Dealing With Memory Loss

A

Akela

Hi all,

Although I was diagnosed with PTSD a couple of years ago (along with anxiety, depression, and insomnia), it still seems so fresh. I’ve noticed that before I came out about the sexual abuse I endured in my childhood, I had the best memory ever, but now after having talked about my trauma and seeking therapy, I can barely remember things as simple as when and if I take daily medications. It’s almost like my mind or brain is playing tricks with me. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, especially since I’ve never had memory loss like this—but my therapist said that memory loss after trauma is normal, especially in those with PTSD & anxiety. Anyone else suddenly experience bad memory? What d’you guys do to help with it? Not to mention I just turned 21, so I’m way too young to have a demented mind.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, I call it PTSD Brain Fog. If I have a lot going on and am more anxious than usual, it is worse. I guess I've just learned to live with it. I have no clinical proof of this, but I think for me, my brain just shuts down sometimes because there is too much to take in and process. I thought getting one of those little plastic things with the days of the week on them to hold my meds would help. It does, if I can remember what day it is.

I know it's hard to deal with, but unfortunately it's normal for us with PTSD. There's nothing wrong with you, it's just your brain doing what it does.
 
A

Akela

Yes, I call it PTSD Brain Fog. If I have a lot going on and am more anxious than usual, it is worse. I guess I've just learned to live with it. I have no clinical proof of this, but I think for me, my brain just shuts down sometimes because there is too much to take in and process. I thought getting one of those little plastic things with the days of the week on them to hold my meds would help. It does, if I can remember what day it is.

I know it's hard to deal with, but unfortunately it's normal for us with PTSD. There's nothing wrong with you, it's just your brain doing what it does.
if you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been diagnosed with ptsd?

& i too have purchased the pill organizers, and i found that they help a little, but i also have to administer meds to my dog as well and it just throws everything into a frenzy, especially when i have those second doubts…so then i have to try and go over my steps to remember (to no avail) if i already took/gave meds…

i’ve felt so overwhelmed about the memory loss especially since i see how it affects my everyday life. idk it just makes everything so frustrating!!
 

Friday

Moderator
Best. Trick. Ever….For ruling out dementia.

- If you forget where your keys are? That’s a memory issue.
- If you forget what keys are for? (Combing my hair? Adding to soup?) Thats dementia.

***

I have my own spectrum on memory loss/memory issues.

One of the things I’ve found with PTSD is that the more my mind is in the past? The less I’m able to form new memories in the present.

Journaling reeeeeeally helps.

I despise journaling. But it’s a useful tool when my memory is getting iffy, or collecting gaps / losing time, etc.

Sometimes -often- it’s just the cue needed to remind me / help move a memory from short term into long term. Oh. Right. That.

Other times there’s no memory whatsoever, but at least the note I took give me a general outline of what was happening when &/or any patterns that start to develop. Like I can remember all of this, need cues from here on, remember that, don’t remember this at all… okay! What was happening in my life right before &/or during the times I’m having memory issues, and related to what?
 
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Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
Stuff can go away quickly. Inside a month or two I couldn't remember names or faces of people who I worked with when my second trauma happened. Just gone, all gone.

The rest of my working memory is a mess too. I forget meds and stuff but I started looking for phone apps to help keep me organized. Alarms annoy me but I just can't do without them now.

Makes me a bit AAAAAAAHHHHH since I have lived with PTSD for 45 years and my memory has never been as bad as it is now.

I would ask your T about hacks to help. I got one before Christmas and it works - I just don't like using it because it feels like getting zapped by an electric fence when I do it, but it works.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
My t gets super annoyed with me for it, but I refer to it as "Getting Stupid" Yep - in caps.
Cause that's what it feels like when my ptsd meets fibro and suddenly I can't remember a damn thing.
I can actually feel my IQ dropping!

But - it's also a reminder to me that dealing with all the crap from the past, in the here and now, takes an incredible amount of energy so of course it makes me sense my brain would be tired.

