How do your memory issues play out?

PTSD Amnesia is common with people who have trauma. It fogs out memories and you have no conscious memories of trauma and life events. Most of my childhood and a lot of memories around trauma are gone. You would think that after 2 months in the hospital I would remember going home - nope. Going back to school and seeing friends - no. Teens after the accident? Bits and pieces.

So, this has been coming up for me in therapy. My memories of my childhood seem largely intact, no different than most people, right up until a traumatic event. I can clearly remember part of that event, how it started, but my memories just completely cut out right in the middle. There was a particular part of that traumatic event that I have zero memory of. I’ve seen photographic proof, otherwise I would swear it didn’t happen. My memories pick up again about 7 or 8 months later, but there’s this big empty space that I just can’t account for.
 
So, this has been coming up for me in therapy. My memories of my childhood seem largely intact, no different than most people, right up until a traumatic event. I can clearly remember part of that event, how it started, but my memories just completely cut out right in the middle. There was a particular part of that traumatic event that I have zero memory of. I’ve seen photographic proof, otherwise I would swear it didn’t happen. My memories pick up again about 7 or 8 months later, but there’s this big empty space that I just can’t account for.
I used to call it "The big blank" because it was, it just really was. I was amazed when I asked my sister how long I was in hospital because I have so few memories it seemed like a far shorter tine than it was. There is still a lot missing from conscious memory.

Depending on the type and length of trauma it may or may not come back. For me it sort of ends up that me head interprets what came after as part of the trauma event so it's been like picking off little bits and pieces and trying to sort out what happened and when and where. It's painfully slow but that's the way it is......
 
My memory of parts of my childhood, like so many here, isn't very good and never has been.

My everyday memory has been getting worse over the past few years - specifically last 3 years. Even more specifically last few months. I'm in my early 40s.

When I say memory I'm talking about my ability to remember everyday things. Every day, I have no idea where I've parked the car. Even though I parked it either earlier in the day or within 24 hours. I know this happens to alot of people but for me it's EVERYDAY. Even when it's infront of the house. Sometimes when I locate it I can't even remember that I'd parked it at that location. My work is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. I can't handle all the memory requirements and so the level of my work is getting worse. I walk into a room and may not remember why I entered. People talk to me about things we talked about or even did in the last few months and sometimes I can't remember. I used to be able to hold and work with so much information - juggle so much. I now have lost the ability to do that because of my memory/ cognitive difficulties. Things just fade away in my mind... Like sand through fingers. Info dissolves.

I'm going their early menopause (in the peri stage) and my brain fog is through the roof.

But my question to myself is: could all the memory and cognitive issues be from trauma? Could they be down to a DDNOS diagnosis? Could it be purely peri-menopause? Is it early dementia or something similar? And what the hell can I do to improve it - I'm scared.

My question to others: does anyone relate? What is your experience of and understanding of your own memory issues?

Thanks 😊
my memory is getting worse today i spent 30 minutes looking for my house keys only for my girlfriend to tell me i had them in my hand all the time post it notes are my friends
 
I think there are so many variables and causes, certainly trauma and stress, let alone physiological and even sensory difficulties. I think they only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to trauma and stress.

@bungle2234 post its are great and also being mindful with encoding, and routine. And a place for everything. I try to put away the 5 or 6 essential things I most need to keep track of. But easy to get distracted, by our own thoughts especially too.

I think also the subconscious- clear out clutter.Do and think and surround yourself with things that bring comfort or joy. Remove what is a bad reminder if possible. And, like with physical illness, if you have a symptom, think of what makes you 'feel' the same in your life (eg what gives you a stabbing pain, hurts your heart, is a pain in the rear, however you would describe it), in the present or past. Talk about that situation to someone, or journal, or in some way express it such as through art or music. (Often when I try to talk about something loaded I can't, I lose my voice.) For me and apparently many others, what we most avoid thinking about will scream the loudest for attention, to our bodies, minds +/or hearts.

And don't go hard on yourself. It uses energy up and really better if you applaud yourself for the persistence to keep looking for those keys (and not punching the wall!) Exercise, and do things you enjoy. Give yourself permission to relax and be happy, and curb negative self talk. It comes from old tapes and going far too hard on yourself. You probably wouldn't ever do that to your gf or someone you love, so I hope you won't let your mind do it to you.
 
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my memory is getting worse today i spent 30 minutes looking for my house keys only for my girlfriend to tell me i had them in my hand all the time post it notes are my friends
Tell me more about your post it notes! Atm I feel any strategy I try lasts just a short time... then I forget really about that strategy too... so frustrating....I wanted to keep a diary for my changing thoughts and feelings... so I down loaded Joplin... but I don't seem to have been able to use this because I forget I have it... then find multiple notes I've made to myself on text, WhatsApp and messenger....
 
I think there are so many variables and causes, certainly trauma and stress, let alone physiological and even sensory difficulties. I think they only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to trauma and stress.

@bungle2234 post its are great and also being mindful with encoding, and routine. And a place for everything. I try to put away the 5 or 6 essential things I most need to keep track of. But easy to get distracted, by our own thoughts especially too.

