Memory issues.

Hey guys.
Just reaching out to find out if memory loss is normal. I suffered my trauma when I was 12 so I don't know if my brain decided that it was going to wire differently to a normal person. I read somewhere it was to do with the hippo campus (I've prob said that wrong coz all im picturing is a beast with half its head sticking out of water). I can remember the lead up to my trauma,the incident and after but when it happened my surroundings went black. The police took me to the scene and I couldn't give any extra info just "everything around me was black". Yeah great help that was! So I remember that from 25 years ago and I remember the night my partner past away. Again I remember the lead up,the event and pretty much every detail of that night and a few weeks after. Then everything after the funeral goes a bit blurry. It's like my life was on fast forward.

It's not just little things I forget but it's quite important things as well. Is this normal?

I also can't remember my partners face or voice.

I have photos of him but I always think that they are not what he looked like. Maybe its because I saw him at the chapel of rest I don't know. Could it be dissociation?

Before my mum goes to work she will ask me to do something or tell me shes popping somewhere after work and nine times out of ten I forget.

Its like a brain overload. Like my mind is to taken up with traumatic memorys that nothing else can go In so lt doesn't.

Anyone else feel like this or does it happen to you?
 

Livi

New Here
I can't remember the most traumatic things that happened to me when I was a child. I have before details and know the aftermath well, but as far as details of 'the moments' of trauma, I have a black void. It's like staring into a big empty black space. Nothing! Sometimes I find this frustrating as I wonder if remembering will somehow help me, and other times I am really relieved that I can't remember as my brain did what it was built to do and helped me forget. As an adult I have problems with remembering people's names, which as a teacher can be a bit tricky. I also have problems sometimes that I can't remember simple words. I find myself pointing at things and gesturing wildly until some kind soul fills in the blanks. I have acquired some coping strategies over the years, such as in most meetings at work I take copious notes to help me out and have learnt that my google calendar is my best friend.

Someone with a better understanding of the brain can give you more details I am sure, but I have been told that the hippocampus is the brain's filing system for memory and trauma kind of reorders and loses some of those files. I think it's safe to say that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. I hope this helps.
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
hey, with you as well in the memory gaps. From what I’ve read it is a regular/typical occurrence with trauma. Thanks for the smile with the hippo imagery, I won’t be embarrassed by sharing that I envision a hippo wearing a grad gown and cap when I think of hippo campus.

I have trauma from various stages in my life (child-adult) and how memory has coded for those events depends on my own brain development according to what age I was. For me, as a child - it’s fragmented, more emotional memory (sensations/internal feelings with odd flashes of visual memory) and plenty of blank spots. As an adult - clear as day leading up to and at a point after, but entirely blank for portions in the middle.
As I worked with a professional, some of those blank spots have become more clear (there’s good and bad in that).

My condolences about the loss of your partner and hope for pleasant memories of your life together. Grief can be a very long process and how things return to us and what is needed to make that happen, can be very frustrating.
What you describe about your experience with memories of his face/in photos, does sound like dissociation to me. But I’m not a professional, it’s just from my own understanding of how dissociation works for me. It’s purpose has been to protect me from things which my brain decides would be difficult to handle. My brain isn’t always right with that part, so it can be maddening. I’ve been trying to learn by not fighting it and accepting it for what it is. That memory or image I’m trying to recall or whatever it is, will come back when it’s time.

But….just a small cross check - is to ask if it might be avoidance. It could be a combination of both. For me, I dislike my emotions so I do often avoid things that could cause me to feel. When I comes to loss? I have tried to look at a photo of the person and then actively bring up a positive memory of them. It’s not easy and I’ve had to stop more times than I’ve started. But there are times that I can ‘see’ the photo better. If that makes sense.

Take what helps from the above and ignore what doesn’t.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
as it was explained to me, you don't get to repress part of your memory function without messing with those memory functions across the board. the harder you work, whether consciously or unconsciously, to repress the traumatic memory(ies), the more your full memory function will be impaired, both long and short term memory.
 

Sideways

Moderator
It's not just little things I forget but it's quite important things as well. Is this normal?
With regard to traumatic events? It's part of the diagnostic criteria for ptsd:
Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s) (typically due to dissociative amnesia and not to other factors such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
So, it's a 'normal' part of the illness.

Ongoing forgetfulness can be caused by hundreds of different things (normal stuff, like poor sleep quality, to abnormal stuff, like Dementia, and everything in between).

For folks with ptsd, forgetfulness is often linked with chronic dissociation.
 
I can't remember the most traumatic things that happened to me when I was a child. I have before details and know the aftermath well, but as far as details of 'the moments' of trauma, I have a black void. It's like staring into a big empty black space. Nothing! Sometimes I find this frustrating as I wonder if remembering will somehow help me, and other times I am really relieved that I can't remember as my brain did what it was built to do and helped me forget. As an adult I have problems with remembering people's names, which as a teacher can be a bit tricky. I also have problems sometimes that I can't remember simple words. I find myself pointing at things and gesturing wildly until some kind soul fills in the blanks. I have acquired some coping strategies over the years, such as in most meetings at work I take copious notes to help me out and have learnt that my google calendar is my best friend.

