Are repressed memories a real thing?

Has it ever happened to you that you completely blanked out on the name of a place that was a regular hangout spot for you?
I am a person with an impressive memory. I remember things decently well. More than normal people do. This is an added advantage in an argument. You can go
"San do hazar aath mai, baaies janvary ko tumne blah blah"
Somehow Hindi gives a more dramatic effect. So yeah anyway, I am a person with a good memory. My friends always get annoyed with me because of this. Yesterday I saw a photo of a friend, in front of a restaurant and it looked familiar. And me, the memory woman, blanked out. I must've been to that place about two dozen times and can even remember what it looks like. But for the love of God, could not manage to recollect the name of that place. And when I thought about it, trivial details kept coming back to me, the long waiting lines, the dessert counter, the jug I liked and that fact that anytime you go there, you are sure to spot a BITsian sitting somewhere.



This is a very popular place in Bangalore. I mean people who don't even live in Bangalore have heard of it. But I out of all people (just boasted about my awesome memory), could not remember the name of that place. I pinged a friend right there and kept bugging him till he finally replied and was shocked to hear I had forgotten what? Truffles! (anybody here heard of it? any fans?)

But it felt like all my memories from back then have literally been stuffed in a box with a few holes and thrown in some corner of my brain! Now normally this is not a big deal, you don't always remember everything but not for me. It was a very unsettling feeling for me. So cut to two minutes later, thanks to Google, I am researching on something called "Repressed memories" or "Dissociative amnesia". What it means is that sometimes we are unable to recall certain memories that we associate with high stress or trauma. Our brain sub-consciously suppresses or blocks these memories due to the impact they have on you. This is still a topic of debate in the field of psychology.

It doesn't feel like the memories have been forgotten completely, like the memory pit from the movie Inside Out (an amazing movie by the way!). It's more like they have been shoved so far deep inside that you don't come across them in your day to day life. They are there. If you think hard enough, you can remember things. It is amazing sometimes how your brain works!


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