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 Post subject: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 11:29 am 
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Pardon the Quantum Leap reference...

While this hasn't happened recently (I don't think), has anyone else experienced moments where your memory fails you? Like when I had my six or so month long episode there are huge bits that are either jumbled, distorted, or flat out missing. There are moments where I'm sure x,y, and z happened only to find out later that in the reality that everyone else was living in it didn't happen.
One of the hardest bits about getting into counseling with my fiance was I did things that hurt him but have no memory of it what so ever.
A lot of apologies I've been giving are for specific things followed up with "and the things I don't remember". I know that it happens more often when accompanied by strong negative emotions associated the the fight or flight response.
Mobilene told me years and years ago, in a conversation that I don't quite remember, I think that this sometime happens with people who have BPD... Though, again I'm not quite sure... If he reads this and knows what conversation I'm talking about I'd be glad for some help here.
So I guess... Does this happen to any of you? If it does what do you do to handle it?

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 Post subject: Re: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 2:50 pm 
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Hi Queen,

I can relate to what you're saying, at least to some extent. A few years ago I was really not in control of my BPD, I wasn't even aware such a disorder existed, and I had a horrible few years where I hurt basically everyone I cared about. I spent quite some time after these life events thinking about what happened, but like you I had some very hazy and jumbled memories of what really happened. Sometimes there are periods where I just truly don't remember a thing, and like you, they are usually associated with periods of strong negative emotion.

I think in my case at least, my memory of all of it is so bad because when I was blowing up and my BPD was completely controlling me, I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing. I was hurting everyone and generally screwing my life up, but at the same time I wasn't truly aware of it because all I knew was that I was in distress. Maybe when we have an "episode" we are so focused on how we feel and how massive and upsetting things are for us, we can't always keep track of how things really went or what really happened.

Well, it's a theory.

I tend to deal with it by focusing on what I know I did, and working on those issues instead. For example, I know I try to make people feel the same way I am to help me deal with my negative emotions, so I try to understand and deal with that. There may be something major I have no idea I did/was doing, but I hope as I become healthier, I will be able to identify that. So I deal with the habits rather than the specific events, and just apologize for the things I did if people are upset with me, even if I'm not sure what they are!

Another thing I do is write it down like I was explaining my life story to someone. It can help because you can realize that something doesn't make sense, and you must be skipping a bit. Also that can help you identify recurring issues.

I hope that helped, even if it's just a little. Perhaps the more healthy you get, the less this will happen.!


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 Post subject: Re: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 10:19 pm 
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I have all sorts of memory issues.

The most complete loss of memory is associated with having ECT (shock) treatments for depression. There are whole stretches of time which are just gone. Some stuff came back -- like I was able to relearn my way around the grocery store -- but other experiences, like a visit from a friend from out of town, I've never recovered.

[As an aside to how fragmented my memory is, I've just forgotten my whole next train of thought....]

It's been 10 years since the ECT, so I can't blame lapses on that anymore. Now it's my age -- 60 -- so I've been told to expect to lose my keys and forget what I was going to do when I walk from one room to another. Truth be told, though, I've never had good memory for some things, and then I've had extraordinary memory for other junk -- mostly useless. I was thinking just a little while ago about being in Paris with a friend who lost her glasses, and I had to try to translate for her when we went to a shop looking for new ones, but I don't remember anything else about that trip -- when it was, what else we did. I know I didn't dream it, but it's gone. And my siblings can remember details about things that happened in our family that I have no clue about. But I can recall totally arcane and largely bizarre bits of of information from nursing school, which I have had no need to recall since the exam -- like the name of certain muscles, or symptoms of a disease.

I try not to let it bother me too much. I've been told that it's OK to lose my keys, but when I forget what the keys are for, there's a problem. If I leave my reading glasses in the refrigerator, that's fine, but if I don't know what to do with a toothbrush, I'm in trouble. I don't think I've crossed that threshold.

Our minds take in billions of little bits of information every day. The most important of them, which correlate with the topics at the top of our attention, get correlated with past memory and can be recalled fairly easily. Information which isn't that important, or which doesn't have the time and depth of real attention paid to it, is more easily lost. I also think we can completely blank out events or knowledge which are difficult for us to process for one reason or another -- scary, or painful.

The stuff that might be lost because it's scary, but which might be relevant in terms of your therapy, are worth exploring with your counselor or doctor. Otherwise I would mostly let it go.

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I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining. -- Jane Wagner


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 Post subject: Re: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 5:25 pm 
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I am constantly referring to my "Swiss cheese brain" so yeah, I go through the same thing and totally appreciate the Quantum Leap reference! Lately, though, mine is more mundane ... like "I barely remember if I ate breakfast this morning" sorts of things.

In terms of coping with therapy and the fiance with regard to previous incidents that don't come to mind for you, perhaps the three of you can work out an agreement wherein ... sorry, ran out of time at work and I have an event to attend & need to leave in 6 mins. Will try to finish that thought for you tomorrow!

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 Post subject: Re: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:32 am 
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The aging process doesn't help the memory either....I used to have a wonderful memory, could remember things nobody could---that had actually happened, ha,ha, not just in my bpd mind-----but now I'm constantly having to review my activities in my mind to make sure I've done everything. I have to follow the same "path" of activities during the day, or I just might forget to do them. I take meds and have to mark on the calendar when I have taken them or I'm just not sure I have.


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 Post subject: Re: Swiss Cheese Memory
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:44 pm 
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This happens to me all of the time! I agree it makes counseling difficult. I used to feel like I was being blamed for things that never happened but in all actuality they did.

What I do is, when I notice that my feelings are starting to shift, I write short notes that I have pre-printed in a mini notebook to carry with me.

It looks something like this

Date: June/6 Time: 5:48
Emotion / Feeling : RAGE
Cause: Husband made undesirable criticism.
Action: I screamed and called him names.
Reality: He wasn't trying to hurt my feelings, but rather contribute to project.

I find that it helps with my memory and it also helps with regulating the cause and effect. It helps to keep me calm and better to communicate they way that I feel so that there are no misinterpretation of a situation.

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