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Poor memory

(65 Posts)
overthehill Sun 17-Jan-21 23:26:18

I have and have always had, a poor memory.

This hasn't affected my day to day life, but just recently I wondered if there is a cause, or it's just one of those things.

After doing a bit of research I discovered that if you had a difficult childhood as I did, it can affect your memory.

I wasn't physically or sexually abused, but I suffered mental anguish due to the treatment from my mother.

This discovery I found interesting. I had no problem learning at school so must have been able to retain information, my problem is recall of certain things. Of course getting older doesn't help, but I have the same all my adult life.

Another thing which I notice about myself is, I am inclined to remember bad times with more clarity than good times.

I must add I am not a depressive and look on the sunnyside of life

Esspee Sun 17-Jan-21 23:44:44

I have always had a poor memory too but I put it down to being on sedatives from the age of two. My childhood was very normal apart from that.

Bodach Sun 17-Jan-21 23:53:29

I had a pretty idyllic childhood, with no traumas whatsoever, but I have always had a specific flaw in my "memory bank". I have never been able to remember people's names. I can remember dates, places, professional procedures and techniques, and reel off strings of numbers with ease. I can recall and recite long stretches of poetry and song lyrics, and get by in three different languages, but am hard pressed to name any of my friends from school, university or subsequent life - or even someone to whom I have just been introduced. And the older I get, the more poetry comes back to me, and the more names elude me. That's life...

Doodle Sun 17-Jan-21 23:59:12

Can you picture peoples faces or scenes from childhood?
If asked to picture someone you worked with or someone you know well would you be able to recall their face and see it in your mind?

welbeck Mon 18-Jan-21 02:02:31

i used to have a good memory, esp for written material. i find i recall odd things from many years ago.
but in the last few years, i have noticed that often i have no sense of what i have just done.
it is only in writing this that i have realised that that is a different category than remembering written data.
for example, i will have the thought or intention to turn the boiler off. when i go to do it, i find it is already turned off. i must have done it but all i can recall is the motivating impulse to do it, not the event of having done it.

overthehill Mon 18-Jan-21 07:43:49


Can you picture peoples faces or scenes from childhood?
If asked to picture someone you worked with or someone you know well would you be able to recall their face and see it in your mind?

Yes I can remember scenes and faces and names to, but what I remember would be from the same set of memories. On a lighter note hubs got out his diaries which he has kept for 46 years read through some of them and there's mention of people in their who neither of us could remember.

Oldwoman70 Mon 18-Jan-21 07:48:58

My memories of time before my late teens are very sparse - I can recall very little of my childhood or even school days - no idea why

buylocal Mon 18-Jan-21 09:59:00

Everyone has both gaps and different ways of remembering the same events from others who were there. We also all have different priorities - we can't hold everything that we learned or experienced in the immediate recall part of the brain. Our brains are very good at knitting together pieces of our experiences and forming synapses that will best help us survive our negative experiences. Unfortunately, survival doesn't necessarily equate with healthy in terms of how we then conduct our later relationships with others, but that is a whole other story. Simply, those who suffer great trauma can have complete memory loss around it, so I guess our experiences and our memory of them are on an ever moving continuum.

Glenfinnan Mon 18-Jan-21 10:15:49

As I’ve gotten older random conversations and situations spring into my mind with no warning but with great clarity. Some good ....others best forgotten!

SillyNanny321 Mon 18-Jan-21 10:16:59

Bodach I am glad there is someone else who has problems with names. Most of my life I have looked at people & known them, known all about them, then grubbed around in the depths of my memory trying to remember their names. I do it with famous faces too! Their name is there on the tip of my tongue then fades quickly away. I read an article that said it is akin to word blindness & referred to it as Name blindness. Glad I am not nuts or alone!

MG179 Mon 18-Jan-21 10:22:27

I have an excellent memory of rotten times in my life but more difficulty with good episodes. My life has been generally good just some bad times early in marriage and they plague me 37 years later!

grandMattie Mon 18-Jan-21 10:28:56

I had an excellent memory. Menopause has put paid to that!

nipsmum Mon 18-Jan-21 10:30:26

I find it almost impossible to remember names of people unless I know them quite well. If I'm introduced to someone for the first time its as if my brain refuses to remember their name. Its a problem I've had for a long time. Not just age related.

GagaJo Mon 18-Jan-21 10:33:45

My memory is better when I am not stressed. Right now I am burnt out, so am really struggling.

I have noticed over the last 5 years or so that my ability to hold a though in my head, without actively repeating it constantly to myself, is almost non existant. Awful, because a student will be speaking (for example) and I have a point to respond with, but by the time they have finished, my point has gone.

I have to write things down if I need to remember otherwise, poof! Gone.

freyja Mon 18-Jan-21 10:43:04

I can't remember names either, not even when I was teaching. My pupils had a great time swapping seats, because I had to rely on my classroom table planner for their names. Still have name blindness, even when just introduced I spend days afterwards trying to remember the person's name. I now write them down and who introduced them to me, so I do have a reference.

