As I stood in the middle of Wal-Mart scrutinizing the delightful selection of sponge mops, the hair on my neck began to bristle.
I froze as if a gun was pressed into my back. It dawned on me that I had forgotten what I came for!! Believe me, to drive all the way to Wal-Mart on a weekday, I had better have a darn good reason.
I picked up a few things and got out of there fast – as soon as I could find my car which I swear wasn’t where I left it. This scenario is repeating itself with alarming frequency these days and it’s downright disturbing.
I was trying to think of a movie the other day – you know the one, starring ole what’s his name? I can’t remember the year it came out but I saw it with my best friend whose name escapes me at the moment. It was really funny – but heck, I’ve already forgotten my point.
Naturally, I listened with interest today when “Whatsername” on Good Morning America had an excellent segment on why memory fades in mid-life. She and some expert/author discussed what causes it, what to do about it, what’s normal and what’s not. But most interesting, she announced that a simple antihistamine might hold the key to restoring our memories. I wrote down the name – Dimebon.
You can only buy it in Russia. But I’m booking a flight immediately if I can find my credit card.
I took copious notes to share in case anyone else out there is experiencing those creepy “senior moments.” Unfortunately, I lost the notes somewhere, so this is all that’s left in my overdrawn memory bank:
“As memory lapses occur,” stated the expert (whose name I cannot recall), “we catastrophize about what we’ve forgotten.” I’m in so far, I’m catastrophizing in triplicate.
The more anxious we become, the more likely we are to ruminate ad nauseam, an activity that is guaranteed to make matters worse. (I had forgotten what “ruminate” meant, so I had to go search for the dictionary which I could never find, but you get the idea.)
Next comes that inevitable slide into shame and we lose access to higher-level reasoning that says “Hey, maybe you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
Instead, the primitive brain takes over and you plummet into black-and-white thinking where subtle differences don’t exist. You convince yourself your brain has turned to mush so you sit down in front of the TV and take a nap when you’d be better off taking a vigorous walk. The BIG DECLINE sneaks in unchallenged.
From a purely biochemical perspective, the brain is a three-pound capsule of fat, with the texture of lightly scrambled eggs. (Well that explains a lot and gives new meaning to the term “fat head.”)
The good news is that with all the new technology, our computers can handle all the memory we’ll ever need. We just need to train the dog to boot it up and answer our e-mail.
In the meantime, we can boost our brain power by learning a new language or studying art to use different parts of the brain. Anything that provides steady mental stimulation such as memorizing poetry or learning the steps to ballroom dancing can help to keep brains young.
My own personal regimen involves practicing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” complete with hand motions while sitting on my front porch. But I’ve been getting some pretty strange looks from motorists who probably think I’ve lost my marbles. Well, now that I think about it, they are probably correct but I’m working on getting them back.
They say that for every loss there is a corresponding gain. For me, that might be the day I forget all about forgetting stuff that never mattered very much anyway.