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The Aspie Memory

One of the defining traits of aspergers syndrome is the "photographic-memory" whereby aspies can recall with precision events and conversations that are years old and forgotten by the other participants. As with all aspie traits, they differ from one person to another. Indeed some aspies claim to not have this memory - this could be true or it could be the result of misleading information in the Asperger's books which don't really describe the condition well.

The Filmographic, not Photographic Memory
First of all, I want to redefine the terminology. It is more correct to say that the aspie has a filmographic rather than photographic memory. This means that the memory is more like watching a film than recounting items in a picture.

I'm not convinced that an aspie would do especially well in those psychological tests where they remove objects behind a screen. In fact, because we're talking about short term memory there, I think an aspie would do considerably worse.

What Aspies can't easily Remember
The aspie has trouble with short-term memory and with non-visual memory. In particular, the aspie has trouble remembering the things that people tend to tell them in mid-conversation.
  • Names

  • Birthdays

  • Dates and Times of Events

  • Shopping Lists

  • Specific Lists of Items (eg: Periodic Table)

Of course, any lists associated with special interests seem quite easy to learn.

The Mysterious Disappearing Short-Term Memory
Things that seem to be in the aspie's memory have a way of disappearing suddenly until they make it to long term memory. Quite frequently (more than usual as I get older), my words are disappearing mid-sentence and I have to say - "nope, sorry ... it's gone". It's quite embarrassing.

It's not age though (I'm 38), this has happened throughout my life. In particular at school, I remember losing teachers names. I'd always be too embarrassed to tell the teacher that I had no idea of their name, so I'd keep quiet in the hope that I'd catch it at some point.

My eldest son (7) is in first class. He knew his teacher's name before he started first term because we drilled it into him. He knew her name for the first few weeks. Then, suddenly he lost it and had to ask her on several occasions what her name was. Luckily now, he seems to have got it again.

I'm not sure if this phenomena is associated only with names and lists or whether it applies to other types of learning, such as pencil grip, letter writing and swimming. There are signs that it could be (my son will get his letters and numbers perfect for a while but then will slip back into writing things backward). Sometimes he forgets how to write his name too.

I'll have to have a rethink before I can confirm either way.

Recording and Playback
This is where the aspie memory really comes into its own...

During activities, even those where the aspie doesn't appear to be concentrating, they're taking everything in. Not just words, but expressions, feelings, touch, temperature, the whole lot. Those memories are then easily accessible and can be played back "in the aspie's head".

At university I used to sit in lectures and draw pictures instead of taking notes. People used to ask to borrow my notes only to discover that I didn't have any - well, not notes that they could understand at any rate. The funny thing was, that when I got to an exam, all I had to do was to think of the drawing and it would bring the whole lecture back. I could look at (or just remember) certain parts of the drawing and this would open up the memory of what the lecturer was covering at the time.

I did very well in University and got a few High Distinctions, so obviously the method worked. Of course, by that that stage I was old enough to have a pretty good handle on how my memory worked. It wasn't quite so easy in school.

How young does it start?
Well strangely enough it starts in the pre-talking years. I know this for two reasons, firstly because I have some vague memories of my own babyhood and secondly (more importantly) we had an incident with my son which proved the point.

When you're a new parent with a child below talking age, you have a lot of one-sided conversations where you talk "AT" your child in the hope that they will retain some information and explanations. I had quite a few such conversations with Kaelan (my eldest).

Looking at him immediately afterwards, I thought he hadn't taken anything in. For a start, he didn't seem to remember objects (eg: didn't know where to point when I asked "Where is the Television?") after a long conversation about it.

Imagine my surprise when more than a year later, when he had developed enough language skills to talk; he repeated our conversation almost verbatim.

Closing thoughts
I could go on about memory, but this post is getting long. In a future post, I'll cover ways in which aspies can use their memory. What works for me to get things into long-term storage and how aspies can become convincing liars or cover up emotional sore-points by planting false memories on top of true ones.


The Storyteller said…
I realise that it is a bit late in the day for a comment on this post but here it is.

I wish to bring a to the fore for anyone who is looking here for some insight into their own way of being, that other memory based mental health conditions may interfere with and distort what has been stated here. The one of which I have the greatest experience is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex PTSD. CPTSD can cause the sufferer to relive a traumatic period in their life over and over to the point where they as a defence mechanism block out all memories associated with the event. This coupled with the 'Filmographic' memory and social difficulties can lead to memories of events years later being blocked out as well.