I think this stems from my horrible childhood. I could never remember anyone's name not even my teacher. I still have flash backs with many dreams seem to be of particular moments in the past. Can't put any names to faces but remember the particular episode in great detail; the place, date and time that it actually happened. I can even remember the exact conversations and the circumstances leading up to event but not the names of the characters involved. Very weird.

Maidmarion Mon 18-Jan-21 10:44:00

Very interested to see this post as I’m in a similar position. I did have a traumatic childhood and like you Over... I often remember bad incidents rather than the happy ones! I’ve got to the stage now where I can hardly remember people’s names, I can hardly remember what I did two minutes ago and have recently gone to put my milk into the boiler (next to the microwave!!!!) Beyond help lol!!!!!

polnan Mon 18-Jan-21 10:47:35

I am like you Wellbeck.

Gagajo, I am thinking these lockups and the stress caused has affected my memory in a similar fashion.. wish I could slow down, I am a naturally "fast" person

Waltz Mon 18-Jan-21 11:00:10

I was hit on the side of my head with a cricket ball never went to the hospital and now I find my memory is terrible, I can read a book and have no idea what it was about the minute I put it down

Nonogran Mon 18-Jan-21 11:00:31

I love it when I occasionally meet someone from my childhood or past younger adult life & they recall events I've forgotten. It opens up such pleasures and is a springboard to some wonderful memories. However on a day to day basis I recall very little of my childhood which I don't feel was generally unhappy. However, my parents were not happy together which I think means I might have shut down a lot of memories. I used to spend a lot of time outdoors which maybe was my coping mechanism for what was going on at home. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has memory "issues."

sandwichgeneration Mon 18-Jan-21 11:02:07

I think some people are just born with that problem, in the same way that you are born with different coloured hair, eyes etc. Only this is your brain so you can't tell.

I got hell from my mum because I found it hard to remember things. My dad had the same problem as me and he also used to get told off. (I should point out that my mum was never wrong.) It just means that I've had to "overlearn" facts and figures, which isn't fun, but it works. One of my children has a similar problem. I've never told him off for it! In fact I feel guilty as I think it's in the genes and I passed it on to him.

crazyH Mon 18-Jan-21 11:03:04

Geography has always been my worst subject. This is reflected in my ability to drive, even to familiar paces, especially in the night. I get completely baffled and dazzled by the lights and quite often forget the turning to my daughters house.

Bluedaisy Mon 18-Jan-21 11:05:34

Unfortunately I had meningitis when I was 42 years old and lost quite a bit of my short term memory, I decided once I was well to go to college and do a travel & tourism course for 2 years because I was brought up to think ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’. I studied hard and I would say I got back 85% of my memory back which I managed ok with in my adult life until I had a terrific amount of stress about 10 years ago. Funnily enough I managed fine with paperwork etc during the stressful few years but once it was over and the menopause hit that was it, memory all but disappeared! DH will often say to my .....remember when we etc..... nope I have absolutely no recollection of said event to the point it’s extremely frustrating but the more I try to recall something and get stressed about it the worse my memory gets so I just have to leave it. It’s embarrassing sometimes but the good thing about getting older is I can blame age I suppose. I’ve been reassured by GP it’s not dementia so I try to stay as calm as I can.

granbabies123 Mon 18-Jan-21 11:09:38

Thank goodness I'm not on my own.
I had a fab memory until the last 5 years. Family issues have caused me so much stress my memory has just disappeared.
Events, names , what I just went to do , everything has just gone. Worry about alzheimers but don't think it's that.
I had such a lovely life until my adopted daughter turned on me when I refused to give her anymore money. The stress levels of what happened were enormous leading to court case and costing us our life savings in fees. No way of rembursment she has nothing.
We take things like memory for granted until it's lost. I hope mine returns as time goes by but if it doesn't I'll make new ones.

Grannynannywanny Mon 18-Jan-21 11:15:20

My friend bumped into a lady who at best looked very vaguely familiar. They glanced at each other and she said hello. Then fell into the “how are you” lovely to see you” type of waffle while all the time wondering who she was talking to.

She was back home when she suddenly realised it was her ex SIL from 40 years ago. She’d had a very acrimonious divorce from her brother and described her at the time as the SIL from hell. She hadn’t clapped eyes on her for nearly 40 years and wouldn’t have acknowledged her if she’d recognised her.

sazz1 Mon 18-Jan-21 11:19:47

I had a fractured skull from a RTA when I was a teenager. My long term and short term memory wasn't affected but my visual memory was. I can walk past people I know well in the street, including my own DC. Also can never remember the way anywhere unless I've been there 20/30 times. If I say out loud directions I remember that and also know people when they speak. The last time I ever found my way anywhere easily was the day I got knocked over by the bus.
Online visual memory tests show 40% but have never bothered to have it tested properly or mentioned it to GP. It is slowly getting worse as I get older.