Throughout the course of my recovery from a brain injury, Amy and I have learned, or picked up, a few things from various appointments with doctors or specialists, which I wanted to share with you today, because, for want of a better term, I think they're pretty cool.
I have noticed through looking back through some of my old blogs, one of the main themes of them, is memory, so I just wanted to share with you what we have learned about it from a medical, or science, point of view. Disclaimer; I am not an expert, or doctor, on memory. Last week, I wrote about my having to borrow memories from other people, but this week I want to talk about the way in which our memories are formed.
The human memory is a fragile and profoundly complex thing, and from learning more about it, I have found it absolutely incredible and fascinating; how it all works, so I hope this blog is remotely educational, or useful, for you, instead of a bland or boring read.
There are three key components to memory.
The first part is called 'Encoding' where whatever the memory, or event is, it then goes from the real, or 3D world and is translated, or 'encoded' into a memory and neatly filed away in your filing cabinet of a brain.
The second part is fairly self explanatory, as it is simply called 'Storage', which is exactly what it says on the tin, it simply means the storing of the memory, once it has been encoded, this simply means neatly filing it away waiting to be needed again.
The third, and final part, if you had not guessed it already, is called 'retrieval', which again, simply means the retrieval of the memory from your perfectly ordered filing system of memories.
If just one of these components is not working properly then your memory will suffer. I find this fascinating because it's not simply remembering, these three things have to happen in order for that memory to last. It is incredible.
Unfortunately, as I have found out, there are many things which can affect the first component of the memory, for example if I'm tired I don't tend to encode properly. Also if there are distractions around, like in a noisy pub, or if the TV is on, encoding is difficult.
Something Amy and I have found is we think I sometimes have stored things in the wrong place, I get times and dates wrong. Something I think happened last week was actually last month, that kind of thing.
Retrieval is really tough, without prompts I often draw a blank and cannot remember a thing. I am lucky though, as when I am given a prompt, a lot of the time it unlocks my memory and details come flooding back to me.
This is, of course, an extremely simplified description of memory but I just find it fascinating and amazing to think so much has to happen for our memories to work. I like to think knowledge is power and now I know more about this I have more power to try and improve... Here's hoping.