Many people cherish memories from their childhood, times spent crying-laughing with friends or meaningful moments with family members, but one woman whose memory 'resets' every 24 hours wouldn't have it any other way.
It was late 2021 when 31-year-old Versitude* first woke up without any memories, unable to recall the date, her location, or even her own name.
She had to rely on others to help fill in the blanks, and after speaking with doctors, it was suggested that her memory loss was the result of a 'self-preservation mechanism' after her experiences with trauma.
Almost one year on, Versitude now wakes up every day with a memory 'like a blank piece of paper' - to the point where even the person in bed next to her is unfamiliar.
Versitude met her fiancée while spending time in hospital, though when her memory first began to reset, there were, naturally, a 'few hiccups'.
Just like in Adam Sandler's comedy 50 First Dates - a film Versitude loves - each and every time Versitude was greeted by her partner, it was if she was meeting her for the first time.
Her partner is 'extremely patient', but Versitude has admitted that it's 'scary' waking up next to someone she doesn't immediately know. Used to this daily reset, however, Versitude's fiancée helps resolve her confusion by using specific words and phrases, assuring Versitude that she is her fiancée and they are 'going to get married'.
To help corroborate her fiancée's claims, Versitude has systems in place to help her remember things from one day to the next. She uses a list manager, a digital notebook and a body camera to organise and document her day-to-day life, as well as working with a management team who can help provide her with information.
For the most part, skillsets such as how to work appliances or her phone remain intact, but details such as passwords, important people in her life, locations and conversations are all brand new each day. She relies on a password-storing service to keep track of the codes, and a document that offers her a summary of 'important people, places and doctors'.
Many people might struggle to live with each previous day as an unknown - like the fear of doing something while drunk that you have absolutely no recollection of - but Versitude has made clear that she has no interest in restoring her memory.
"I’m happy with my life, to the point of saying 'losing my ability to remember is the best thing that’s ever happened to me'," Versitude told UNILAD.
"For me, I really don’t have anything I wish I could remember, even if I was told about it," she explained. "I live each day in the moment, and only look back through the lens of my body camera, digital notebook, or the accounts of friends, family, support personnel, and my fiancée when it’s absolutely necessary."
Versitude generally experiences two types of 'resets'; one which involves her forgetting everything from that day and starting 'from blank', while the other has been dubbed as a 'checkpoint reset'.
She explained: "A “checkpoint reset” works like this: throughout the day, my mind basically drops little map pins throughout the timeline, and these create what are known as checkpoints. Let’s take the following example: wake up, use restroom, take meds, check email, checkpoint, phone call, meeting, call mom, checkpoint, lunch, dentist appointment, meeting.
"If I were to reset back to the very first checkpoint, I would lose all of the meetings and phone calls as well as any information about the dentist appointment or that I had lunch. Checkpoint restores are often used throughout the day if there seems to be a problem with the information that exists. At the end of the day when everything goes back to one, all checkpoints are lost."
Though Versitude's 'checkpoints' can help her maintain memories throughout the day, she pointed out they're not always a reliable solution.
"If something really nasty happens during the day, my mind can automatically go back to one," she explained. "If it’s nothing too severe but there seems to be some consistency error with the memory information then I can go back to a previous checkpoint."
It's interesting to note that Versitude's memory resetting didn't begin until her early 30s, with memories previously being readily available to her. But the occurrence appeared to come to a head after what Versitude described as a 'long and sad history of 10-plus years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse along with a lot of medical trauma'.
Versitude, who doesn't often speak verbally after all she has been through, has experienced issues with authorities failing to believe her version of events and questioning her memories, allegedly sometimes even blaming her for things that have happened to her.
As a result, Versitude pointed out she has experienced 'enough to make anyone want to forget', so doctors believe her memory resets because it 'cannot be trusted' after multiple instances of people and organisations wrongly placing blame and questioning her views.
Her memory loss doesn't affect her ability to work or form relationships, she said, and she now works as a volunteer at a call centre and in customer service while receiving government disability benefits for various medical conditions.
Versitude's fiancée has said that the memory loss 'doesn't bother her at all', and she actually feels 'honoured' that Versitude trusts her to help her remember each day. The 31-year-old has said there are 'some frustrating days', but overall, she finds the best thing about her memory resetting is that any negative experiences just 'fall off', 'never to be remembered again'.
As for the positive experiences - she gets to enjoy each of those anew, relishing in eating her favourite foods and meeting her fiancée over and over again. With no plans to try and get her memories back, she will continue to enjoy them for the 'first time' each and every day, and hopes to raise awareness that losing your memory is 'not all doom and gloom'.
*Name has been changed for the purpose of anonymity.
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