Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Start at the Very Beginning......A Very Good Place to Start

Doe, a deer, a female deer.
Ray, a drop of.......Woe, wait a minute. That wasn't supposed to happen. I meant the beginning of my story, not a song whose words (if you stop and think about it for a minute) are pretty silly. Really "a drop of golden sun is more like "AHHHHHH! THAT'S REALLY HOT!"

This is better.

You cannot understand someone's journey without first knowing where that journey started. Well, I hope you're prepared to be disappointed because........DA DA-DAAAAA I DON'T KNOW HOW IT ALL ACTUALLY  BEGAN! (Amnesia, remember.)

We do know some things, though. We know that I suddenly and with no warning (redundant much?) left my home in Michigan with no possessions beyond my wallet, car keys, and the clothes I was wearing (just so we're clear about the lack of nudity) and drove to Georgia. It is commonly believed that I was trying to reach my parents home, possibly having been frightened into running by an attack.
 From there I travelled for a little over 3 weeks from Georgia to Illinois.  We don't know how or why. Noone has come forward at this point in time (if there is anyone to come forward) that saw me during this period of time. By the time I got to Joliet, I had dissociated from my identity to such an extent that I remembered nothing about myself.

Based on these facts, I was diagnosed as having experienced a dissociative fugue (pronounced fyoog, not foog-yoo.  Although, that makes me think of Chinese food ..... and, now I'm hungry, darn it.)  And, just what is a dissociative fugue? I'm so glad you asked that!! I found a great web site that explains in lay terms just what a dissociative fugue is and how people can recover and go on to lead normal lives (whatever that means) with proper therapy and stress management techniques.  If you want to look into dissociative fugue states further, I would recommend sticking with medical web sites since there is a lot of inaccurate information out there (Wikipedia, I'm pointing fingers your way) and you need to be careful what you believe based on internet research.

All of that having been explained, (Finally, I might add. There was a newspaper article written in the Jackson Citizen Patriot that didn't clarify ANY of that information, and in the end did far more harm than good as far as people's attitudes towards my whole life. I've learned my lesson about giving interviews to certain people, let's just say that) there are some other things I'd like to help you all understand. First of all, Dissociative Fugue is not the same thing as Dissociative Amnesia.  The fugue and amnesia are not totally disconnected, but I have not dissociated from a particular memory or set of memories (i.e. Dissociative Amnesia). Also, I do not have Retrograde Amnesia, which is a condtion where trauma (usually physical) causes a loss of memories permanently (this issue also being confused by that same newspaper. Sheesh, can't they get anything right?)

I have a condition known at Transient Global Amnesia. Transient Amnesia is temporary loss of memory. The global part is describing a total loss of memory. When a person suffers from Transient Global Amnesia, they retain functions and abilities learned over the years, but memory of self and the reasons behind behaviors completely vanishes. I knew in the hospital to say please and thank-you, but didn't know why. I also remembered how to read (poorly), write (even worse), and perform basic math because these functions are stored in a completely different part of the brain than self memories.  (It turns out I remembered how to play musical instruments and "read music" still, too. Don't ask me the notes on the scale, but I know the relationship between notes on paper and keys on the piano and the fingering on the flute. Totally awesome in my estimation!)

This all was the beginning of a story that is still being written. Every day is a new chapter. That's the best part.

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