Bipolar Disorder, Trauma and Memory



I have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I have difficulty with short-term memory and this becomes extreme when I am manic or depressed. Like, I could not remember if I just swallowed medication when I was being treated for a mania episode. One time I was sent to hospital for observation as I was disorientated and could not remember if I had taken medication (I was also clumsy and had tipped the medication out).

I think my difficulties with short-term and working memory is why I cannot add or subtract numbers in my head. I cannot remember the numbers long enough to manipulate them.

Yet I can remember lots of weird details associated with traumatic events, such as sexual abuse when I was a young child. I can remember various things from years ago, because of something linked to them.

During the video, I could not remember the name for a tandem bicycle. It took me a few hours to remember what it was called. People have called me scatterbrained because I have difficulty remembering words and have difficulty expressing myself with speech.

I was going to say at the end that I write things down to help myself remember them but I ended the video as I heard someone come home.

When I am manic, I took a lot of photos to help me to remember if I needed to. Thousands of photos. It helped eased my extreme anxiety when I was trying to make sense of all the racing memories and associations. Making mind maps with coloured pens helped me download all the loose associations to make sense of what is important to me and what is not. Also painting abstracts – great for when I could not ‘find’ words to express.

My mind is very visual and sees in patterns and links. I don’t remember auditory information very well and have great difficulty with auditory instructions and can’t remember numbers.

I don’t know if this is the case for most people with bipolar and/or trauma. I have read that people with bipolar and trauma may have memory issues. I didn’t mention in the video, but I have blanked some things out from mania and from trauma (from dissociation).

My memory has been significantly impaired since I had a breakdown at university when I was 20. I have another video about breakdowns.

Source: Youtube