Trauma and memory loss

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Hail

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I have the folowing questions in my mind: how much a traumatic event and other stressors can affect your memory? I would like to know how you are experiencing this, if you can share it. I will appreciate a lot.
My experience with it was strange, because from normal memory loss cause by anxiety and by dissociation I went in 2 years to forget on daily basis a lot, unusual for an anxiety disorder and (maybe) complex trauma.

Sorry if I am a bitt messy in writing.
 
SunnyDaze

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Hi there.Im not quite sure what you're asking,can you be a little bit more specific?

Trauma can cause memory loss.For me it was not remembering all parts of the traumas.
 
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Hail

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Hi, Thanks for the answer. You got it right.
Wanted to know how this symptom of memory loss manifest in people who had trauma.

And, besides this, I was thinking if there are any cases in which memory loss has become worse, meaning that is more generalised and do not include only the traumatic event.
But forget this...
Because I think in my case is the stress affecting me, then insomnia and psychiatric medication(which many times i overdosed them to get some sleep).
 
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KitKat90

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Anxiety, insomnia and medications can definitely all cause memory loss. It’s worse for me on the nights I don’t get enough sleep.
 
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Hail

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God knows what other causes can be.. Hope not to be a neurological condition as well, I m really worried
 
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KitKat90

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Try not to worry too much. If you feel like you need to get it checked out, I would make an appt with your doctor. What kind of memory problems are you having?

I do have gaps in my memory from trauma in childhood. I have insomnia and anxiety it really does affect my memory. Sleep aids effect me too. So I try not to take them too often anymore. If I’m up for several nights I’ll just deal with it. I’ll eventually fall asleep.
 
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Hail

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It is a bit hard to describe my memory problems.
But I will try. Sorry for the mistakes, not a native speaker of english.
I dont remember much from what has happend the last the last 1-2 years especially, and it's getting even worse. I can recall with details memories from 4 years ago, but I dont know what I had done yesterday.
I'm almost constantly in a state of panic and mental dezorientation or I'm feeling absent and it happens often in a conversation to ask again what they just told me or to forget what I wanted to say, im forgetting words when trying to make a phrase. Feel like my vocabulary becomed restricted. And I'm in my late 20s...

I had suffered more trauma as an adult comparing to the time I was a child. A member of my family has malignant narcissism and psychopaty, that person destroyed me. I also recently got out from an abusive relationship..but im not sure about that, I'm confused, do not know if I was abused or I was the abuser.
 
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Trekster33

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When my anxiety is high, I have difficulties taking in new memories and experiences, when my anxiety is fairly well controlled this is less likely to be a problem for me.

Psychogenic amnesia (forgetting parts of the trauma) is a part of all types of PTSD; time skew (unable to remember what happened last week for example) is another.

As my trauma happened between the mid 1980s towards the mid 2000s, songs for example from those years Im patchy at recognising, but songs from more recent years I'm much better because my trauma didn't happen then.

I think something has happened a year ago when it happened longer than that, I was telling a friend about how long another friend had been with his partner and couldn't recall how long they had been together. I can remember better with other people because when some of my traumas occurred they didn't see them or weren't part of trying to help me through them.
 
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Ian Sicko666

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I have terrible memory issues. Medications may play a part, but i did recentlly read a article relating to PTSD, especially complex PTSD. The constant adrenerline, which causes the, fight or flight, feelings, can, over prolonged exposure shrunk the part of the brain that lays down new memories. Hence older memories stick but new ones don't seem to. That describes my memory issues perfectly. What few memories i have from childhood stick, but putting down new memories is sometimes impossible. Trouble is there seems to be no sort of pattern. Sometimes i can't remember what i did two days ago, other times i remember. Had long term and short term memory tests and they say nothings wrong, but there most certainly is! Skills, if i don't use them for a few weeks, even if i had been using them for decades, i forget how to use them. Talk and forget simple words. Forget what year it is. It's infuriating!
 