An example may be of someone who was constantly beaten behind a shed may sub-consciously block out the memory of the beatings. However PTSD triggers by familiar events and surroundings, so let’s say that the reaction is caused by sheds in general. Now if I were to tell that person something near a shed their mind may very well block out all memory of the event and what I told them because it may lead back to the memory of the beatings. This may lead the individual to believe that they have a terrible memory when it is in fact the exact opposite.

CPTSD can be started unlike PTSD by many what would otherwise be considered minor events endured repeatedly and constantly over an extended period. It is well noted that AS and similar 'disorders' invite bulling and abuse from other elements of the community especially during the school years. This could lead to entire sequences of a persons life being physically blocked because it comes to close to bullying that they received in social situations long before. What may otherwise be considered a bad memory may in fact be a last ditch attempt by the brain to protect itself from a trauma long since past.

This could possibly explain some who claim not to have this memory characteristic, although I hope that no one takes from this post that memory is an integral part of Asperger’s.
Anonymous said…
That is exactly like me.
Especially in regard to your "note taking"..
I would always doodle/draw during the entire period [it almost felt like a sort of stimulation to let out my thoughts/visions on paper] and I'd look back and was able to recap everything through different parts of my drawings/doodles. I still do the same. I doodle on everything to this day, and when I look at those doodles again I see my past experiences. I tend to have the same triggered type of memory with smells and sounds..sometimes past moments reappear in my mind, and I can't figure out how/why though. The mind is so interesting........ Why? When? How? ...Hmmmmmm......
Bob said…
While I've always had short-term memory problems but great long term memory, this is the most unusual memory problem that I've had during my life.

From a very early age I was fascinated with sounds but particularly the accents of people from different parts of the world. I spent a lot of time watching tv and listening to the different accents and copying them myself along with lots of other vocal sounds including bird and animal sounds.

Even now when I meet people, if they speak differently I have to control myself not to mimic their voice. I did this unknowingly for years and it got me into lots of trouble.

However, when I was about 8 years old, I woke up one morning and had completely forgotten how to speak with my own accent. This was quite frightening and when I spoke I would speak with a variety of mixed accents but not knowing which one I was supposed to stick with or even how to pronounce my words as I had done before.

I thought that my forgetful memory was really going to get me into trouble now. However, my parents weren't too worried as I had always put on different accents and voices and they thought that I was just playing a game. I got a harder time than normal from the other kids at school because of this. They would talk to me just so I would talk back with a strange voice and then they'd laugh at me.

I was quite afraid to talk and spoke minimally until one morning after about 4 weeks, I found that I was talking with a consistent accent again and feeling confident in the way I spoke too. I quickly made a recording of my voice on the cassette recorder in case I forgot my accent again as I would then have a reference to listen to however this problem only ever happened the once. That was 20 years ago, and these days I work as a musician and being able to do voices and accents has got me work in a recording studio working on radio jingles etc.
TheSolitaryDark said…
Wow, I've really enjoyed reading your post, I've often falsely described myself as having a photographic memory but its actually a filmic. I can walk around and often replay scenes and events in my head and then replay and recall those events on command to the people i'm with. (It's quite useful at work when we need to recall discussions in meetings etc, although most people I work with now know I can do this !). I also work a bit like an Ipod video, and can frequently be watching a movie in my head when out doing something else - having a real Ipod helps with storage space - my wife has started to be able to tell what i'm watching based on the movement of my lips. My son is an officially dignosed asperger and I'm fairly certain he can do the same as he has instant recall of whole episodes of Star Wars:Clone Wars that he has only seen once, and he is only 6. I've rambled, but thanks for the posts. I'll be reading them All. (I'm a self diagnosed - seeking confirmation to support as a parent)
Latvecka said…
That's kind of a great description of me. Bein a none aspie I do not remember names, birthdays, bascially Items. All I remember is Filmographic memory, I am kind of shocked about this. Do aspies have poor local senses skills. I'm horrible at knowing where I am located, and I have a sudden fetish for walking the same route again and again to places. Is that an Aspie trait? Great post, Kepp your head up. Just dont be to hard on your kid, it's nothing wrong to forgett things. As I have seen it, it's nothing really important. &Johan
Anita said…
I'm an Aspie, but I don't find myself having problems with memory unless it's convinient to the situation. I write things down in my diary (appointments and lists) and carry around a notepad just in case someone asks me to do something for them.

