Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm not the kind to worry much. I'm reasonably carefree. But I do have a fear that something is eating away at my powers of thinking; that my mind itself is losing its edge, and doing so much faster than it would be expected via ageing alone. This might be a kind of mental hypochondria but such conditions do exist and with dementia in the family it makes good sense to be self-aware. The evidence? Well, a fear needs scant evidence to feed it, especially late at night, but I feel my bogeyman makes a good case even in the light of day.
Exhibit one is the communication problems I never thought I had before. It seems I struggle a lot more now to formulate an idea, even a simple one, in a clear way. As a manager, it is something I have to do on a regular basis to my superiors, to my team and to my peers managing other centres. The general pattern: I open my mouth instinctively starting from somewhere midway into the topic, reversing back to where I should have started, losing control and inadvertently getting my references backwards (like calling Bob Julie, and Julie Bob). I start to panic a little when my listener frowns to indicate the effort at which they are expending in order to follow me; this in turn sends me into a panic of mixed metaphors and the incorrect use of key vocabulary; and then sometimes I seem to stutter in a way I cannot recall. I relate a little to George Bush, I guess.
As a teacher, my powers of expression are my livelihood, too, and oddly at first they seemed unaffected by this "decline". I always understood this as because in classes I could focus for short periods of communication, while communication in life is not so easily segmented and is never ending and often pops up on you unexpectedly. But now I'm finding the pattern recurring in my teaching, where students might not follow me on a more a frequent basis.
This problem affects all three of my languages. Sometimes I think that perhaps my surplus of language might be the cause of the problem, that my brain is overwhelmed with holding together three separate languages (big hefty things, they are). But that is not very scientific and I've never heard of that before, except in the unfounded fear of parents who think their children will get confused if raised in a multilingual environment.

So instead I occasionally fret or worry and my managers and colleagues frown. Is this going to get worse?

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