The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Selective memory

It never ceases to surprise me: my ability to filter out and selectively forget my condition.

It’s nearly a year and a half since Maggie first told me my levels of tiredness were unnatural and I should really go and see a doctor about it. Almost every day I have to have a lie down in the afternoon for 45 minutes or more, and if I don’t I really notice the difference. On a daily basis I’m reminded I don’t have the energy I ought to have, and several times a week I experience chronic bouts of extreme emotional pain.

And yet, give me a few hours of feeling relatively normal – not too tired and not unhappy – and I begin to believe that things aren’t anything like as bad as I’ve been moaning about. I seem to instantly forget how crippling the emotional lows can be and that at any moment I could suddenly feel drained like I’ve been unplugged.

You would think I would understand that when I’m not feeling exhausted I ought to be conserving my energy, not assuming that I’m probably over the worst of it now so need to get on and do things.

You would think so…

You would…



no longer anonymous said...

I think your doing the right thing . My brother has MS & he is determined to do as much as he can when ever he can.If he pays for it later he feels he would be feeling poorly anyway he might as well have earned it.Life's too short to miss anything thats possible.

Julie said...

I agree with NLA. My dad also has MS and while he has his bad days, he is out and about on his good days.

Kim, I hope you get to see the specialist soon. It seems like it would be more manageable if you knew what you were dealing with.

kanani said...

That's so hard. Terrifically hard because you're constantly battling over whether to give into the tiredness or to forge on.

And yes, I think you have to get things done --and when you have those good moments, hang on to them. I feel constantly battered by the demands of so many people --the only way I've kept any part of my sanity is by hanging onto the quiet moments where I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing --even if it's getting up at 4 am to write!

Carole said...

Perhaps the power of hope overwhelms the memory chip. The human spirit is resilient and yours maybe more so.

Brave Astronaut said...

There is a danger here of unleashing another round of diagnoses upon you. But I will echo the others by saying I also hope you get to be seen soon and they can nail down what's ailing you.

I know that I want to lie down for 45 minutes a day as well, but that's not possible. The employer tends to frown upon it. Although I firmly believe we would all be so much more productive if we took naps.

And thanks for the anniversary wishes over on Order from Chaos. I can't believe its been a year already.

Andraste said...

Energy is there to be used in doing things you can't do when you don't have the energy.

This is how most people function.

Ride the wave, baby. Ride that wave.

Stella said...

I know that feeling Kim. Hang in there!

p.s. I think google/blogger has forgiven me (em......I hope)

avocadoinparadise said...

When we're ill we can't imagine what it was like to be well. When we're well we can't imagine what it's like to be ill. True that.

Humans are shortsighted creatures. But we try to stay generally happy.

Jeff said...


Hang in there brother. I hope you get into the Doc soon. As much as the medical system here piss's me off I know here you would have already been into see them. But that is another subject.

Rest when you need to and run when you can....


PI said...

Kim I have had a daily nap most days since I was in my twenties. I started when the children arrived and have done it ever since, when possible It could be that you need the same. Look at Churchill. By all means be investigated to make sure nothing is amiss but there is also nothing wrong with having a daily zzzz. Nowadays sometimes I'll miss out and some days have two or three.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to the exhaustion.

I haven't publically blogged in awhile, but I have a post up, and I'm hoping for some of your wonderful thoughts.

Eryl Shields said...

According to Nietzsche our capacity to unremember is a necessary biological force: people who constantly remember the bad are unable to enjoy the good. Of course, this isn't without it's problems.

Kim Ayres said...

NLA - MS is quite a different thing, I think. With me, if I over extend myself, I pay the price; if I'm more careful the price isn't as high. I benefit more from conserving my energy - the problem is I keep forgetting to.

Julie - 2 and a half months 'til I see the specialist... and counting

Kanani - it's largely becoming a case of planning. If there's something I really need to get done then I have to make sure I do it in the morning. I have to write off most afternoons for doing anything constructive

Carole - there's no doubting hope overwhelms memory - which is why so many people buy lottery tickets :)

Brave Astronaut - Maybe we all need to live in countries where siestas are the norm.

Andraste - it's only since I've had a lot less of it have I come to appreciate just how much energy we usually spend on stuff we don't need to.

Stella - good to see you back :)

Avocado - sometimes it feels like I've got the memory of a goldfish...

Jeff - thanks :)

Pat - if it were only the nap I wouldn't be worried. My Dad's had an afternoon nap since he spent time in the far east in his early 20s. Unfortunately the nap is just one sympotm.

Rebecca - I'll be across shortly - your blog's been closed for a long time but I'm pleased to hear from you again :)

Eryl - I'm running a philosophy evening course again this autumn - I might just ask you to guest lecture on Nietzsche :)

Mary Witzl said...

I've always been able to do without naps, but lately I too have indulged in them. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, though your feeling of total exhaustion is, of course, another matter. Maybe you need to put little stickers about reminding yourself to slow down?

ArleneWKW said...

Fatigue is also a major motivation killer. That you've been successful with getting rid of the lbs. while experiencing fatigue and depression (which may be related to your fatigue) is good testimony for the power of your determination and self discipline.

The pattern of forgetting that you describe is quite familiar to me. When I'm feeling easily on track with the self discipline with regard to eating, I expect the feeling to continue (which it did when I got rid of the 65+ lbs.). So far - except possibly this now - I haven't been willing to persevere fatigue or gloom takes over. You have persevered and continue to do so most of the time that you face these twin enemies.

BStrong said...

As you know, I've been out of the loop for a while. Thank you for the insightful thoughts you wrote in your email to me.

I hope that your appointment with the specialist goes well.

You should know that after I read your email, I felt better about my situation. It picked me up.

Maybe you should email some advise to yourself:) Maybe it will have the same effect on you.

Archie said...

Hoping soon you can forget the bad stuff, for good.

Stinkypaw said...

You should be listening to your wife a little more and do go for a check up... but hey what do I know?!

Take care of yourself 'cause nobody else will for you.

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - I find the problem with stickers is that after seeing them twice I filter them out and don't notice them anymore...

Arlene - there are always good days and bad days

BStrong - I'm really pleased if my email helped in any way.

Archie - as I said to Julie above, 2 and a half months 'til I see the specialist... and counting

Stinkypaw - I did, back when she said. Unfortunately everything seems to move at a snails pace where tryingto get to the root causes is concerned

michael greenwell said...

hang in there and best wishes and everything

i am waiting for a specialist for something else and it is a bit of a pain (literally and metaphorically)

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