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Hail

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I will do more research about it, did not heard before that long adrenaline exposure can cause a part of your brain to shrink...but it makes sense to me.
The memory tests were done by a doctor or you did them by yourself?
I do not forget the year, but the month yes.

Can I ask, do you have also dissociation? Because I do, and this can lead also to memory loss.
 
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change

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I will struggle to remember if I actually did something, or just pictured myself doing something.

I will vividly remember watching someone do a thing, (put a pack of cigarettes on the counter) just to find out they never brought them in the house.

I think it comes from going on auto-pilot, and just doing everything out of necessity and not really finding real meaning in any of it.

I don't know if any of this is helpful, I totally couldn't concentrate enough to read the other responses.

Trauma was the highest ages 3-12. At least those are the years I can't remember (I believe I remember being an infant, I do have one traumatic flashback of being about 3 or 4).
 
LizBo

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I used to struggle with memory, but since my recovery has improved things have been better.

As @Ian Sicko666 and @Trekster33 mention, a traumatized brain will adjust 'output' in line with how damaged it is. If too much energy's put towards one area like excessive worry, anxiety and stress, another area closes down or limits function as a counter-balance.

A couple of years ago I attended a court case where the police witness lied on the stand. It triggered old trauma's to surface. At home a few hours later I was thinking about suicide. I grabbed a pen and paper and began planning my demise with an unusual 'logical' mindset; no emotion at all! My brain shut off emotion to continue functioning.

As brain function goes, memory's one of the first to go when trauma catches up with us, as it's the least necessary function for daily living. It doesn't really serve an essential purpose.

The thing to remember (pun not intended :D) is situations like this are indicators of a bigger problem; not enough quality sleep or rest for instance.

A damaged mind is physical, so like a broken bone it needs to heal. Time, rest and calm are important.
 
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Ian Sicko666

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I will do more research about it, did not heard before that long adrenaline exposure can cause a part of your brain to shrink...but it makes sense to me.
The memory tests were done by a doctor or you did them by yourself?
I do not forget the year, but the month yes.

Can I ask, do you have also dissociation? Because I do, and this can lead also to memory loss.

Hail. Years i used to ask the Mental Health Councellors i was seeing ( From 1990-2002) why my memory was so bad, in the end it was them that eventually sent me to a Mental Health hospital to sit a hour long memory test. They insisted the test proved i had no memory issues what so ever. Decades of "Proffesional" help proved to me they knew absolutely nothing ,about anything! Then i found a couple of phychiatrists in 2015, who actually listened, and had a actual brain in their heads. Thats when i was eventually diagnosed with suffering from childhood induced PTSD, and a Personality Disorder "Aloneisum", though i think it personally might be infact Complex PTSD as that has the same descriptors as the other two conditions combined. Also Adrenerlin addiction was recognized as something i was suffering from, even though its still not recognised as an addiction here in the UK so they couldnt diagnose it, they confirmed i suffer from it. Now, finally, after years of waiting, treatment is about to begin. Last week i had a personality test done, last month a autism test.
I also have Epilepsey, and been informed by a consultant i may have neropathic damage caused by long term use of Phennytoin, a anti-seizure medication. Though i am on a waiting list to see my local epilepsey consultant before i am gradually taken off of the medication. Again, how long that will take, and how much more damage is done before the "medical proffeaionals" get round to acting is anyones guess, it's only been 18months wait so far! Lol, UK healthcare is terrible despite what lies are told about it being so good!
 
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Ian Sicko666

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I used to struggle with memory, but since my recovery has improved things have been better.

As @Ian Sicko666 and @Trekster33 mention, a traumatized brain will adjust 'output' in line with how damaged it is. If too much energy's put towards one area like excessive worry, anxiety and stress, another area closes down or limits function as a counter-balance.

A couple of years ago I attended a court case where the police witness lied on the stand. It triggered old trauma's to surface. At home a few hours later I was thinking about suicide. I grabbed a pen and paper and began planning my demise with an unusual 'logical' mindset; no emotion at all! My brain shut off emotion to continue functioning.

