Unless there is some physical damage or a fault in our brain, there is nothing that we ever forget to remember. Human life is designed in such a way that it records every experience and stores it within. It is the size of our consciousness, which decides how much we can keep in our awareness while doing our daily routine.
We are trained since childhood to be useful and productive; our consciousness is, thus, kept constrained or limited only to the issues which are important to earn a living and be a provider for the family and economy. Any other aspect of our life is kept buried inside.
Take a case study: I conducted a 2-hour workshop for senior citizens. I had no clue about their illnesses. Almost everyone was below 70 and it came as a surprise that almost 30% of them reported memory loss during an interaction. Most of them were retired from a senior post as engineers and were well to do.
In the rat race, we do not pay attention to the holistic aspects of life and identify ourselves only with the parameters of being useful and a provider; we encounter loss of purpose around retirement, or when we feel we have fulfilled our duties. And from here begins, the search for sorrows and happiness from memories of the past and also a loose connection with the present moment.
Dementia is a state of mind where our consciousness loses reference to the present moment and drowns in the past. This happens to all of us all the time; however, in the case of dementia, the need to come back to the present moment is not felt by the mind as strongly as felt by normal people, who are focused on survival. Are we saying as our need to survive (not to be taken as the need to live) goes down, we begin to drown in the memories, which we pushed under during our youth and live in them? Is it the lack of vision for the future, that we turn to our past? Is it a lack of hope? Or is it the lack of usefulness, which men (and now more women) begin to experience after they are no more productive or have a need to be productive-economically or socially or personally?
Using the analogy of computers, we save some data in our RAM which is required for our present moment. This is exactly how the conscious, subconscious and unconscious are defined for the human brain. When we feel a surge of emotions and are unable to handle them, we push them into our “hard disk/cloud”, as that is not required for our survival. None of our experiences or memories is unsubstantial to us, but they may not be urgent to be attended to right away.
Discovering insignificance in the present moment or the reduced need for survival or an overflow of repressed emotions carry the cause and effect of memory loss. It is certainly possible that it gets so severe that it can show up as damaged cells in the human brain, thus causing partial or permanent damage to certain activities of the brain. But anything in the human body can always be regenerated from the cells as they are in the continuous business of dying and recreating inside the human body.
Memory loss together with the other symptoms of being lost and still being able to do your chores effectively as done in the past is not a disorder. Many people, with creative pursuits or researchers, are known to be clumsy and lost, as their consciousness is fixed to pursue their passion. Hence, they have a very loose connection to daily life and survival issues. People with creative pursuits, have a very fragile touch with reality, to begin with; hence they are looked up to as geniuses- because they pursue something more exciting than us. Other than that, there is no difference between a genius and an old person suffering from memory loss.
Treatment of memory loss or all forms of Dementia is about healing the clutter of memories of the person and restoring him with hope through our techniques.