Depression and Memory Loss
I have always thought of my memory as being pretty sturdy. I wouldn't say I've ever had a mind built for retaining facts or dates, but my photographic memory has assisted me on many journeys and I've had no problems remembering little things people have told me. Basically, my short term and long term memory have always been generally good. Over the last month or so I noticed I had begun to struggle with my memory in ways I hadn't before, which I found a little concerning!
As I was finding it difficult to concentrate on books and films not too long ago, when I forgot parts of those it didn't worry me too much, but then I realised I was starting to forget the names of people I had known for extensive periods of time, or I had spoken to on multiple occasions. This actually included the name of my second therapist during my most recent set of CBT sessions; someone I had completely opened up and poured my heart out to many times. I sat in disbelief, scrabbling around in the recesses of my mind, trying to recover some sort of clue as to what their name may be. I found nothing of use and, in a moment of embarrassment, reverted to attempting to spot a glimpse of their name tag during two sessions instead. It took me to my second to last session to learn it. In retrospect, I should have just asked!
Misplacing items also became my forte. My phone?
Not a clue.
They were here a minute ago.
My train pass?
I could have sworn I put it on my bedside table...
Somehow I managed to absentmindedly put things down, bury things inside pockets, and leave things in supposed 'safe places' yet not have the slightest recollection of where these things were. I worked myself into states looking for things, and most of my recent calls came from my Mum or Dad attempting to help me find my phone. I even managed to misplace my tickets to see Josh Widdicombe, but thankfully was able to get them reprinted; and funnily enough, I actually came across the originals the day after the show! I've always been great with things like this, so getting to a point where I was constantly putting things in places I couldn't remember began to grate on me.
The change that worried me the most was my sudden shocking lack of short term memory though. One Monday, I was asked what I had been up to at the weekend. I simply had to tell them what the two days previously had entailed. I opened my mouth to inform them, and paused. Do you think I could remember what I had done?
Could I heck
. In that moment I felt myself sink a little, as though my confidence took a stage dive through the floor. It felt like I had flipped open my internal diary to find blank pages for Saturday and Sunday - as if the events that occurred on those days had been deleted from existence! Much to my relief I managed to put my finger on some of the details, but the initial shock of not having a clue grabbed hold of my stomach and gave it a good twist.
Whilst I'm starting to recognise memory problems creeping in here and there in hindsight, these dramatic odd shifts have only really come to my attention fairly recently. I wanted to write about it to highlight another way depression can affect the brain
. The moment I became aware that I was having difficulties, I researched online to see if there was a correlation between depression and memory loss. I was so relieved to find articles and
explaining a link between the two; and the more I have thought about this, the more I've realised how unsurprising it is. Your brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It's depended on, not just memory, but for motor control, visual spatial functions,
language, speech, processing thoughts and feelings, problem solving, abstract reasoning, attention span
... And then it's dealing with depression and anxiety on top. With it
being so overworked, it's no wonder parts of the brain suffer as a result.
I personally hadn't been made aware of the connection between depression and memory loss before researching, but hope that if you too are struggling and are
weary of your memory not performing at its best, this could possibly give you an answer as to why.