Nov 01, 2011
I have been pretty emotional the last couple of days. I have not cried a little then quickly tried to stop. Never seems like a good time. But I think I need to sit down and have a good cry.
It began while I was reading the old thread about lifestyle changes and coping. Cognitive changes scare the pants off me. That is because I have them. When I read about symptoms I do not have, like incontinence, I think, "There but for the grace of God go I." When I read about cognitive symptoms that are worse than mine, I think, "That is my future. $hit."
This post could come off as really egotistical. But it is honestly something I am really struggling with, and I have a strange compulsion to share. Still, I hesitated. Usually when people realize how smart I am (which I try to avoid), they see me as a freak. I am pretty insecure about it.
I have always been smart. Like off-the-charts smart. Like scored-in-the-99th-percentile-of-the-GRE-without-studying smart. The weird thing is that I did not know I was super smart until earlier this year, when I considered what an IQ of 150 really means. A psychologist friend had made remarked that a child with an IQ of 130 was as different from a regular person as a child with an IQ of 70. Which means that I am as different from a regular person as someone with an IQ of 50? I had never thought of it in those terms, and it was mind blowing.
My intelligence was never something I focused on or really cared about. I took it for granted. I did not realize how good I had it--how easy things were for me. As soon as I did realize the magnitude of this gift, I was incredibly appreciative, and I figuratively high fived my brain daily for the wonderful things it could do. I am a religious person and absolutely consider it a gift from God. I do not think there is anything I did to merit it, and I also did not think it was just chance.
Three months after I recognized what I had, it began to fade.
Sometimes I do not remember how to find something on my computer.
Sometimes I do not know what to put on my toothbrush (note to self: not hand soap).
Sometimes I forget where I am going.
Sometimes I am late because I have trouble determining when I should leave the house. Or do not even realize that I should leave before something starts--forget to consider driving time.
Sometimes I cannot think of the word I want, and I use whatever comes to mind.
Sometimes I misspell words. I scrupulously review everything I write for errors, so it takes me longer to write my many daily emails.
Sometimes I do not understand what people say.
These things do not happen all the time.. maybe not even often.. but to me they are a big deal. Sure, I can implement strategies to support my cognitive problems--I have worked with people who have difficulty with memory, attention, and language. The irony that I am now one of them is not lost on me.
I sometimes laugh at my cognitive lapses. But other times I am scared. Terrified. This is becoming more and more distressing to me. Losing ground in other areas, such as balance and sensation, *****. But losing ground cognitively is different for me. It shakes my self concept, my identity. Without my intelligence, who am I?