ADHD Prosopagnosia: That Face, I Know I Know That Face
I love the farmer’s market. If you have a market in your town, a real farmer’s market, you should go.
No, I’ve not started writing a travelogue, but maybe I could do that as a sideline … mmmmmmnnnnnno! The thing about my town’s farmers market is that I’ve lived in this town for 50 years, I know many people. I’m related to some of them. Going to market gets me caught up on current local events and gossip. Deals are made, ideas are generated, friends connect.
Oh, and I often get food there as well. Both to eat on the spot, and to take home for my pantry.
Know thy neighbor
Part of interacting with people, a very important part I think, is knowing who you’re talking to. That moment when you meet someone, and you know you know them, but you’re damned if you can remember from where, or what their name is, or even why you know them … that, that is excruciatingly painful.
It’s called Prosopagnosia
Painful because we care about people. This makes me think that my ADHD is affecting someone else. I often feel like I’m doing my duty by suffering the indignity of this insidious thing, and that it is my job to make sure no one else is troubled by it.
Sometimes it’s just the name you’ve forgotten, but that can be worse. It can be worse if you were supposed to meet that person there and the name is gone, “poof!”
Yet there is more
It’s even worse if you actually arrived with the person who’s name has gone missing from your mental Rolodex. Yeah, oh oh.
Now where was I?
So meanwhile, back at the market, I’m minding my own business, when someone I know pops into view. They see me and come over to say hi. I’m not even thinking about their name, I’m just happy to see them. A quick hug and then I remember that I’m not at the market alone. Did I mention I wasn’t alone? Huh, forgot again. I’m bad for that.
So anyway, I’m not at the market alone. I’ve brought a new friend with me because she has lived in my town for close to a year and has never been to the Saturday morning market. I remember her name fine, but I’m struggling with the name of the person I’ve known for a couple of years. And I can’t start an introduction without knowing both names.
Better late than never? Nope, better never!
Ooops, way too late, I’d already started when I realized I couldn’t put a name to the face. I had jovially blurted out “Hey, d’you know …” and then had stopped. Even though I knew the name of the person I was about to introduce, I stopped because my mind was several words ahead, struggling with the missing name.
Finally I yelled at my mind (under my breath so no one heard me) “You don’t need her name yet, just introduce the person you’re standing here with … ”
And then I discovered that my mind had dropped the name it had previously held such a tight grip on.
And then, my acquaintance chimed in … “Hi, Juno, I’m Lanie.” purposely mishearing “D’you know” as “Juno.” Then she extended her hand.
“Pop” … something shook loose in my head. “I’m sorry, Lanie.” I said as they shook hands, “This is Sandy, not Juno.”
We all laughed, what choice did we have. We were having a 100% ADHD moment, we three were experiencing ADHD, my ADHD, at its best.
Babcock, K. (2013). ADHD Prosopagnosia: That Face, I Know I Know That Face. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2013/05/adhd-prosopagnosia-that-face-i-know-i-know-that-face/