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Medical What's going on with my mind?

  1. Mar 2, 2008 #1
    Perhaps someone can offer me some opinions; I don't really know what to research at this point. My mind absorbs the world like a sponge and I have a photographic representation of my entire life going back to 5 years old, with a few memories going back to 2 years old. My memories are as complete and detailed as if they happened yesterday; I remember my thoughts and emotions at the time, and can look at the situations through my adult eyes, as well as how I perceived the situation at the time. I can take things apart with my mind and see how they go together. I can take apart a situation as it happens, access memories of past television shows, find a similar situation and predict with pretty good accuracy how the situation will turn out. In a conversation, I can keep track in my head of every single point made, every single tangent, and structure the conversation like an essay with an introduction middle and conclusion. My level of common sense seems to be much higher than the general public. My logic is different. I don't see the world the same way as everyone else. Things make sense to me in a different way and I can make connections that no one else can see until I explain to them my way of thinking. I don't know if this will make sense; but, sometimes it seems like my mind has a mind of its own.

    I want to research why it seems like my mind works so much differently than everyone else. It hasn't always been this way. This has all happened within the last decade. I'm 31 now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2008 #2


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    I'm exactly the same way, I didn't realize how differently my memory functioned until I was 24. I called it my "ability to see the obvious". At work I am always called in when teams get stuck and can't find an answer.

    Just enjoy it.

    Of course some people will get annoyed because you can recall conversations verbatim, what was said, when, the surroundings, and even clothing that was worn.

    In school did you find that you merely had to flip through pages of text and be able to recall where something was written?

    I never considered myself smart, I always realized it was my memory and logic.

    Of course as I get older and with chronic loss of sleep, I'm not as sharp as I once was. I need sleep.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2008
  4. Mar 2, 2008 #3
    That's cool David. Can you actually look at a page in a book and memorize it visually? Then later can you recall that photograph and read it?
  5. Mar 2, 2008 #4
    That's perfect, and it describes me perfectly... ability to see the obvious.

    It wasn't until I got to college that I learned that I can't read slowly; this is where I was tripping up through school. When I try to focus on every word, I would lose track of what I was reading; but, if I just took my finger and zipped through the page, I could recall where everything was, and it made life so easy on tests to be able to see the textbook in my head as a physical object that I could read. If I can't remember something, I simply go to the nearest memories in the timeline of my life, and start moving towards what I can't remember. But, my mind does this on its own. I can't not remember something. My mind will keep working at it until it accesses it. I'll quite often wake up in the middle of the night, months after trying to remember something, with that memory, once again, in full detail, as if it happened yesterday.

    What's the difference between 'memory and logic' and being smart? Is it the difference between knowing and understanding?
  6. Mar 2, 2008 #5
    Should also add...

    I am physiologically different. I have a rare disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; it's a problem with Collagen synthesis in my body. I also have gene duplications in my liver of enzymes CYP2D6 and CYP2C19. My Serotonin Transporter is in the s/l form. I am immune to the mind altering affects of drugs and alcohol. I don't think any of this would have anything to do with the way my mind works, but it does indicate that I'm not quite like everyone else.
  7. Mar 2, 2008 #6


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    Alterations in serotonin function certainly could influence how your memory functions. Although, other than the photographic memory part, which is somewhat rare, the rest doesn't sound all that odd...it just sounds like the way intelligent people think. Creative problem solving is a good skill to have.
  8. Mar 2, 2008 #7


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    To me it's the ability to take knowledge and build on it, create something new. Memorization is being "book smart", ok I know a lot of facts. I can work through things logically. I can "see' things that other's miss. But I don't have the creativity that true geniuses have. And being "book smart" really starts to limit you if you don't pursue a higher education or stay up to date. I can't hold a candle to most of the people on this forum.

    I also have a very high tolerance to drugs (just try to put me to sleep for an operation, plus I woke up in the middle of the last one), high tolerance for pain medication, alcohol, etc...

    I'm the same, if I am looking for a memory, I look for a memory near it, and can find it that way. I think you may be the only other person I've spoken to that understands that. It's like my memory is catalogued.
  9. Mar 3, 2008 #8

    Andy Resnick

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    Are you referring to 'eidetic memory'? I've never heard of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.....
  10. Mar 3, 2008 #9

    Andy Resnick

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    Those are interesting genes:


    It explains your metabolic insufficiency, for one thing. Do you have a special diet? Not sure what the s/l form of a serotonin transporter means....
  11. Mar 3, 2008 #10
    I would give anything to have a photographic memory! While mine is very good, its more then likey the result of years of studies.
    Hope the EDS hasen't left you in a great deal of pain, I'm very sorry that you suffer with it.
  12. Mar 5, 2008 #11
    Well I have a similar thing to you, in such that I can recall every single melody/tune/music heard once, but I suppose photographic memory is better. BUT I can save money on iPods and other mp3 players, because I can go through them in my mind, stereo effect.

    Guess what too, I'm dyslexic, and spelling words like 'coffee' is a pain.

    Off topic, but I thought i might as well include it here.

