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Monday, January 20, 2014

Stronger focus, weaker memory: Is this improvement, or just a point within a cycle?

Though my memory still seems to be slipping, my focus is definitely improving. I was recently able to stay focused long enough to create a complex interaction of Google calendar events that allowed me to accurately post whether to expect income in the current week, based on a set of cycling events that are independent of each other, but contribute to the probability of receiving money.

I STILL, in the 34th month since my accident, do not have disability income. I am supported by a combination of regular gifts from family and a constant stream of unpredictable anonymous gifts, which I supplement by taking out retirement money at an alarming rate, since there is little likelihood I will ever be able to restore what I withdrew.

I remain unable to do PROFITABLE work. There's a difference between being able to work, and being able to work at a rate that makes employing me profitable for an employer who must pay minimum wage, when I frequently am not capable of putting in more than two hours of profitable work across twenty-four hours. I have no possibility or capability of supporting a family, or even myself at this point, and having been in this position for long enough that statistics suggest I'm as good as I'm going to get is frustrating, but I'm not without hope of beating those statistics some day.

Not being able to consistently stay focused for periods of time long enough to get things accomplished is my greatest disability. I can usually appear fine to others for a short period at a time, and I always try to do my best every moment of every day. In certain situations in which I am working with someone else who IS focused, I can stay at a job and improve their productivity enough to consider that work profitable, but I don't know many jobs that provide "focus coaching" throughout the work day, and some days my focus gets so bad that it leaves me in a confused state of mind that would make it dangerous for me to be away from home in that condition.

But our Social Security Disability system was not designed to recognize and deal with my kind of situation. To them, disability is an "on or off" situation, and focus tests tend to produce false results, because the test itself acts as a coach to keep me on-track. Left to my own devices, I start the day making a work list, get two or three things accomplished, and then hit an item that forces me to endure distractions that in combination with limited of short-term memory put me in a cycle of pointless repetitive efforts, resulting in hours disappearing from the clock as I aimlessly wander from one distraction to another, feeling more and more fatigued, and eventually believing I finished something because I remember starting it.

It is amazing how many evenings I go to bed feeling satisfied with a day well spent, only to awaken the next morning with no recollection of doing anything the previous day, and no evidence that I DID do anything!

Life at this moment is frustrating!

(and since limited event memory means "now" is always the only reality I know, it feels as if life is always like this, but I am intelligent enough to know from reading my own notes that what I feel is not necessarily real)

(Graphic was adapted from an image found at

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