a job when I was 60. I had gone from college professor and Ph.D. candidate to a telemarker and I couldn't hold that job.One study notes that we have an increased risk for dementia.

Sorry about your losses. I am in the same boat. I'm also working on my Doctorate, but I'm not sure if I can complete it. My memory lapses are getting worse and worse every year and I can't remember anything. I have to study much harder and longer than other students and at times I wonder, if it's even worth it. By the time I'm finished, I may forget most of the stuff I studied for. I often worder, if I could even effectively lecture:( It's truly sad.

Thank you for your comments. I've been struggling with increasing memory loss over the past few years. - Mostly short term. It is now to the point whereby I am often embarrassed by it and outright scared by the severity. My doctor had chalked it up to "age" but I am only 50. Thanks to this blog I will now ask for a specialist's opinion.

I'm 46 and at 35 I was evaluated for early Alzheimer disease, no need to say I was freaking out. Could it be cognitive impairment? Maybe it is. What else can this illness take away from us?

I struggle with memory loss. I thought that it must be a brain tumor causing the problems. I suffer with bipolar depression. I can't hold down a job or really take care of myself. I have problems leaving my home. I know I will need to seek help from a specialist. Reading the other blogs have helped in some way.

I sure do feel better knowing I'm not alone. I'm in my late 30's and I'm struggling with memory loss. First noticed it a couple years ago, my pcp and psych dr are both aware. And the frightening thing I worry about is will I ever get my memory back. Of course I like many of you worry about Dementia. Obviously it's both medication related and just the illness itself. I do however notice that when I'm more active with excersise that it's less noticeable. I see my psychiatrist again soon and will revisit this with her. I've been on the same meds almost 10 years, it's definitely a trade off. I wish you all peace and wellness.

Why do we feel like we have to accept brain damage and organ damage as the price to pay for stability? My labs are abnormal for kidney's and liver, I have a high calcium level in my blood and a heart murmur. Three times before I had a high blood calcium and a second test was done but it was not rechecked periodically. I watched my liver enzymes change before they became abnormal but since they were within normal limits, the doctor seemed to think they were okay. My brother went into kidney failure because a psychiatrist put him on lithium when he was on a certain diuretic and this interfered with kidney function. NO one figured out that he was on a bad combination of meds for him for the longest time and he got so filled with fluid that he had bags of it in his lymph tissue and could not even care for himself. Basically medication killed my brother. His coroner said that half the deaths he sees are from medications that kill people. So, why is is acceptable to let your organs and brain be damaged in order to live a stable life? Sorry, I am sixty one and I want to live past my eighties, so I am quitting ALL meds and I am not even going to take a tylenol in the future.

I quit taking my benzo this is my 79th day going free med. Being prescribeb by my doctor for i had been psychotic last feb. 13 .my last dose was on May .And since then i thought my meds are working but it is not. Im supplementing with turmeric tea, coconut oil and fish oil since then. I'm praying to God to help me in my healing journey..

I am using Epitec 100mg twice a day for bipolar disorder. It causes memory loss. Wonder if there is any other medication for bipolar that will not cause memory loss.

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