My memory is pretty good, as long as it deals with something I like to do (I was a TV addict, I knew exactly what was on and when).

At school I'd write stories when in a lecture and get straight A's on tests. I wasn't diagnosed back then. I was just utterly bored with school and didn't try my best as I've could have done so much better. Had I been diagnosed back then, I'd probably have not chosen a social education as follow up (I failed).
Miss Bekka said…
Bah! Disappearing short-term memory! I was so chuffed that I learned how to tie my shoes at a younger age than my brother. Did rather well with it, too. Then all of a sudden, I flipping forgot, and had to wear velcro-closure shoes for about two years before I could get the hang of tying them again. Frustrating as all hell.
Anonymous said…
I finally got a life at 65 when I was diagnosed with aspergers. It explains so much of what has happened and I am ok with worst problem is my memory...too much of it is gone. I do know I spent a lot of time in abusive situations, so these posts help me to understand that part of aspergers. found out this week that I have a grandson that has been diagnosed with it...I am trying to work with my daughter to help her understand..
Anonymous said…
I stumbled across this blog page after searching in google. I will be 45yrs old in a fortnight, and am currently seeking to get a formal diagnosis of Aspergers. I have become increasingly anxious, and isolated, and wonder how I ever struggled through all these years, but I have raised 2 children, both are in their 20's, but my adult son still lives with me, as he has ASD/OCD.
For me to get a formal diagnosis would be a huge relief, and would make sense of my past struggles and help me to move ahead having a greater understanding of myself.
It's not easy trying to convince the health authority to take you seriously enough to refer you for a formal diagnosis as a mature adult its it?
I am identifying with what folks have said about accents here, especially 'Bob'. I am smiling to myself as I am best thought of as being the master of accents! I only had to hear an accent and almost involuntarily I'd be mimiking it! And as you say yes it did get me into trouble also, more than once.
I've been asked if I come from Brisbane, as at one point I loved and spoke with an Austrailian accent!
I could speak for ages on this, but had beter finish up.
Thanks for this blog, I'll be reading over some past posts now I've found it.
Anonymous said…
I could have written this post. My notes never made any sense, but if I wasn't dpod ing, I probably wasn't absorbing the information either. This weekend I forgot a very simple word. I'm always doing that, and when I'm searching, it's like searching a Rolodex-visually searching for the word. I've always told people, it's not quite a photographic memory. But I need a trigger to remember it all.
Anonymous said…
I'm quite surprised by this and don't know if I agree with it entirely. I was diagnosed with Asperger's recently (age 20) and have always been excellent at names, phone numbers, and other strings of information, while a lot of visual things are apparently troublesome.

In one of the tests the psychologist gave, I had to look at a picture of some kind of geometric design and copy it while being given different colored markers every few seconds to track what order I did it in. After that, she took the picture and my copy away and had me try to draw it from memory, which was a struggle.

I was later told that I had been drawing the picture in small parts/being more detail oriented (typical of Asperger's) rather than looking at the big picture, which would have made it an easy task.

