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Its now all just a memory! Blog by Clare Fisher

I have a chronic condition called Fibromyalgia, which affects a lot of the aspects of my life from; pain, sleepless nights to sensory overload to name but a few.

One of my problems that I have found particularly challenging is the affect that my condition has on my memory. I have always struggled with my memory and I have identified that my learning style is not conducive with traditional teaching methods as I favour a more practical hands on approach to aide my knowledge comprehension and retention.

As every individual is different so is the way in which each Fibro sufferer experiences their own condition. In terms of my memory issues I tend to suffer from a mental dulling, which fogs (Fibro Fog) my ability to allocate and then retrieve information from my memory banks.

It is known that memory has 3 steps; encoding, storage and retrieval. We all perceive information through our senses, in my case my preferred sub modality is kinesthetic based on touch and feeling. My tactile sense send haptic information to my short term memory getting ready to be encoded for retention to my long term memory or discarded through my dreams. With the added issue of Fibro Fog, numerical data procured via visual or audio means is becoming increasingly difficult for me to store and access, for example I cannot recall phone numbers or my bank card pin numbers.

My struggle to retrieve information feels like I am swimming through a sea of treacle trying to reach out to the rescue boat (the memory). I can see the boat (memory) but as I struggling forward to reach it, I find that it sails further away out of my grasp.

I have been developing a few strategies to support better memory using restorative methods which include; taking regular rest breaks, limiting information overload via social media, focusing on my sleep hygiene and forgiving myself when I make mistakes.

In terms of compensatory approaches I write things down, I programme information into my phone and I keep important information in a physical safe place.

It is not just people like myself or people with neurological conditions etc. who have short term memory problems, it is also people who suffer from stress, depression and anxiety. If this sounds like you please consider counselling to improve both your mental health and cognitive functions.

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