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{11/02/2013}   Losing my memory

I hate the fact I am conscious my memory isn’t as it used to be.  I’m not convinced this is entirely a symptom of getting older as I fear I haven’t done much to challenge my memory since the last studies I did, which were quite a while ago.  Of course I don’t understand the brain but I really wish I had a better understanding of what’s going on up there, particularly where memory is concerned.  It baffles me that there are some kinds of things I remember easily and others that pass right through my head, possibly never to be recalled again.

I sometimes talk to friends about their recall ability and it seems that everyone is different and we all have varying degrees and types of useless memory moments.  The thing about my memory that annoys me most is that I can’t remember things people tell me or what happens in books and films.  I can, however, recall quite well where I was when I was told something and I remember how it made me feel.  Likewise books and films, I can go on for quite a while about how they made me feel, whether I liked them … then someone might ask what happened, who was in it, character names, etc.  No, not a thing usually.  I might be able to come up with something general like, “It was set by the seaside and there was a boy in it who had to find something …”.  What’s with that?  Very annoying.

I have been told a few terrible/dramatic stories by friends, major things that happened in their lives, the kinds of things you hear once from them then never talk about again.  While they may be things I would never tell anyone else, I would at least like to remember what I’d been told rather than just remembering where it was that I was told and how I felt about hearing it.  I suppose that makes me a good secret keeper but I’m sure under torture my tormentors wouldn’t believe that I’d forgotten the important bit of information they wanted to extract from me.

As for things I remember, in addition to remembering how I felt about things and where I was, I do remember dates and times and (usually) birthdays, though admittedly these are also things I write down but I know I remember them.  I used to be good at remembering numbers, for example phone numbers, but I’m not so good now – actually, I’m useless now.  That I largely put down to not needing to remember numbers as most calls I make are on my mobile phone, so I just click on someone’s name and a number I’ve never had to remember, or often even see, is dialled for me.

I fear that a lot of my memory issues are to do with being lazy about testing my brain.  I sometimes wonder if doing my job for ten years hasn’t had an effect because I am used to hearing things, stenoing and not absorbing what is said, indeed I don’t need to; I often couldn’t tell you very much about what I’ve heard from a day in court but it’s all there on the computer.  So maybe I should steno all conversations I have with friends then, while I won’t remember what they’ve told me after the event, I know I’ll have a verbatim record of it!  I need to focus a bit more on what I read, listen to and watch as I do think there is hope for me though.

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