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Sanctuary
17 hours ago, StarlessEclipse said:

I can relate to this. Honestly, if someone gave me the opportunity to erase my memory of everything that happened in my life from 2010 to mid-2014, I'd be very tempted to do it.

This is the same for me. Memory and the mind in general can be a wonderful thing but all too often we carry around painful memories and negative mindsets that we can't seem to get rid of. It would be tempting to have a memory like a computer where we could delete unwanted "files", reset our systems, etc. As someone once said one of the most important things in life is not just to learn but to unlearn. 

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Miss Chief

If I am being honest I don't think I would want to lose memories even bad ones, I think this is in part because I consider my mind and my memory to be my strongest asset so I would feel like I was losing something of value to me if I lost memories. Also I really value my good memory and my life experience, good and bad, it is all part of what makes me... me.

I should also add that I don't usually find memories of past events to be traumatic (even if the event was traumatic), it is in the past and it cannot be changed, it just is, I either dealt with it well or badly but either way I learned from it and grew as a person, it is a part of me and my life experience. I don't really have emotions attached to my memories even if I was emotional at the time the event occurred. It's kind of like a factual, analytical log of an event, it isn't even like watching a film since that would elicit an emotional response from me, it's just a record... more like reading some historical account of facts, it's removed from me on an emotional level... this applies to happy memories as well as bad ones.

Please understand I am not trying to belittle or marginalise other peoples experiences with bad or traumatic memories (or indeed good ones), I understand it can be and often is different for others but this is just how I experience memories. 

It might not even be a good thing, I had a... difficult childhood, while both of my parents loved me one of them is not well equipped to deal with life and certainly not the stress of being responsible for a child and this meant that they were quite abusive, the other one was not good at connecting with me emotionally. Please understand I do not think of my childhood as being an unhappy one (I didn't know any different and didn't realise it was difficult by other peoples standards until at least my teens) but it wasn't always easy, so it's possible that this unemotional recall might be a kind of coping mechanism I naturally developed.

I also have a very good memory and I often hear other people remembering things incorrectly (things I know to be different to what they remember because they are shared experiences) and I wouldn't like it if I did that (although in fairness I wouldn't know about it I suppose), my mum in particular has a tendency to change her memories, for example when I got diagnosed with AS she thought she had it... I don't think she has it, I think she had other mental health issues but not AS (although I do think my dad and his father had it), when she was assessed the psychologist said he didn't think she had it but after a few months she changed the story and her memory so that she now claims he said that 'she probably does have it but that there is no real benefit to her being diagnosed', this is categorically untrue, not only is it not what she said on the day and weeks just after the appointment, she also would benefit from a diagnosis as she is on disability benefits so the diagnosis would obviously help her with her claim. This is just one of many examples of her modifying memories to better suit her chosen narrative, just to be clear, she isn't lying, I don't even think she is conscious of doing this but I find it very frustrating as I have much better recall and I end up knowing she is not being accurate but unable to prove it. Before anyone asks... yes I do know it is her memory that is wrong and not mine as others have noticed these anomalies too.

While I do have a really good memory for information, events and/or experiences it certainly isn't perfect for example while I might remember something that most people would consider irrelevant I might also not take note of things that other people think of as important one big thing is... I struggle with faces, as a child I had very bad prosopagnosia, it bothered me a lot! I thought that it was my fault that I couldn't recall my parents faces if they weren't in front of me, I thought I must not love them enough since I couldn't remember their faces and it caused me a lot of distress, as a teenager I worked on this by looking at famous actors in different roles, where they looked different but other people could clearly recognise them and I learned how to remember faces by paying more attention to them and the underlying structure etc. Even now as an adult I struggle to describe a face, I could never sit down with one of those people who draw faces based on an eye witness, I know what a face is and I know where all the bits are supposed to go but in my mind faces are made up of composite parts and I struggle to put them together into a whole face, there are bits missing. To be honest I am not sure I would even focus on and try to remember the face of a person committing a crime I would be more focused on the actions, items involved and series of events. I am much better at remembering faces of people I am around now, however, I now have a weird problem whereby if I know someone say at work and I run into that person in a shop unless they are a really good friend or someone I sit next to every day, I wont recognise them in this other environment, clearly I store faces with the 'place' I know the person. This can cause issues, for example I have worked with people I knew socially and not realised it for months or years as an example this happened and I only worked it out when they added me on Facebook and I saw photos of them at a place I socialise, don't get me wrong I would have recognised that person socially and at work but I didn't know they were the same person, I have also been on year long courses with people I worked with for two years and never realised it was the same person, also I sometimes run into people I work with outside of work and I have to sort of blag it cause while it's obvious they know me I have no idea who they are!

