Pictures of Memory: How My Memory Works After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

I am not one of those people who has a photographic memory. I can’t look at a newspaper and recall specific details from it once I’m not looking at it. My memory was never like this (not even before the severe TBI). However, I have noticed that my memory after the severe TBI is very visual. Let me explain…

I just recently realized that my memory post brain injury is pretty much entirely visual. Meaning that the memories from my past that have a visual connected to it are the memories that stuck post accident. And new memories that I make now are really almost entirely visual. It’s like after my TBI my brain hired a new librarian and since my brain was in survival mode, it just hired the first person who applied for the job. And she’s not the best. In cataloging old memories she threw out all memories that didn’t have a visual attached to it. It’s like when I used to do last-minute research in college and look only for articles that had digital copies available to read instantly (because I was too pressed for time to do a library loan)! 🤦🏼‍♀️ My professors could tell I wrote my papers in a rush. I wasn’t fooling anyone (even though I still got good grades). Now the roles are reversed and I can tell my brain cut some corners in archiving memories because it uses visuals as a go to.

I will say that one of the benefits of my brain injury is that I am more confident (an odd side effect I suppose of losing some of those non visual memories that were embarrassing 😳 ). And with this confidence comes a firm confidence in my memories. I suppose it also helps that the memories are visual so it’s easier to call them up in my brain and verify that I remembered correctly. It’s interesting what I do remember from my hospital stay and recovery post accident. I am going to delve more this week into drawing visuals in my sketch book that I have started specifically for writing my memoir. And when I have a writing update hopefully I can talk about how that sketching of visuals has helped me write in my memoir. Because if I’ve learned anything these last (almost) 5 years, it’s that in order to succeed (in anything: recovery, writing, exercise) I need to lean into what comes naturally to me. And right now it’s visuals (and silly artwork)!

Daily Doodle Weekly Project Highlights

Selby has to be encouraged to swim!
A man saw Selby sitting on my lap in our parked car and had to stop and pet her and he let her give him many kisses! Afterwards I said to her “Selby, you were kissing a stranger!” and it made me giggle.
Inspired by yesterday’s story of Selby kissing a stranger in the parking lot! And also inspired by a cute gif.

A Selby Sweetie Conclusion

Selby and I both like to sit in the shade at the beach!

8 thoughts on “Pictures of Memory: How My Memory Works After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  1. Pictures and videos are life for me! I’m so grateful I was good with pictures, videos, journaling and calendaring pre TBI as I utilize them daily and use what I have from the last especially the year prior to my accident to remember and try to initiate memories I once had that I lost. I feel so lucky I had those habits with organization and journaling and that I still have it. It’s my new brain!

    Like

      1. I do my “Daily Doodle” which is like a visual journal and I think it will now be a lifelong habit because I crave drawing those little pictures (which are really a record of my daily life).

        Liked by 1 person

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