Truth be told I'm still fairly young, 24. But lately I've noticed my mind is start to quickly slip. I tend to studder or pause in the middle of sentences to remember what I'm talking about. In the last week I've locked my keys in my car, left the lights on (running the battery down), and missed one of my best friends wedding. Generally I wouldn't be too conserned and would just mark it up as me being the absent minded and unorganized geek I've always been, but something has seemed to stick out. For the first time in the 14 (almost 15) years I've been almost obsessive about programming, due to some form of god complex. I've actually lost interest in it! In fact, I went from doing some form of software or website development for 19-20 hours a day (not an exaduration) to less than an hour a day. This being such a large part of my life brings me a lot of consern, I just pray I don't forget how to program  :shock:.

I've been searching google for information and haven't really turned up anything, so I thought I would make a post here. I was wondering if any of you have had to deal with memory loss and what things you have picked up which helps combat it. Also, for those of you who haven't had a problem with memory loss, what things you do to prevent it. My consern has reached as far as actually causing a visit to my doctor and he mearly stated I was aging. So I've tried changing my diet, exercising, and I've actually quit smoking, drinking, and watching TV all together. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of forewarning and ensurement that I'm not just going crazy. Oh well, I appreciate any posts.

Regards,
Bryant Keller
Posted on 2005-04-15 07:35:39 by Synfire
I sthere anything else in your life that has changed. Stress for example would cause all those symptoms
Posted on 2005-04-15 07:58:02 by Eóin
Not anything I can think of. Truth be told it all started happening kinda suddenly. I've not had any new stress lately... Only major change is my lack of intrest in certain things, such as programming, cooking, and playing guitar. All three of wich are things I normally do every change I get.
Posted on 2005-04-15 08:03:36 by Synfire
Try to arrange yourself a vacation (the longer the better). Just go to some place where you will be able to sit relaxing with a glass of orange juice in the hand and not thinking about how to solve that problem in the code. Usually such pause in live helps to clean the mind.

Even if it won't help, vacation is always a good thing? 8)
Posted on 2005-04-15 08:38:55 by arafel
nutrition also plays a big part in your life also.  Believe it or not, good food makes you feel better (smile)

Lack of motivation is another problem however.
Posted on 2005-04-15 12:31:00 by gorshing
Bryant, in such matters you can't get valid and reliable advice from laypeople on the Internet. Have you considered seeing another doctor, in order to get a second (independent) professional opinion?
Posted on 2005-04-15 13:17:46 by Frank

Not anything I can think of. Truth be told it all started happening kinda suddenly. I've not had any new stress lately... Only major change is my lack of intrest in certain things, such as programming, cooking, and playing guitar. All three of wich are things I normally do every change I get.


I've also noticed problems where I would studder as if I forget what I was trying to say. This is almost extremely the opposite of me since I nearly have an eidetic memory, which is also becoming more "blurred" as I get older (I am only 22 mind you).

The only thing I can think of is the comparison to eyesight, my eyesight used to be better than 20/20, now it is about 20/20 but it seems like my sight is going either though it is average. It is all about what your mind is used to, not what is "average". It will take time to adjust to your new capabilities.

As for your interest in programming, I can relate. My interest for OS programming went from using all of my free time to almost not doing anything in a short amount of time recently. I know for a fact that I am not depressed since I enjoy my life and work and do not display the typical signs of depression, so that isn't the problem. The only thing that really changed is the amount of free time I have, it seems to decrease rapidly.

The only thing I can think as a real inhibtor, for me, is the fact that I try to justify everything I do. For example, my OS programming is nothing new... there are thousands of OS programming projects out there. In that respect I am always struggling to justify why I should "reinvent the wheel" when it has already been done. Fortunately I come back to the same conclusion that I am trying to make a "better wheel", and that requires following the same basic blueprints to an extent.

The only thing that motivates me to program, in all honesty, is the fact that people say it cannot be done or that the outcome will be inferior to others in comparison. All I can say to help is that you need to find something to motivate you (or piss you off) and use it as fuel.

