My brain is letting me down. It’s ageing. I didn’t agree to this. I didn’t sign up for it.
You can give me laughter lines. I’m happy for my nipples to swing like clock pendulums. You can grey my hair and fuzz my chin, but for the love of all that is holy, please leave my memory alone.
I used to be able to glance at a room and that was enough. I would remember where everything was. I’d already built a map, floor plan, wall plan. I already knew where the sockets were, where the cracks lay, where the carpet didn’t meet the corner properly. It was minimal effort on my part.
But now I have to look. I have to take note. I have to remember.
I used to have a world without diaries and planners. I hate lists. I loathe making them. I loathe looking at them. It wouldn’t matter if it was a year in the future, I used to remember the date and the time. My plans weren’t just for today, they overlaid everything.
The first time I forgot an appointment I was shocked.
“It’s ok. It happens.” I was told. But it didn’t. It hadn’t. It had never happened before in my entire life. I did not forget things.
As time went by I forgot more and more. My memory is still much better than average, but it’s nowhere near what it was. I used to be a sponge. I used to just soak it all up.
Now it feels like my sponge is full. I have to carefully squeeze it so as not to let memories fall out when I let new ones in.
What that has meant for my autism is more effort being put into the already over-laden process of processing.
It’s meant more exhaustion. It’s meant more anxiety as it makes going to new places harder than it once was.
The effect of normal memory deterioration on my life is stark.
Perhaps it was the beginnings of really needing some support.
But at the moment my memory is still good. It still has capacity.
I know this is only the beginnings. I know there will be more. I know that as I age I will lose more and more of one of my biggest crutches.
Take my waist.
Take my teeth.
Take my bladder control.
But please leave me my memory.