The other day I almost forgot to pay for my groceries. I was in the self-checkout line, had just bagged my chicken and juice and put the bags in my cart.
I somehow spaced the whole PAY FOR YOUR GOODS bit and started to leave the store.
I stopped about 6 feet from the checkout to call my dad– see if he was done with his shopping, and noticed the cashier and a shopper at my checkout station giving me a funny look.
When I realized my error I hurried back, made some half-assed excuse to the bewildered teen manning the self checkouts about having a day,hastily paid for my groceries and left.
This was humiliating. It would have been beyond embarrassing if I hadn’t stopped to make a phone call and just strolled out of the store with unpaid for goods; A confrontation with a store security–possibly the police and some seriously awkward q&a would have been a likely result.
“If you weren’t shoplifting, why’d you try and leave without paying?”
“Huh? Uhhhh…I have brain damage- there was too much going on around me and I thought I paid.”
“You sound fine to me. Do you have documentation of this damage?”
Even after I paid, I had no recollection of swiping my card through the reader, and kept asking myself, “did I pay this time? Or did I only imagine I did?” The only way I knew for sure was by checking my receipt.
This isn’t the first time shock induced brain damage has caused a major slip-up. Not too long ago I forgot to take back my debit card from a 5 Guys cashier after paying for my burger.
Another time, I forgot the $20 cash back I requested along with another purchase and started to leave.
Then there’s the countless times I’ve forgotten to take my groceries right after paying from them. That happens a lot.
My dismal mental math abilities don’t help; I could easily be short changed in any transaction because all of my brain power is finding the correct cash/change combo in a timely manner.
The rest is used remembering to return any change to their respective compartments in my wallet and returning my wallet to my purse while pretending l know what’s going on around me, and talking slowly enough so I don’t weird the cashier out by my preferred method: say everything super fast before you forget what you are talking about.
All the above make me an easy target of any integrity deficiency person; they could easily have taken advantage of my mental lapses and pocketed my debit card, cash or purchases.
This mental dysfunction goes beyond me fudging financial transactions.
There was that time I cut off part of my thumbnail while chopping onions. Not the clipable crescent nail tip–the part that’s fused to my thumb–all because it’s impossible for me to focus continuously-even for the short time it takes to dice the small piece of produce.
Or the time I left the stove on. Or the oven.
Or the time I doubled back six or seven times to ensure I locked my sister’s apartment door before walking to the store, because I couldn’t form a memory of doing it. I finally started taking pictures of the locked door in case I had any doubts after leaving the apartment.
Or this summer, after an art festival, I tried crossing the street in open downtown Salt Lake City traffic. Only able to focus on one cue, in this case it was when the hoards of people stopped walking towards us from the opposite direction. I couldn’t take in the reason the change- people stopped because the lights changed and the idling cars resumed driving.
In my mind I was all “Ok! The people are finally out of the way- time to cross!” Luckily my sister grabbed me before my second step.
Oh, there was that time during finals when my brain was so fried I had to let my dad take over after I ran a stop sign on the drive home from school.
Then there was the time I walked away from someone who was talking to me. No warning. No “could you excuse me?” I just walked away mid conversation. I’m not sure why. Omg-embarrassing.
Last month I was given de-worming medicine for my foster kitten with two simple instructions the bottle:
repeat dose once after two weeks
Yeah, I screwed both steps up; I failed to shake the medicine which could lead to an overdose, and thanks to having no sense of time and confusion over a calendar alert, I gave him his second dose the following week.
My sister who knows a bit about cat drugs said it should be fine, but I was still so upset I could have done something that could have hurt my sweet little foster kitten and so embarassed that I couldn’t follow such basic instructions, I waited till his booster shot appointment three weeks later to tell a fellow volunteer my error and ask if I should dose him again. It wasn’t a big deal; the volunteer wasn’t angry, but experience has taught me I can only make mistakes like these so many times before people stop trusting me and/or start treating you like an idiot. Little I say or do after that point will change a person’s perception of me.
I get freaked anytime crap like this happens. You know that feeling you get when you misjudge a stair step and fall 5 inches? Like that.
- Lost my money
- Maimed myself
- Burned the house down
- Got run over
- Caused a car wreck
- Ruined any chance of friending that person
- Overdosed and injured a creature I’m supposed to care for and protect
I also feel deeply embarrassed and ashamed.
All the above are no-brainers, so failure to do them correctly usually invites incredulous, angry, eye-rolling “omg wtf! What’s wrong with you that you can’t remember this simple thing or do it right?! Why would you do something so stupid?! Are you trying to get yourself killed?!” from people.
Being smart and “sounding” normal only intensifies these responses.
“Clearly, you should know better”
“I don’t get why you can’t just bla bla bla”
On top of embarrassment and humiliation, I also feel scared I’m losing my friggin mind. There was a time I remembered paying, locking doors, turning off the friggin stove after I’m done cooking, taking in all of my surroundings — not just one aspect of the world around me at a time, not needing to rush convos because I’d remember what so and so said along with my reply or the simple internal sense of how many weeks have passed.
These electroshock damage induced lapses and absent-mindedness bouts leave me in a near constant state of panicked high alert to avoid the above consequences and social ostracism.
This damage I’m told so often by doctors I can’t possibly have because
“shock doesn’t do that.”
And because I “sound fine.”
I wish the doctors were right–that running an electric current through one’s brain was completely safe and any side effects are mild and temporary.
And I wish I was as intact as I seem.
What happened to me was anything but mild or temporary and my six month recovery time frame is long since passed.
If you’re considering electroshock, also consider that you could wind up like me; a permanently disabled 30 year old with dementia.
Your doctors won’t warn you this can happen–mine sure as hell didn’t, so I will.
Below are some honest, personal and scientifically valid assessments of of electroshock you won’t get from your doctor.
Read up like your life depends on it–it does.
As for me, the last few days have sucked royally.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be under a pile of kittens watching Netflix. Do not disturb.
Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html
Andre, L. (2009). Doctors of deception: What they don’t want you to know about shock treatment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Breggin, P. R.Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://www.ectresources.org/Shock_treatment_brochure_June_8.pdf
Flaws in Assessing Post-shock Damage, Solutions and the Importance of Informed Consent | aftershock. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/flaws-in-assessing-post-shock-damage-solutions-and-the-importance-of-informed-consent/
From The Files of Leonard Roy F. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://psychiatrized.org/LeonardRoyFrank/FromTheFilesOfLeonardRoyFrank.htm
Ignored Products of Electroshock: Painful Emotions and Trauma | aftershock. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/painful-emotions-following-electroshock/
(n.d.). A Paralegal Employed by Firm Representing ECT Survivor Speaks Out Against Shock | aftershock. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/a-parelagal-employed-by-firm-representing-ect-survivor-speaks-out-against-the-procedure/