I do agree, though, about being able to recall specific events very well.
Unknown said…
Has anyone had problems with short term memory when dealing with every day routine? My 11year old was diagnosed at aged five. He's fantascally clever, a genius with numbers, facts and figures, seemingly photographic memory in subjects that appeal to him (general knowledge, geography and many other subjects, he's obsessed with pokemon too!), but his short term memory is becoming terrible. We've now had to make a list of his every day routine, as he doesn't remember to do things such as go to the toilet, have a drink, get dressed etc, unless we're nagging him! I was wondering if thus is common, or if this is something we need to discuss with a doctor? Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks fir reading :-)
Unknown said…
Oh wow...that sounds exactly like me, especially the part about note taking(w/parts of the picture bringing back the memory). I just found out I have aspergers recently and the more I learn about AS the more I discover about MYSELF and although at first when I was told I have AS I was shocked and didnt know how to feel..well now I am learning so much about myself and I am so thankful for the diagnosis, bc its not like it changed anything about me, bc Ive been "the way I am" my whole life, but it has given me the answers to questions ive had about myself for years! Like the memory thing..sometimes when someone is talking to me, I will stare, or look at an object(not purposely its all subconscious I believe..?) but when I think back to that conversation, the object I was staring at/focusing on pops into my head and I can better remember the conversation. I just never thought much about it..kind of thought maybe everyone did that but at the same time had never heard anyone refer to certain random objects to trigger their memory like me. Learn something new about myself everyday! I LOVE your Blog by the way! Thankyou for sharing your experiences it has helped me soo much!
ethan said…
I have both Aspergers syndrome and have an eidetic memory. I'm 56 years old, have a 152 IQ and can recall weather on any specific date from the early part of my childhood. I've been challenged on this and have proved that I can. I remember in pictures and in a film and I can also recall my moods and feelings along with these memories. Its a lot of fun!!! Contact me at if you want to discuss this with me.
Anonymous said…
This is incredible, I basically read about myself in this post. I have a terrible time remembering names (get halfway through a semester to realise I don't know a professor's name!) as well as birthdays, shopping lists, and other lists of information that have little direct impact on my special interest. I always prided myself on my good memory, and could never understand why I had such a hard time with these types of memory tasks. I have filmographic memory to a T, in fact, that's how I described it to my parents before ever hearing the term; "It's like a film reel in my head." It's why I'm so good at pulling up movie and TV diologue, even after one viewing, because it's imprinted on my brain like a film reel. Amazing.
Another-Aspie said…
Is it sad that while hearing about aspie short term memory issues, I thought, "Hey I have that issue sometimes, I should look this up"

Then promptly forgetting my intention to do so.

Thus re-reading the article I saw it mentioned to try again?

I have huge issues with things like the names until I really care about someone.

I.e. if I'll never see the person again, i'll likely not even remember the name for the time he/she is there.

Or lists/information I care little about.

I'll almost instantaneously forget thins like:

-The first half of a math equation
-Those nonsense word sections of IQ tests
-A number i'm on while counting

All this because I know I won't need that information in about 10 seconds. So My brain figures, why bother storing it.

Give me something I find interesting, and I can recall it easily.

-Funny childhood stories my mom told me
-The entire plot and sometimes dialogues of movies/games I like
-Useless trivia that interests me