PS: I found an article on eidetic memory which might be helpful as a starting point for your "investigation". http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000901.html
Posted on 2005-04-15 15:05:37 by SpooK
I believe you have misdiagnosed your condition.

Lookup "burnout". It is very common in the IT world and has been for decades.

You probably need a sabbatical.
Posted on 2005-04-15 15:33:25 by Kdr Kane
I also had that problem for an year, last year. Was related to stress and losing interest in everything in general. I overcame the stress for half an year, but then the second reason continued being in effect. The way I solved it for myself was to always take note of details I see and hear - be curious about everything.... again . Feelings that there is nothing you can't solve should not fill your mind. Try not to see a powered-on PC for a week, in the first 3-4 days do not think about computers at all. The next days feel free to solve some code problems in your mind but do not sit in front of the PC yet.
Do some physical exercises during these 7 days. I found jogging in the morning helpful. Be outdoors for some time everyday, and do not ignore (discard from memory) anything you see. I noticed too late that I'm ignoring things like that, and then I was also wondering why I was forgetting stuff.
Try to train your memory, but also give it some rest - the brain stores short-term into long-term memory only when resting.

Like gorshing said, nutrition is also very important. Have enough protein in your food, vitamins at precise timing and dose, and an hour's rest after meals. Take enough water too.

If you chat a lot online, try if chatting less will keep you concentrated - after a day or two you'll have results. For me chatting online is very distracting usually.
But all this worked just for me, maybe for you it'll be different. Good luck with fighting that memory  ;)
Posted on 2005-04-15 16:08:04 by Ultrano

Lookup "burnout"...
You probably need a sabbatical.

Yes, exactly. It took me one year to find a way to recover myself.
Posted on 2005-04-15 16:58:35 by Ultrano
Do you drink?
that can catch up on you and it tacks about a month of not drinking at all to get over it
Posted on 2005-04-15 19:18:55 by rob.rice

Do you drink?
that can catch up on you and it tacks about a month of not drinking at all to get over it


I drank a lot more than usual for about 5-6 months... I hope that "monthly tack" isn't additive :)
Posted on 2005-04-16 00:27:29 by SpooK
For a doctor to say his problem is due to aging shows me that your doctor is a quack. 

You say "lately" this has been a problem.  What do you mean?  The last few days, weeks, years?  Are you depressed?  Do you feel that all you are doing isn't worth it?  Or did you get a whack on the head recently which could have caused a concussion?

What was the "tipping point"?  What, when or where did you decide not to do the things you love?
Posted on 2005-04-16 18:48:32 by drhowarddrfine

For a doctor to say his problem is due to aging shows me that your doctor is a quack.


I have to agree, why would someone in their early 20s be suffering from "aging" like this already.

I find the best way to avoid burnout is to have as many things going on in my life as possible without getting the other kind of burnout. Date more (or spend more time with your wife), start an exercise program, start reading fiction, do crossword puzzles, or almost anything else; the possibilities are endless, there is an entire world out there outside of programming!
Posted on 2005-04-16 21:00:36 by Lollie
to me, it seems that you don't have such a big problem, you just need to get some relaxing activity for a while. Anyway, I'm also 24 and I've been experiencing a severe depression problem this last one year due to family and financial problem but I don't have the symptoms you've mentioned. I don't know for sure if it's right to talk about it here, but I'm a quite religious man, and I found that even such a severe depression problem can be healed when I try to dig deeper in my religious faith and looking into myself of what I've been doing in my life ( I mean a journey into myself ), I mean sometimes I asked myself what is going on with me, what all this all about then I have to got all this life-threatening problem, but lately i found that doing such a thing that I call "reflexion into myself" is a cure for all the mental problem I faced. I keep reading and grasping what is it all about to live in this world in the holy book of my religion. Anyway, I'll just stop here, coz this seems like a religous talk, but I just want to say that \this method works for me to face any problem in mylife :)
Posted on 2005-04-18 02:26:44 by Pinczakko

