• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

beachpearl

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sorry, I didn't know where else to put this. I just wanted to know your thoughts on this:

I'm 18 and have very vivid childhood memories. For some reason, I remember soooo much. I remember specific days in kindergarten, events, activities and conversations that took place in kindergarten and the names & faces of most of my kindergarten friends. I can remember my thoughts and feelings on those days as well. I remember all my teachers and friends from 1st grade until I graduated. Some old friends and I had a class picture from first grade, and out of 40 students, I was able to name each and everyone of them while my other friends could name less than twenty.

I also remember a lot of games, projects, presentations and events that have happened throughout grade school that none of my friends can remember doing anymore. After kindergarten, a lot of my classmates ended up in the same school I was, and none of them remembered being classmates with me! I had pictures to prove it, so I couldn't have been imagining. Just a couple of years ago (when I was a freshman in HS), I saw a girl I knew from the first grade. She didn't remember being classmates with me, and I described to her the way she looked back then (she had the weirdest perm) she was shocked because her her hair did look the way I described it.

I know this thing called "false memory" as well, and I've checked it out and its not it. Its hard to explain, but I remember these things as if it happened yesterday. I've told my mother a lot of them and she confirmed them all. She was even amazed at how much I remember considering the fact that I was so young then. I had a chance to chat with my old kindergarten teacher (my kindergarten is very near my house) and she was also amazed at how much I remember. I asked her about some of the games we played back then and she still plays a couple of them with the kids she has today.

A lot of people are quite freaked out by my "super memory" lol, but I really don't know. Is this normal? I don't think I have a really good memory either, because I find it hard to memorize things and I tend to forget things. Its easier for me to remember things that have happened earlier in life than things that have happened recently, actually. I've posted this in another forum and 2 other people replied saying they are that way as well. You know what we have in common? we have vivid childhood memories but have short term memory. Its pretty weird, but...what do you guys think?
 

David Baxter

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It's neither "normal" nor "abnormal". Some people remember a lot of their early lives; some have almost no memory. I haven't seen much evidence that this has any major significance in terms of trauma or pathology but maybe it has to do with anchors for one's memories...

I also have very vivid memories of much of my childhood, and, interestingly, not as many of my adolescence which was a far less happy time for me. Perhaps that's not a coincidence.

On the other hand, the first 10-12 years of my life saw a lot of changes - numerous moves because of my father's career, numerous schools (13 by grade 6), numerous new babies being born, etc.... and I think a lot of my memories are in various ways anchored to those equally vivid markers in my life. In adolescence, my father had reached a point in his career where we remained in one city for the next 8 or 9 years with only two different residences, so perhaps there was less to tie memories to.

As an adult, I've seen a similar pattern - my most vivid memories are around times where there were significant things happening, in my career, in my personal life, the birth of my children, some losses, etc.
 

braveheart

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May 8, 2005
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I have an acutely clear memory of much of my childhood and adolescence. Although it's mainly of me being on the outside looking in, and is also related to my hypervigilance, which started early on. I never moved, and am an only child. But there was trauma and abuse and this had a big impact on me.

My long term memory is great - I remember my first ever library book at age 5 and sitting on my parents bed looking at it - it was a story about penguins!, being in playgroup age 4 and being terrified of the iron grille over the sky light, eating an orange at playgroup, being terrified of a theatre group in school at age 5 and following a girl who was also born premature in the same ward as me in running away around the school and screaming. I remember changing classrooms age 6ish and feeling so desperately lost an insecure, walking along with my bag of books, desolate and disconsolate.

I remember the family rows, my parents fighting, the threats to send me away, starting from around when I was 5...
However I don't recall how I felt. I numbed myself and dissociated and I am unburying my feelings in therapy.

On a lighter note I can remember quotes from texts I had to study for A level English Lit a 18. For example I can quote most of one of Othello's last solioquoys and the opening of The Waste Land by TS Eliot!

BUT my short term memory is bad. I told the psychiatrist this when he did the mental status type exam. wih me and it was proved true.

My parents would always deny things or push them away, painful things, so someone had to do the remembering in my family - me. Because things are important and they effect me.

So, for me it's Complex PTSD related, and indeed heightened memory for traumatic events is one of the criteria [e.g. I can remember the bullies flicking ink over my shirt and thumping a wooden chalky chalkboard cleaner over my back, and my cleaning off th evidence the best I could, but I don't have recollection of my feelings, apart from totally resigned to doing this. What other choice did I have?]
 

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