Things to try when depression affects your memory and concentration

Depression brings a whole heap of horrid symptoms to our door. We have no energy, problems sleeping, struggle to make decisions and lose interest in things which once brought us joy – to name just a few.

Depression can also really limit our concentration and memory. It can be frustrating and disorientating (and sometimes a bit embarrassing too) – we walk into a room and can’t remember why, we leave our keys in the door, we feel like we never get anything done because we can’t remember what it is we were supposed to do. It can feel like we’re wading through treacle, our brains just don’t work as quickly and efficiently as they once did. And boy, do we notice it.

It’s difficult to cope with this fuzzy brain feeling, as we all have tasks, responsibilities and relationships that need our input – even when we’re unwell. However, we have found a few tactics that can help boost memory and concentration.

When depression strikes, small things become big things. We’re not on a level playing field, we’re limited, and we need to account for that. For example, it can take an inordinate amount of energy, headspace and motivation just to get out of bed – something that’s truly taken for granted when we’re well. Be proud of all your achievements, no matter how small they may seem because the teeny steps always compound into something bigger anyway.

List it

Break it down

Big tasks can feel scary and overwhelming. Looking at them, they seem completely unmanageable, so we don’t attempt them at all. This gives those pesky thoughts – the ones which tell us that we’re hopeless and helpless – wings. Breaking big tasks down into much smaller chunks can make them feel more approachable. Rewarding ourselves for finishing a task can make it feel more fun and help to boost our confidence.

Set reminders

Setting reminders for things we need to do, or places we need to go to, gives us one less thing to remember. You could set them on your phone – either as a list, or as an alarm to go off at a certain time, you could pop them in your diary – assigning different tasks to different days, or you can even put a list of everything you need to remember when leaving the house on the back of your front door. Setting reminders like this can help free up much-needed headspace.

Screenshot it

Sometimes we might see an article, or some information or an advert for something we need to buy whilst mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeed. If we see it at a time we are unable to act, we are burdened with the need to remember it.  Taking a screenshot is a simple way to take off that pressure, saving a reminder in our files for us to follow up on later. 

This content was originally published here.