Posts Tagged ‘memory’

PTSD: Memory

Childhood abuse clouds my already sparse memory.

Large swaths of time are absent, my memories are distorted and sequentially hard to decipher.

Traumatic memories (triggers) on the other hand are clear, vivid, and powerful.

We all slow down on the interstate to see the grizzly accident, watch the nightly news dominated by sensational crimes and tragedies, while the mundane or normal parts of life go unnoticed.

The traumatic incidents we endure are stored in a special space, we label them implicit memories.

These memories are offline or not reachable consciously, stored in the right amygdala.

So trauma or implicit memory has an abstract quality, PTSD fear is a reaction to a perceived lethal threat.

I know my triggers are more benign than dangerous.

I still do not trust people, avoid crowds and carry an enormous amount of worry.

That’s powerful for what I consider a benign symptom.

Does anyone understand this?

Old Memories, How do they hold power?



Time and memory change when my PTSD explodes with something new.

The last six months are a jumbled mess, totally confusing.

It feels like I have been in an internal war. I felt pain, suffering, worthlessness, shame and unknown fear.

All this came from a 50 year old trauma (implicit) memory.

Was it real?

Can a 50 year old trauma cause pain now?

Sounds like the definition of PTSD, but common sense is amazed.

It’s air, no one in contact with me can see or feel my memory or pain.

Look how hard it would be to prove PTSD 50 years later.

They can not check my memory.

I am the only one who knows. My abuser is dead.



What is implicit memory? It is where PTSD is stored!!!!!!!

Pixabay: geralt



“Mindfulness Skills workbook for clients and clinicians”. Debra Burdick,

What is implicit memory?

•  Encoded throughout our lives. •  Probably the only type of memory infants have. •  Allows us to remember how to do something without being conscious of how to do it, such as riding a bicycle, walking—anything procedural.

•  Gets stored without our conscious awareness.

•  Gets retrieved without our awareness—“I don’t know I’m having a memory.”

•  Past memories come flooding in without knowing they’re from the past; it feels like it is all coming from the present.

•  Drives behavior without our awareness—often negatively.

•  Primes us to respond in a certain fashion.

•  Readies us for the future.

•  Designed to protect us.

•  Can create here and now perceptions and beliefs that are actually from the past.

•  Can show up as a physical feeling in our body, an emotional reaction, a behavioral pattern, or a bias.

•  The amygdala is responsible for implicit memory as it scans earlier memories of danger.

•  Procedural memory is a subset (how to do things).



Why do we care?



•  Implicit memories can emotionally hijack our prefrontal cortex and drive behavior without our awareness.

•  Can often create a total misinterpretation of a current situation.


•  Implicit memory is like the child that lives within us.

•  Implicit memories may show up in body sensations.

•  Mindfulness allows us to integrate implicit with explicit memory to improve emotional response and behavioral patterns.

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