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What It Feels Like to Forget Your Own Story

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You look at photographs. People tell you stories of the things you did. They talk about the good memories you’ve had together.

Sometimes, you pretend you remember. You laugh and nod along. Other times, you just tilt your head down, feeling ashamed of yourself like you’ve done something horribly wrong, and say, “I don’t remember.”

They aren’t always good things that you forget, though. Sometimes, people ask you what happened that day. It’s all just a blank.

Whether it be because of illness, medication or trauma, you cannot help but feel guilty, especially for forgetting good memories or the things people have told you. You want to let them know you forgot not because you didn’t care or because you weren’t listening.

They don’t always understand. Sometimes, they get frustrated from repeating their stories or from hearing you tell stories from long ago you do not remember telling.

Apart from guilt, a whole range of emotions hit you.

Anger because you don’t get the pleasure of replaying moments in your head.

Sadness because it feels like someone else has been living your life.

Confusion because you don’t know whether your “memories” are really memories or constructed confabulations from what people have told you.

Frustration because the memories seem like they’re just an inch out of your grasp.

Regret because you feel if you had done something differently, none of this would have happened.

It’s a horrible feeling to be told of your lost memories. Yet, at the same time, you want to know because you feel like (and you do) have the right to know your own story. Sadly, you will never be able to tell your own story. You will only be able to tell other people’s story of you.

That’s what it feels like to be unable to recall your own story.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 2, 2016
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