There’s Something Terribly Wrong with my Memory

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ResilientBrilliance
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05 May 2019, 4:28 pm

I’ve always been very forgetful. Since I was a kid I have been losing important items, leaving things behind at school or work, forgetting to take things with me when I leave my house, forgetting what a teacher or supervisor told me to do, and the list goes on. Ironically, most people I know would say I have a superb memory. I can recall events that happened years ago and remember most of the information needed for a test. However, it’s become apparent to me that something is terribly wrong with my memory.

I can’t seem to remember and learn from recent past experiences. I’ll provide an example. I wanted to use the Wi-Fi at the library. It took me a long time to connect to it. The next time I went to the library the same issue happened, but I hadn’t thought of it. I went to the library another time and wanted to use the internet for as long as possible, but I had forgotten all about the Wi-Fi issue. This happened over and over until I eventually remembered the Wi-Fi issue before arriving at the library. This type of behavior can’t be normal. This “forgetfulness” is actually a serious problem. I’m thinking it’s some sort of short-term memory problem. Does anyone know what causes this problem?

TL;DR: I make the same mistakes day after day instead of remembering the correct thing to do. What’s wrong with me?



BTDT
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05 May 2019, 4:42 pm

It can be the result of having too much stress. Autistics often experience stress from sensory overload and social interaction.



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05 May 2019, 5:23 pm

It might be attention deficit disorder.


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BeaArthur
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05 May 2019, 6:18 pm

^ agree ... I was thinking ADHD too.

Ever been evaluated for that?

It can be treated medically (controversial) and you can also be taught techniques to make it impact you less. Lists, a bullet journal, alarms on your watch or cell phone, a daily planner, are just a few of the techniques to cope with it.


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Trogluddite
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05 May 2019, 8:17 pm

This does sound a lot like what I think of as my executive function problems - whether they're ADHD or just part of my autism, I'm not sure as yet.

My memory for computer languages, special interest trivia, places, etc. surprises even me sometimes. But it can take me half a dozen trips between computer and kettle to make a cup of tea, only to end up with two and a half cups of tea somehow. Steps where you have to wait for something to happen get me every time - I don't recall how I end up drifting off and doing something else, and I don't have any nagging thoughts that there was something else I was meant to be doing.

And not learning from previous mistakes I also recognise. Every time fishing the tomato out of sandwiches from the deli round the corner because it doesn't occur to me that I know I can ask them to leave it out. The knowledge is obviously there; it just doesn't come to mind when it's needed.

As BTDT suggested, stress certainly seems to make it worse, but it seems to be there to some extent whatever frame of mind I'm in.

BeaArthur's practical tips are good, I find them all useful. Something else that works for me quite often, is to talk my way through a task out loud. I have no idea why, but speaking the words and then hearing them seems to keep me on track better than just thinking it to myself. It's not always practical or socially acceptable, but it's another tool to have handy if it works for you.


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05 May 2019, 9:18 pm

My favorite locally owned restaurant knows I don't like tomatoes and pickles.



dyadiccounterpoint
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06 May 2019, 11:03 am

I have strange kinds of memory problems.

As a child, I would often space out staring out the window while riding. My guardians would ask what I was thinking about, and I would honestly tell them "I forgot." Sometimes I didn't and it was too chaotic a style of thought to be able to effectively communicate. Nevertheless, they increasingly became upset at it and would eventually start punishing me because "I forgot." One time they played a trick and acted like they were going to buy me a new video game if remembered what I was thinking about on an earlier question that day. I started making something up because I REALLY wanted a game. They believed me and took at as proof that I always knew what I was thinking about. They didn't buy the game -.-

I can also get caught in a pattern and find difficulty remembering alterations to that pattern. For instance, there was a period where I would stay afterschool to be picked up later. My father told me to ride the bus home one day. Because I am so used to staying afterschool at this point, I completely forget about it. He stormed into the school furious and had to be calmed down by staff, but I couldn't really have done better.

What can I be expected to do if I just honestly "forget."



