Time and Memories

13 January 2020
So some weirdness has been going on last hmm… month or so? Hard to tell exactly. Our memory has been getting pretty hazy recently. It feels like the days have been melting away pretty fast as well. Now we think it’s likely one of three things, or some mixture of. General stress, medication, and us not sharing memories exactly how we thought. That last one is a pretty heavy subject, but it’s not inherently bad.

So, general stress, like, is there much more we have to say for this? Get stressed out, start having anxiety, spend most days in a pseudo panicked state. We have mentioned this stuff before on this blog a few times. If we don’t spend enough time managing our anxieties they overflow and make life hard. Being stuck in your own head and just dragging through the week makes it pretty hard to take in things that are happening.

Now this would line up quite well time wise too. December was pretty intense. Had mom over for two weeks and our child was here for a full week. Meet three people who we became friends with, two of them we are now in a relationship with. Had that huge user ticket for work that drove us nuts. Not saying all of this is bad, but a lot to take in. And we deal with some bad anxiety sometimes, we can start getting worried at the slightest thing if we aren't keeping on top of our mental health.

But hey, if you read the post yesterday we explain how some more intense stuff happened this month as well. Took us a while, but we have finally calmed down. We managed to sort though enough of our thoughts to eliminate a good amount of anxiety. It’s like… brain grooming. Keep up your mental health, yo. Plus we just need to stick to our calendar and that will help manage so much stress. We have already spent some time breaking down big tasks into smaller ones!

Stopping our medication is another concern, which also adds to the stress of things. There is a chance that it is having some weird effect on us that is causing memory loss. Now that we are looking at it from a more clear point of view, it seems a lot more likely that’s not the case. We think it was more the fear of what might come later as the result of this change in medication. And that fear of a maybe was terrifying.

Before we started adderall we feel like we were slipping in life. Enough to fall… all the way down. We think our steady climb out of almost being homeless has been greatly helped by our bipolar medication. Now how much did it help verses not doing much, hard to say. A lot happened that triggered us to make sure we stayed on this medication every day for 3-4 years.

There are two other options however. What if we made the wrong assumption about the cause and effect. It’s not that staying on our medication made our life better, any of the times we were on it, but that our life being good put us in a position to stay on our medication. Until recently we have not been in a position to really question it. If we are wrong it could be a very bad idea to stop. But, what if we are right?

The other option is that what if the bipolar medication was a bandaid. With a combination of transitioning/HRT, learning about ADHD, starting adderall, breaking out of a heavy dissociation, and learning we are a system. That’s a lot of big huge stuff we have worked though in the last year. What if our bipolar medication was just the solid boost we needed to figure out who we are. ADHD and DID, which we do not consider ourself to have (at least, if at all, any more), are both differential diagnosis for bipolar.

Now here is why stopping our bipolar medication is not worth stressing over. If this is the wrong choice, as in, we should stay on this medication, then it will be a slow burn. In the past our mom and ex wife could tell a difference when we weren't on the medication. We have some good close friends, that we trust deeply, if things start going south, they will get us back on that medication.

Honestly, a big part of why we are doing this now is because that trust in some of these people. If the bipolar medication is not helpful, there is a chance it could be hurtful. At the very least it’s 500mg a day, that’s not good for your liver. We do not like using chemicals to modify our brain unless we know it’s needed, or know how to do it safely, like with drinking. There is a chance dropping this medication will do a lot of good for us, it’s a mood stabilizer, not having it in our system might boost up our emotional response a fair bit, wouldn’t be that surprising.

Now the last one, how much do we share memories with each other? We have managed to categorizes the possibilities into 3 different ideas. We fully share memories, there is one memory between us. We have seperate memories but we immediately share them between each other. We have to offer up memories to each other. Oh also important note if you don’t know. For us, we often are both mostly conscious, as in, even when one of us is fronting, the other one is still present and aware, just not in control.

One memory, that might be a possibility. What if the reason we have felt this memory disconnect isn’t because of not having those memories, but they were less important to one of us so it didn’t hold that much weight to come to the front of that one's mind as quick. Say one of us likes doing x, but the other one is pretty blah about it, it shouldn’t be a surprise if it came to mind quicker for the one who liked it. It’s fully possible that both of us just happened to forget the same things as well. How can you remember what you forgot and all that?

Now if we have been forgetting, that’s a problem too. But one variable at a time, we should wait to see if we can chalk it up to stress/anxiety/medication. It’s likely one of those things could be causing some less than great memory retention. It could also be just a case of we just thought we have been forgetting stuff, but really it just takes a few seconds to recall some things. This whole train of thought could be sparked by simple anxiety, but it’s something important enough, with enough possible evidence, that we should investigate.

Okay, next thing, we share memories immediately. It could be the case that both of us aren't as present at the same time as we thought. So if one of us does something, then we switch to the degree that one goes from not present to present and vice versa, at the same time, and those memories were not transferred over. If that’s the case, we just need to better about handing off memories when we switch. Or just spend more time trying to be copresent throughout the day, in one way or another. Remember, present means some level of conscious. Really this is just something we will have to figure out though testing as we get a better handle on being a system.

Finally what if we can withhold memories from each other. Either a case of, one of us has to ask for memories and/or we can intentionally withhold them. This one is a little scary. It could be a game of spy in our head, and I'm just not aware of it. That isn’t a specific I either, we are pretty sure we both trust each other, but neither of us can be 100% sure of the other. This however is pretty unlikely. We have done enough written communication while showing who is fronting that it’s doubtful that either of us would hold back memories even if we could.

This issue is, what if we don’t fully know how to share memories. Think of it like a new muscle, you just don’t know how to flex it yet. If this is the case, we need to figure that out and work on training up that ability, ideally enough so it becomes basically, if not fully, passive.

So yeah, lots of possibilities for why time and memories have felt so distorted. And the answer, like always, lies in our journal. We have a multi colored pen now, we take notes in the color of who is presenting when writing. We have been doing this for about a week now. As of yesterday, we have started trying to take more notes though the day. Today we have started putting down timestamps, depending on what section of our journal it is.

This can help solve a lot of problems. If we notice one of us does something more often than the other, then this can help correct that problem, well if it is a problem. Like say one of us is better at drinking water throughout the day, or one of us is way better at blogging then the other. With this tool we can help figure out in which areas one or both of us are having problems with. Some of the systems we have set up are designed to keep us healthy after all.

It also can help us figure out ourselves a bit better. Neither of us want to feel tied down to a personality, but more so use it as a tool of self discovery, whether in the moment or long term. There is no reason to not do something new if it feels right after all! But if we figure out though this that one of us likes doing something way more than the other, and we can switch for it, that could make life a lot funner. You know, balance out the work and play more so we both can make the most of it.

Then obviously, this should help us greatly with memory issues. The more we write down that’s color coded and timestamped, the more we can do with it as data. Figure out if we are forgetting or not, to what degree we share memories, learn if this has all just been stress or from the medication. No matter what the case, even if we have just a normal memory and this has all been anxiety, writing down this stuff can be helpful in a lot of other ways.

Woah okay, uhh… not sure we meant to write quite this much. But, to be honest, we are feeling pretty great! We feel like we have finally started to return to some of what makes life feel worth living. We aren't sure how long this peak might last, but it doesn’t matter. Enjoy all the things that are worth enjoying while they are around. Have a good day!