Cognitive Health

Soooooooo I have realised that I have cognitive health issues. I am impaitent and if a task me to long I dont want to do it. Do anyone else have these issues.

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Yep, we all have to a greater or lesser and fluctuating degree. Our challenges are a complex mix of factors so while it’s highly unlikely anyone has the same as you it’s a near certainty that we all share multiple aspects with many others

Was there any element(s) upper most in your mind ATM?

The mental oomph to get on with stuff is one I share, I raised an element and others responded y’day here about how illness makes it worse

Caio
Simon

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Many of the cognitive conditions that have manifested post stroke for me, have both detractions and benefits. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with OCD and through therapy managed to subdue it to a manageable level, but after stroke it seems to have blossomed again, but I do find I can put it to good use, as long as I am wary of letting it “control” me. For instance, cleaning, fixing things precisely, getting things as close to how I want them, keeping house, seeing things through, all are now much more satisfying than prior to stroke. I also have a limited impulse control socially, which means I get to talk to a lot more people. Prior to stroke I would consciously avoid being socially interactive in public but now I can’t help myself, even chatting with people’s dogs on the street. This also has its negative side but in the scheme of my life, that is narrowed down to only a finite few situations. Post stroke, emotionally I have developed an almost adolescent emotional state which has been for me one of the most difficult mental complications, as I am an inbetweeny-bopper at the age of forty-seven, to manage, I have yet to find a useful consequence of this :joy: and am steadily working my way through methods of handling it responsibly, so that it doesn’t work against me. Another result of my brain injury is being unable to recognise patterns of information, so I have to approach tasks in steps, this I have found provides me with a better understanding of processes because I have thoroughly mapped it out as opposed to getting the gist and missing out on detail.

So, aye, it can be infuriating and obstructive but it can also be used constructively and fruitfully if compartmentalised or applied to compatible scenarios.

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This is in my humble opinion one of the dysfunctions of society

The neurotypicals account for 40% of the population.
So the rest of us - that is the 60% who exhibit characteristics that are not exhibited by the 40% - are labelled divergent and then your great attention to detail is categorised as a compulsive disorder - when in fact its a huge strength that not everybody has recourse to.

Those same typicals the ones that lack attributes so they call the ones who don’t divergent tsk!

I guess I’d be slightly surprised if you haven’t already looked up the long list of strengths that are prevalent in those branded with these negative labels - if chairman is a word that carries so much implied meaning as to have to be removed from normal vocabulary to assist gender equality then what damage has OCD and all the other similar labels bestowed (and by the way it’s CDO you have to get the letters in the right order. )

I too have conversations with people’s dogs :slight_smile: I know not to make eye contact with the nervous until they have indicated that it’s not stressing them too much etc. I have occasionally pondered that if (for example) a bird of prey has so much greater acuity of eyesight than humans maybe a dormouse (indeed every other species) has much deeper emotional attachment to its mate (etc) than humans?

If you’ve got an hour or 30 minutes at double speed (1½ to 1¾ is more doable) you might like

Caio
Simon

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At first when I saw the thumbnail, (Is this kind of embedded media now referred to as a thumbnail? It’s much larger, perhaps a palm print?), I thought you were sharing with me a children’s parable, but then I spotted you on the right hand side and read the title. I shall have look later this evening.

They tend to break OCD into two categories, physical and mental, I had the physical type of OCD as a child, of course it is still mental which is what has resurfaced more now after stroke, but it really disrupted my life as a youngster. An example, I would head off to school, and before getting there would turn back and go home again only to unlock and lock the door again to my house. This would occur three or four times, making me late for school. I had to feel the key hit a certain amount of pressure on my fingers, until a satisfactory imprint was made on my thumb before satisfied that the door was locked proficiently. And it really dominated everything I did, whether walking into a room several times, unnecessarily, because I didn’t feel I had walked into a room sufficiently the first time :joy: to constantly needing to turn objects around in my house so that they were just so, unable to leave them alone. After stroke, I can feel some of this OCD has resurfaced but I can manage it better because I have the cognitive tools I learned as a child. But I agree with you, neurotypical as a construct should not be a solution to divergency, and divergency, is in itself, evolution.

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Hi there!

Can you please go more into depth when you talk about “my brain injury is being unable to to recognise patterns of information”? I am trying to understand what you mean by that exactly.

Thank you and take good care of yourself.

