Anxiety and Memory Loss

So I’ve suffered with anxiety for pretty much a great deal of my life, It’s taken over and consumed it until anxiety is all that I came to live and breath. So having lived and fought with it so long you would think that I would known all there is to know about anxiety, you’d think that I would have researched all there is about something that has taken control of my life to the point it no longer feels like my life.

But that isn’t the case…In fact it seems the more I research it and look into it more, the more questions I have, the more I find there is to anxiety and the different types of anxiety that people suffer with. It’s like a never ending tunnel of different kind of symptoms, from mild, medium, to so extreme in rare case some people were having to be placed into a medically induced coma (of course, something not issued as a light solution but a temporary one to help the anxiety sufferer mind and body to get rest and much needed sleep and to heal a bit before further help can be given).

Recently I came a cross a status or tweet (I honestly can’t remember -which I guess goes with theme/title of today’s post) of someone talking about their anxiety and how people never talk about it affecting their memory… This was HUGE news to me.

Anyone who knows me knows how badly I struggle with my memory, it’s something that has bothered and effecting my life for…well I couldn’t really say, but for far too long, that much I do know. But it never occurred to me that it could be down to my high level of anxiety, it’s never been something that anyone has suggest as a reason to me.

I can understand how it could be hard for a lot of people to link anxiety and memory loss together, especially when most people suffering with anxiety to that level are usually on medication, just link it to something else (like depression) or they are finding their own ways to cope with it, for example, alcohol.

So how is anxiety and memory loss linked exactly?

When we become stressed or anxious, our bodies release adrenaline into the bloodstream. ‘Adrenaline’ is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands during high stress or exciting situations. This in turn causes the body to release another hormone called ‘cortisol.’

Both chemicals are designed to give you energy and strength in case you need to fight or run away. Cortisol remains in your body much longer than adrenaline and this can affect the brain cells involved in memory. It does this by disrupting the function of neurotransmitters, which carry information between brain cells. The end result? Your brain struggles to process information and lay down memories.

Anyone who suffers or has suffered with anxiety will understand just how exhausting and all-consuming it can be. With such strong emotions running through our bodies, through our minds and chemicals rushing through our bloodstream it can bring on; memory loss. “Imagine that anxiety is powerful energy that pulsates through the body and mind and perpetuates negative emotions and sensationalised thoughts,” says psychologist Carder Stout, PhD.  “The energy may become so dominant that it overrides our normal ability to function and self-regulate.”

So in other words, when you are feeling such highly strong emotions like anguish or fear it can be easy for our minds to focus on on that one thing, that one emotion too intensely, bringing about memory loss. Our brains are so focused on the bad and the negative that everything good or mundane gets forgotten, while everything bad, scary and negative stays and clings to us.

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Mental health - Anxiety - memory loss

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I hope this can help spread a little awareness to others who also suffer anxiety and may be suffering bad memory like myself who doesn’t have anything else they could possibly link their bad memory to.

I didn’t always have bad memory, when I was younger I prided myself on how good my memory was, I was constantly testing myself. But now I can barely remember what I was doing five minutes ago. It’s hinder me in a lot of ways, my self-confidence being the big one, it makes me feel as though I wouldn’t be good enough to do the things I want. But you know what? That isn’t true and to prove that to myself I applied myself for an online counselling course to help get me a step closer to achieving one of my dreams.

You aren’t alone, and there are people out there who can relate to you just as I have started to find people who can relate to similar things I am going through.

If you ever feel the need to talk but feel you don’t have anyone to talk to then please feel free to email at: littletinkable@gmail.com or contact me through any of my social platforms, my messages are always open and although I can not offer professional advice, you will always be offered a confidential conversation (unless of course I fear yours or others saftey) and a non-judgemental and open ear.

It’s never weak to seek out or accept help. The first steps to getting betting is accepting you need to get better, the next step to seek out someone who can help get you there.

10 comments

  1. This is very interesting – I knew anxiety and mental health issues could cause a lack of long-term memory (my partner can’t remember a single thing from his early childhood because of it) but I didn’t realise it could have such an impact on short-term. I wonder if that’s why my memory so bad? Constantly wondering if I’m actually developing early onset dementia as I can’t remember anything unless I write it down, and I’ll forget I’ve said something in the last few minutes and end up saying it again! Concerned as to what I’ll be like when I’m actually old…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly I had no idea myself but the more I looked into the more links and common symptoms are connected. I don’t drink or do drugs, and until recently I wasnt on anti-depressants but my memory was awful (I had amazing memory when I was a kid, it just seemed to change somewhere along the lines of growing up & having anxiety take over) and so the only thing I can link it to is my anxiety and depression. Focusing too much on the bad and worry about the could bes, should bes, would bes, it gives us a kind of mental blockage where we aren’t taking things in enough to remember them. I think if we can re program our brain to notice and focus on more positive things our memories will improve again! X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I had never considered the potential impact of anxiety on memory until reading your post. You do a great job of explaining the connection; how cortisol is released into the body and how that disrupts the neurotransmitters that impact memory. Very fascinating!

    Also, as someone who once struggled greatly with anxiety and panic attacks, I can relate to their all consuming effects. My initial strategy for several years was to ignore it; to metaphorically run away through all types of distractions. However, this was merely avoidance and a way of not looking at something that was impacting my daily like and choices.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Roger

    Liked by 1 person

    • As stated I had never really considered it, it was never even a thought that it would have an affect on memory but the more research I did after seeing that tweet the more I realised that there was indeed a connection!

      And I find it so crazy that it’s nothing something we are told could be a possibility. It’s not nice going around not understanding fully what your body and mind is going through so finding that out for me was like a weight coming off my shoulders!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, I truly to appreciate it🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this. I’ve definitely noticed and known it to be true that your brain will protect itself and you by shutting down after a while. I also sent the link to my mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading. There isn’t enough knowledge on this, and it’s really a shame that it isn’t because there are so many people out there like myself who wouldn’t even think that anxiety could do such a thing! Thank you so much for sharing it along 💕

      Like

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