What failing working memory looks like

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I’m in graduate school to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor.  As a Vassar graduate, the work is relatively easy.  (Vassar was rated the second-most difficult school to graduate in a survey by US News and World Report back in the 1990s.)  But if I don’t have tools in place to accommodate my poor memory, mishaps occur.  I missed an assignment by two days because I was sure it was due on Sunday when it was actually due on Friday. I have no idea whether I ever knew the real due date.

An example of a failing working memory for me, or what I can remember, happened like this:

I check the Readings page for the week I have homework due.  I see the homework is on Chapter 4.  Chapter 4. Chapter 4. Chapter 4.  Switch to the Kindle app to find the chapter.  Open Chapter 5.

I only remember this happened, because I double-checked.  Sometimes it takes triple-checking or more.

Last week I had a meeting scheduled for Friday.  Originally we had it scheduled for 11am.  I opened my calendar to see it was set at 2pm.  Hmm, I thought.  Did Google calendar switch to Eastern time? I changed the appointment to 11am.  I leave the house at 10:30 for the meeting.  I decide to email the person I’m meeting to let her know I was on my way.  That’s when I find the email thread that said the meeting changed to 2pm.  My brain was unable to recall the change.  It’s not like I have a calendar full of appointments, because I don’t.  This one meeting was the only one scheduled for the entire day.  It had been planned months in advance all over email.

I can have appointments written on paper and still get it wrong.  There was a period of time pre-PTSD when this never happened.  And I mean never.  Now I struggle moment by moment, because one moment I’m excited to have an upcoming meeting and the next moment forget there is any meeting.

Technology has accomplished great things, but it still hasn’t prevented memory failure.  Still haven’t found an app for that.

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