Friday, 17 February 2017

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

As time goes on, I notice things about myself are changing.
I can't work at the pace I used to, I get tired more, I have trouble driving in the dark, especially when it's wet and there's lots of oncoming traffic, and I get out of breath far sooner than I ever used to.
My short term memory is also suffering, and I'm increasingly reliant on little Post-It notes stuck around the place so I don't forget important things.

Another thing I've noticed recently is a reduced attention span, particularly when it's with something I have limited interest in. While a few years ago I might have sat through a mediocre two and a half hour film, now I'll give up and do something else instead. I'd rather watch a couple of half-hour episodes of something than a whole movie.
This attention span issue has also started to interfere with my interactions with other people.
If someone is talking to me (especially if they're just rabbiting on about inconsequential nonsense), after a while I just stop hearing them. I'm still aware that they're talking, but it's as though I've tuned them out to the point where their inane ramblings have been reduced to a background white noise.
Unfortunately there comes a point where some sort of response is appropriate. I sense this and snap back to the moment, but by then I have no idea what they were on about and I have to make some sort of generic non-committal comment and try to catch up when they carry on talking at me.
This happens with some people more than others. Typically, if someone talks in a straightforward manner, making their point clearly, then there's no problem. But if they go into some long-winded shaggy dog story, often darting off at wild tangents, then I just switch off.

Some people don't talk much, and when they do so it's usually short and sweet. No problem. I'm one of those.
Others seem to be incapable of sharing silence and try to fill it with a constant stream of banality that just makes me want to run away to find some peace. Depending on who it is and what the situation is, hiding may not be an appropriate solution, which is when I start to just tune it out.
It used to irritate the hell out of me and I'd end up stressed out and angry because someone just wouldn't shut up.
Now I'm far less likely to have that reaction because I'm more capable of just blocking it out, so in a way it's a sort of psychological defense mechanism.

With the combination of poor attention span, unexplained depression, times when I can't remember what happened in the past few minutes, memory problems and general anxiety, it's hardly surprising that I started to worry that I was showing signs of early onset dementia.
Browsing the NHS website is a very efficient way of convincing yourself that you have all sorts of conditions and diseases and should really be dead by now.
But now it has come to light that I'm not the only one who reacts to certain people who constantly talk about nonsense in this way, so I feel slightly less worried that I'm mentally circling the drain.
I don't much care when I die, but I hope I still have all my marbles when it happens.