IamA Person with Memory Loss. AMA!
First of all, shout out to u/abhisk for the AMA request.
Well, let's get down to it.
I am 19 years old. I have an autoimmune condition (see below) that affects my neurological function. Due to this, I can only maintain about 6 months of memory.
On my memory
My memory damage is to do with episodic (event-based) memory. This is different than semantic (fact-based) memory or muscle memory. I remember facts well, especially useless trivia. The problem is remembering events that I have been a part of.
Here is how it works:
Much more than 6 months, and I won’t remember the event. I may know what I did, or that I was there, but I can’t “replay” the event(s) in my mind.
I have not always been this way. I did not start manifesting symptoms until I was 14. Up until then, I was for the most part “normal”. I also retain some memories from before that time. It is more a problem with retaining and solidifying “new” memories.
My short-term memory is not bad. It is not what it should be, but I have put into place a variety of systems and coping mechanisms that help me function.
The upside of the memory loss is that I can re-watch shows and movies like they are brand new every few months.
On my disease
I have mitochondrial disease. I am learning more about my condition every day. Even though I have had symptoms since I was 14, we are just finally now getting answers. It has been a long and frustrating road of misdiagnoses. I do not yet know what specific variant or subset of mitochondrial disease I have. About a month ago, my doctor did a muscle biopsy and sent it out for genetic testing, which will tell us all we need to know once it comes back.
Mitochondrial Disease causes a wide array of symptoms. This AMA is specifically to do with the memory loss. If there is interest expressed, I can do another AMA on the disease, the other symptoms, and what my life is like with it.
EMG results and neuromuscular specialist consult notes.
Edit : A few days later: NOT THE END OF THE AMA. JUST A FEW COMMENTS Thank you all for your kind (and hilarious) comments. Thank you as well for your great questions. I hope that this AMA has helped to explain what this type of memory loss is like to live with. Thank you, once again, for the interest and questions.
I am not ending the AMA
I will continue to answer any and all questions that are posted.
Edit: Wow! Got an article written about this AMA on upvoted.com! Thanks to everyone once more for your fantastic questions, and feel free to keep them coming if you have more.