How bad is your short-term memory?

Mine has really gone to shit in the last few years. I dunno why. I try to stay healthy; eat a good diet, exercise, don’t smoke pot or do drugs, rarely drink. It wouldn’t bother me so much except I used to have a memory like a steel trap.

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It’s not just that, either. I lose everything I set down. I must lose 2 or 3 pens a day. Everytime I take a shower I forget if I’ve washed my hair yet or not. I have no doubt I wash my hair twice all the time and 3 times at least occasionally.

For the last couple years that I smoked, I would frequently go into a store and ask the clerk for a pack of cigarettes, then pay for them and walk out without them. Usually they stopped me on the way out or I noticed before I got to my car. Sometimes I wouldn’t notice until hours later when I couldn’t find that damn pack I bought earlier - or did I buy one? Was that today?

It seems my long-term memory has suffered, too. There have always been things that kind of floated to the back of my mind and I didn’t remember until someone brought them up, but recently an old friend found me on myspace. She said she has some pictures of us at an amusement park one day when we were teenagers. I didn’t remember going to an amusement park with her. So she sent the pictures and there I am at the amusement park with her. No biggie, I would normally think, except that even after seeing the pictures, I still don’t remember going there with her. It makes me worry about what else I’ve forgotten.

Maybe I’ll buy a Simon from ebay and see if that helps - what was I talking about?

I’ve been noticing problems with my short term memory lately, too. In fact, a little while ago I was frantically looking for something that I know I’d put in a particular place earlier today. (It was where I thought it was, but tucked inside something, where I’d put it so it wouldn’t be misplaced.) I don’t know how many times I’ve walked from one room to another and then forgotten why I had done so, or realized that I had forgotten to bring along something that was the reason I’d done so.

I suppose I should be grateful I haven’t yet found myself sitting on my bed trying to remember whether I was getting dressed or undressed.

I never had much of a memory – couldn’t remember some of my elementary school teachers’ names, couldn’t memorize poems or music, forgot my own name on a major exam at university . . .

Now that I’m middle aged, my memory is still bad, but so are the memories of many other people my age, so I fit right in, and I am forgiven my lapses, rather than being looked at like a dummy.

Both my short and long-term memories are as good as they’ve ever been - good enough that I sometimes get compliments on them when I remember some tiny, inconsequential thing that somebody told me weeks or months later.

I smoked pot nearly daily from age 15 to 30, which is where I’m at now. Despite that, the only time that I started losing my short-term memory was during the two years that I was prescribed Xanax. It was incredibly frustrating because that crap turns you into a drooling idiot if you’re on it long enough. Luckily, the damage was not permanent for me; a few weeks after I tapered off that incredibly addictive medication, I was back to normal.

The stories I could tell you.



My what?

I forgot what I was going to post.

No seriously, I’ve always had bad short-term memory issues, so I can’t blame it on getting older. When I was a kid in church, I could read a verse, think that I knew it inside and out, look away from the page and not remember a damned thing about it. When I became an adult and started working with computers, I called it “video screen memory”, like the first monochrome monitors where, when you turned off the power, the image slowly faded away.

OTOH, things I’m interested in, I remember forever. I can recall small facts that I was exposed to 30 years ago, because it interested me at the time.

I had a great memory until I started taking Wellbutrin. Now I have to write EVERYTHING down and I still forget stuff all the time. And I can’t always tell the difference between remembering a conversation with somebody and remembering thinking about a conversation with somebody. Like in my head I’ll plan out something I’m going to tell my fiancé, and later all I can remember is the idea of telling him that thing, but not whether I actually did it or not.

I’ve been noticing increasing problems with my short term memory, too, but I’m pretty sure it was always that way and I’ve just forgotten

I keep forgetting to come back and post in this thread. bum-ching!

Actually, I recently posted in the “Earliest Memory” thread about just how bad my long term memory is. If anything, my short term is even worse. I was always getting in trouble as a child for forgetting to pass on messages.

My short-term memory (STM)is nothing like my long-term memory (LTM). My STM suffers at the hands of my distracted life. My job has me constantly grinding my brain for solutions, and it is also my nature to work out all sorts of issues in my head, like a series of computers working on a math problem. My STM suffers. It probably would work better if I gave it some attention or propped it up by being more organized, which could hide many STM problems.

