Reality Check: Fear of Forgetfulness

Are you feeling forgetful? If so, you are not alone.
I’d been under the impression that it’s the “seasoned citizen” demographic who is most aware of the forgetfulness issue. So I was surprised during a recent e-learning session when the presenter (who volunteered that he is not yet 30) commented on how he deals with forgetting things.
The session topic was about creative processes, and the comment was how easily our brilliant ideas disappear unless we write them down immediately. For the young presenter, forgetfulness is neither surprising nor worrying. It’s simply reality.
For Marion, however, forgetfulness is a real concern.
“Where did I put my glasses? How could I have forgotten that appointment? Did I tell Harry about Junior?” And the most worrying concern: “Is my memory getting worse?”
In Choice Theory, Dr. Glasser’s list of basic human needs includes the survival (security) need and the power need. Perceiving that we have become forgetful could mean that we are not able to satisfy those needs, resulting in dissatisfaction.
For example, Marion worries that forgetting could have an impact on her security. What if she forgets to pay her property tax? Where did she put her keys? And she needs some work done on the house; what was the name of that nice carpenter who has worked for her before? These are all valid questions.
Marion also has worries that affect her need for power; that is, her need to be in control of her life. Marion is concerned that if she tells her daughter about her forgetfulness, she’ll lose her independence. Then where will she be? Somewhere she doesn’t want to be; she’s sure of that.
Although Marion is largely comfortable and independent, her fears are reducing her life satisfaction.
The reality is that today’s world is more complicated than years past. We have many details to remember. Services that others used to do for us are now self-serve, for better or worse. So much to remember: “When is my driver’s license due? Who did I speak to at the doctor’s office? Where did I put that phone number?” Plus there’s a myriad of passwords and PINs so critical to accessing accounts and services. All are important. We dare not forget lest our lives fall apart!
So what can Marion do? Here are 3 suggestions.
1. Create an organized notebook. Having one place for important dates, phone numbers, and contact people could give a sense of control.
2. Build a habit of using a single spot for specific important items to reduce the frustration of losing essentials.
3. Follow the example of my webinar presenter. He carries a notebook and immediately jots down his ideas.
The perception of losing your memory is frightening. When fear takes over, it’s even easier to lose track of details, whether important or trivial.
It goes without saying that if you are concerned that your forgetfulness is a medical problem, then the action you need to take is to see a doctor.
However, if you feel overwhelmed because you are overwhelmed, then step back. Take a breath. Try taking actions that reduce fear and increase organization and control. I’ll discuss details for specific strategies next time.
How do you deal with forgetfulness?

This entry was posted in Choosing Perspective and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.