"All alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days. I was beautiful then."
Sorry for some reason I couldn't help myself. I've never even seen that musical and I think cats (as in felis catus) are lame. Sorry cat people. I'm a dog person. Okay I'm going to stop being tangential and get to the point: memories and memory in general. Mine is declining and I have to say I'm not a fan.
I was diagnosed in 2011 but have exhibited symptoms longer than that. I'd like to write more about my journey from the beginning but my memory has the order all jumbled. I used to have almost total recall, what's really called eidetic memory.
Relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.
Some popculture examples being: Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper (Big Bang Theory), Dr. Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds), Shawn Spencer (Psych), Olivia Dunham (Fringe), Mozzie (White Collar), Brick Heck (The Middle), Charlie Andrews (Heroes), Mike Ross (Suits), Lisabeth Salander (Larsson's Millenium Triology), and Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting).
Although my memory wasn't truly eidetic like Reid's I did very well in high school without studying. I didn't need to. If I paid attention in class and did the assignments, I was golden. I remembered images and although the pictures may not have been perfect, they were pretty clear. Now it's a lot harder and I have very little control over what I remember. It seems like the things I recall best are really random bits I'm probably never going to need or the things I'd rather forget. The pictures are gone and it's like trying to look at a photo album in an unventilated room with a smoke machine.
When catching up with friends I often start off by asking "Did I tell you about...?" to save them from the awkwardness that comes with deciding whether or not they should tell me this conversation has already happened.
Lupus.org refers to this phenomenon as lupus fog.
"The term "lupus fog" is almost universally known to people with lupus. The phrase reflects the difficulty that you may have in completing once-familiar tasks, such as remembering names and dates, keeping appointments, balancing your checkbook, or processing your thoughts. Properly termed "cognitive dysfunction" or "cognitive impairment," this inability to recall information can be extremely frustrating. These symptoms may come and go, but may also be continuous, making school or work difficult or even impossible in extreme cases. People with both lupus and fibromyalgia are even more likely to experience cognitive problems."
I was prescribed a stimulant a few months ago and I have found it helpful. It allows me to focus which I definitely appreciate and I believe it has also helped my short term memory. But the long-term stuff that's gone will probably stay gone. There's no quick fix or magic pill. Not for Lupus. Not in life. Where would the fun be in that? ;)