Your brain’s a muscle, and from what I’ve learned in the last while, I can confirm it. For the first few years after the crash, I thought of myself that because of my brain injury, I couldn’t transition memories into my long-term memory (from short-term). I hated myself for it, because I’d always had an excellent memory, able to easily-remember a whole lot.
I wasn’t able to remember what I’d had for dinner the day before, and my attention was such that I simply couldn’t have a conversation with another one happening within earshot.
A few years ago I had a realization, that was huge. The brain is a muscle, and the crash was effectively like a really, really bad cramp. I decided to focus on working it, to strengthen it, and build back what was once there.
I decided to focus on strengthening my brain, by working to remember as much as possible, for as long as possible. In thinking about it, while access to my access to (pre-crash) long-term memories wasn’t the best, it was good enough. I thought about what I’d had issues with, remembering what I’d for dinner the day before, and that became my goal. I’m not sure how long it was until it became automatic.
What I did was, when I woke up, to ask myself what I’d had for dinner, what I’d done the day before, and things like that. It was a challenge when I’d begun it, but I remained focussed on it. I’m not sure how long it was until it became an “automatic thing”, but after a while it didn’t take effort. It’s in my long-term, but I’m not (currently) able to associate time-elements to it, and be able to remember a particular day. It’s a goal, to be able to pinpoint a particular day in my memory, that I’m working on.
In July, I was at CCs for a coffee, and got talking to the lady serving. It’s owned by Savannah and Cam, whose names are directly, and without challenge, accessible to me. I realized that, although I see her nearly every weekday that I’m there, I couldn’t remember her name. I put 2 and 2 together, and realized that it’s similar to the dinner-question that I’d asked myself before. I told her what I’d thought, and kinda-sheepishly asked her her name. She told me that her name’s Samira, but what’s common is that people simply call her Sam. I did like what I’d done for the dinner-question, in that I basically did a mental-image of her face, and told myself her name. I did that pretty much as much as possible the day of, and the next day. Because I’d done those exercises before, and whenever possible, my brain was open to it, and embraced it. It only took like a day or two, but now whenever I see her, my brain immediately thinks Sam, and I know her name.