Cognitive Impairment: Attention Deficits

Recently I have found it tremendously hard to focus on anything. As soon as I begin a task, my mind has already moved on to the next one; resulting in trying to do way too many things at once which usually ends up with nothing being completed.

Not only does my mind drift from task to task, it’s sifting its way through many distracting thoughts. In addition to this, there is also the issue of memory and hallucinations. As I have previously mentioned, I have terrible memory problems, both short term and long term. Hallucinations add to the distractions; particularly auditory hallucinations, as you really can’t hear yourself think.

Concentration / Attention Deficits

Being able to pay attention and concentrate is the ability to identify relevant stimuli, then to focus on that stimuli rather than others, and sustain focus on the stimuli till without becoming distracted in the presence of other stimuli. Cognitive impairment prevents those suffering from it to be able to pay attention, process new information, respond to information, remember and recall information, as well as the ability to think critically, plan and organize information. Therefore it makes the smallest of tasks to be far more difficult, and at times, impossible.

For example, lately I have found it far more difficult to write. Whereas before I could easily write a 1000 word article within an hour, now I can barely write a few hundred words within a couple of hours. However, to try and cope with this I usually write a couple of sentences throughout the day and hope it will be completed by the evening.

In my personal opinion, cognitive impairment is one of the most debilitating and devastating aspect of mental illness; it can take so much away from you and leave you incapable of doing many of the things you previously could. Which is why I’m having a particularly hard time with this at the current moment, it very much is a case of spiralling downwards and never knowing when you’re going to stop falling.

Cognitive Impairment – Memory Deficits

Ever since mental illness first affected my life, the memory problems soon set in. I cannot remember anything from my childhood, and have frequent gaps in my memory of multiple things that I cannot recall. They can be simple things, such as menial tasks, but also significant events.

One story I was told, was that when I went to pick my wages up from a friend’s house, he wasn’t there so I sat with the two other people who live there, and became extremely catatonic for at least an hour. Then took my wages and left. However, I cannot recall that day at all; it may as well just be a fictional story as far as I’m concerned.

Over the years I’ve had many of these experiences. It feels as if my memory worsens increasingly day by day. It’s surprising how much memory loss can affect your day to day life. Both my short term and long term memory has been affected. It can certainly be upsetting or distressing, as it can affect many aspects of your life. It is particularly hard to learn and retain any new knowledge, as well as recall knowledge which was previously learned. Writing becomes difficult; spelling, punctuation, grammar, it can all be affected.

Cognitive impairment is something that has affected me greatly, and I absolutely hate it. I find it one of the hardest parts of dealing with this illness, as I can see how much it has taken away from me.