I sat down there thinking quietly to myself, trying to understand why I couldn’t understand what My friend Winston was saying to me for the past 30minutes. He was explaining an incident that occurred some years back. I seemed to be a part of this story he was narrating but the only problem I was having, was that I couldn’t remember everything he was saying to me. I was lost in thoughts. Lulu! “Why are you so quiet? ” he asked. “Nothing! I’m only trying to figure out when all of this happened”. I responded.
This was not the first time this was happening. In fact, I had recently discovered some pieces of lost memory. Sometimes, when I get these lost pieces of memory, I say to myself “could this be a mere figment of my imagination?”. With careful analysis and my little research, I was able to understand some of the reasons why my brain had to fend for itself by boxing up traumatic experiences. Have you ever Just gotten a flashback of memories that you didn’t even know you had?
Some certain drugs, fragrances, food, perfumes, and even events help in stimulating the parts of the brain that keeps these memories. Which in turn now helps you to access these parts of your memory. Sometimes, these memories can be very harmful to one’s mental health and although harmful, these memories help find answers to psychological problems that are rooted in those memories. Repressed memories are therefore in our subconscious minds and might come to us as dreams.
It is important to note that, not all repressed memories are harmful. In some cases, memories can be repressed unintentionally. There are some cases whereby someone suffers from short term memory loss. Amnesia is a condition in which an individual losses the ability to recall an event or information. Medically, some drugs induce memory loss such as antianxiety drugs, antidepressant drugs, antiseizure drugs, and many others. There are also sedative-hypnotic drugs that can be used to recollect these memories.
Propelling your brain and memory.
I remember watching some episodes of NCIS New Orleans Season 6 and seeing Special Agent, Dwayne Pride have consistent dreams which were a figment of the memories from his childhood. Agent Dwight would constantly have dreams he didn’t understand, see faces that he wasn’t familiar with in his waking life yet they seemed to know him in his dreams. This went on for a while and it affected his mental health. He eventually got help from a doctor and was given drugs to induce those repressed memories that came in form of dreams.
According to Sigmund Freud, repressed memories are a form of coping mechanisms. To Freud, although an individual can suppress a memory, it still influences their behavior one way or the other. I have had to repress some very difficult memories from my childhood that was relating to abuse. While there are other memories that I suppressed consciously because of the way they made me feel. It’s funny how I still look back at my childhood and still remember some very particular people and information about them.
There are some instances where the body/ brain forgets how to perform some peculiar body functions either after an illness or an incident. When I was about 3, I fell so ill and I was bedridden for a long period. As at the time I became ill, I had already started walking and even running but as soon as I fell ill, I soon forgot how to walk and what my legs were to be used for. I remember my mum putting my legs on the floor expecting me to be able to walk but I couldn’t. I was a confused little girl wondering why I fell at every step I tried to take. I would try and take a step, fall, stand up, try to walk again. This was what I did until I eventually got the hang of how to walk like I used to before I fell ill.
As regards the neurological basis for the brain forgetting memories, it is important for you to understand that it is the brain that is responsible for the repression of unwanted memories associated with increased activation of the left and right frontal cortex (the part of the brain used to repress memory), which in turn leads to reduced activation of the hippocampus (the part of the brain used to remember experiences). The more a person activates their frontal cortex, the better they are at suppressing unwanted memories.
Finally, I was able to learn something I never knew I had already experienced. Of a truth, some of the things Winston had narrated to me may have sounded strange but I knew in the deepest parts of my heart that they weren’t lies. With my friend’s help, I was not only able to capture and rebuild my lost memories but I was also able to retrace the point where it all began and how long it had lasted. Ultimately, this was the explanation for so many things that had happened in my life, my phobias, my reaction to some certain things, my triggers, my fears and my choices. We all have fragments of lost information locked away in our brain. Unfortunately, many might never have the opportunity to access them throughout their lifetime.
- Lisa Trei, January 8th, 2004 Stanford Report, In the Psychologist offers proof of the brain’s ability to suppress memories.
- Dane Oleary, November 4th, 2019, National Rehabs Directory, rehabs.com. Accessed on the 23rd of August 2020 by 3 am.
- Lulu’s Diary July 22, 2020.