Severe Memory Impairment..any thoughts?!

Posted , 9 users are following.

I'm 22 years old. I have always been sharp minded with a prestine memory. To be honest, a clearer memory than most. It was something I was known for among my friends.

No known cause...

I woke up one morning and I felt completely intoxicated. My brain shut down. and My memory became rubbish. I have incredible brain fog. I can't remember what I did 2 days ago...Everything that happens is like it happened in a dream. I am detached and disconnected from it. I feel like my brain is under attack. When I say my short term memory is bad, I do not say it lightly. I'm operating at maybe 20%. My whole brain feels fried. Muffled. Filled with Cloudiness and denseness.

I had an MRI - Normal

All blood tests- Normal

Sleep study- Normal

Can anyone relate? Does anyone have any substantial ideas and thoughts? Remember...this isn't like oh I have a memory lapse every now and again...this is my whole day is a memory lapse.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    I can't shed any light on what might be causing this, but it doesn't sound normal to me. All I can suggest is that you keep on at your doctor to try more tests or refer you to a specialist if things don't improve.
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    • Posted

      Totally agree. I'm a former neuro trained nurse. Definitely keep up the pressure on this one.

      The condition doesn't have to be neurological, though. There are various other things - sometimes obscure viral infections - that can produce symptoms like yours. In some cases they resolve spontaneously after a couple of years without anyone knowing what they were in the first place. About 30 years ago, a friend got a whole array of really disabling symptoms (though not entirely matching yours). She ended up being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Then an enterprising doctor tested for Lyme disease and got a positive!

      Just one thing, Taylor. I see you're 22. Not suggesting for a moment all 22-year-olds are off their heads on drugs, but had you experimented with something new or gone over the top on dosage in the week or so before this started? A small number of young people get unlucky when taking drugs that have no lasting effect on their peers.

      Don't lose heart, I'm sure you'll come through this. And don't forget that getting into a panic over memory loss - understandable though that is - will make it worse.

      All the very best.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your posts! Seriously!

      I hadn't tried any weird or new drugs or anything like that. The only thing I can say is...for about a year prior I had been expereincing fatigue. Mental fatigue. And quite a deal of stress. I'd say prior to the morning I woke up with a brain of mush...I was operating with about 90% memory. 

      I had a sleep study done, all the usual blood tests and about 15 obscure blood tests. I've had two lyme tests that both came back negative. The MRI showed my brain itself looked good and in tact. The neuroligist kind just thought I was crazy as did the infectious disease doc. 

      I know a lot of people may point to depression...but I'm not sold on it. I know my body and I know myself. This seems different. More physical than emotional. I just have to keep telling myself someday I'll be my old self and even better! Did you know I rode my bicycle across america when I was 19? I also completed The worlds toughest ironman triathlon challenge in st george utah. I miss that. I miss the energy and the mental clarity.

      Thanks for listening and offering insight!

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    • Posted

      I've just had another thought. I've had chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) to varying degrees for many years & when I was really bad with that my short-term memory was very poor. I had to key in telephone numbers a few digits at a time, checking each time because I couldn't remember all 7 digits at once. That didn't show up in any blood tests, and all the neurologist could say was "I agree that there's something wrong but I can't tell you what". That does include extreme physical fatigue after the least exertion, and muscle pain, which you haven't mentioned, but it is an example of something not yet understood - and some doctors are still sceptical that it exists.
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    • Posted

      Hey Pixie!!

      Thanks for the insight. CFS is definitely something I've been looking more and more into. If I do indeed have CFS, then I am blessed to say I am pain free! However, what I lack in pain, I surely make up for with mental MOOSH. When you had CFS badly...did you feel like your brain was in discomfort? Almost like there was a bunch of cotton in there? Foggy? all that? Any relatability there?

      I've recently picked up the book "From Fatigued to Fantastic"...which is actually a really helpful book with an effective treatment plan.

      my two primary symptoms of heavy mental fatigue and extreme mental fogg/short term memory impairment. If that sounds like CFS...i'll keep exploring that route.

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  • Posted

    I can relate to this ! 22/M, Memory has gone completely to mush and it feels like I've developed depression but its heavily linked to my bad memory and fatigue and reason being is that it really affects me socially -

    Forgetting names and remembering them like 5 minutes later, not being able to fully take in what someone's saying, struggling to follow movie plots at times, I feel sometimes like there's a pressure in my head too (not a headache) but like a radiator that needs bled.

    Been to the doctors now a couple of times, all bloods coming back normal but I'm scared for the days to come, I've become really disconnected from my friends and family, all I cling to is the hope that this too will pass.

    I think we will all get back to ourselves we just have to hang in there and fight on !

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    • Posted

      I have the same head pressure! 16/F, I've had what I assume is chronic DPDR for the last 2-3 years and have the same lack of concentration and memory blanks. Large stretches of time are just a blank to me and I skip minutes at a time. Basically I have the same as Taylor and others in this thread, extreme brain fog I guess. Am never sure if the pressure is linked, so glad to see you have something similar.

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  • Posted


    Have you seen any improvements, or have found anything that working to fix it?

    I have the same thing. I'm 21 years old, female, and still in school. I had to take time off, because I just wasn't retaining any of the information, as well as been having awful sleep problems that caused me to sleep through most classes and even tests.

    I've been to sleep specialist, have had the blood tests, and the MRI, and have found nothing. I was recently been diagnosed with bipolar, but I don't think that's what's causing this because it's only been a problem for the past year.

    I've been able to address the sleep issues well enough that it's become a bit more manageable, but my memory has just continued to get worse. I'm cloudy/foggy-headed, I have to really concentrate to remember names of good friends, can barely retain information I read the other day, and am sounding less and less articulate because I'm stuttering and have difficulty finding words, and can't spell common words (and constantly resort to the handy dictionary/thesaurus app), and avoid from reading anything out loud because I've been having difficulty trying to figure out their pronunciation.

    I really can't afford to nor want to just settle with the resolution to wait. I didn't use to have this problem and am really eager to get this resolved.


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    • Posted

      Hi Maya, just wondering how you are feeling now?  I can relate to how you feel.  For me all those things you are saying relates to stress and your body and brain starts to shut down as you are so over tired.  If you can sort your sleeping out and have a good outdoor exercise routine  and a healthy diet. Breath out and focus on your breathing and how your body feels.  I have had terrible stress and confrontation in my life and it has taken years to understand that your mental health expresses itself physicologically.  
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