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Short Term and Long Term Memory

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by InChristAlone, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

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    Hello everyone!

    Forgive me if this has already been posted/talked about, but I thought it might be interesting to bring up. Some days, and more recently than not, I find myself having difficulty remembering something that someone just told me. For example, my Mom might ask me to grab the glass of water on the table. I'll answer "Okay, just a minute" and almost instantly forget what I was supposed to do, because I waited and did something really quick first (like wash my hands or gaze out a window). It will often times come to the point where someone will say, "Did you go and do 'such and such' like I asked?" and that's when I remember!

    Also, I find that sometimes when I am having a conversation, I'll will go to say something and almost immediately, I don't remember what I was going to say. It can get so bad that I will open my mouth to speak and close it, because I don't know why I opened my mouth to speak. To be honest, it can either be annoying or hilarious, depending on the conversation. :D

    However, my long term memory seems to be perfectly fine. I can pretty much remember things (unless I try to remember them when I'll really wiped out or if I'm forcing myself to remember).

    Anyway, my question is...

    What are your symptoms concerning your short term and long term memory? Do you have any problems with either or both or none?

    God bless!
    InChristAlone
  2. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    In my severe stage just about all memories seemed to go (and recognitions in the present - thinking capacities slowed to such a point it took some time to recall my own name). Now all cognitive problems are restored - long term memory in particular is better than family members around. But slight problems, slowness in company remains to do with processing/overload of information about me (especially if many are present and the noise is quite painful). And sometimes it is only later I recall some important things said. Fairly usual if overtired. Just don't worry about it. Those mild blanks ease too.
  3. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

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    I know what you mean. I've had CFS/ME for almost 3 years now, and in the beginning, my inability to think was beyond anything I experienced before. It was actually quite scary, as I said that it was like I was getting all the symptoms of old age. Praise the Lord, I only had trouble thinking/talking when I'm overloaded with info. and/or overdoing it in terms of physical activity.
  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    It is the norm to have short term memory issues in ME/CFS. What seems to be less known is it can give some long term memory issues too. Its like having holes in ones memory.

    I lost my ability to recognise family members faces (didnt remember what they looked like so didnt know a family member at my door).

    I also forgot what simple every day objects were eg what a toaster looked like or how to cook toast

    I forgot how to put petrol in a car .. another time I forgot how one leaves a car park (so broke a boom gate trying to get out.. couldnt work out and I had forgot how to use a ticket machine). I forgot what stop signs were so was driving throu them even thou I'd seen them.

    I forgot what one used to leave a room eg a door etc (on one occassion on forgetting about "doors".. i was looking at ceiling trying to work out how one gets out of rooms.. I was stuck as I forgot about "doors"). I forgot there were things in walls which one opens.

    I used to get massive functioning issues due to long term memory gaps.. it makes it very hard to function with such kinds of gaps happening. Fortunately I dont have issues with long term memory now (thanks twice weekly B12 injections) .. just nowdays some short term memory loss

    eg go to do something and forget what Im about to do.

    I do thou still have trouble with remembering things like my nieces names and wouldnt be able to tell someone them of those neices/nephews who are aged less then 8. I cant give the ages of my own children or my own age cause I can never remember.
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I have discussed this topic before, though mostly not on PR, including just two days ago. I observed a year or two back that many of us exhibit a particular mental strategy. I analyze everything around me. All the time - but only one thing at a time, my attention needs focus. I have almost no memory left of events. My semantic memory, which includes the ideas of the events, is fine though not good. This is because the analysis rehearses the events so they transition to long term semantic memory. I used to do something like this deliberately as a student, its an old study trick.

    Now most very long term patients I have talked to do this, provided they are still sick (I don't know if this happens in remission or partial remission). I have also seen it in some people who have only been sick three years, but not so far in the newly sick. Most who have been sick over a decade seem to be able to relate to this.

    As for short term memory, ours is compromised. Switching focus, even for a moment, means we lose what we were thinking about. So any distraction, any new thought, new activity, can derail us.

    This is just my opinion of course. As far as I am aware there is no formal research on this for ME and CFS.

    There is however research on cognitive deficits, and on neurological abnormalities. It looks very much like we cannot properly integrate memory which is stored in many places in the brain and needs to be combined for proper recall. This needs even more research to verify it of course.

    Bye, Alex
  6. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I was going to post something on this topic the other day but i forgot and now i cant remember what it was?????
    Short and long term memory, GONE!
    lol.

    Posted this as its always good to laugh at ourselves :D
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Coming to you from the special memory of Alex:

    My special spaghetti bolognase: forget to add tomato.
    My special cup of coffee: forgot I was cleaning my kettle with vinegar. A new special taste!
    My special trip to the shops: on a public holiday when they were closed.
    My special burnt dinners: forget to add oil to frypan, or forget I was even cooking.
    My special book: I started it months ago and just found it again, half read.

    There are lots more of course, we all have these stories.

    Bye, Alex
    ahimsa and Enid like this.
  8. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    .Delight to hear you guys in Oz (encephalitis part of ME - very reversible if you can keep the psychos well clear). Bit worried about your spaghetti sauce alex - so what adding tomatoes later - all the best cooks do it. Adding things later (ok I forgot) can produce a whole new experience in the taste buds.