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Sure, I will attempt to excavate it as best I can. As an example, making a cup of coffee. My memory knows how to make a cup of coffee for myself. But when I first had the stroke, I couldn’t work out the order of coffee, milk, hot water, and had to take each step at a time in order re-learn this simple procedure which I had known all my life (Well, most of it anyway). Sometimes even now, when my symptoms are severe or I am fatigued, I have to work out the pattern, slowly, in my mind before going ahead with it. That’s why routine has become, immensely, important for me. I wrote elsewhere on the forum about how the damage to my right side of the cerebellum caused problems with parsing sentences, I couldn’t work out the syntax when writing … subject, verb, object, prepositions … I jumbled, and kept making the same errors. It took a lot of practice to re-learn the pattern again. I never watched sports before stroke, but I knew the basic rules, but now if someone were to describe to me the rules of cricket, I doubt I could go out and play without needing to go through every procedure of events. That’s why I’m glad my favourite sport to watch is Robot Wars :joy: … two robots, enter arena, bash each other to bits. Easy. When I go to the supermarket, I consciously need to guide myself through the checkout routine. Groceries on conveyor belt, heavy items first, dividers between each customer’s items, pack bag, pay for items. If this pattern is changed, I stumble. For instance, I nearly fell apart recently because the check-out operator scanned a lighter item over a heavier item that was subsequent to it. I just held it in my hand, wondering what to do with it, I ended up tossing it aside, knocking over my cane, and all chaos detonated in my head. More complex patterns of information just don’t compute unless I break them down into digestible cognitive chunks, then I am okay. If there is something I am told or have to undertake, and my brain doesn’t recognise the pattern of it, it might as well not exist. This problem is quite relevant to cerebellar stroke damage because the cerebellum not only plays an important role in movement coordination, but it also plays a role in the cordination of mental sequencing. Imagining in your head how something is going to fit together and coordinate, not just physical things but also conceptual things.

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Thank you so very much for that! I really, really understand now. I see: your brain freezes, and you are just clueless about what to do. It happens when things are not in their proper sequence, etc. In other words, when anything confuses your brain. I get it! You might know what to do next, but your brain won’t let you. It’s very strange.

Can this ever get better over time?

Please take good care, friend.

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I believe it can get better, I was listening to one of Richard E Grant’s audio books (Or was it John Cleese, I can’t remember), and he mentioned an actor who would go away and learn his lines at least about two hundred times until it was completely effortless. I think with that analogy, an actor that has his lines so embedded that it is almost completely, if not completely natural can then easily welcome improvisation without being thrown. An actor who needs to consciously deliver his lines will get thrown by any improv because it disrupts the pattern. I think so too with patterns of information, once they become as natural as can be, the brain will accept any surprises and be able to handle them. Diolch yn fawr Matthew, I will take care, even on a rubbish day (Or yin/yang day, as Roland puts it) like today when my symptoms beleaguer me, around midday, and all I can wish for is the passing of time to go quickly before feeling the time is reasonable enough to excuse me getting into bed and sleeping my way to tomorrow.

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I just wanted to add, it’s not just the brain that freezes, when these things occur, I feel as if life itself freezes. :joy:

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A belated welcome to the forum from me :people_hugging: :blush: And yes, as everyone else has said cognitive issues go with the territory :face_with_diagonal_mouth:
My brain unravels into a tangled ball whenever anything gets too complex, I just have to drop and run and hope my family will pick up where I left off :sweat_smile: It’s not so much that I’ve become impatient, it’s just that things I used to be able to do are now too complex for my brain to process in the same timely manner it did before the stroke. Fortunately for me my family find it amusing if not hilarious when I do that sometimes and they are all so patient and tolerant of me when I abandon ship. But I’m not as bad as I was two years ago, so I am making progress :smile:

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I think that’s a way better description. Thank you!

You better take care, and don’t give up!!

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@Rups, Wow! You and @EmeraldEyes must be in my head. You have described exactly what it is like.

I should be hearing from NeuroPhyscology very soon so schedule a memory test. I suspect I will do fine with that, which seems to make no sense, as I have been complaining about my memory. I will likely be sitting in a chair, and they will likely ask me to do very easy tasks, and ask silly questions, just like right after stroke.

I don’t know what to call my issues. I have been saying I am working on Executive Functions. Planning, Organizing, etc…but after doing this the entire winter, I don’t feel very accomplished.

Coffee is the one that hit me…exactly as described. Remembering the steps to actually make a phone call- unlock the phone after 2 or 3 attempts accidently touching a wrong number in the code or trying to dial when I need the lock code, try to remember what the app icon looks like to dial a call. Trying to find the contacts and how did I save it…finally make the call, can’t remember what I was calling about, which starts the anxiety, which makes it hard to find any words to explain what I need.

And another problem is getting distracted. I sat down at this computer to pay a bill before it was late. I still haven’t but now it is late.

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I am to understand that that is your working memory that becomes foggy (part of executive function). Short term memory is short for everyone, I think three or four seconds before it makes a decision whether it wants to keep a bit of information or toss it. I can remember how to make a cup of coffee, it’s just that my brain can’t apply that memory in order to make use of it. It’s funny, I spend a lot of time reminding people around me of particulars because they all have perhaps too much of a good working memory which overrides long-term memory, whereas, my working memory has gone, temporarily, phut.

