Cognitive Deficits

Looks like I came down again for good – no further euthymic phases during the last 48 hours. Which does not mean that I’m doing poorly; quite the opposite. My legs hurt earlier, but I managed to relax them and went for a long walk outside.

Yesterday, I borrowed a text-book for students of psychology from the library, because I want to understand what’s going on better. My therapist always explains everything to me, but if I asked every question which pops up in my mind in between, we’d never actually get to work on my problems.
I’ve always collected as much information as possible about topics that are on my mind a lot, but only now I find myself actually able to do it. Just a few weeks ago, I still lacked the ability to concentrate sufficiently, not to mention the energy. If there is a drop of regret, it is that I was not able to chronicle the whole therapy properly due to those reasons; I’ll have to depend on my unreliable memory for that.

Cognitive deficits are among the most scary symptoms of depression. It is one thing to lie on the sofa without moving for hours on end, and an entirely matter if suddenly you cannot remember facts you usually knew, if your memory gets clouded and you cannot carry on the most simple conversation without frantically searching for words. My brain always had been the one part of my body that I could count on, and suddenly that started to fall apart. More and more often, I would feel like having a wall of opaque glass in my head – I could still tell there was something behind it, but there was no way to access it.
There were days when I was scared about this, especially in the beginning – if your grandmother has Alzheimer’s, that can make you worry quite a bit. Later I had started to accept this state as a given, but still mourned the lost capacities. I could hardly believe it when not too long ago the first cracks appeared in the glass wall, and ever since the impairment has slowly started to crumble away.
Before starting therapy, I had tests done at the hospital where I did not perform too badly, but sitting through exam-like tasks is different from losing personal retention, because on the former you get concrete feedback immediately, but the latter you do not notice immediately. You only know that the recollection of an event, for example, is gone if someone else mentions it and you cannot recall it at all, or if you are asked to name certain situations and draw a blank when searching through your memory for it.
In the very first therapy session, we did an anamnesis of my depression history and I actually had to look through old diaries to get this right, because in my head it was a huge jumble at best. Five months later, this has become a lot easier; I have access to a lot of memories again that were temporarily lost.

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3 thoughts on “Cognitive Deficits

  1. You just described perfectly how I have been feeling with my bi-polar depression over the last few weeks..this ‘I would feel like having a wall of opaque glass in my head ‘ sums it up perfectly. It’s been horrible. I’m struggling.
    Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll be following this blog intently now that I have found it:)

    1. Thank you; glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels that way! I’ve had the “glass wall” for over two years and realizing that it can also go away again has been such a huge relief…
      I hope you’ll get rid of it soon – it’s so incapacitating. Best of luck!

  2. Pingback: Cognitive Deficits Revisited: Coca Cola Addiction | Lugubrious Layara

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