Amnesia and Memory Loss:
What's it really like to lose your memory.
Have you ever wondered what's it like to lose your memory? To experience what's it like to not remember or account for a specific time in your life. Well this is exactly what happened to me. Believe me it's far from what you think and is probably one of the most weirdest experiences of your life.
Your memory is one of those things you take for granted. Whether it's having a poor memory or a super memory that similar to an elephant (elephants are known to have one of the best memories in the animal kingdom. This is where we get the saying 'He has a memory like an elephant), you won't appreciate how valuable your memory is until you lose it.
When you ask some people what's the most important thing in their life is, some would say 'Family and friends' others would say 'their car and money' but few would say the most valuable thing is their memory. We simply take it for granted. It is not until we begin to lose our memory that we realise how valuable it is.
Memory loss occurs mostly through:
Â· Time (we forget as we age)
Â· Alcohol (having an awful hangover and not remembering the previous night)
Â· A hard hit to the head (causing memory loss)
This comes to my story I would like to share with you today. On 16th April 2010 while heading the airport I was hit by another car going 100km/hour. The impact was so hard, I fractured my right scapula, had some bruising on my lungs, chipped my tooth and received a big cut on the back of my head. My car was written off and luckily I was the only one serious injured. All other parities walked away with minor injuries. I spent the next six weeks recovering.
The other side effect of the accident was suffering memory loss or in other words: "Amnesia"
To better give you an account of my experience, I remember working earlier that day and having dinner and then the next second waking up half conscious in hospital, dazed, confused and disorientated. I don't remember packing my luggage or even driving that night. It was so weird as one second you're in a different place and time (having dinner at home) and then the next second you're somewhere else (in hospital). I could not for the life of me account of the last 3-4 hours.
I always thought that 'memory loss' or amnesia might be a cool thing. You know where you suddenly learn you have a second life and you're a secret agent. All too soon I realised that amnesia is an awful thing to have. People ask you questions and you have no answer. You can't even guess or speculate as you don't have a clue of what you forgot. You can't remember what you don't remember.
A few days after the accident and being discharged from the hospital I went through my wallet. I was quite surprised to see a 'fuel receipt' in my wallet on the night of the accident. Looking at the details, it gave me some clue as to what I did. It had a location of the petrol station and a time of the receipt.
Thinking like a detective I next looked into my mobile phone calls for the night. I saw I made a 3 minute phone call to my fiancÃ©e. I thought how cool is this. Are there more hidden clues I can follow? What else can I do to remember that night? (Though some friends said it's probably better not to remember such a horrific car accident)
For the next few weeks I tried desperately to remember. I expected something similar to the movies, where you get a flashback of memory and suddenly remember what has happened. Kinda like the Bourne Identity movies where Jason Bourne remembers who he is. Sadly enough the real world doesn't work like that. After countless attempts to remember I soon realised I might never get that memory back.
Overall the whole experience has given me a great appreciation into the value and importance of my memory. To that I have had a renewed motivation to keep and maintain my journal.
The message here is that memory loss can be one of the most weirdest experiences of your life.
If it does happen to you, your natural curiosity takes over and you find that you'd go on a quest to find out what happened.
In the end you'd find yourself changed in the sense that you will always now have a better appreciation for your memory.
I hope this article has made you think about how important your memory is for you and to not take it for granted. Till next time 'Live curiously'. J