As brain function goes, memory's one of the first to go when trauma catches up with us, as it's the least necessary function for daily living. It doesn't really serve an essential purpose.

The thing to remember (pun not intended :D) is situations like this are indicators of a bigger problem; not enough quality sleep or rest for instance.

A damaged mind is physical, so like a broken bone it needs to heal. Time, rest and calm are important.
Thank you!!!! This was on of my worries. Was this damage permament? Would my memory ever be able get better? Has it been just too long like this? When i asked my phychiatrist about this she didn't know, and said she would have to read up on it to find out. Thank you. Hearing from someone who has actually been through it means a LOT more to me than someone whos just reading a text book about it. Your reply has given me hope that perhaps i can recover, even after all these decades of getting no where.
One thing that helped me no end. A emotions diary. Before i was told about one, and how thoughts create emotions, i had always just had emotions THEN thoughts to increase them. Now i see the thoughts, and can challenge them (not always successful), before the negative emotions kick in. It HAS changed me completly ,and anyone reading this who has childhood caused PTSD please, just try keeping a emotions diary, its chaged my life for the better no end!
Lol, sorry about that, i had to add it before i forgot, and thought it was really important to share.
 
LizBo

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There absolutely IS hope @Ian Sicko666!

A new found section of neuro-science; (especially in psychiatry) 'Neuro-plasticity' replaces old ideology saying the brain can't heal. It proves the physical brain CAN heal by creating new pathways strengthening and encouraging healthy receptors and transmitters to spark again. I mean think about it; why else would we have scar tissue on our brains?

The brain is an exceptional organ holding information and abilities humans have yet to discover. (Empirically speaking) It possesses wisdom via eons of evolutionary experience carried down through generations in our cells.

There's some great doco's on YouTube about Neuro-placticity if you take a look.

My experience of losing emotional expression was due to not accepting I needed help to rest and take time away from responsibilities. (Mainly to fall apart which I really needed to do but didn't think I had the time or opportunity) I was overwhelmed but refused to give in. My brain took over to survive; that's what it does. Survival is its main objective.
 
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Ian Sicko666

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LizBo, i guess it's just the fact i have been dealing with these problems all my life. All the "Experts" keep telling you, "you have no issues, our tests prove you dont". When in reality there have been problems and they refused to accept them, now there's actual physical proof which explains what has been happening. An it seems a few others here have had the same memory issues too. It was nice to try to help others so they didnt go through decades being called liars like i was! Lol, trouble was it brought up other questions, was it permanent, and when the "expert" i asked didn't know lol..... Then i read your post saying you was getting better. It inspired hope! If you knew all my medical and phycological "expert" experiences i have been through in my life you might understand why i place more faith in peoples experiences that suffer from a condition ,than i do on, "Experts" in the field. I have been doing a LOT of personal exploration in the past few years, that, has, changed, and hopfully continue to change ,myself.
 
LizBo

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@Ian Sicko666
It's inspiring to read (or write for that matter) how healing can and does happen yeah? Sharing our failures and success is an important aspect of recovery Ian. By talking, we can have what I call 'Ah-Ha' moments. You know, those times when a light-bulb glows above your head and the info just feels right.

My recovery has been miraculous (in my eyes) and well worth passing on so others can have hope, just like you've expressed. This makes me feel valuable, so thankyou for letting me know.

Could you give me a specific example of this memory issue you've been dealing with as there might be a similarity to something I or others have dealt with.

There's always hope my friend; nestled in the 'yet to be' area of our understanding. Hugs..
 
