I’ve been told that autistic people have fantastic memories. A few people on the spectrum are like walking encyclopaedias. I am not like this. I have always had a very poor memory. I had surgery on my wrist years ago and cannot remember which wrist it was. There are people I went to school with that remember me, I don’t remember them. This was back in high school. People will tell me something at work and have to repeat it several times and I still won’t remember it. I don’t remember hardly any of my birthdays, chunks of my life are gone. It has always been like this. I feel like I’m broken. Sounds bother me, smells bother me, people bother me. I don’t know what purpose I serve here since I don’t find enjoyment in much. If I had a great memory, I would love to go back to university to study. I went to college for nursing and it was such a struggle to pass all the courses. Is anyone else like this. I don’t know what to do to improve my memory. I feel like I am falling apart.
I want to write more on this but I'm pretty tired. Yes, I used to have a phenomenal memory, I only had to hear/see things once and could never forget, couldn't shut it out even if I wanted to. However, during a burnout in my twenties, and subsequent anti-anxiety meds, I lost around 80-90% of my long-term memory and really struggled to form any new memories (short-term memory failure also). It was terrifying.
My long-term memory started coming back to me about 18 months ago (having been gone for around 7-8 years), and the more I withdraw from the world, the more it seems to recover, although this may just be coincidence. I take a number of supplements: BioCare Adult MultiVitamin & MultiMinerals; COQ10; and magnesium EAP. I also have a relatively high protein, high fat, low-carb diet. I don't know if any of these things help.
I struggled a lot at work and still do because my short-term memory is still diabolical. I can't remember even having conversations with people, much less what was actually discussed. If someone asks me what I'm working on, or to give a summary of my week, I can't remember any of it unless I have a list of bullet points written down in front of me. It's hugely stressful and embarrassing because I'm highly intelligent and never used to have this problem. I don't know if my short-term memory will ever recover or whether the damage from the burnout and/or medication is permanent. People talk about techniques you can use to improve your memory but they don't work for me and no-one believes me. I really feel for you. I wish I had answers, but all I have is empathy.
You are describing me,
It's like I have written this.
And no it wasn't me and I've just forgotten!
Nessie I am happy to read that you have recovered so of your memories, perhaps I need to withdraw for a while.
Sorry to hear that this is making you feel this way.
If it helps you at all, I've found that a lot of my memory is linked to my mental health. I think I've forgotten a lot of past events because they contained difficult/painful times, and near-constant anxiety means that I struggle to process events in the here-and-now, which I think may stop me from laying down memories of events.
My short-term memory is an issue at work. I have to write everything down or I will forget what I need to do.
I've found keeping a diary really helps me with remembering events. I don't write in it every day, just if something significant happens.
I struggled completing my degree too. More because of all the sensory/social aspects of being around big groups of people.
NA S64460 ,you sound exactly like me ,my memory has always been poor and getting worse as I get older as others say writing things down helps enormously and we are all different don't let your differences get you down
I'm really sorry to hear you're feeling this way. You're not broken - everyone's different.
One thing I would say is that there are different types of memory. For example, I struggle to remember names and faces, barely remember anyone I went to school with, struggle to recall what I did at the weekend (even on Monday morning!), and often find myself walking into a room and completely forgetting what I went in there for. On the other hand, if you asked me to recall the name of a really obscure dog breed, I could do it (it's a special interest). I also seem able to accurately recall quotes from books, as well as numerical information (e.g. credit card numbers and former postcodes/phone numbers).
If you'd like to go back to university, maybe you could try studying in your free time - you might find your memory for a subject that really fascinates you is actually better than your memory in other situations. Perhaps it'd be a good idea to buy some textbooks on a subject you'd like to study to see how well you take to the subject. Also, universities do have student support departments that can help students with additional needs (e.g. assessing you through coursework rather than exams, or allowing more time for exams/assignments).
If studying interests you, give it a go. If you want something, it's always worth trying.
This made me feel a bit better. I remember phone numbers from childhood along with addresses. I remember poems I had to learn when I was in grade school and a few other things. Maybe repetition is the key? There is also a theatre group I’d like to join. Maybe practicing memorising things will help me get better at it. I also think, as you said, if I am interested in it, it will be easier to learn. I was hoping joining this forum would bring some answers to light. If something works for one person, it might work for another!
Repetition definitely works for me! I'm also in a theatre group - I love it and it's really built my confidence. I also think that learning lines and music is very good for your memory. Hope you're doing okay and find a theatre group you like.