People adopt routines and rituals because STMs are what they are (weak). If they were better, you wouldn’t need to put your keys in the same spot all the time.

How do you know, though? I would’ve said the same thing about my long-term memory; I remember a lot from the house we moved out of when I was 4, I remember all my teachers’ names going back to kindergarten, I remember a lot of my addresses and phone numbers from childhood, even though we moved around a lot, I remember birthdays of people I went to elementary school with - some of whom I haven’t seen since, etc, etc, etc. But those pictures of me at the amusement park really shook me. And that was when I was 15 - not exactly too young to remember. What else have I forgotten? How do you know what you don’t remember?

I’m this way too. My wife is constantly amazed at my encyclopedic knowledge of my favorite sport; I remember direct quotes out of comic books I read as a kid, I remember almost everything I ever found funny, from one-liners to parody songs to standup routines to dinner party type jokes. Maybe my brain is filling up with this useless crap and dumping the things I need, like whether or not I washed my hair 90 seconds ago.

I realize this probably isn’t backed up by science but it’s a feeling I have: I feel like my brain is at a point of capacity that everytime I learn something, something else has to be dumped to make room. Since I’m constantly learning, I feel like I’m losing memories and information at an alarming rate.

Hello! My memory sucks. I’m used to it now and rely on the people around me to help me remember things. It was really bad a few years ago when I was taking Paxil for anxiety. I retained nothing much in my short-term memory, and there are huge holes in my memories of that time. For example, I went to a baseball game with my mom and sis a couple of months ago and we had a great time. There is a carousel at the stadium and it sparked a very dim memory in me of having seen it before. When I got home I was telling my husband how the architecture of the stadium was really cool, and he gave me an exasperated look and said, “I know that dear. We went to a game a few years ago.” I have absolutely no memory of it at all… it’s like it never even happened.

Scary. But, I’m used to it. The people at the office that I work in don’t give me a hard time over it. The gal I work with most of the time helps me to fill in the blanks - it’s usually someone’s name. Sometimes I’ve helped someone a few days earlier and I can’t remember the situation, but my office-mate will remind me.

Hopefully as time goes on, it doesn’t get worse. I don’t really misplace keys or forget everyday things. My difficulty is recalling names, events, directions, and things like that. I suspect that I don’t pay attention to things the way I should and that’s a lot of the problem. I need to focus more, but am too lazy-minded to do so.

Either that, or I’m losing it.

My husband remembers everything. He will say things like; “Remember that time we went up north a few years back and we took that little side road and there was that restaurant? You had chicken and I had a burger and fries. Do you want to go there again?” My response is usually something along the lines of “We went up north a few years ago? What month did we go?” He will tell me and I won’t remember much, if anything, about the trip.

My memory sucks. But I’m rolling with it and embracing senilty from the beginning. I reckon there’s no way I can beat it so I may as well just go along with it.

Take heart, Cisco. A guy and his wife were talking to a friend, and told him they’d been seeing a doctor for help with their short-term memory loss, and he was doing a great job.

The friend said, “I have problems there too, I’d like to see this doctor. What is his name?”

The guy replied, “Hmmm, gee, let me think.” Then he asked the friend, “What is that beautiful flower with the long stem and the thorns?”

“A rose?” the friend asked.

“That’s it,” the guy said. He then turned to his wife and asked, “Rose, what is the name of that doctor we’ve been seeing?”

Yeah, I’m definitely joining that club. (staring down the barrels of 42). I just recently had an experience like yours, Cisco - my husband was telling me about something he had done a couple of years ago - I was there, apparently, I knew all about it, but I couldn’t remember anything at all about it. Still can’t, and now I can’t remember what the thing I forgot is, either.

My uncle is looking at this the right way - he figures he can’t remember, no one he knows can remember, so he’s just going to start making shit up now. :smiley:

Mine’s gotten pretty bad in the last year or or. I’m 44. It’s upsetting because I’ve always had a very good memory.

Usually, the memory is still in my head and comes back to me if I stop and think What was I going to do…? or What did I do with that…? or whatever, but it seems like it disappears for awhile while it’s “fresh.”

I’m taking Ginkgo now to see if that helps.

He he - welcome to the club!

I remember now - he was talking about trying a new asthma medication. See, it’s still there - the retrieval system leaves something to be desired, though.

They say memory is the second thing to go.

I can’t recall what the first is, though.