Memory Falters When Dealing With Pain or Grief
Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
By Emily Dickinson
“Grief disrupts your mind and thinking abilities. Confusion moves in and memory takes a vacation. . . Just as your leg can experience a cramp and not move, it’s as though your mind has a memory cramp. Your mind is paralyzed and shuts down…” (Wright, 12-13)1
Constant pain can also interfere with memory retention or recall. Fatigue, lack of sleep, depression, stress, and some medications also contribute to memory issues. This article about memory loss cites studies that show how disturbed sleep patterns and chronic pain affect memory.
Remember to cut yourself some slack if you are dealing with grief and/or pain. Your mind is working very hard right now trying to cope.You are not going crazy.
You don’t have to wait for your memory to right itself. There are a few things you can do now.
- Get adequate sleep. Figure out how to overcome your sleep issues. Getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary for your brain and body to function well.
- Get adequate exercise. Do more than exercise your body though, exercise your brain too.
- Manage your stress level. Prayer, exercise, practice gratitude, and journaling can help. Click here for 20 Ways to DeStress Your Life. Talk with a professional, if you are concerned about your memory, talk to your MD and/or a therapist.
- Practice your faith. We have a God who loves and cares about us. Even if you don’t understand your “why’s,” you can still find great help from God.
1. Wright, H. Norman. Experiencing Grief. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2004.