I used to worry that I might run out of memory and that I might start losing my oldest memories to make room for new ones, this was one of the reasons I was drawn to photography, it was a backup for losing memories.

Sorry I didn't mean to go on so much about this... memory is something I find fascinating. 

I also think it's really sad that people want to erase a part of who they are, even if it was sad, bad or traumatic, it's part of your life experience, it helped shape you as a person, perhaps it made you wiser, or taught you something, even if it was how not to deal with something... I like the people who have said they wish they could erase some of their memories/experiences and I think you would be made less by losing a part of what makes you... you!

Perhaps I don't have the right to feel that way or say that though since my memories never cause me pain... I'll be quiet now 

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StarlessEclipse
On 10/1/2018 at 12:24 PM, Miss Chief said:

I also think it's really sad that people want to erase a part of who they are, even if it was sad, bad or traumatic, it's part of your life experience, it helped shape you as a person, perhaps it made you wiser, or taught you something, even if it was how not to deal with something... I like the people who have said they wish they could erase some of their memories/experiences and I think you would be made less by losing a part of what makes you... you!

Perhaps I don't have the right to feel that way or say that though since my memories never cause me pain... I'll be quiet now 

No, you're right, yours is the correct and constructive approach to dealing with the past. It's just that acknowledging that intellectually and putting it into practice when it doesn't come naturally are two very different things. I fully recognise the futility of dwelling on the past, but it doesn't stop the occasional anxiety attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, outbursts of self-loathing, etc. I suppose it's probably worse when extreme regret for bad decisions is involved, which it certainly is for me.

I was reading recently about hypnosis and memory. It's said that while one can't be hypnotised into forgetting something, it is possible to alter the emotional association with a memory.

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Sanctuary
19 hours ago, StarlessEclipse said:

No, you're right, yours is the correct and constructive approach to dealing with the past. It's just that acknowledging that intellectually and putting it into practice when it doesn't come naturally are two very different things. I fully recognise the futility of dwelling on the past, but it doesn't stop the occasional anxiety attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, outbursts of self-loathing, etc. I suppose it's probably worse when extreme regret for bad decisions is involved, which it certainly is for me.

My position is very similar. I agree that ideally negative memories can be used more constructively but for some people that is very difficult to do. Minds become used to interpreting events and experiences in particular ways and I also find it very difficult not to look back on certain things without them causing unpleasant thoughts. In fact the vast majority of the time I don't deliberately look back - the thoughts pop up in my head like unwelcome visitors. I know that I've learned in some way from all these events but it is discontent that dominates my thoughts, not the learning. Nor am I able to compartmentalise these bad memories and isolate them from my current mind.

Clearly some people have different mindsets and are much more successful in not dwelling on negative past events, and even maybe in using them to spur them to greater current success. This can be so even when they have endured what objectively appear to be far worse experiences. It's getting to that different mindset that is difficult to do. In my case it's not something that can be done through rational thought. Maybe sometimes and without obvious explanation the mind "re-sets" itself and adopts a more effective mode of thinking; unfortunately sometimes the opposite happens and a previously contented person lapses into depression and anxiety although that process can also be reversed. 

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