How do I explain to people why I can’t remember things?
It’s easy enough with my treatment team; they’re used to dealing with altered states. But as I’m looking at moving more into the outside world, I don’t know how to explain it to laymen.
People think I don’t care. I forget important conversation, and it looks like I don’t care enough about people to remember things about them and their lives. I miss appointments, so I look like I’m careless and don’t value people’s time. I forget birthdays and holidays, I don’t start tasks, I can’t remember e-mails or phone calls or things I’ve read. It makes me look like I just don’t care, and I’m afraid it will ruin opportunities I need–social, educational, and vocational.
Obviously, I’m not comfortable running around telling people that I can’t remember because I have DID and had 29 ECT’s. I like the idea of disregarding stigma to be totally open about my experiences, but in the real world, that’s not they way I do things. A lot of the time, I fall back on my brain surgery as an explanation for my memory problems. In reality, there’s no connection–it may be why I can’t write anymore, and it may be part or all of the cause of my asexuality, but neither the AVM nor the surgery caused memory problems. But brain surgery is a more socially acceptable answer, as long as you don’t mind getting a lot of questions about stuff people saw on Grey’s Anatomy or House.
But after a while, people stop caring about the explanations. Your friends get hurt when you forget their birth. Your boss gets frustrated when you keep forgetting a task you’ve been told to do three times. You’re messing everything up, and the reason stops mattering because you’re creating too much chaos.
Okay, but let’s be real here. This is what I’m afraid of, and I don’t know that this is what’s going to happen. Maybe it’s possible to find a job where I can accommodate for the memory problems. There are friend-type people who are understanding. What’s happening is I’m scared of going back into the world. Scared that I won’t find a place that I fit into comfortably. Scared that I’m too messed up to make it work.
But that is not necessarily reality.