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i think something's wrong with my memory...


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...and I mean pretty much every aspect of it.

 

I can't remember most of my life. I sort of have vague recollections of certain smells, sights, sounds, but none of it paints any sort of cohesive story.

 

I can't remember movies I've seen, books I've read. topics I've studied in classes (even though I paid attention and was engaged in the material at the time).

 

I sometimes forget where I am and what I am doing. more often I forget how to do things I know how to do well.

 

when I have any kind of a problem i'm working on, it seems to take an absurd amount of energy to hold the "steps" and other pertinent information about what i'm doing in my head. and multitasking? forget it.

 

I can never recall words and names very quickly either.

 

i seem to have other strengths which compensate for this weakness. i am very good at organizing and categorizing items and information. also i'm a good "problem solver"...whatever that means. for instance: even though i can't remember mathematical formulas, i can derive them, and i often find this gives me an edge in solving problems that perplex classmates. but it sometimes takes me awhile to figure out the more "basic" things, because i'm deriving formulas everybody else memorized.

 

i sort of wonder if my OCD is really just a compensatory measure for dealing with memory deficits. i have a lot of anxiety about whether i will remember things in the future...simple things such as my name, address, likes/dislikes, etc. so i have compulsions for dealing with all of that. it seems like sort of an unusual form of OCD though, and i'm wondering if it developed out of the fact that my memory really does suck and that causes anxiety.

 

can anybody out there relate? how do you deal with it? do i need to get some kind of help with this?

 

i'm so embarrassed about it.

Edited by starship_subaru
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Anxiety coupled with repeated depressive episodes have left me with entire years I hardly remember.  It's tough.  I'm working on strategies for coping with anxiety, like breathing and meditation, in the hopes that it will help with memory formation and encoding during times of stress.

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It could also be some of the meds you are on, but I'm not sure what you're taking.

 

I agree that anxiety and depression can lead to memory loss.  Its like your brain is too busy coping to also recall things that have happened.  My memory fails me completely when I'm in a depressed/anxious state.  I even have trouble remembering things that happened earlier in the day.

 

Have you talked with your pdoc about this?

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it's been kind of a lifelong thing. I have just become more aware of it as i'm getting older and taking more rigorous classes. I have a better memory for pictures than words, but it's still nothing to write home about. and words just kinda turn into soup in my brain.

 

I actually remember when I was a kid, I was in the "gifted" program (whatever the hell that means, right?) but they told my parents I scored gifted on all the sections of the test except for memory which I completely and utterly bombed. I actually remember that test. I had to memorize a bunch of words from a nonsense language and their meanings. it seemed very pointless and boring, but I tried anyway cuz I wanted the grownups to think I was "smart". but when they read the words back i'm not sure I remembered a single one. incidentally, I am really bad at real languages too.

 

I often feel like I am missing a lot of the things normal people's brains do, and yet my brain does a lot of weird extra things most people's brains don't do. if that makes sense. it seems like that's what a lot of my MI stuff stems from.

 

I've been on hiatus from meds and pdocs for awhile because I ran into some insurance issues last year...have been managing reasonably well but I think my tdoc is going to refer me to a pdoc again since I've got the insurance stuff worked out now. now that I think about it, I think I was actually thinking a lot clearer and maybe my memory was even better when I was on abilify. now, lithium, on the other hand... I dunno though, it's hard to remember that far back (ha, ha...)

Edited by starship_subaru
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I really think chronic stress will annihilate your memory, even if o its a stress thats so pervasive that you dont know its there. My memory has had holes in it since I was in middle school. My main problem with memory is losing things because I put things in places and dont know it so I will go shopping for eggs and find it a week later in the closet or something, or getting undressed at night I leave my underwear in public and forget. I dont remember giant chunks of my childhood and I have trouble retaining short term information. I really think stress causes that, since reducing my stress my memory is returning.

Sleep too is huge. I had long term insomnia and absence of rem sleep. Sleep deprivation causes micro sleeps and that can mess up memory. since reducing stress and sleeping with rem again my memory is almost fixed. I think you can still overcome these memory problems! Sometimes lifestyle is very influential

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I have trouble with my short term memory. I can recall things from a very young age in childhood, but I can't remember to show up for an appointment made the day before. I cannot shop without a shopping list, even 3 items overwhelms me and I'll forget them. I do odd things too, like leaving my keys in the fridge. My poor memory co-incided with my anxiety getting really bad (that being said, I also have fibromyalgia and brain fog is a big part of that). It's very frustrating.

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My memory is terrible sometimes when it comes to going to the DR.  When I get to the DR, and s/he asks how I am doing, IF I am AT THAT MOMENT feeling ok, I'll say I am fine.  And one DR said, "Then why are you here?"

 

But the reason I am there is because of a problem.  It is like I think in the moment and somehow don't include the times I should be telling the DR about (the reason/s for the appt).  What helps is making a list of things to jog my memory to make the most of the appt.

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Some days are better then others for me. Some times I can recall moments I completely forgot about, and other times it's like pages and chapters missing in a book. I also agree the anxiety, depression, meds, all take a toll on us. Also when my mind is on auto pilot or my thoughts are racing, I can't remember much of any thing then.