I am convinced that memory can be trained, early on in post stroke rewiring, I began relying on associative memory skills to help me get through the week, and three years later, I find I have a rather reliable associative memory and can use it proficiently. I think the biggest hurdle for stroke survivors and memory is that all the other issues our brain needs to address obstructs memory, and that is what gets in the way, not memory function itself. The fact that we need to work harder at these implicit things makes it harder because we exhaust our mental energies before getting to what we want to achieve. All this deliberation is surely set to make us wise sages in our late Winter years.

I hope you are doing okay today :grin:

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Pic 1 is me doing a straight forward task or whatever
Pic 2 is me doing a more complex task…
Pic 3 is me failing to complete that task…

3 years ago pic 3 would have been me just making a cup of tea, making a phone call or accessing the computer.
A week ago pics 2 and many many of pic 3’s, was me trying but failing abysmally to set up my new phone after running the old one through the washing machine :crazy_face: That was when I’d leave a problem to big son :blush: or daughter or hubby :laughing: Pic 2 was me keeping them close at hand should I need them :sweat_smile:
And yet, pic 1 was me burning all my music onto the computer from cd’s then downloading it to my phone and setting up a play list for the gym, go figure :crazy_face:
Pic 2 was me buying my new car last summer…keeping hubby close at hand should I have needed him to take over :smile:

Pic 1 is me making a cup of tea or doing laundry today.

Me using the pics above is my aphasia not being able to put all this into words that paint a picture people can understand. I think I’m going to get myself a t-shirt with those pics printed on it, because it describes my brain to ‘T’ :blush:

@healingmysoul72 this is you, this is me, this is every stroke survivor :blush:

If say a task is going to take too long, just look and see if it can it be broken down into stages, smaller and more manageable chunks and 3 is always the magic number :smile:
And it can help to reduce impatience and frustration in yourself. It gives your brain a pattern or rhythm or routine to work by and most importantly of all, a goal! And don’t beat yourself up when you don’t complete a chunk. You are a work in progress and you will get there in the end. Your world won’t end if you fail to complete a task, this time, there’s always a next time to succeed :wink:

The brain loves a goal, a completion date or time or whatever, it gets a great deal of satisfaction from reaching its goal. So if you break down a task into 3 sections, that’s 3 lots of satisfaction your brain gets from completing each section of the task. Each time you are triggering those feel good Endorphins our brains are addicted to.

image

Music with a rhythmic beat is another method that can be used to complete tasks, achieving goals etc., triggering the endorphins thus staving off those feelings of impatience and frustration.

I have a very eclectic taste in songs/music and a specific range of songs I listen to at the gym to help with my workouts, with the use of cordless headphones linked to my phone. I also use these at home so as not to disturb anyone else at home.

This first song (below) in particular, is also the type of song that is very good for getting me moving when doing household tasks too. It’s the speed, the rhythm, the pace, the beat of the songs that gets me moving a bit faster, more rhythmically and keeps the endorphins triggered long enough to complete the task, or the set of an exercise, or whatever. More importantly though, it can suppress or distract you from those feelings of impatience and frustration for duration thus giving you a better chance of completion and satisfaction.

George Ezra - Listen to the Man https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS0WvzRVByg

Imagine Dragons - Thunder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKopy74weus

OneRepublic - Love Runs Out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OWj0CiM8WU&list=RD0OWj0CiM8WU&start_radio=1

Anyway, enough of my waffle, hope something of it makes sense but I think my brain’s battery recharging so I’ll leave it there :wink:

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I am very interested in understanding the mental/cognitive issues people have after strokes.

My mother couldn’t initiate tasks – she’d wait for someone else to take charge. She could go through a task once she got started. It was all very bizarre.

Please take care of yourself, and don’t give up!

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@Matthew, I so wish you had access to this kind of information earlier, in order to understand a bit better. And I am so glad you are here now both to understand how much your mum actually loved you, but may have struggled with her brain to know how to show it. I become obsessed with political information…I know who I will vote for, so I have no need to keep up. Other than voting, there isn’t much I can do to help, but send letters that will be ignored, or camp out at a protest and get free holiday in lockup (3 hots and a cot). yet still, I become obsessed.

Small things annoy me, lights left on, family making too much noise, too hot, too cold… Nothing that would have been more than a simple thought almost immediately put out of mind before.

@Rups, I would call my issue more a matter of recall than short term memory, as I can recall later, just not generally in the first couple hours to a day.

@EmeraldEyes just wow. Your analogies always help me so much! Your very straight forward, clear, explanations make me understand both you and what you are saying, and me and what I am feeling.

Processing the steps in my mind, that I need to follow to get the job done is the hardest part. Then I have to write them down and recheck the order so I can follow my own directions. One would think, duh!, you must know how because you just wrote it or said it out loud, but once I go to actually do the job, I can’t recall, so I follow my written instructions.

I still think as you have mentioned many times before, it is similar to the way a child learns initially, before it becomes a sub-conscious effort to complete tasks. So I am on my way, I am certain. And I believe we all are, some more slowly than others.

As always, thank you all for being here to help others. I gain so much from all of you. I don’t know how I would have come this far without you.

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Because there is no going backwards :wink: :laughing:

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