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I find that I really have some problems with my long-term memory. Not always what happened but a lot of times how long something happened or how often. When I went somewhere or did something, how long I have been friends with someone. I really feel this is a result of bipolar fuckup-edness.

Does anyone else have these issues?

Specifically long-term episodic memory?

[seen here, bottom

If other memory issues, what specific type?

Because there are things years and years ago that I can recall with crystal clarity that others have trouble recalling details about. But the chronology gets me.

The hippocampus supposedly plays a role in episodic memory.

...Looking around, I found this. Thought it was interesting.Inside The Bipolar Brain

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Oh. Shit.

So basically, our neurotransmitters just fail to grow properly... like a tree with a fungus or something.

I will refrain from feeling totally pessimistic, since this article is so freakin abbreviated. It doesn't list details about the studies, it doesn't mention ways to combat these effects... More scare-journalism in action? I'm not saying this article is bunk - it is fascinating, actually. It just seems to be a fragment. I just want to know more about the "studies" before I start comparing these to myself and thinking there is something fatally wrong with my brain.

There is a great book called The User's Guide to the Brain which goes into detail about how these brain regions behave under normal circumstances. The book also readily admits that, of all branches of medicine, neurology is the least understood. Only until the last few decades have we begun to comprehend how the brain functions. (I.e. hundreds of years behind understanding of other bodily functions.)

The book emphasizes that the brain is a malleable organ! That is, we can change our neural pathways with focused work - just like building muscle at the gym.

So, when I first read your post I thought, Sure, I have trouble thinking in terms of chronology and time. Bear in mind, I am bipolar also. So maybe it is a bipolar thing?? I always thought it was due to my not being able to attach a meaning to numbers (what exactly IS six years? And moreover, who cares?)

Although when I really put my mind to it, I can figure out how long I've known someone, or how long it's been since I've showed up to work, or showered. So it's not really an inability, so much as an inaptitude. At least in my case.

Feel free to criticize/correct me. I ain't no neurologist.

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I can remember really recent stuff. It's about a week or so that it tends to get difficult. After about a week, it may as well be a month or a year and that's when I need to start looking at my date book and when I made appointments.

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A bit of science stuff first.

There is a very well known and respected researcher named Dr Thomas Schleapfer (sometimes spelled differently, however, he's in Germany). He's been on the lecture circuit for some time and is top faculty for Eli Lilly and others. His talks are fab, but not open to general public. He's also NOT someone you could just pick up the phone and chat to. Trust me on this, I know the guy.

What he's researching that has a lot of other docs standing up and listening is the fact that depression in itself is neurodegenerative. What that means is that normally our brain cells naturally die and regenerate at in a pretty standard way. Depression doesn't let them do this because there just isn't enough seratonin and epinephrine staying around to give them what they need.

Taking antidepressants can stop that from happening. Particularly the SNRI's like Cymbalta and Effexor because they block reuptake of both of those. Standard SSRI's are better than nothing at all and slow it down a lot. You can see why Lilly loves him.

Next bit is more personal.

I've been off my meds for over two weeks now and while massively depressed, I suddenly have better memory because there aren't any mood stabilizers or antipsychotics making me zombified. (btw, I make up words as I go so forgive me for that)

Finally, I'm now 43 and have a colorful past with a lot of alcohol involved and that certainly has taken it's toll on wiping out big chunks of memory.

So, in conclusion, I think it's a lot of crap happening at the same time and I do most definately sympathize with you because I have trouble remembering my cats names most days. Not even sure if I've just addressed the issue at hand really.

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A couple of days ago I had to write someone a very difficult email that I intended to cover and analyse a few years' worth of events. Reading it back afterwards, I was appalled at how many times I'd had to say I don't remember/I don't recall/I don't understand/It's all a blur. Large portions of the most critical period of my life thus far are just gone. Wiped out. It's very upsetting. I looked through the (rather intermittent) journal I kept for part of that time, and I don't recognise any of it.

