short term memory loss Hi is it normal to have bli... - Headway


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short term memory loss

Hi is it normal to have blips in memory loss after a brain injury

allthough I am not as bad as I was immediatley after my injury

I still find sometimes i forget to do something and repeat the task i.e put the toast back under the grill even though it is cooked resulting in a smoky kitchen and burnt toast

17 Replies

Hi dilm2 - I have similar problems 4 years after a 'moderate' ABI sustained in a car crash. This includes both going to repeat jobs I'd already done, plus thinking about doing a job and then believing I'd already done it when in fact I hadn't. There's a few tricks I use to try and avoid this. I write a list of jobs to do that day and cross them off when done (often just writing the list helps my memory keep track of what I'm supposed to be doing), I also make sure I'm not getting distracted by too much background noise or other head clutter caused by thinking about other things. I'll also talk to myself in my head while doing the task (i.e. say 'I'm now putting the toast in and it will be ready for the beans in 3 mins'). It just helps reinforce the retention of the memory of what you've just done. Short term memory is actually designed to empty itself of no longer needed memories to make space to more so after an ABI it can just malfunction a bit. There's lots of other mind tricks that help with making short term memory work, you just need to find what works for you, practice it and before long you'll be as good, if not better than before the ABI! Good luck.

Absolutely, not least when fatigued or carrying/processing other information. Very, VERY familiar to many.

Absolutely 'normal' to experience memory blips...especially if over stimulated, stressed, tired, unwell...and sometimes just because that particular day of the week ends with the letter y.....

I have severe anterograde amnesia and despite all the strategies, gadgets and gizmos that normally help me function, I still get blip days too

Thank goodness for smoke alarms...they let us know when the toast is really done ...

There are strategies you can use to deal with the things you are aware can be an issue...lists, timers, beepers, specific routines are among the many and its just a case of figuring out what works best for you.

When a blip day pops up and things all go awry, be kind to yourself.

Very normal, I still forget to do things three and a half years on but I'm fifty now and have friends who forget to do things and they have had no brain trauma!

Mine was forgetting to turn off the taps whilst doing the washing up after getting sidetracked. This I was told is normal, getting on the wrong side of the people downstairs helped me in overcoming this aspect of brain injury.

Mmm washing my hands and leaving the hot tap running for 40min, buying ketchup thinking I had ran out 3weeks in a row, minor glitches you get used to them after nearly 5 years and many more.....

I was horrific for months and months after my accident. Now I tend to worry about it all the time, and be horribly embarrassed when I forget something, but I am actually generally fine. I am really strict with my 'To do' list for work (which I have a Word file of: copies at work, at home, on my USB stick...), and I have a white-board in the kitchen (which my husband actually bought me when I was still in hospital. He would write "Rob will be back in after lunch", just because I forgot so quickly!), where I record things I *have* to buy, or do.

It has got an awful lot better, but I still worry!


I empathize, my Aneurysm was in 2004 or 2005 I keep forgetting!! and I still suffer memory loss, I see my memory as a book shelf, if I put too many books (things to remember) on it, some will fall off, and I will forget things.

The hardest thing for me was coming to terms with it, for the first few years I got very low and frustrated when I forgot something or I realized that I couldn't remember an event from my life.

I used to compare myself to my friends and family which made me feel worse and they would try to console me by telling me that every-one forgets things.

I learned to simplify my life as much as possible and try not to expect too much of myself. If I forget something, I just shrug and get on with it. C'est la vie!!

in reply to tracie-walker

Hi thanks for your comments they have helped a lot: I had a severe head injury a long time ago I was only told I probably had a brain injury 3 months ago

After many years as being treat as an Idiot I am now getting treatment from my Gp

I have been told that I was lucky not to be sent to a Mental Hospital

tracie-walker profile image
tracie-walker in reply to

what treatment have you been offered by your gp cos mine never takes any notice of my complaints?

in reply to tracie-walker

medication mitzrepane?? and counselling both with gp and counsellor

headwayuk profile image

Hi dillm2,

You might be interested in our 'Coping with memory problems - practical strategies' factsheet, which can be downloaded from

Memory problems are one of the most common effects of a brain injury. Even with extensive rehabilitation and support, it's impossible to cover all eventualities so people are often caught out by everyday issues that don't go according to plan.

Perhaps if things happen regularly and it is a safety issue it might be worth seeing if you can be referred to a neuropsychologist, or an occupational therapist who can discuss reminder strategies with you.

I hope this helps, and do let us know if you need any more information.

Best wishes,


in reply to headwayuk


Just adding my name to the list of supporters...........I'm another memory casualty.

Lots of useful comments here. Good luck & hang on to your sense of humour; I find it comes in handy most days !

Best wishes xx :-)

4and a bit years on and still suffering with some memory loss, it's very humiliating, frustrating and tiring. I'm a smoker and I can almost guarantee 3times a week I for get I have bought tobacco and go and buy some more, majority of the time when I go to roll a cigarette I end up taking two rizlas out. I forget to get fuel all the time.. It's is not ok! Forgetting if I've taken my pills, or thinking I've taken them. When I write lists I'm great, however a couple of months ago I lost my postits since then I have failed to buy more, failed to write lists, failed to remember, when I forget my pills everything seems 10times worse. So I never really know if it's all in my head or not.

hi I'm new to forum( although I have lived with my brain injury for 14 years) all I can suggest is try all different ways to try and assist your memory, lists, notes, diary etc. not all things work on all situations but try them all. with medication ask ypur pharmacy about the Nomad system. this seperates your medication into 4 daily compartments each week. stops you taking too much medication, not advisable trust me . best of all try and look on the funny side of situations this saves you going mad. One last thing my attitude changed(for the better) when I stopped coping and started adapting my life. hope this helps and good luck

Takes a long time to sort itself out if ever. My TBI was 46 years ago and whilst all seems functional now there are a few indicators that suggest otherwise - reading Morse Code being one of them. Know it inside out/upside down but unless is is sent very slowly I just can't process. Strangely, if it is visual, ie off an Aldis lamp. I have no problem. Why might I need Morse code? I am a radio amateur of some long standing [since the age of nine] for 54 years.

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