I think also the subconscious- clear out clutter.Do and think and surround yourself with things that bring comfort or joy. Remove what is a bad reminder if possible. And, like with physical illness, if you have a symptom, think of what makes you 'feel' the same in your life (eg what gives you a stabbing pain, hurts your heart, is a pain in the rear, however you would describe it), in the present or past. Talk about that situation to someone, or journal, or in some way express it such as through art or music. (Often when I try to talk about something loaded I can't, I lose my voice.) For me and apparently many others, what we most avoid thinking about will scream the loudest for attention, to our bodies, minds +/or hearts.

And don't go hard on yourself. It uses energy up and really better if you applaud yourself for the persistence to keep looking for those keys (and not punching the wall!) Exercise, and do things you enjoy. Give yourself permission to relax and be happy, and curb negative self talk. It comes from old tapes and going far too hard on yourself. You probably wouldn't ever do that to your gf or someone you love, so I hope you won't let your mind do it to you.
Sounds like you have a great holistic system going...

I like the idea of removing clutter... it's definitely a barrier to having a clear mind...
 
@beaneeboo they say the best format or system to use- is the one you actually use. Whether online or on paper.

Like saying cognition, it takes 9 steps to transition between actions, though often we don't see most of those steps. Including feeling emotionally ready. That is for something as simple as getting off the computer and going to get something.
 
That has to be really frustrating. I’d definitely want to get a health assessment if I experienced that and if I had an extended and unusual period of forgetfulness. I can’t speak to being 40 and I’m not a doctor, but since it’s a time when there are a ton of hormonal changes that span years I could imagine there might be any number of reasons you could have memory issues what’s caused by alongside.

I’d try to speak with a doctor about it.

With that said though my own memory has been bad for a while.

I also have the typical long sprawling blanks when it comes to my childhood… but then there’s the fact that if I’m triggered, my memory suffers, so that will last for varying lengths of time.

If I’m startled, I get forgetful and will later have a poorer than usual memory of the hours surrounding that.

If I’m very anxious, I tend to be forgetful of everything.

I forget details around major triggers if I can’t get a steady handle on myself while it’s happening or especially if I think it’s passed and I begin to calm down just for whatever it is to happen again. That sends me absolutely spiraling, and I forget very basic things. If I didn’t make a list at times like that, I wouldn’t be functional while it was going on. I can forget whether I ate at all and sit and struggle to figure it out for much longer than makes any sense, and then be wrong, and realize much later that the spaghetti was a different day than I thought.

I won’t remember very basic things the more I’m dealing with trauma responses. They just go hand in hand and ebb and flow depending on what’s happening in my inner and outer environments.

If I feel okay but there’s chaos around me, I might end up dealing with more anxiety and more memory loss, same if I was struggling internally while everything around me was fine or good or great.
 
I'm going their early menopause (in the peri stage) and my brain fog is through the roof.

But my question to myself is: could all the memory and cognitive issues be from trauma? Could they be down to a DDNOS diagnosis? Could it be purely peri-menopause? Is it early dementia or something similar? And what the hell can I do to improve it - I'm scared.
Same here @beaneeboo

I've had to change jobs because of it, it's so bad.

I had a brain MRI to rule out a brain tumor and saw a neurologist in case it was early onset dementia.

But apparently it's trauma + multi-tasking + peri-menopause.

It's really debilitating. For a few months, I stopped being able to drive a car (couldn't compute all the incoming stimuli quickly enough). In the peri-menopause support group I'm in it's another common effect of peri-menopause.

Also, many women either retire early, go part-time or switch to a more menial, less demanding job. (I also got fired from 2 jobs. Never been fired before in my life.)

I hope over time I recover some of these lost mental abilities. Living with "just" PTSD was hard enough.
 
So, this has been coming up for me in therapy. My memories of my childhood seem largely intact, no different than most people, right up until a traumatic event. I can clearly remember part of that event, how it started, but my memories just completely cut out right in the middle. There was a particular part of that traumatic event that I have zero memory of. I’ve seen photographic proof, otherwise I would swear it didn’t happen. My memories pick up again about 7 or 8 months later, but there’s this big empty space that I just can’t account for.
the onlything id gladly forget is the daily round of intrusive thoughts flashbacks and having the wife in tears when i cant cope it makes me feel really bad
 
Thales for all your helpful replies @Freddyt @Tinyflame @Ecdysis @bungle2234 @St.Maybe ....

Sounds like alot of us here experience the same types of issues...

@St.Maybe I've been to my doc, had a brain scan (normal) and am now awaiting a neurological assessment in the community (in March)... I'm lucky to have these resources available freely to me (although it was 1 year ago now that started this investigation!)

@Ecdysis our experiences sound particularly similar... can I ask, when you went to the neurologist, how much did you explain about your dissociative disorder? Did you even mention it?

I'm not sure whether to give them the full picture about the diagnosis given it was made 7 years ago and I don't want them taking the report and saying well it must be this, without actually doing any deeper neuro assessment in case it's something else. Plus my main feeling about it all is that it's a hard diagnosis to explain to others and I'm still embarrassed about it....

Regarding the peromenopause stuff, HRT has helped me a bit with my symptoms... I'm working about 25% of what I was 18 months ago though and am considering stepping down from my long term career.... though I think alot of my cognitive drain is because I'm essentially living 2 lives (parts)... don't think my brain can cope with it...

Sending strength to you all!
 
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