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What It's Like Living With the Short-Term Memory Loss of Functional Neurological Disorder

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I was once a bright student who left school with top grades. A few years later and I struggle to remember something told five minutes ago .

Two and a half years ago I was struck by a rare neurological disorder called functional neurological disorder (FND), which affects the central nervous system and stops the brain from sending the correct signals to the body.

One of my many symptoms from this disorder is short-term memory loss. I can completely forget something said to me even minutes ago. I will sometimes argue with someone that they didn’t even tell me. For someone who once was academically bright it causes great amounts of frustration.

Imagine being able to go from memorizing a whole math course to not even being able to remember where your partner, who left two minutes ago, was going. There have been times when I’ve forgotten he went out at all and have searched the house for him.

Friends, family, and medical professionals even find it hard to comprehend how a young person at the age of 23 can have the memory of an elderly person. In fact, my grandparents have better memories than I do. Can you imagine that?

Not only is memory loss incredibly frustrating, but it also often puts me in danger. I often forget that food is in the oven, only realizing when the house is filling with smoke and the alarm is going off. This makes cooking something dangerous when it should be an easy skill for someone my age.

Due to my age people don’t understand just how bad it affects me, and I’ve had on several occasions people think I’m lying when I say I can’t remember, which only causes further upset.

It really is an isolating and frustrating symptom, one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I only hope this story goes some way in helping people understand that age doesn’t stop an illness’ takeover.

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Stock photo by Zmaj88

Originally published: November 7, 2016
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