No Sense of Direction
Topographic disorientation (TD) is one of many disorders that
can arise after a brain injury, where the person will experience
difficulty to find one's way in familiar surroundings. This
disorder can be very disabling yet may go undetected without the
appropriate neuropsychological study being done.
This inability to navigate through the environment usually
involves the person being unable to learn routes in new
environments as well. TD is generally viewed as an impairment in
spatial memory and has been given different names such as visual
disorientation, topographic amnesia and spatial disorientation.
I believe there can be different problems associated with
topographical disorientation and therefore different ways of
handling difficulties. The most challenging aspect for me is
recognising and remembering routes and places and the inconsistency
of being in a place I am familiar with through frequent use but
being totally disoriented at a particular time.
It seems that sense of direction is totally lost but if it is a
regularly used route I do it by habit. Except and until I take an
unfamiliar turn when walking or go into a shopping centre by a
different entrance. If using public transport some practice is
required to firstly get on the bus or train that is heading in the
right direction, and then when alighting to again turn in the right
Many times when I've been lost I have kept returning to the same
area, walking in circles, until I ask someone to direct me to a
particular landmark from which I know I can find my way. I've
learnt to stay calm even when I feel overwhelmingly frustrated at
my inadequacy and to allow a lot of time when going anywhere
I also 'practise' going somewhere new by doing it with a family
member beforehand until I'm reasonably confident about going
I have read recently that the disorder can be associated with
spatial neglect and I think therefore it is related to the
hemianopia which resulted from my stroke. Perhaps the lack of
vision combined with some damage to my 'direction finding area'
produces topographical disorientation.
I'd like to ask if there is perhaps a reader who has topographical
disorientation and/or focal epilepsy. It would be very interesting
to exchange some difficulties and strategies associated with both.
We all seek answers and remedies, strategies and skills. If any
reader has any information to share please Contact Us.