Staring Into Space
‘Hey you, stop staring into space’. How many times did the teacher at school say that? Your imagination was away in the clouds and you had switched-off completely. When the moment came you could always switch-on again and be back to a fully functioning person
Now you lose the plot
Now when you catch yourself staring into space you are confused, muddled even wracked with guilt. Its not boredom instead you have cognition problems. When you are introduced to someone, you hear their name and then its gone. Is this something as simple as getting old is it or more sinister? Is it a short term memory problem or is it your your concentration?
You won’t go ga-ga
As the multiple sclerosis progresses this becomes a bigger and bigger issue. So now you have got to man-up. Admit that something is not quite right. How do you now adapt and change your life so that you can live with the disability?
The first step is admitting you have a problem, it is called cognition. Whilst frightening, there are management strategies to provide effective methods of lessening if not eliminating the functional effects. So the good news is that you won’t go ga-ga.
Here are five problems
- Memory : The short term memory is affected so find a way to record information.
- Information processing : You have difficulties with being able to follow a series of complex instructions, especially if the information is given rapidly.
- Problem solving : Difficulty breaking a complex task down into smaller and simpler steps. Quite often you become overwhelmed and get stressed or panicky.
- Word finding : Something called called ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon, this is a recall problem rather than the loss of memory for that word. You know the word is there but you cannot remember it.
- Concentration and attention : a lot of information is being delivered to a person at once and only some is relevant, for example where several people are talking at once.
Here are some tricks and tips to help you
This is all stunningly obvious but sometimes its good to be told so you don’t have to think.
- Set up a fixed routine and try to keep things in the same place.
- Get yourself a diary. Write appointments into it straight away. Get into the habit of looking at it last thing at night and first thing in the morning.
- Use the alarm on your mobile phone as a reminder
- Write out a list of jobs that need to be done, prioritize them. The best bit is crossing things off the list as they done.
- Use the timer on the cooker
- Plan the day, avoid jobs that require concentration when you are likely to be tired
- Concentrate on one thing at a time
Yes, the problems I’ve outlined are real and do happen but the tricks and tips will make life a whole lot easier. They really do help me.