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AmWiser's avatar

What's the longest stretch of time you cannot remember/recall?

Asked by AmWiser (14905 points ) December 14th, 2010

Is there any year/s you cannot account for? Other than being an infant up until your memory of things and events started to develope, is there a year or years you don’t recall? For example, I don’t remember the years when I was 9 to 11 years old. I remember being 8, as I recall I was 7 going on 8 when my sister was born, and after that I seem to draw a blank.. Between 8–11 years old I can’t seem to recall any activities or events, and I don’t remember me.

I can understand not remembering short durations of times or events in life, but to not remember years at a stretch; does this seem common or normal? Do you have loooong stretches of time you don’t recall?

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21 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Seems weird. Why would you have selective amnesia? I have a terrible memory, but I feel pretty confident I could come up with at least one memory for every year of my life. There would be many things I’ve forgotten, or that other people would have different memories of, but I’m sure I’d have at least a very general memory.

YoBob's avatar

Well, there were a couple of benders during the college years where I lost a few days, but never more than a couple.

muppetish's avatar

My memory stretches back to when I was at least four (that’s when I was enrolled in pre-school) – though I do have a few distinct memories from when I was two and three. Obviously, I cannot provide a day-by-day or even month-by-month recount of all those years, but I do have my fair share of solid events and vague impressions that I can summon from memory. I cannot imagine not remembering, though my siblings struggle far more to recall their younger years (but they have lapses of time when their memory jogs back and they can pick things up with better clarity.)

Four years is a lot of memory to lose.

chyna's avatar

Well there was that lost weekend…no, wait, that was the Beatles.
Yeah, a few times when I drank too much in college, but it was just a few hours here and there.

Judi's avatar

I just looked at my daughters college graduation pictures and I totally don’t remember my mom and my brother being there. My hormones were really out of wack at the time.

Blackberry's avatar

There are also a couple of years and large chunks of time I also do not remember.

Jude's avatar

A good chunk, back when I was 7, I’ve blocked out.

picante's avatar

This is a very interesting question to me. Certainly, I can account for activities during each of my school years, so I can’t claim any “missing” time there. I have a very weird/scary (to me) sensation that has become something of a joke in my family—I can’t recall much of anything “culturally” that happened in the 80s. It’s a given that I don’t recognize music from that era, I don’t recall many movies or television programs, etc.

I’ve comforted myself with the following scenario in order to exclude any possible “real” brain damage—my child was born in early 1982, and I was a very busy working mom, with lots of stress at work, etc. I think each day was simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and very little left an impression on me. That said, I can certainly recall events from the same era.

ucme's avatar

My entire life from birth to aged six is….. & this is just one guy talking here, the twilight zone! I mean I know I was there, my Mam assures me I was. Not one solitary memory or even consciousness of being. I’d love to get those years back some day. I want them back…...sobs like a baby :¬(

partyparty's avatar

I went through a really bad patch in my life some years ago, and I think nature has been kind to me because I can’t remember most of it, particularly the names of the people involved.

Winters's avatar

birth to roughly 2¼ or 2½ years of age.

flutherother's avatar

I can remember my childhood fairly well with no obvious gaps but I have trouble dating many memories unless they are associated with school classes or events whose dates I know.

perspicacious's avatar

There is a four-year stretch that I remember little about. It was following a very traumatic occurrence in my life.

Supacase's avatar

About the same range as the OP. I don’t remember Kindergarten through most of 4th grade. I mean, I have little blips of things (like I remember my 3rd grade teacher pulling the hair of the boy sitting next to me or that I got in trouble for talking once in Kindergarten and had to spend the rest of the day behind the bookcase) but I can’t remember life in general at all. Family life, Christmases, activities, friends, clothes, etc.

There is also the entire month of August 2001 due to complications after a surgery.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My mind seems to have two buckets: short-term and long-term. The latter is sharp as a tack. I can recall details that amaze others. The lack of short-term is an embarrassment. Ask me what I wore yesterday, and I couldn’t tell you…ask me a year from now, and I probably could.

Afos22's avatar

ccd. Scares the fuck out of me that I forget it. But, I guess that corresponds to about the same years as you say.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I don’t remember almost anything from before I was 10, about 90% of pree-teen, and about 60% of high school. I know that the last semester in high school, I had real problems with short-term memory and would forget that I’d already told someone something, so I ended up telling people stuff over and over again (kinda like the early/middle stages of dementia – people can remember long-term, and they can function for the most part, but they can’t remember what they’re doing at the store or that they already told you about the problem they’re having with their car or how you told them you got a new job). I don’t really remember much of those months, just a few times where people told me “You already told me”....

Course, I was abused as a kid and had pretty severe PTSD, so that does explain a lot. I figured out when I was 15 that the reason my fights with my parents would go on for so long was that I would block out why we were fighting and what had been said, but I still knew there was a reason we were fighting, so it was just the first 15–20 minutes or so repeating itself for several hours.

seazen's avatar

My childhood.

CaptainHarley's avatar

When I was almost killed in a military parachuting accident, they operated on me for about 5 hours. I think that’s the lonest period of unconsciousness ( other than sleeping ) in my life.

bookish1's avatar

I don’t remember a couple months of my life when I was on the point of dying from type 1 diabetes before it was diagnosed. And I was very conscious as a 5 and 6 year old, I have strong memories from that time. But my brain was so fogged with sugar for a few months that I could not store any memories. I just remember waking up in a hospital bed one day with tubes going everywhere, and finding out I’d be taking injections for the rest of my life.

VS's avatar

I have no long periods that I cannot recall, but i decided to undergo natural child birth when I was 25. I am totally unable to recollect from about 10 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. My son was born just after 1 and when I came of the delivery room, I was certain it was only about 10:30, so when my husband said it was 2:30, I swore he was lying.
There have been a few nights of pure drinking in my youth that I don’t recall details of, but everyone has those, right????

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