Though exceedingly rare, there’s a condition, Hyperthymesia, for those individuals who have an exceptional memory. It’s not uncommon for those with the condition to report being overwhelmed and unable to quiet their mind
Jill Price, the first reported case of hyperthymestic syndrome, was introduced to the public as AJ in a 2006 Neurocase journal article in 2006. She had written to Dr. James McGaugh, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior (who proposed the hyperthymestic term). Price wrote, “As I sit here trying to figure out where to begin explaining why I am writing you and your colleague (LC) I just hope somehow you can help me…Most have called it a gift but I call it a burden. I run my entire life through my head every day and it drives me crazy!!!…”.
Price told researchers that she’d always had a rich memory but it became exceptional at the time of a family move across the country when she age of eight. She found the move particularly traumatic and began to catalogue and fixate on her memories. Since then she has been able to recall in great detail what she did on any given day of her past. She reported suffering from phobias, periods of extreme depression, and an overriding need for order.
Forgetting our life experiences is not a deficiency. Forgetting is a survival mechanism. If our brains allowed us to remember everything from our past, our minds would be racing with information that could prevent us from moving forward.
Imagine the last time you received an email that upset you because management and peers were cc’d when it was unnecessary. Imagine the last time a colleague threw you under the bus. In the moment we’re outraged. By the end of the month the blessing is we’ve likely forgotten. It would be unwise to not take note of those who we should approach with caution, but remembering all of the injuries committed against us will only serve to make us unhappy and keep us in the past.