I haven't been thinking clearly for years and my memory is awful

Edited , 20 users are following.


I've been putting up with moderate but continual anxiety and depression for years now to the point where I think feeling like this has become normalised. However, as I get older, I'm realising that these issues are starting to severely affect my quality of life

For at least fifteen years now I seem to have been suffering from problems such as:

Poor short and long term memory

Can't think clearly or strategically

Poor concentration

Can't express myself clearly

Struggle to think of things to say to people

Seem to have nothing on my mind most of the time

Can't hold many thoughts in my head at the one time

If I read things I struggle to remember in any detail what they are almost as soon as I've finished reading, ditto if I'm listening to something

I feel emotionally flat

Have difficulty having a deep or meaningful relationship with anyone

These issues are permanent and don't come and go - for example, I can't remember a time when I've felt clear headed and able to remember things well.

The frustrating thing is that academically I seem to be quite smart but my cognitive ability is very poor. I went back to uni 6 years ago, did well and I recently got a good new job. However i am struggling due to my memory, concentration and ability to deal with multiple strands of information. It's being noticed and commented on by colleagues and I'm really worried I won't be able to cope and will have to quit.

I've found I've always struggled at any workplace I've had due to these cognitive issues but until now have always had mundane, low responsibility jobs where I could get away with it.

I'm on propanolol every day which lessens some of the physical symptoms but I still get tight chested and short of breath when stressed and minor things (mostly at work) get me panicky.

I've tried prozac which for 8 weeks which had no noticeable effect and citalopram for 6 weeks which just made me nauseous and gave me a weird feeling in my head. I took venlafaxine for the first time on Saturday and it floored me - Sickness, diarrhoea, dizziness, pressure in my head and anxiousness. I'm scared to take it again now- there's no way I could go to work like that.

My doctor booked me in with an NHS psychiatrist but the waiting list is 9 months so I'm thinking I'll have to go private, which I can't really afford but I need to do something about this. I've ignored it for too long.

I'm feeling really hopeless, withdrawn and worried right now. Has anyone experienced similar long term symptoms and if so, have you found anything that's helped make things better?

Sorry for the rambling email but I've not really talked to anyone about this other than my doctor and I really need to speak to others about this, hopefully people who have gone through or are experiencing similar issues.

Thanks for reading.


4 likes, 26 replies

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26 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello. You described me. I did have to quit working full time. Now I work on things I enjoy. I redo furniture and things and sell them. I also help my friend in her flower shop when needed, as I love doing floral design. I am from the US, so here we have disability for what I have. I am not able to do the very stressful and demanding jobs I have always done. First, know that you are not alone. Second, find some way to get help. Others will let you know some options you might have there. If nothing else, find some stress management. It souns like the propanolol is working for you on a daily basis, but you need some breathing exorcises, and relaxation techniques. You can ramble here anytime smile Hope this has eased your worry some.
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    • Posted

      I have a severe anxiety disorder with Agoraphobia. I qualified for disability when I could not walk out of my house for ANYTHING for 2 years. My therapy was by phone only, and his letter helped me when I applied. I have had to go through numerous therapists, and just keep pushing myself. I still can not drive very far by myself. Maybe 15 miles. But I have been able to travel 300 miles with family. That is a HUGE step for me. But I also have numerous other phobias. I am working on a lot of those right now. It is an uphill battle, no doubt. But I will not give up again!!! It takes a therapist or GP to diagnose you properly. Not Google!!!
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    • Posted

      No google diagnosis I agree, I am just coming through a bout of depression, going to therapy, and had my first visit with a psycologist last week, they seemed baffled by me, but back next Thursday so hope to get answers soon. col38's post discribes me to a T, my whole life has been dictated by my condition.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for replying guys. It's reassuring to know I'm not alone in feeling like this.

    It wasn't still recently I realised that my cognitive problems were most likely due to a perpetual underlying anxiety that I've been living with for years without truly acknowledging it. At times I thought I had brain damage and my doctor never really seemed to understand/ I struggled to explain it.