My mind and body can work in mysterious ways, and sometimes not for the better, but being an aspie is part of who I am. And I embrace it.
Anonymous said…
Diagnosed aspie about 5 years ago. About the recording/playback thing... last thing at night just as I'm relaxing and about to doze off, sometimes I get an involuntary "action replay" of the days events, especially if it's been a busy day, emotionally fraught or a break from my usual routine... it is like watching a film and at a few of these times I've even had playbacks of entire conversations, word for word in the exact tone and whathaveyou... if someone had asked me to recount these conversations when fully awake and alert of course I wouldn't have been able to do it. Would be interested to know if this is specifically an aspie thing or if NT's ever experience this too.
I have Asperger's (HFA) and my memory is terrible. I can remember things about physics and my "interests" but I can never remember things like where I put my keys, pumping gas after I pay, just basic things. My memory is awful. I wait tables and luckily the customers are understanding because sometimes they will ask for things like a to-go box and I'll forget before I get back up to the workstation.
Selim said…
I've suffered with Aspergers all my life. I'm quite good with technology and so forth but my short term memory is terrible. I'm a IT guy. i work in an IT job. I'm trying to learn new stuff in my job but i tend to forget things and i have to keep on asking for help and help on understand things. For me, i have to be taught several times until i 'get it' or shown in person. Well this is getting annoying for my fellow workers and i'm on temp until end of this year and i 'm really worried that i might lose my job blamed on my dreaded Aspergers which has ruined my quality of life and if only there was some way to make me remember things better and retain the stuff i learn, really i just can't! My self-esteem is very bad and because of this i'm quite a depressed individual because i've been bullied my whole educated and personal life, treated differently than everyone else...i tend to hate myself and i think i need to see a Doctor..i'm from the UK and Doctors here are terrible. I don't think a Doctor can help me to be honest.....can professnials help me get a better memeory? No. Can a Doctor help me be less depresssed and more happier? No. So i have no idea what to do. No nobody seems to know or don't care on how to help me.
Anonymous said…
It is interesting how such similar things can be experienced by people on the spectrum. I have also had problems remembering how I normally speak. I have so many accents, some of them changing within minutes of the previous one. I think it is less of a memory problem and more of a speech abnormalty. Sometimes I wonder what my coworkers think of it. I have a very strong episodic memory and I have always enjoyed surprising people by bringing up things they have said or done in the past. Sometimes this happens unintentionally when I think they do remember. I have found I could increase my short term memory a bit by playing apps like lumosity and such. But a lot of the times even though I try hard to remember something does not mean I will actually remember it a few minutes later. If I did, I would not have a memory problem!
Anonymous said…
I am an undiagnosed Aspie. I do not have filmographic memory. I have 3d realistic memories with audio. I do not understand the phrase "My name is" but I can recall the answer to "How is that person called" I suffered a lot of abuse as a child but unfortunately remember every moment.
I was 35 years old before I discovered that people talk about me behind my back. I am that self centered. Embarrassment has always been my worst enemy. I now suffer from that no embarrassment. I have no more issues with vanity either.
I have become a highly paid consultant in the field I love and lecture frequently at several venues about my passion.
I still have issues though. Unfortunately I suffer from sensory perception disorder. Helps me in my nose and taste capabilities, part of my profession. But sucks to walk into a department store with a perfume counter or handling loud noises and crowds crowds.
I doddle too. The doodles tell a procedure.
I am OCD about rules. Another Aspie trait you didn't mention. I function. But I am also an alcoholic because I suffer from sleep onset hallucinations. There are combinations of these differences that make our life difficult.
The trick is to find how to use your differences to your advantage. Use an obsession to become an expert and charge money for your knowledge.
Obviously, we Aspies do not get great corporate performance reviews.
Anonymous said…
I didn't find the information concerning names, lists etc... to be entirely comparable to myself. I'm 13 and have ASD and I have by coincidence memorised the periodic table and I don't find memorising titles or names difficult at all. Also, regarding the argument based on the name of memory type I suggest using the term 'eidetic' as it is most suitable to the definition. An example of someone with ASD and eidetic memory would be Spencer Reid, a character from the CBS crime series, Criminal Minds. Thanks for writing the article, by the way. I'm assuming it required a large amount of effort and time.
Anonymous said…
I thought I was strange thanks. Whenever I go anywhere I am a bit stressed and overstimulated. On the drive home or my first bit of alone time I replay every conversation, every interaction, and make sure I didn't do anything stupid or misinterprit something. My wife makes fun of me she says im "processing data" :) as i appear to be totally zoned out.

I did awful witb tests however you are lucky. I seem to only record my direct interactions.

I found that my bug out / stress moments come when i have reached my temporary memory storage limits. If many of you will take not you might be doing the same thing.

Crowds are bad because im trying to record everything and its beyond my ability.

On a funny note I have on many occasions gotten many jokes that went over my head as a child once they were replayed as an adult.

Thanks for the post and ability to post anonymous
Anonymous said…
I have a co-worker in the USA who is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. However, he does exhibit some strange qualities - and one day recently another worker told me in confidence that she thought he has Aspergers.
So I began Googling and came across this site (and others) which has been very helpful. He has the "filmographic" memory, in that he can repeat business meeting conversations word-for-word that we attended months ago! This would be great, except that there was this one instance where he had a confrontation with another government contractor during a meeting, and ever since when that contractors name is mentioned he goes into a long replay of the whole confrontational issue, word-for-word.
He also has the eidetic memory thing working for him. He has a PhD in Physics, and can adsorb information like a sponge.
He has this quirky trait, like when I ask him a question, sometimes he repeats the question back (is that echolalia?) before he answers.
His typing is a bit unusual in that he sometimes leaves off the last letter of some words - and I am thinking that maybe his mind is just going so fast that his fingers cannot keep up. He is in his late 40's and has never been married, and lives alone. He is a loner at work, but man does he ever produce when he is tasked with something, like scientific researching and writing a report.
He is a stickler for the RULES, so I take that as a bit of OCD. His social skills are a bit lacking, like he has no problem farting in a public setting and thinking nothing of it.
I find him to be fascinating, and I can now better relate after reading much of the info that I found here on this site. He may be the smartest person I have ever worked with. Thank you for sharing your stories here as it has helped me understand him better. RP
Anonymous said…
This post almost made me cry. After years of frustration dealing with anxiety, ocd, adhd, ptsd I was having a terrible time holding it all together (I'm 56).