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Ian Sicko666

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:love: Exactly how i feel LizBo! I know from decades of surfing the net, although many feel scared of replying, the number of lurkers far, far outweigh those that reply. Even if no one replies to something, it is helping thousands upon thousands for decades to come! Even the question origionally asked has helped people out there to scared to ask themselves, to know they are not alone. I know sometimes people who post get angry, or upset ,if no one says thank you. What you posted helped me a LOT, i didnt want you to think no one cared, because your post helped encourage me, and untold others i guarantee!
I for decades never knew thoughts came before feelings, i always thought it was the other way round. Then, one person, explained to me, and encouraged i kept a diary of feelings, and work back, to find out what thought had started the feeling in the first place? It opened my eyes to myself!!!! I never knew!!!! Now, after two years nearlly, i can see the thoughts, and challenge them, BEFORE emotions take over. Its changed my life! Thats why i go on about keeping an Emotions Diary. Its opened up the whole World to me. Decades of trouble, pain, prison, and even suicide attempts, and all it took was someone to explain something so simple, that anyone can do, and your World can change. Thats why everyone visits boards like this, their crying out for information, information that should be given out easily, but for some reason isnt. Instead, all you get is a "how do you feel,what do YOU think you should do?" Lol, if i had known that, i wouldnt ,have asked for the help would i lol! In total approximatelly 13 years of "proffesional" help didnt help at all, and got me no answers. An hour with someone with 15years experiance, but NO, fancy titles to their name, and the World opened up to me, and finally my journey to happiness begain, and my eyes were finally open!
Unfortunatlly i can not see that wonderful woman no more after my move, an its been 19 months now trying to find, or rather, get the NHS to give me someone to help me further. There has been others in that time, but, unfortunately they have all been of the "how do you think you can help yourself" variety same as before. Dont get me wrong, thats ok, but only once you have answers, and are at the stage where you need to air them out loud to confirm there not wrong answers. I am still at the stage of flying round in circles without a pilot, with no idea how to fly, or what direction is even possible? Here in the UK, there is the NHS, but, its only tailored to help the majority. If you dont fit into a specific area, or field of speciality, then there is very little help at all. If your anxious about your morgage, there are 12 week courses of treatment on the NHS. If you have childhood PTSD that might take years to treat, your out of luck it seems to be!
My memory issues. I know the PTSD plays a part, but, i also know my epilepsy, or more likely, the medication to control it, is the main culprit. I know this because when i was in prison i was put into a cell with someone who was on identical medication but at a higher dose. He had some identical memory issues only twice as bad. Though he could also remember other types of things i can't. Lol my lifes complex, personally i believe, and been informed, some memory issues IS the medication. An other areas they, "believe", is caused by thetlife long PTSD. I don't know, and like all "facts" in the medical profession, it's only fact until another fact contradicts it. So, personally, i think it might be both having an impart, making the impact larger than if i only had one problem to deal with. Add in all the violence suffered as a child to my head also, lol, it's a miracle i can remember my name (though i can never remember how to spell my middle name lol!).
 
LizBo

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Oh thankyou @Ian Sicko666 yet again for expressing your pain and achievements so well, and being grateful for my contribution to the discussion. In short; we give to get, and it works like a dream if we allow it to.

I really want to write but I've taken PRN anti anxiety med's to sleep as my own c-ptsd is causing doubts and fear to rise. (Opportunity for employment as a Mental Health Peer Worker) You know, fear of the past repeating itself going over and over in my mind while trying to sleep; a response to the prospect of success I dare say.

I'll log in tomorrow if I'm up to it.

You're doing great btw! Getting the words out, developing a writing style that's engaging and doing the doing. I'd like to tag along if that's ok. :)
 
Heidrun

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Hi, Thanks for the answer. You got it right.
Wanted to know how this symptom of memory loss manifest in people who had trauma.

And, besides this, I was thinking if there are any cases in which memory loss has become worse, meaning that is more generalised and do not include only the traumatic event.
But forget this...
Because I think in my case is the stress affecting me, then insomnia and psychiatric medication(which many times i overdosed them to get some sleep).
For me besides the fact that I cannot recall much about my past (say 10-15 years ago). Since I started the "meltdown" (if you will) I have trouble with short term memory (1-2 weeks), so that would be generalized I guess.
 
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