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I'm missing entire years. Things I should remember but don't. Things like most of the first year of my son's birth. You'd think I'd remember that, wouldn't you? I see pictures and I can say, yes, that's me but I have no recollection of the time period. I can piece together thing by looking at other people or scenery in the picture but that's about it.

 

I rely upon my brother, hubby, and kids to help me with my memory. My brother for the first 1/2 of my life and hubby for the second half. It has gotten to the point where others notice as well. Hubby says that just about the time he gets ready to call pdoc to report my crappy memory, I'll remember something so obscure that he thinks maybe I don't have a problem.

 

I think my memory problems are caused by depression. Maybe not but that's what I'm hoping because the other causes scare the crap out of me.

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Everything you wrote in the first post is something I struggle with and something I've felt, right down to being gifted in childhood and deriving formulas that other people have memorized.  In my case, I blame it on chronic stress, honestly.  It's true that my memory was better before I took benzodiazepines for years but then again without the benzodiazepines I'm not sure I would be here to write this post, so I'm willing to make that trade off.

 

My boyfriend has SEVERE adhd and his memory is better than mine.  He's the one who finds things for me, seriously.  Plus we have conversations like this all the time:

 

(4:57:16 AM) me: you know what's working really well
(4:57:28 AM) me: the white stuff i just used
(4:57:35 AM) me: the ... thingy
(4:57:37 AM) St J: ?
(4:57:52 AM) me: not the blue one
(4:57:55 AM) me: the white one in the tiny tube
(4:57:58 AM) me: not the blue one in the tub
(4:57:59 AM) me: that thing
(4:58:04 AM) St J: Mentholatum?
(4:58:11 AM) me: it smells like it so sure

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oddly enough, I virtually never misplace things. I think it's because I always have a specific place for everything.

 

BUT I forget what I am doing or thinking countless times every day...

 

 

 

I keep contemplating the reasons for all this, and I think maybe it's partially because I can never stop thinking about all the nagging things I "have to do" much of which is actually useless and I know it. only so much room in the brain--occupying it with this kind of crap doesn't leave room for much else...

Edited by starship_subaru
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Everything you wrote in the first post is something I struggle with and something I've felt, right down to being gifted in childhood and deriving formulas that other people have memorized.  In my case, I blame it on chronic stress, honestly.  It's true that my memory was better before I took benzodiazepines for years but then again without the benzodiazepines I'm not sure I would be here to write this post, so I'm willing to make that trade off.

 

My boyfriend has SEVERE adhd and his memory is better than mine.  He's the one who finds things for me, seriously.  Plus we have conversations like this all the time:

 

(4:57:16 AM) me: you know what's working really well

(4:57:28 AM) me: the white stuff i just used

(4:57:35 AM) me: the ... thingy

(4:57:37 AM) St J: ?

(4:57:52 AM) me: not the blue one

(4:57:55 AM) me: the white one in the tiny tube

(4:57:58 AM) me: not the blue one in the tub

(4:57:59 AM) me: that thing

(4:58:04 AM) St J: Mentholatum?

(4:58:11 AM) me: it smells like it so sure

 

When I was having the intrusive thoughts for something like a year, I did this all. the. time.  Even tho I still do it occasionally, it's nothing like as bad as it was before. I no longer think I have alzheimers.  Seriously, I thought that for real when I was having a massive mixed episode and could. not. sit. still.    Well, except when I had to take the depakote, then I'd forget what I was saying right in the middle of a sentence.  

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I went downstairs to get the electric blanket so I could make sure the dogs would be warm when I was gone for my dr's appt.

 

Went downstairs, moved laundry from washer to dryer.  Decided on clothes to wear to doctor's appt.  Brought clothes upstairs, took shower, got out of shower, walked out of bathroom, saw dogs, and thought, goddamnit where's the electric blanket?!

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sorry......

 

i'm just posting on this topic again because i'm planning to take all my posts from here to the next pdoc appointment.

 

I have noticed something.

 

I cannot remember my life. I can't remember any of it, really. stuff that happened last year, stuff that happened when I was 8, places I've been or lived, things Ive done....the whole story is just missing.

 

but if something "triggers" a memory by reminding me of the past somehow, all of a sudden a lot of things come flooding back. only in sort of a vague way, though. it's like seeing random disjointed scenes through a piece of fabric.

 

memory with school subjects is similar. I can't remember anything i've learned until I am directly looking at something that reminds me I need it, and then I can "find" it in my brain. this is how I can remember things the most clearly. If I need to use them. But until I need to use them, I don't even remember they exist.

 

also, sometimes one thing reminds me of another thing ive learned in the past and then I might be able to remember it in a sort of vague non-specific way.

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memory with school subjects is similar. I can't remember anything i've learned until I am directly looking at something that reminds me I need it, and then I can "find" it in my brain. this is how I can remember things the most clearly. If I need to use them. But until I need to use them, I don't even remember they exist.

 

I can totally relate to this.  I have forgotten just about everything I learned in college.  If I am reminded of it then I am like, "oh yeah, that's right," but otherwise I can't pick the information out of my mind.  And a lot of things I'll only vaguely remember, and will need to be reminded what the information is/about.  Then I'll most likely remember it.

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