    We have the capacity to laugh (when well enough - not too long ago for me). It is obvious that the pathetics of something called psychiatry is overblown out of depth - ignorant of science/research findings. Pity no humoor in them - what they miss.
  9. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member

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    Loved all your "special" moments, Alex! :D

    Here's my contribution--

    My special rice recipe: Put rice in rice cooker, but don't add any water, then turn it on. Blackened rice - Yum!

    (Thank goodness I caught this error when the burning rice started to smoke, before the rice cooker was completely ruined)
    Valentijn, madietodd and alex3619 like this.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi ahimsa, I had a good chuckle over blackened rice, if I had a rice cooker I would probably have done the same thing. Hmmmm ... as I write this I suddenly realize I bought a rice cooker, but don't recall where I put it.

    Here is my armchair philosopher explanation. Every day behaviour is a chain of events, one triggering the next. What happens is I get distracted (or there is some kind of glitch) and it disrupts the chain. The brain still tries to complete the behaviour though, so we go on and finish what I was doing. I forgot I haven't done a step. In part I think this is due to the semantic thing: I have a memory of thinking about doing it, and thats what I rely on, not the actual event. I find I often cannot tell the difference between thinking about something and doing it.

    The antidote to this is consciousness: consciously watching the event we can monitor it. We have a failure of consciousness: our working memory issue means if we are thinking about something else we are not monitoring what we are doing. So we get something out of order, or skip it, even if its something we have done thousands of times.

    Just my philosophy of mind: I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me this way.

    Bye, Alex

    ps I found my rice cooker still in the box next to my clothes dryer.
    pps I didn't even have to stand up to find the cooker, it was in plain sight from my computer chair, I just don't see it if I am not looking for it.
    ahimsa likes this.
  11. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    When I first got active in chat, about a year ago, I kept a notebook beside my computer. I'd write notes about chatters so I could keep people straight, and at least "remember" things like male-female.

    I just realized that I need to do this in my life now. I have a new friend, we've met maybe 3 times in 4-5 months. I can't remember if she's ever been married, or has grown children. Yesterday she talked about her relationship with her parents and siblings, and I'm sure we'd discussed it before..............so I'd better write it down this time.

    My cooking contribution..........I made brownies for the kids, but forgot the flour.
  12. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    The antidote is indeed consciousness - we can observe and if possible chuckle. (not easy when very ill but there).

    (alex @ 10 - glad things are in sight from your computor chair - everything around designed to make living more easy - who doesn't in those in good health either).
  13. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I have problems, but more different than similar to posts above. There are times I'm a lot worse. My symptoms vary a lot.

    This is the only part that I really relate to:

    I think my obsessing and re-analyzing many times is how I remember. It's really frustrating that it happens.

    I don't know how to explain most of the memory problems I have. Particularly right now being less good at picking words.

    A big difference is most of the time, I'm good at switching between multiple tasks and thoughts. In fact I can focus better if I go back and forth between two or three. Focusing on one is hard.

    I do have moments when I'm really tired and get this too:

  14. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    In another thread someone made this comment and this happens to me, and I bet most of us:

    ahimsa likes this.
  15. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

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    Highly variable. Some days and for certain times, I cannot remember my neighbor's name or who I am talking to. Other times, my memory functions fairly well and an observer would not notice any problem. Same for other mental activities, although excessive mental activity always causes problems.
  16. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member

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    Hearing that your rice cooker box was in plain sight did make me laugh!

    In spite of my funny story, cooking rice in a rice cooker is still a bit less error prone for me than doing it on the stove. Assuming I get both the rice and water into the cooker, then it does the rest and switches to warming mode when the rice is done. It's much safer than hoping that I'll remember to set the timer, and actually set the timer correctly, and manage to hear the timer if I wander into another room, and so on.

    Still, I am waiting for the day when I do the reverse, put in the water but forget the rice. I imagine myself opening the rice cooker after it's done and wondering, hey, where did the rice go?
  17. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    pine @ 15 - I've been through that - don't worry, take it slowly, use all advice (like here) for your own physical health - the rest follows gradually. I recognised no-one at one stage (and now do). It can be a bit scary for a while.
  18. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    hahaha. Glad to hear you remembered the noodles
  19. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    talking of funny forgetting incidents. There was the night I stayed at my sisters house and went to have a shower... forgotting I'd picked up my handbag and hopped in the shower..

    Sister ended up having to help me separate all the wet soggy things in my bag, we ended up having to lay everything out on paper towels to dry. All the reminder notes in my hand bag got wet and the ink ran so I couldnt read them.

    Madie.. it probably doesnt matter anyway, if she's from a ME/CFS site, she's probably forgotten what she's already told you anyway. You can talk about the same things, over and over :)
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  20. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    No, it gets worse! She doesn't have CFS. After I wrote that post, I remembered how she looked at me funny when I asked her if she'd been inside my house.

    Because the reason we met is she needed to practice energy work on somebody, and she did a 2-hour session on me........in my house.

    Sigh.
    taniaaust1 and ahimsa like this.

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