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06 May 2019, 1:28 pm

dyadiccounterpoint wrote:
What can I be expected to do if I just honestly "forget."

That's the most frustrating part, I find. Other folks only notice it when we end up (not) doing something which affects them. It would never occur to them that it can prevent us from doing things that we want or need to do for our own enjoyment or self-improvement. This often leads them to think that we're being selfish or even passive-aggressive when, in actual fact, it frustrates us far more than it could ever frustrate them.


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07 May 2019, 11:55 pm

justkillingtime wrote:
It might be attention deficit disorder.

In addition to executive functioning disorder...
I recently did some research and found that poor memory is one of the manifestations...

I believe I have both...


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Benjamin the Donkey
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08 May 2019, 1:41 am

My short-term memory is terrible and always has been. According to my doctor, I test as having ADD.... but I'm not diagnosed with ADD because it's considered a comorbid of my autism.


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08 May 2019, 4:19 am

My daughter has to picked up from a class on Wednesdays.
And every Wednesday, unless she calls to remind me, I forget :roll:
I think it's an autism thing.



Pepe
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08 May 2019, 4:45 am

MrsPeel wrote:
My daughter has to picked up from a class on Wednesdays.
And every Wednesday, unless she calls to remind me, I forget :roll:
I think it's an autism thing.


Story of my life...
Oh dear...
I forgot I don't have a daughter... :mrgreen:

But seriously, this had been a serious problem in my life until I discovered poster notes and alarms... :wink:


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Down with big business!...
I'm not here to change the world...There isn't a big enough soiled nappy bin... ;)
Autistic/scout motto: "Give me a better argument and I will listen..."
"Hate me for who I am...Not for who you think I am..."
"Honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others."
Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8) I'm a rationalist...Deal with it...:mrgreen:


MrsPeel
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08 May 2019, 4:58 am

But you have to remember to write the note, and remember to check it...

No seriously, I agree, I'm doing better with work appointments since I've discovered how to use the electronic calendar with the automatic reminders.
So it's only when I walk away from the computer and forget to carry my my phone I'm stuffed.



Pepe
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08 May 2019, 5:25 am

MrsPeel wrote:
But you have to remember to write the note, and remember to check it...


I literally sit the alarm on the poster note at times. :wink:

MrsPeel wrote:
No seriously, I agree, I'm doing better with work appointments since I've discovered how to use the electronic calendar with the automatic reminders.
So it's only when I walk away from the computer and forget to carry my my phone I'm stuffed.


Why don't you forget to carry an organiser instead? :mrgreen:

BTW, Luved you in The Avengers... :wink:


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Down with big business!...
I'm not here to change the world...There isn't a big enough soiled nappy bin... ;)
Autistic/scout motto: "Give me a better argument and I will listen..."
"Hate me for who I am...Not for who you think I am..."
"Honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others."
Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8) I'm a rationalist...Deal with it...:mrgreen:


ResilientBrilliance
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15 May 2019, 1:28 pm

Thank you everyone for the responses!

Trogluddite wrote:
Something else that works for me quite often, is to talk my way through a task out loud. I have no idea why, but speaking the words and then hearing them seems to keep me on track better than just thinking it to myself. It's not always practical or socially acceptable, but it's another tool to have handy if it works for you.

I don't have ADHD, but since I started researching my memory problem, I've come across several sites dedicated to ADHD. It seems like I'm suffering from a "working memory" problem. Basically, it's hard for me to remember important information before or during a task. Idk if that's exactly what working memory is, but that's how I'd describe my problem. It sucks having this kind of memory problem. Trivia isn't nearly as useful as remembering I've put something on the stove and to take it off before I burn the house down. Many of the ADHD sites have suggested self-talk. For example, this excerpt is from CHADD:
"Encourage your student to verbalize the steps for tasks that they often struggle to complete. By saying the steps out loud, the student and teacher can figure out where the breakdown is occurring and what supports are likely to work best."
I've been trying it out and self-talk does help. But yeah it isn't always acceptable. Maybe when it's said out loud, it's almost impossible to miss steps without catching it.