Recorded scrap of paper – 16 November 2013 1:33PM

November 16, 2013 1:33PM

Concentration is incredibly difficult for me, amongst other things. There’s a lot of examples, but this morning is a pretty good example. Something real simple.

In the mornings I have a much easier time, making breakfast. There’s a much higher percentage of chance that I can do that. But come lunchtime, absolutely  by dinner time, my abilities are lessened.

But at any rate, this morning, about 8 o’clock this morning, so I was about as fresh, uh, about as fresh as I can get as far as mental sharpness and abilities and such. And uh, I made my waffles. I made 3 of them. Aedan decided he wanted one. Which was difficult for me to process splitting what I just had into another plate and giving him one. Super simple, but it was tough for me. But what I’m trying to record about was we have some guys downstairs working on the basement.  And um, as I was putting the waffles on my plate, one of the guys said ‘hey Michael I got a question for you, can you come here’ or whatever it was.  And it was a total shift of course of subject from ‘I’m eating my waffles’ – which takes a lot of concentration – Making them does, walking there, moving my arms, everything.  Every little step involved in that – reaching your hand to go get the waffles, everything takes intense concentration.  And so when this guy asked me – or even mentioned my name –  it broke my concentration. Sort of like what you do to a dog when he’s sniffing something you don’t want him to go towards, you break his concentration.  Well the same thing happens for me in that I don’t seem to have much working memory, just the guy downstairs bringing up my name snapped me out of that concentration of accomplishing a task which was getting the waffles onto my plate. Then I had to get a fork, which was another step, which irritates my brain anyway. But when this guy called my attention, I couldn’t seem to switch at all back to my waffles.  I dropped them on the counter, wherever they were and I had to go handle that. Um, because his question was important. And my instinct is to just try and respond to whatever anybody does or says, uh – still.  So I just put my waffles down wherever they were, I wasn’t even thinking about it. I think it was the countertop, and then later came back to them.

It was a real struggle trying to pick back up where I was – to figure out “okay, uh, where was I” … I had to get them on the plate. “They’re not on the plate, they’re on the counter – uh…  I got to get them from the counter to the plate. Shit… I need a fork. Uh… fork…” and… and I get frustrated about needing a fork because then it breaks my concentration from trying to sit down and eat. Anyway, its extremely difficult. No matter what it is – no matter who asks me what. Any break in concentration from what I’m trying to do is tough because I generally cant get back to the spot where I was when I was distracted. Sp that might mean that if, say, for the past month Im solely concentrating on trying to get words out… or solely concentrating on just getting  through the day because my baseline’s lower – or whatever it is.

Um, if Nikki asks me if I want to eat something, for example. Of course I do, and I will. But that’s something – that’s something that’s a departure from whatever it was I was trying so hard to concentrate on. Even if that was just movement from one place to another. It’s gotten better in that it’s not as painful – but there’s a physical sensation. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it pain or what. But there’s a physical sensation and I feel tunneled. My vision feels tunneled and I get very detached, even more so. Uh, this is so hard to explain. But mentally I get a big detachment and I almost feel tunneled (my vision) and I’m so disoriented.  When that man called my name this morning, and all I was trying to do was sit down to eat my waffles – that’s how basic my functioning really is. And that’s how hard I have to concentrate to accomplish these things at all, or to stand a chance at accomplishing something.  Even just walking, everything I do takes intense concentration.  I find myself, now that I’m struggling harder to pay closer attention to my everyday –  which I don’t like to do because you’ll go crazy if you do.  But anyway, I’m trying to pay more attention to it. And I notice how much I concentrate on every little step – still after 5 years.

I remember this in the chair (where I was bedridden for almost 18 mos), if someone was calling me and the phone was right next to me, I knew I wanted to answer it so I could scream HELP – so someone could come help me. But I just couldn’t process how to move my arm – even if I COULD move my arm and most days I couldn’t – but on the days where I could at least move my arm enough to grab the phone or something, I couldn’t process and make my arms or body do that. Which is more of a mental disconnect.  I couldn’t understand the steps I needed to take and couldn’t get myself to take them. I was very confused about the process of reaching to pick up the phone.  So I remember that, but I guess I’m sort of shocked at how it still affects me every day.  I’ve just learned to cope and adapt.

But today was a good example in that it’s something so horribly minor, you know. That guy just calling my name is what did it. And I was doing something so super simple. Which is just trying to get my waffles from the toaster, which I was able to do.  But then I had them in my hands and somewhere in between the toaster and the plate, the guy called my name. And that was it.

I was frustrated, but I hid it very well. But its very frustrating for my brain and I cant help but be frustrated.

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