A large part of me wants to lay the blame at the door of the pdoc who misdiagnosed and mistreated me around then. But reading the comments here, it seems that it's just another part of my fucked up BP brain. I'm sick to death of this.

My short term memory is a shocker too. I have 2 calendars and 3 diaries, and a notebook that I have to use to write down everything work related, otherwise it's gone forever.

;)

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Chronological time gives me trouble when it comes to remembering something that the past - I remember doing this, but did I do this a year ago, or was it five years ago, or was it three months ago? - I don't remember.

I don't remember anything that happened to me before I was six.

Ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, or what someone was wearing earlier, and I won't remember... because who cares?

I lose bills and other correspondence all the time because I can't remember where it is I set them (even though I have a place for them).

Keys? Yeah - right.

I have to ask my friends why that guy looks so familiar to me. Oh yeah, I dated him for a couple of months last year. What was his name again? (hahaha)

Even after I've known someone for weeks, I'm still asking, "What's your name again? I'm really bad with names."

I also have journals and calendars... I read them and think "wow, I don't remember that." But I must have wrote it because it's in my handwriting.

Ask me what my work schedule is for the week, and I'll remember it, but I'll look it up, just in case.

If I make an appointment, be it a day from now or six months from now, I *will* remember it.

But, there are people I know who *don't have bi-polar disorder* who are just as scatterbrained as I am and the difference is, they just don't stress about it. I've adopted their attitude. And I've talked to people who aren't mentally interesting in any way, and I hear them say "I don't remember that" all of the time. Friends of mine and I have had to delve into books and onto the internet and such to solve arguments because we both remember something differently. Sometimes I've remembered it correctly, and sometimes I haven't.

I remember most things in my adult past, but not everything. I think that's pretty normal. I don't think anyone can remember everything. And what I don't remember, I can recall with just a little nudging. If I can't recall it, well it's just not that important anyway.

What I'm saying is, maybe it's not a BP thing? Maybe some people just have good memories, and some have really *bad* memories?

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I feel like I used to remember almost everything. I could just suck up information and I always remembered what happened. Now, not so much. And highschool wasn't that long ago when I would be able to do that.

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I feel like I used to remember almost everything. I could just suck up information and I always remembered what happened. Now, not so much. And highschool wasn't that long ago when I would be able to do that.

That's strange, because it seems that the older I get (I'm forty now) the better I'm getting at remembering things. Just five years ago, I would have been troubled by how bad my memory was, but now, I seem to retain more than I did last year (short term wise). Isn't that going against the grain? I thought our memory was supposed to worsen as time went on?

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Yeah.

I guess my memory has always been bad, but lately it's ridiculous. It's mostly my short-term memory, but my long-term memory is pretty bad too. That's the scary part, 'cause I guess there are ways to improve your short-term memory, but long-term? I feel really oooold.

I love my planner. I try to write down everything, so I can go back and hopefully remember. It's really helpful, except when I forget to write things down...

I realize that most people don't remember everyday trival stuff, but I forget important things too. Sometimes, really important things.

I'm not sure it's a BP thing, for me it's gotten worse the last year, which has been pretty stable.

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I have really bad memory problems, too. My co-workers always call me on it. I'm really tired of it, frankly, but what can I do? Maybe it's the lamictal or some other med I'm taking. WHo knows. I can't even remember things that happened a day or two ago. It feels like I was drunk and can't remember because I blacked out. Not a good feeling....

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I have really bad memory problems, too. My co-workers always call me on it. I'm really tired of it, frankly, but what can I do? Maybe it's the lamictal or some other med I'm taking. WHo knows. I can't even remember things that happened a day or two ago. It feels like I was drunk and can't remember because I blacked out. Not a good feeling....

I have the same problem, twelve. Though I've never had the best memory - since starting the Lamictal I've been forgetting names, faces, dates, appointment times - it's affecting my work even though I'm trying to be super careful - *sigh*. I do tend to think it's connected to the Lamictal, but like you say, who knows?