A few years ago, after finding something online or seeing something on TV, I asked my psychiatrist to test me for Asperger's, and he said, "I can tell by looking at you that you aren't affected." He continued, "Even if you have it, you are extremely high functioning, so there isn't anything to gain." Finally, he said, "If you want to self-diagnose, go ahead."

I found that statement to be condescending, and figured it was just me. For my whole life, people have asked, "What's wrong with you?" and I have gone through life realizing I don't see the world in the same way others do.

I'm an extrovert, I'm outgoing, I'm on disability now, but I was employed -- in customer service, writing, all people-oriented situations. I love people ... they love me.

But, I don't have 'relationships,' although I've been married and divorced. My kids had signs of ASD to varying degrees which went undiagnosed, and I've been a mess lately, convinced I was going insane.

Last Friday, I was diagnosed with "Extremely High Functioning Asperger's" and immediately my anxiety lessened (at least briefly) by 50%, because I had confirmation that there was something "wrong" with me. It's not something I'm dwelling on, because I now have closure.

I've been doing research and, even though I don't 'present' poorly, it's because I "rehearse" my entire life in my head. However, for years, I've been trying to explain how exhausting it is to be me, and everything I'm reading on this site (and several others) are actually describing me.

This is such a relief. Thank you!!
Kalispell in USA said…
Writing from the USA, and also find FANTASTIC relief reading the original post and some of the comments. This post describes my memory and its workings exactly. The strange mix of forgetting simple things, and everyday words combined with the amazing ability to 'see' life in word for word playback together make getting along socially even more frustrating (for me at least). On one hand, I have a great education and high IQ. On the other hand, my grooming is awful and I struggle for words all too often for most people to believe I have an IQ above 110! I cannot wait for the time when our Aspie traits are not only more well-known, but also better accepted by the larger society.
Anonymous said…
I was once in neurocongitive test. They started to suspect Asperger's because I had very low lows and high highs in cognitive profile. However my lowest was visual memory. It is terrible – my 4 year old nephew beats me at memory game made using visual cards.

When I drive a car I might miss traffic signs or misinterpret them (triangle pointing up vs down ... it is the same shape...). Managed to get a driving license but I wouldn't go to a large city. I would miss too much and get panicked. My visual cognitive system abstracts too much which has made my life very hard. Makes me good at geometry (with limited visual information) though. Topological spaces are also very easy to imagine. I'm quite good at abstract mathematics and sciences which is a game of abstract non tangible models.
I might also fall down stairs etc. Too much thoughts going through my head.

As for short term memory. I do take information in a very filtered form. Specifics might be hard to list as they get categorised to abstract interpretation of an object. However I can run complex thoughts through my head without ever writing it down.
Anonymous said…
I never written on a blog like this before. I have memory loss going back through my teenage years. I was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome but was also diagnosed with depression, anxiet disorder and ADHD. I think the ADHD was later found to be a misdiagnosis and possibly the anxiety but I'm not sure due to the memory. The poor memory started with the death of my mother at the age of thirteen, then escalated as my step fathers behaviour towards me got worse. I've moved from job to job struggling to hold one down. I also had a martial arts injury where I was thrown onto the base of my neck where it connects to the skull. I came too a few minutes later and seemed out no medical treatment, and since then I believe that this may have also effected my mental state. Things got bad and after years of nastiness at home I turned to alcohol. I left home at 19 and still struggled to maintain a job or home (partially due to my mental state and partially due to the economic climate and housing situation in my area at the time). I attempted suicide aged 21. The attempt was obviously failed and it put things in perspective. Within 6months I had a girlfreind, two stepkids a house and a full time job in a trade I am progressing in, all of which I still have and have had for nine months. I'm happy and had put my past behind me, however my Mrs has since learnt from a friend about my diagnosis and now sometimes treats me different without realising. She says I'm hard to handle at times and that my memory is so bad that everyday tasks with meme seem tedious and frustrating. Due to my memory I have no real recollection of what is actually wrong with me for sure and where it is my mental state, or whether I'm worrying about the past, it's now effecting my work and family I've and I simply don't know what to do in all honesty. I love my girlfreind and her children like my own, but nothing I do remember to work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
brdancer said…
Wow this described me EXACTLY. As you said almost ten years ago, I never took notes at College, (I am an American), but REMEMBERED my lectures, and I graduated with honors, Cum Laude, in TWO majors simultaneously. However I can't remember names to save my life. Words are sometimes difficult, appoinntments need to be reinforced many times over. On the other hand, I clearly remember my brothers birthday party when I was 1. I remember thinking how much I liked my 12 year old cousin because, "She was like a Mommy", and I remember leaving the room and watching the T.V. and seeing the beginning of a Popeye cartoon and thinking, "Oh I have seen this show before--I like it." I enjoyed being a teacher for the upper levels , ages 17-18, because I could lecture on my subjects from memory in a subject I was interested in. Ps. I am an advanced ballroom dancer. I tell my instructors do not TELL me the step, just dance me through them. If I physically DO the step I can remember it, my muscle memory is great, just don't tell me what to do and expect me to remember what you just said.
BoneFolder said…
I'm 49 my son was diagnosed with ASD and it's a running joke among my friends that I'm on the spectrum too.