to me, it seems that you don't have such a big problem, you just need to get some relaxing activity for a while. Anyway, I'm also 24 and I've been experiencing a severe depression problem this last one year due to family and financial problem but I don't have the symptoms you've mentioned. I don't know for sure if it's right to talk about it here, but I'm a quite religious man, and I found that even such a severe depression problem can be healed when I try to dig deeper in my religious faith and looking into myself of what I've been doing in my life ( I mean a journey into myself ), I mean sometimes I asked myself what is going on with me, what all this all about then I have to got all this life-threatening problem, but lately i found that doing such a thing that I call "reflexion into myself" is a cure for all the mental problem I faced. I keep reading and grasping what is it all about to live in this world in the holy book of my religion. Anyway, I'll just stop here, coz this seems like a religous talk, but I just want to say that \this method works for me to face any problem in mylife :)


Don't worry, it doesn't sound like you are trying to push your religion, just offering a suggestion that worked for you to someone else... completely legit and impartial. Thanks for the info :)
Posted on 2005-04-18 03:36:45 by SpooK
Thank you for all your replies,


Bryant, in such matters you can't get valid and reliable advice from laypeople on the Internet. Have you considered seeing another doctor, in order to get a second (independent) professional opinion?


That's not exactly true. In my experiance, I tend to find a better response from 'laypeople on the Internet' since you tend to find people who are going through the same things you are, they are completely inpartial (since they aren't getting paid), and when you use a medium such as Forum/Message-board/TagBoard then the information stays dormant on the internet for other people to discover later on during their search for help. Of course this could be all a part of my imagination as I have a personal distrust of doctors, being as most are not concerned with your well being but how much they can charge you to tell you your okay.


You say "lately" this has been a problem.  What do you mean?  The last few days, weeks, years?  Are you depressed?  Do you feel that all you are doing isn't worth it?  Or did you get a whack on the head recently which could have caused a concussion?

What was the "tipping point"?  What, when or where did you decide not to do the things you love?


Lately as in the last few weeks. I don't think I am depressed because I don't really seem to be showing all the symptoms of depression, and as I explain later I think I've about got this memory loss coined out.


I find the best way to avoid burnout is to have as many things going on in my life as possible without getting the other kind of burnout. Date more (or spend more time with your wife), start an exercise program, start reading fiction, do crossword puzzles, or almost anything else; the possibilities are endless, there is an entire world out there outside of programming!


Let's not get crazy now... a world outside of programming  :shock:


PS: I found an article on eidetic memory which might be helpful as a starting point for your "investigation". http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000901.html


Nice article, but I've never had much of an eidetic memory :)

In closing I've sat through and read over all your posts, and tried a few of them. And I think the "doctor is a quack" thesis is correct. In the last few days things seem to be 'clearing' up a bit. I sat down and thought of things that I used to do when I was younger, that I no longer do now. Certain things stuck out that I thought could be determining factors. Three years ago I stopped studying Aikjutsu (which means I've not been meditating), I dramatically cut down on my sketching (doodling rather than drawing elaborate images), and I've lost my internet connection (so I can't get online as much).

These seem to be some of the more key points, considering I've started back doing them and for the first time in a while I actually found myself typing my favorite phrase 'ml /c /coff /I\masm32\include main.asm'.  :D From what I can tell, it's my focus that has taken a turn for the worse. I've came to this conclusion because that is what all three of those activities have in common. Aikijutsu, as well as any martial art, works out your ability to focus on the things around you more so than just about anything there is. Sketching, as I have recent found, has been helpful in letting me clear my mind, it is a 0 expectation task (no matter how good or bad it turns out, it comes with no preordained requirements and no sense of failure upon an error). Lastly, my connection to the internet, I currently can't do much about that since I live in the middle of nowhere and I can't really afford Satellite DSL access. But using the internet does make a big difference, I've recent taken the time to visit the library and take part in a few IRC discussions. Fact is, when I chat online I tend to get very involved and end up researching information and explaining things to other people more than just idle chat (EvilHomer2k could attest to that).  :oops:

I've already begun to slack on the amount of studdering and I even feel like I'm a bit sharper. My primary concern was the programming and, though I'm not back in full force yet, it does reassure me to actually be enjoying it again. Another small change I've made was a switch of languages. Instead of doing all my programming in MASM32, as I have been doing lately, I've went back to using multiple styles and languages; using a lot more Win32NASM, Win32 C++, and even doing a bit of ActivePERL.

I really appreciate all of your posts and hopefully, with time, I'll be able to get completely past this slight problem and get back into being a complete programming addict again.

Regards,
Bryant Keller
Posted on 2005-04-18 11:33:04 by Synfire
Greetings Everyone,

Turns out that the memory loss was my bodies way of warning me of what was to come next. Short-term memory loss can be directly effected by a deficiency of iron in the blood. Last week I was at work when my heart started racing and suddenly it felt like someone kicked me in the chest, I collapsed. After awaking, my normal stubborn self just went back to work. Then it happened again, this time my brother called an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. I have yet to get the results of my blood tests back from the C.D.C. in Atlanta, but turns out I have a few problems with my blood. First problem being, I have no iron... at all. The new doctor explained this is the cause of my memory loss. Second problem is that my heart rate is inconsistant, it jumps back and forth between 140 and 60 very rappidly. Third problem is that my blood cells are extremely small and few, the average male has a blood cell count of 15, a women has a count of 13, my count is 10 and my cells are about 1/3rd the size they are supposed to be. I have further tests pending, but the doctor was telling me that my memory loss should have thrown up flags to my previous doctor to have done a blood/iron test (in doing so would have caught the other problems early). So, if any of you are young and are having short-term memory problems, I suggest going and having a blood/iron test done, just in case.

Regards,
Bryant Keller
Posted on 2005-05-06 10:51:38 by Synfire
Hi Bryant!

Man this sounds serious. It is well that you find the problem and you are now healing.
I had in the previous year that burn-out syndrome, and I also started to have lack of intereset and (not so serious) memory problems, that in the middle of a talk I forgot what I wanted to say, etc. But in my case the fatigue was the problem. I'm not sleeping enough, I worked many times 'til after midnight 1-2 o'clock. Now I'm trying to sleep a little bit much, to "recover" myself.

You know, this iron problem reminds me of my grandmother. When I was a kid, my grandmother gave us apple with iron stain, to compensate the iron need. I live in Romania, and in that time ('85-86) it was realy hard to get iron drugs or something, and that apple was the solution (recomended by doctors beside the mineral water).
You have to take around 10 bigger (not used)  nails (from those of 10cm long), and put them in boiling water. Let them to boil for a few minutes, to disinfect them, and after that stick them into the apple. Leave the apple with the nails 1-2 days. After that take out the nails, and eat the apple. It is possible to see  in the holes made by the nails a substrate of stain that remains in the apple. And this traditional home-made medicine worked.  :D The apple had a little bit different taste, but I liked it very much.

Of course the normal Iron tablets are better (I suppose). I wrote this just for curiosity, maybe you knew it.

Regards,
bszente
Posted on 2005-05-06 14:27:26 by bszente
This sounds like something I went through at around the same age.
I began stuttering, forgetting things, and FAINTING IN PUBLIC PLACES - totally out of character stuff. I also became moody and snappy and my social life went to shit.

Lack of iron - due to diet or your inability to absorb it when stressed?
Do you grind your teeth at night? Would depression be far off the mark?

I'm inclined to suspect that your iron deficiency is related to your stress level, which is also associated with your recent apathy.

Come over here and watch boobies on the beach for a few weeks, I'll supply the beer.
I find a change in routine can help to break a cycle of self-destruction.
Posted on 2005-05-06 23:41:45 by Homer