As for the time perception thing - always had that - I've jokingly referred to it as "time dyslexia". I say "yesterday" when I mean "tomorrow" - I hardly know the difference without thinking hard about it - I sometimes actually can't remember what month or season it is without concentrating hard. I sometimes like to get metaphysical and say it's because time is fluid and just a human construct, etc, etc, but the truth is, it's a real pain in the ass. Keeping track of the day and date is nearly impossible - I have a monthly calendar, a weekly calendar, a blotter calendar and a date book at work and I still lose track.

Is it BP related? I dunno. I feel like it could be, but that's just a hunch. I'll be interested in checking the new posts yesterday - I mean tomorrow. ;)

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Large portions of the most critical period of my life thus far are just gone. Wiped out. It's very upsetting.

Yup. That's me too. There are these great huge holes in my memory. Kind of scary, actually.

I often have trouble remembering things that should be memorable. The other day the Dr. (GP) asked me what my migraines felt like, what side they were usually on, how long the triptans usually take to work, and so on. I couldn't explain very well and couldn't really remember many specifics---and, belleve me, these are headaches that make a strong negative impact on my quality of life.

And the time problem--when/how long/etc.--is very bad with me too.

Sometimes I have an impression of sort-of-how-long or whatever, and, often as not, these impressions turn out to be wrong.

Another thing: I have enormous problems finding my way to/in places unfamiliar to me. I have to walk or drive a route multiple times with someone else telling me where to go if I want to have any hope of being able to do it again on my own.

I am BP1, by the way.

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I've lost NAMES of things and people--its like the part of my brain that contains names has just checked out. Pretty good still with time, and place, and short and long term memory, but NAMES--

Also, I think I am getting more and more visual about learning new things--I just can't grasp verbal instructions much at all. Have always had a problem with that, but it seems to be worse.

But of course since I am realy old, I am never sure what to blame all this on--age, or my fucked-up, batshit brain. And does it matter?

china--and what did you say your name was??

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My memory used to be good, back when I was smart. (I meant long-term memory, my short-term memory has always and will always suck.)

Most days I'm very lucky when I remember what day of the week it is, to say nothing of the month and date!

Half the time, I forget how to spell my own last name (granted, it's 12 letters long).

I generally take a minute or more to figure out what my current address and phone number are (granted, I've lived in 6 cities the past 4 years).

I used to be good at spelling/grammar, but now I've got serious problems with switching your/you're, they're/there, and its/it's.

Last week, I developed serious ideological issues with staircases. Often I go up a few steps and forget how to climb them and/or get the impression that they're unclimbable. I'll stand there, staring at the steps above me, hold onto the banister for dear life, and then continue climbing.

I have a feeling that this is all caused by a combination of my general mental weirdness, Lamictal, and the fact that parts of my brain have gone physically missing the past 2 years.

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My short term memory sucks due to past drug use and adding lamictal really killed it. I have to write everything down. I never needed lists before, now if something isn't written down, it doesn't exist.

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I've been putting off responding to this because I wanted to wait until I felt clear headed enough to make a kinda kick ass response, but I don't think that's going to happen, partularly with my carpel tunnel flaring up.

For starters, this is positive:

http://www.psychiatrist.com/brainstorms/br5807.pdf

There are a lot of supplements that can help with this. A mulitivitim, aditional B-complex, and omega-3 are stuff that you need to be taking regardless. Make sure there is a decent ammount of ALA in the omega-3. More stuff to look into:Choline, Carnitine / Acetyl-L-carnitine, DMAE, Hauperzine, CoQ10, Alpha lipoic acid, vinpocetine, Bacopa monnieri, Idebenone, and inositol. All links go to wikipedia. Most of this stuff is available in the crazystore.

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SENSORY MEM -- My echoic/auditory memory is terrible, but my iconic/visual memory is pretty much photographic, esp. if there are words involved.

EVERYTHING ELSE -- it depends!! For some things/ and at some times I have an amazing memory and other times I have to write down everything I do, think, plan, etc. or life falls apart.

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