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Why does trauma affect your short-term memory?

Updated: May 9, 2020

After I came home...

I felt like I was in a dense fog

I couldn't focus

I'd forget I was doing laundry

I'd forget food on the stove

I wasn't very good at interacting with people

I couldn't remember what I did the previous day


And that still happens. Less and less, but it still happens.


A traumatic experience can cause a great deal of stress in your body.


This makes an impact on the functionality of very important parts of your brain that are strongly associated with memory.


Hippocampus: Major memory center that gives us a way to learn by comparing past memories with present experiences.


Amygdala: Helps us process fear-based memories (i.e. You burn your hand on the stove, you know not to do that again)



Memory loss is a natural survival skill our body has to help protect us. After understanding that, it's important to recognize it and learn how to heal from it.



With memory loss and PTSD, I am trying to find ways to help me function better throughout the day.


  1. Patience. Lots of patience and grace with myself.

  2. I forget less when I have more structure in my day.

  3. Gently ask friends to be patient with you because you may forget things.

  4. I keep a schedule in my Google calendar of upcoming events. The hardest thing honestly is remembering that I have a calendar. I have to remind myself that I can't trust my memory. I have to remind myself to reference the calendar because it knows my plans better than my mind is capable of right now.



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