    I'm 38 now and reckon I've been living with this since at least my early 20s.

    I'm not sure if chemicals, psychiatrists or both are the brstvroute. Have you found anything that's made you feel better?

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    • Posted

      Therapy and Xanax. There are so many meds for this. Have they not prescribed anything yet? Truthfully, a Psychiatrist helped with a diagnosis and prescribing medication. Learning to live again was helped by a Psychologist. They can not prescribe meds, so they know tools to help you find why you are having the anxiety, and how to control it. Anger I did not even realize I had, had a lot to do with mine.
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  • Posted

    Hi Bonnie. I'm in the UK and went to see a mental health specialist a couple of weeks ago who recommended venlaflaxine. I took it once but it really didn't agree with me. I know if I took it the side effects I felt would mean I couldn't go to work. I'm not sure if they wear off after a few days but I am really put off taking it again. I've also tried prozac and citalapram but didn't notice anything after 6-8 weeks.

    Have you found that meds make a difference? I think going to see a psychiatrist is probably the best route for me just now though I do want to find medication that helps too so might have to try some alternatives.

    Has anyone found that meds help their cognitive abilities and clarity of thought?

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    • Posted

      Hi Col, Im on citalopram 20 mg, and went through a month plus of side effects, it was bad, and dont ask me how but still managed to get to work (part time). That said, with my job, I can hide away for 10-15 mins and wont be missed. week 9-10 before I started to feel noticeably better. And for the last week I have been on 1mg respiridone with the cit, which stops the constant fixating on crap, however been eating like a horse while on it, but better than the intrusive thoughts, and Im only on it for a month, so 3 weeks left and cycling so hopefully will keep the weight off.

      Even though I'd still take it regardless. hope this helps. regards Nick


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    • Posted

      Hi Col. Yes when you get the right meds for you, amd it can all take time, I have found that they ease the symptoms. Thn you are able to think more clearly without the worry. Cognitive therapy helped me cause it makes me think in a more positive way. I am also able to gradually face my fears, and do more. It just takes time. There is no instant cure I am sorry to say.
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  • Posted

    Hi Colin

    Just reading your post and can totally empathise with you my friend. Your life seems to be a carbon copy of mine, but thankfully I haven't suffered as long as you have. I've had this problem for the past 9 years, and I feel the reason is down to a lack of vitamin b12 in my diet. I turned vegetarian 9 years ago and I truly know that it's no coincidence that around that time I started to be forgetful, anxious at work, terrified of engaging in groups that if I'm asked a question, i won't be able to answer and end up making a fool of myself.

    My mind is always cloudy and I struggle to think with any clarity. I've been to the doctors to ask for a course of b12 injections, but they claimed that my blood levels are normal and refused!

    I know for a fact that my problem is down to turning vegetarian, but I couldn't go back to eating meat!

    I used to be a confident guy who always had things to say, but that's all gone. I will continue to strive for a cure to my condition and hope you will too.

    All the best my friend!


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  • Posted

    Hi Col! My name is Amber. I'm 23 years old and have been going through the exact same thing you have been going through. I do not have the funds to go to the doctor so I wanted to know if you had gotten any help or have been diagnosed? Please it would help a lot. I have all of the exact same symptoms and because of it is affecting my relationship. My husband gets tired of telling me things over and over and he often gets mad when I don't notice certain things or certain social cues from him. I have depression (unfortunately self diagnosed and not being treated for it) which I think contributes to it. And, often, I tend to keep to myself because if I end up in an argument with someone I can't think of anything to say. Even if the argument is just online or by text. My husband says that I just have my head up my ass but I think that it's an actual illness or problem. If you have gotten a result or found something that helps you let me know!

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    • Posted

      How can your husband be so cold and careless to you? That's just unbelievable. A loved one, moreover your him husband is the one who should take your side and be understanding.

      Don't doubt yourself. What you feel is what you feel! No one should ever tell you otherwise, especially not your husband.

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