Someone with a better understanding of the brain can give you more details I am sure, but I have been told that the hippocampus is the brain's filing system for memory and trauma kind of reorders and loses some of those files. I think it's safe to say that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. I hope this helps.
Hi livi.
It does help to know im not going mad. I find if im having a chat with someone I will use the wrong words then have to correct myself xx

hey, with you as well in the memory gaps. From what I’ve read it is a regular/typical occurrence with trauma. Thanks for the smile with the hippo imagery, I won’t be embarrassed by sharing that I envision a hippo wearing a grad gown and cap when I think of hippo campus.

I have trauma from various stages in my life (child-adult) and how memory has coded for those events depends on my own brain development according to what age I was. For me, as a child - it’s fragmented, more emotional memory (sensations/internal feelings with odd flashes of visual memory) and plenty of blank spots. As an adult - clear as day leading up to and at a point after, but entirely blank for portions in the middle.
As I worked with a professional, some of those blank spots have become more clear (there’s good and bad in that).

My condolences about the loss of your partner and hope for pleasant memories of your life together. Grief can be a very long process and how things return to us and what is needed to make that happen, can be very frustrating.
What you describe about your experience with memories of his face/in photos, does sound like dissociation to me. But I’m not a professional, it’s just from my own understanding of how dissociation works for me. It’s purpose has been to protect me from things which my brain decides would be difficult to handle. My brain isn’t always right with that part, so it can be maddening. I’ve been trying to learn by not fighting it and accepting it for what it is. That memory or image I’m trying to recall or whatever it is, will come back when it’s time.

But….just a small cross check - is to ask if it might be avoidance. It could be a combination of both. For me, I dislike my emotions so I do often avoid things that could cause me to feel. When I comes to loss? I have tried to look at a photo of the person and then actively bring up a positive memory of them. It’s not easy and I’ve had to stop more times than I’ve started. But there are times that I can ‘see’ the photo better. If that makes sense.

Take what helps from the above and ignore what doesn’t.
Hi chicken.
I think u may be right about dissociation. We had a very strange relationship. He was twice my age and controlled everything in the relationship inc me. I couldn't cut my hair,wear make up or joggers n a baggy tshirt. I was only seeing him 6 weeks before we moved in with each other. I was trapped in the relationship and knew I was trapped until the end. He cheated from day one and was a compulsive liar. Maybe my brain is trying to forget the whole relationship as it wasn't exactly perfect.

Glad I made u smile with the hippo image tho 🙂 xx

With regard to traumatic events? It's part of the diagnostic criteria for ptsd:

So, it's a 'normal' part of the illness.

Ongoing forgetfulness can be caused by hundreds of different things (normal stuff, like poor sleep quality, to abnormal stuff, like Dementia, and everything in between).

For folks with ptsd, forgetfulness is often linked with chronic dissociation.
Thanks sideways was beginning to think I was going crazy xx

as it was explained to me, you don't get to repress part of your memory function without messing with those memory functions across the board. the harder you work, whether consciously or unconsciously, to repress the traumatic memory(ies), the more your full memory function will be impaired, both long and short term memory.
So my memory is always going to be shockingly bad? Xx
 
over the course of my psychotherapy, my own memory has improved across the board as a result of allowing myself to remember and process the trauma. removing the memory blocks improved the flow, considerably.
At the moment im not in therapy. Too scared to relive it and talk about it out loud xx
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Yea memory struggles around triggers or stressful stuff aren't uncommon. It's typically autobiographical/any scary stuff that tends to go to the brain dump when they do. Unpleasant things as well. My friends were always thinking I had selective forgetting (which is true in a way) but I wasn't doing it on purpose. I would forget and then forget I forgot and then go through the whole loop again. It still happens quite a lot. Some areas are really protected against that kind of amnesia, like generic, triggerless information, or school, or work.

I had like bad experiences with guys that also did trigger the brain dump. For that it's not as if it was entirely deleted (it was for a moment) but it's more of a thing like I could literally see stuff flashing then vanishing. It's the brain trying to protect you from distress, but evidently that comes with a certain cost. However it isn't abnormal unless there is other neurological issues at play.
 

Sideways

Moderator
At the moment im not in therapy. Too scared to relive it and talk about it out loud
Therapy is primarily about symptom reduction and management. There's a lot of benefits can flow from therapy that doesn't go anywhere near your trauma history. CBT, DBT and ACT, for example, about all about improving your lived experience now, using tools that don't require any discussion of trauma.
 

Vickster

Learning
Could this be a component (dissociative amnesia) why I keep getting involved with toxic people? If I sense they're toxic, I black out / forget and don't see it? I had numerous abusers from birth to 12 years old, but 40 years later, I still get fooled by unhealthy individuals.
I do realize that I'm easy to lure in by perpetrators because all they have to do is be nice to me and my desperate needs for positive attention do the rest. But I've always wondered why I don't seem to learn not to trust people so easily.
 
Top