So I live by lists and my calendar and that seems to help.
And i remind myself...this will pass as I get further down the therapy line. Hopefully
 

kateylass

New Here
Hi all,

Although I was diagnosed with PTSD a couple of years ago (along with anxiety, depression, and insomnia), it still seems so fresh. I’ve noticed that before I came out about the sexual abuse I endured in my childhood, I had the best memory ever, but now after having talked about my trauma and seeking therapy, I can barely remember things as simple as when and if I take daily medications. It’s almost like my mind or brain is playing tricks with me. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, especially since I’ve never had memory loss like this—but my therapist said that memory loss after trauma is normal, especially in those with PTSD & anxiety. Anyone else suddenly experience bad memory? What d’you guys do to help with it? Not to mention I just turned 21, so I’m way too young to have a demented mind.
Yes. I have experienced and continue to experience memory loss and disfunction during many aspects of therapy and healing. When coping with early childhood abuse our brains compensate and protect us. You may feel like you are losing clarity and memories but it is also possible that your brain is processing and allowing these experiences as you can best manage them. I am 45 and have only accessed and dealt with my most traumatic childhood abuse in the last decade. Until then my childhood from age 5-15 had been locked away with that early trauma. Acknowledging the trauma of our childhood is scary and disorienting but is the key to moving forward with the grace and confidence we deserve.
 

coraxxx

Policy Enforcement
Yeah, when I'm dealing with actual shit mentally I barely can tell if we're this week or next week or two months ago (notice the scrambled and illogical formulation). If I don't set an alarm with redundancy, if I'm lucky I'll be able to more or less remember it but most of the time it will go down the drain.

I find that checklists that you prepare in advance and that you can check so afterwards you can check if you've done the thing or not works better. There are a few apps that allow you to do that and bridge it to your alarm. None is perfectly adequate for the redundancy of it but it still is possible.

When we process trauma or are stuck into low-key flashbacks, the mental energy of the brain simply isn't available to do day to day things. It has a way to make you feel extremely stupid and dysfunctional. Sometimes I manage to create a bubble of efficiency in restrained domains or contexts, such as work, but not all the time. Sometimes I do have to work in the brain fog and it's as if I could remember what I have to do but I cannot remember why exactly and the detail of things. Like working only with remaining automatisms.

That said with trauma work, processing and learning managing skills all this can drastically improve.
 

Tinyflame

MyPTSD Pro
You could try somerthing like a piece of paper with a pen beside it next to the meds in a place you can't miss (ie beside your coffee pot or the like, or a bright post it note you can't miss, like eg on your coffee cup,) might help (for both of your meds). And the same routine and time. For example give med, write down time and day/ date. Use phone alarm reminders and dosettes (pill organizers as you said,) for both, or ask your pharmacy to blister pack/ bubble pack them (many canine meds are also available at a better cost through your 'human' pharmacy). Or count out eg a day's worth and put them in one bottle if you know the difference between the pills/ they look different, then you can count back if in doubt.

Yes memory goes poorly, including for orientation, faces, names and current memory, or there are too many distractions, poor sleep, some dissociation perhaps, worries and intrusive thoughts, etc. Most of the time I feel like I'm running on fumes.

Agree with @Friday , procedural memory is different. It means a lot also to remember that you forgot.

Welcome to you!
 
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arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i started therapy for "trauma induced amnesia" in 1974, while combat ptsd was still being called "shell shock." i was 19 years old and had blocked the memory of my entire childhood. it took another 10 or 15 years before i was able to grasp why my shrinks kept saying, "amnesia" like it was a bad thing. i knew my birth family well enough to be utterly convinced that my childhood was worth forgetting. as my memory continued to worsen, i finally started taking that "trauma induced amnesia therapy" seriously. the schools of psychology were still a decade or so away from formalizing the ptsd dx.

fast forward a few decades and i am the only senior citizen i know whose memory is improving with age as i continue working the memory exercises to confront and process those unforgettably forget-worthy emotions. i theorate that we don't get to mess with one aspect of our memory function without damaging ALL of our memory functions. just theorating like a hard case patient. . .

steadying support while you sort what it is in your own case, akela.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
My t gets super annoyed with me for it, but I refer to it as "Getting Stupid" Yep - in caps.
Cause that's what it feels like when my ptsd meets fibro and suddenly I can't remember a damn thing.
That's what always seems to add to it. With Addison's confusion can be a sign of an Addison's crisis, but it comes with low blood pressure and huge salt cravings as well.. But yes, much the same where one stresses the other and memory/confusion can be a big part of it.

It's one of the big reasons to be extra careful if you have PTSD because you are at higher risk of having a chronic illness. Don't always assume it comes from mental, make sure you keep tabs on the physical stuff too.
 
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