I'm struggling with a ton of memory problems now and am looking to eliminate some variables and see if I can get to the bottom of what's making it so much worse recently.

But there are two that have been with me my whole life. I can't remember colors, and I can't remember conversations verbatim at all, even short or recent ones. This has led to me using a lot of workarounds that don't work well. For example, I'll paraphrase my understanding of what my wife just said as an invitation to be corrected, which infuriates her. "I didn't say that! What were my words EXACTLY?!" I do not know.

And it's not limited to other people. Like other commenters, I've often found myself saying "I don't remember that but it sounds like something I would say. ". Much worse is when it's in an argument. "I never said that!" Yes, you did. You said "blah blah blah " and sure enough it rings a bell.

This is costing me my marriage, among many other things. I wish I knew what to do about it.
Great to just read this out of my mind at moment just as your describing. Thanks jon
Me and you in the same boat. Hope it all worked out .you know what I mean. Aspie jon x
Anonymous said…
this is closer to what i understand as my own personal experience. i have eidetic memory but filmographic is more accurate and i see/feel everything it gets so difficult to sort through it all i need a way to shut it off so i focus on unremembering or delaying my memory esp when it is something distressing people dont want to believe it but my very first memory is of being molested by my cousin as he changed my diaper. its like that with everything but some memories are more painful like that one because i dont just remember them i reexperience them smells sensations feelings light color i have tried to block them out but this is difficult its like trying to cut wires on a lamp without turning off the light you cant do it my family was very dysfunctional and there are many memories like that which i cant remove can only reposition them or suppress them id like to see more research on asperger high functioing autism on kids who were raised in dysfunctional abusive and highly traumatic environments
Anonymous said…
Hi all
I'm a self diagnosed aspie (Living in Scotland), thinking about trying to get a proper diagnosis because my entire life has collapsed around me due to my memory problems. I have been in and out of different jobs for years because my social relations seem to break down and I just walk away, even when I enjoy the job and like most of the people. I enjoy working and getting out and meeting people (even though being around people most of the time makes me anxious). When I'm anxious my mind goes a million miles an hour and it is hard for me to think straight let alone remember. I have problems remembering names and have to keep asking people their name.

In 2016 I was working for a local supermarket and ended up walking out. I had a string of other jobs after that and in the meantime I had found out my dad was cheating on my mum and I had fallen out with the last of my friends. Something happened to me (I'm guessing it was STRESS overload) and somehow I woke up one morning and ended up going back to the supermarket thinking I still worked there (I didn't realize I had done this at the time).

I guess because I wasn't a bad worker and had good customer service skills (Probably feeling sorry for me, as to them I had obviously lost my mind) they just let me start working there again without sitting me down and telling me I had left previously. I worked there for a few months, but because everyone must have known they started to pick on me by repeating events and situations. This was confusing for me because things would seem familiar but I couldn't understand and I thought I hadn't stopped working there. This ended in me walking out in the same fashion as before. Then things got way worse.

