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Why Do I Have Memory Problems?

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 From the U.S.: I have been plagued all my life with a lack of memory for practically my whole past. I have a handful of memories for my entire childhood; none for junior high school; very little for high school and, pretty much as soon as an event in my life is over, I have just a little bit of memory of what I experienced. But the fact of my childhood and early teenage years basically being erased in my memory banks, is the hardest to live with.

Is this somewhat a common occurrence and what may be the cause of this phenomena? I would appreciate any help I can get. Thank you.

Why Do I Have Memory Problems?

Answered by on -


At 69, memory issues are common, but you say this has been going on for your whole life. There are many possible medical reasons. I hope that you talked to your primary care doctor about it long ago.

There are also possible psychological explanations. Chief among them is that life changed dramatically in some way at some point in your life that made memories of what happened before it no longer relevant. You see, memory isn’t like a video library. What we remember is selective. Usually, memories in some way confirm how we look at the world today.

If you were seeing me in therapy, we’d be talking about why this is bothering you so much now that you wrote to us. We would look at whether something happened that changed your perceptions of the world so much that you discarded memories that didn’t fit. We might also discuss whether it would be helpful to you to try to connect with childhood friends for some reminders about what once was. It’s complicated.

If this continues to trouble you and your medical doctor sees no reason for memory lapses beyond what is typical at your age, then by all means see a therapist who can explore it with you.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Why Do I Have Memory Problems?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Why Do I Have Memory Problems?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2019 (Originally: 20 May 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.