This week, on NPR, neurologist Frances Jensen (author of The Teenage Brain) gave us a phrase we suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of: dementia of the preoccupied. It’s not a real disorder, but it’s what Jensen calls the frazzled confusion most of us feel day-to-day as a result of constant forced multitasking.
When asked to describe the symptoms of dementia of the preoccupied, Jensen had this to say: “Well, I think we’re not dwelling on tasks long enough to consolidate our memories, frankly . . . And we’re being forced to move fast—you know, move, move, move . . . feel like a little robot sometimes, you know? I start on this, and then somebody rushes into the office—sign that. I sign that, and I go back to what I was writing. I’m like, I don’t even know what the next sentence was that I was going to type here.”
Unfortunately, Jensen didn’t give any cure for this modern (and ubiquitous) disease, but we’ll say that we’ve had some success with mindfulness meditation. Not total success—we’ve lost the threat more than a few times while writing this very short post—but some success.