Now this is where it gets really weird. Because I like working and didn't want to be out of work I went on to apply for jobs as normal. I didn't realize that I was applying for jobs I had held after I previously left. Now there seems to be some manipulation going on because I have ended up working for exactly the same companies again. I have little fleeting glimpses of memory but when I ask people they all lie and say it never happened before (when I kinda know It did because the memories are in there someplace). I guess people, when they lie about this, don't realize the damage this is doing to my mental state. I am a very easy going guy and normally just go along with things, It's not until I come away from situations and I think that I realize I have done it all before and people seem to be making a joke of me.

I knew something was up but its only from the nasty little indirect comments people make that I have been able to piece together most of this. I am at the stage now where I have had interviews only to realize after that I had been there before and no one lets on, this infuriates me because If I remembered like they did I would say, no one wants to say I had been there before and If I had walked out of a job why have me back?

I am at the stage now where this has stressed me out to the max and everyone (well a lot of people) in my town and beyond seem to have heard and I am just a joke to them.

I like to smoke weed as it seems to be the only thing that keeps my anxiety/depression at bay and I can relax and focus on my hobbies, but parents and other just blame the weed but It's the only thing that helps me relax. I had trouble getting smoke just before my return to the supermarket so I'm guessing it deffo played a factor in my breakdown. When I was about 20/21 my group of friends came to the conclusion I was paranoid I guess I still have that stigma hanging over me. I have never been paranoid and I was relived to find that aspergers and paranoia are often confused for each other.

Anonymous said…
So I guess I am nearing the point of my original breakdown, going by the jobs I have had. unfortunately my weed supply seemed to be contaminated which has caused me to have a chesty tickle so I have had to bin £40 worth and am struggling to find more. My mental state is deteriorating although the tickle is going away. I obtained some hemp with high CBD and 0.2% THC but this does nothing for my anxiety and I smoked £40 worth of that in two days. where as the real weed would have lasted me weeks :(

I am worried now that my memory is going to go again cause of all the stress I'm under and I can't even think about going to work. Going to doctors and the like also fills me with dread so I am kinda in a very bad situation.

Bonefolder have you thought foods may be having an effect? I enjoy chilles and other nightshades but am starting to find that they are not agreeing with me. I am a ceoliac so that doesn't help either. Hope you find a solution :)
Andy said…
10 years later this blog is still helping people. I'm currently awaiting my full assessment but have already been screened. As others have said, this might as well have been written by me as it reflects my own experiences exactly.
Anonymous said…
This is an amazing post as well as the comments. Thank you everyone!!
Memory is a fascinating subject. I only wish to add that, even though some peoples memory may be very good, our memories are very subjective to our own minds interpretations. As of late, I have been studying memory and the use of the terms "photographic" or "filmographic" can be very misleading. We are not like a camera or a videorecorder. Far from it really. So be careful in relying on it as an absolute truth. :-)
Unknown said…
I'm 37 and this just finalized my question. I have this 100% I can remember back to 9mo. It's even sideways bc my Nonny was holding me bc parents went skiing and I stayed with my grandparents. She flipped after hitting ice and vertically broke her knee in half. After surgery she was on crutches n in this blue brace w/ white velcro straps, from her ankle to her hip. I wasn't thinking words, or even Mommy, but I just remembered this overwhelming joy she'd come back,I knew her! My vision was a little weird, but I asked my mom why I had this memory and she said, " You couldn't have been more than 9mo old. That's impossible. So I described her cast and how Poppop held the door while Daddy helped her. It goes in n out from there, but what confirmed it, though was that cast was temporary. Next day she got the official one that looked totally different. She said I must've seen a picture, but there all of the other cast. No one but parents n grandparents saw it that day, and no pic was ever taken so... Many many more. I have a problem with understanding the written question for some reason. I taught myself to read,too.I freaked my 1st grade teacher out when I read the handout b4 we got to our ABC's.I see patterns too. Like that's a HUGE deal to me. That PTSD thing Holy Crap that's what been going on? Its like a nightmare track that cripples me! I hit my 1st migraine at 4, they never knew why I get them. Sensory overload. Orange creamsicles and Gap's Angel's perfume and anything similar, instant migraine. So I'm gonna go ahead and say I'm pretty sure this will be my diagnosis. Thank you, to everyone for sharing. I've been so lost, and depressed thinking I'm just a failure bc I can't get past what's so simple to others, but now I know I was right I am different, and it's OK. Thank you

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