memory loss and how to describe it?

I find that trying to describe my memory loss is like trying to describe the colours of rainbow to someone that is blind. Its just so irratic, somethings i can remember, then sometimes its just small snippits and sometimes just nothing. Does anyone have these type of things, or is it different for everyone? people tell me im not the person i was, i had a sudden cardiac arrest that lasted 25 minutes, my doctor tells me in her 25 years she has never seen that, and that no one probably really understands what has really happened in my head...

16 Replies

  • I would imagine given a heart attack lasting that long would mean a hypoxic brain trauma, which has all the same effects of TBIs but again no-one is going to be able to predict the effect on you, as they are all different. So you're going to have to learn along with it as the effects unfold but the memory loss is classic, mine is sometimes ok then other days it all goes to pot, that's the way of the world for me now.

    Hope you can deal with the new you, love Janet xxx

  • hi janet, thank you, can i ask, do you work or does it stop from doing so?, im still off work at the moment..

  • Hi, no I'm not at work it's been 2 years now, they kept my job for me but at the tribunal for ESA they reckoned I'd be a liability in the workplace, balance is erratic and my spatial awareness is not good, I wouldn't pass a risk assessment. I'm 61 now too so who would give me a job???

  • My injury was in 2006 but I still can't fully explain to people what the memory loss is like....mainly because I don't remember! Pretty much everything about things that happened is taken from notes made at the time and there was one point when I was delighted to find I 'remembered' cutting my hand...only to find out that my 'memory' of what happened was completely credible, it was also completely false... and then began the period of not being able to trust what I thought I knew...

    Nowadays I have systems and gizmos in pace that allow me to function pretty well... and there is nothing wrong in faking it sometimes... I only tell people who need to know...and in social circumstances I am comfortable in laughing things off because I have come to realise that my difficulties are not of any interest to anyone outside of my immediate circle.

    I returned to work for a period after my initial 'recovery' but have zero recollection of being there. When I realised the risk this posed I tried really hard to explain to my employers and colleagues... when they finally got the picture they reacted poorly and I arrived at my desk to find I had been moved to another area away from everyone else and the phone had removed from that desk. They suddenly started treating me like I was brain dead rather than had a TBI. Needless to say I no longer work for them ...

  • My short term memory is shocking and there are massive spaces in my memory. I get frustrated when I try and describe it to my friends, family and work colleagues and they say, "Everyone forgets things...".

  • i know you feel. are you working at the moment? i may have to go back and i find the idea really scary, knowing how bad the memory is..

  • Yes I am working. ironically as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. I love the job but I'm afraid of losing it in a few years when it becomes compulsory to have an SVQ level 2. Folk at work tell me not to worry, it's easy, but I know my ability to learn and retain new information is feeble at best. Who knows maybe I will pass it. I should be more positive! I will pass it with flying colours ;)

  • im afraid if i got back to work that i will mess things up by forgetting things, and the chances of getting another job when then do health checks isnt easy either....i was also thinking of maybe appllying for DLA, but that is hard to get these days..

  • I have made quite a few mistakes because I forgot things but don't let that put you off applying for jobs. Yes DLA is a pain to claim but you should apply for it anyway. If you are daunted by the form the Citizens Advice Bureau will help. I volunteered with them for a year before I got this job and filling out these forms for people was a daily job.

  • oh those famous lords oh i forgt his everyone forgets stuff they dnt get it if i got a letter no i need2 keep if i move it a inch i freak and carnt find it theni get told im stupid its got b thre it is probabthere but where i carnt find or remember where they jst dont get it its loseing forgettg hen anger fea comes in and when someone says oh we all forget scream id like 2 do at them v

  • Yes i have sort term memory loss like you some times totally other times snippets mine is due to an SAH any oxygen supply interruption to the brain will cause problems such as sort

    term memory loss as well as a host of other problems like you i am trying to find answers but as i am coming to realize there are no hard and fast rules to recovery every one is different even with the same injury i am just taking one day at a time but people on here have helped me even if it is some one who understands what you are going through Dave

  • i know you feel. are you working at the moment? i may have to go back to work and i find the idea really scary, knowing how bad the memory is..

  • my explanation of memory loss is that it is like a library and a filing cabinet that has been ransacked by a mob. The information is still there but all of the pages have been ripped out and thrown to all directions. The names are still on the files but the images are in the same pile as the book pages; and sometimes they link up but not quite in the correct order. Like a jigsaw when you have several mixed up and a totally different picture to match up the bits.

    Which makes life a great adventure and if people get upset if I get names, places and information wrong then that is their problem; my problem is living with it daily.

  • I've just been discussing this in a PM, so with a quick cut and paste...

    With my wife, in the early days of recovery from a TBI it was like the short term memory was there, but the connections to read it were mangled. If we worked around from another angle she could often remember things. For instance "Do you remember where we went yesterday" was hard - very hard! BUT, giving clues like "the coffee was nice" or "it was raining" would often find an alternative path to access the memory. Using visual and sensory approaches (like smell of coffee) would often provide a route around the damage to find the memory was there. At the moment her short term recall appears to vary in proportion to how tired she is.

    This whole area fascinates me because I did a Psychology test for a university student not so long ago. The gist of it was to try and remember a list of 20 pairs of unrelated items like "cat and belt", "tea pot and buttercup" etc. in a limited amount of time. I got less than half right!

    The second time around, with another list, I was told to use visual memory, for instance "cat and belt" could be thinking of a picture of a cat wearing a belt. 18 out of 20 that time!

    There must be some techniques out there, other than a pen and paper...

  • Lol is like watching an old movie with bits missing sometimes large chucks sometimes grainy, vivid or viewing has completely disappeared and you haven't got a clue what it's all about. Don't know if this helps but it's a hard one to describe. Unless u have first hand at it the others will never know the borne identity was as close as I could get a fill in the missing bit like how wel he got over it Mmmm never mind just liked the eye candy as for the story line well if I watch it a few more times

  • Wow, I like the Bourne Identity analogy. It seems to have struck a chord with you.

    Take care, D.

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