    Also, darn it sucks to be immune to mind altering drugs, no amount of cocaine will get you there matey.
  13. Mar 10, 2008 #12
    I've heard that some people have the ability to uses both sides of their brains at once making it possible for them to multitask and use mental shortcuts. They can search the memory database on one side and think critically on the other at the same moment. Do you think you have a unique ability to multitask with your brain, or do you just have a photographic memory?
  14. Mar 10, 2008 #13


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    If you really have photographic memory, then that's exceptional. Everything else you've written seems pretty hum-drum. You can look back on decisions you made as a child and see them from both your childhood and adult perspective? Big deal, everyone can. You can keep track of all the tangents in a conversation? Big deal, everyone can. (Or, at least, everyone who has any skill in conversations.)

    - Warren
  15. Mar 22, 2008 #14
    I've been doing some digging since I was last here. I don't have a photographic memory; I have an autobiographical memory. It's called Hyperthymesia or Hyperthymestic Syndrome.


    There's not much known about it; some doctor in California coined the term after studying a woman. There are only 3 known cases of it. I'd love to know if this people have the same problems I have with sleep and pain.

    Some other things about me that I want to learn more about are that I haven't aged in 10 years. I heal very quickly. In 1997, I had a nose job; completely healed, bruising and swelling gone in a week. In 1999, I had maxillofacial surgery; I was supposed to be in bed for 3 months and it would take another 6 months to fully heal. I was back at school on day 2, eating hamburgers and pizza by day 3, and fully healed by the end of the week. 3 years ago, I grabbed the wrong end of a heat gun and had second degree burns on my right hand. My hand was fine by the following afternoon; blisters, redness, and stinging completely gone. I've also averaged about 3-4 hours of sleep my entire life. Now, although I can sleep every night, I can go 3 days before even feeling tired, and then when I finally do sleep, I still only need 3 or 4 hours. I would love to finally get 7 hours. The nights can get long and lonely.

    I just don't know where to begin with all this. These aren't questions for a regular doctor.

    The links a few posts above are beyond my level of understanding. How do they explain my metabolic insufficiencies? If you wouldn't mind helping me understand this a bit better. I do eat a special diet; because of the EDS, my body is intolerant to Carbohydrates/Sugar. A lot of the pain I have suffered as a result of the carbs has vanished. I've been battling Fibromyalgia since I was 5 years old, and that has faded to tolerable levels. I'm in good shape now, and have come a long way since last Christmas; but, now I want to know why I am so different from everybody else.
  16. Mar 22, 2008 #15
    I think perhaps I could be of some assistance in clearing up some 'hazy' things that have been said about one's memory.

    There has never been one case of photographic memory recorded. Ever. There are certainly many people with skilled memories who can perform amazing feats in their heads - some of these people are taken to have a photographic memory - but they don't. Either they have naturally came up with a mnemonic that works for whatever it is they are extrordinary at, they've been taught a mnemonic technique, or in very rare cases, their anatomy is abnormal (think Kim Peek, the real Rain Man who has both lobes of his brain fused together). Anyone can learn mnemonics to improve your memory (for instance, I could teach you to memorize the first few thousand digits of Pi in just a few hours).

    What the opening poster describes, meaning no offense to him, is not special. Virtually every person I know can do at least 3/4ths of the things he described - and the rest of the skills he describes can be learned or intuitively 'found out' from experience.

    Specifically regarding the point made about being able to recall the location of words on a page or using memories in a sequence to 'lead up' to a specific memory - this is the most common feature of memory. Humans remember the location of things better than any other type of data (for example, on page 65 on a textbook you would be much more likely to remember the location of a picture of a camel than the details of the text underneath the picture), and thus such a strength in human memory is used commonly as a mnemonic techniques (the Loci system is a popular one that comes to mind).

    In any case, if you'd like to find out more about your memory, how it works, and how to improve it, the best book I've read so far is Your Memory by Kenneth Higbee.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2008
  17. Mar 22, 2008 #16
    I've yet to meet anyone whose memory can do what mine can do. I'm experiencing something different; that's why I'm researching it. For the last decade, I've been experiencing a memory gain. This is something separate from mnemonics. I can't control it. I have learned to use it a bit to my advantage; but, the stress of not understanding what's happening has made it somewhat of a burden.
  18. Mar 22, 2008 #17
    I think all you would have to do is show up at your nearest medium (or larger) university and just put on a demonstration. Where do you live?
  19. Mar 22, 2008 #18
    I'm in Vancouver, Canada. I've already thought about UBC; but, I have no idea who I would even talk to.

    It's not just my memory (Hyperthymesia). I don't age. I don't look any older today than I did 10 years ago. I heal ultra fast, except for flesh wounds. Because of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, paper cuts can take months to heal. However, second degree burns heal overnight, and broken bones heal within days. I don't need much sleep, and I have currently been up for 3 days straight. It all has to be connected somehow.
  20. Mar 22, 2008 #19


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    Sorry, but we cannot diagnose anyone here, and your question is basically asking for a diagnosis, so the thread is locked.
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