Memory Loss and Credibility

© 2001 Michele Toomey, PhD


January 30, 2001

Needless to say, we all need to feel credible. What we think, feel and believe must have legitimacy if we are to have a sense of groundedness in reality. Yet, memory is a necessary ingredient for this credibility. Where is the authority that backs up "No, I didn't do that." or "Yes, I've already done that"? It's not really there. Given memory loss as a presence, the voice of authority is unreliable. Maybe you didn't, maybe you did. Uncertainty is the issue. Credibility is at risk.

What does that mean for your sense of security and sanity? It places it in jeopardy. So how do we deal with that harsh reality? Like we do with everything else, the best we can.

The shape and texture of that response is illusive. Does it mean taking a firm stand with authority when it feels like truth? Maybe. Does it mean becoming overwhelmed with self doubt and taking no stand on anything memory based? Of course not. That would truly erode your ability to function with any ease. Does it mean cushioning positions with, "In my memory I think I did or didn't do x, y, z." Good idea.

There's absolute integrity in such a statement and the perfect opportunity for others to be respectful and still able to search out the truth.

You have both memory loss and credibility as long as you include them both in the same sentence. They are forever linked together as closely as Siamese twins. As long as you dare claim the presence of the former and the necessity of the latter, you are on solid ground. No need to pretend, no need to be afraid or embarrassed. Every need to express what it seems like to you. Just include the "seems like" and your credibility is intact. To have a relationship with you requires that you speak with integrity and complexity. To be in a relationship with you requires that we invite, encourage and respect your expressions of memory and memory loss as you experience it. It is the cornerstone of your integrity. You must treat it as such and we must also. Your credibility depends on it. Memory loss must have its rightful place, right in the center of your life. But, surrounded by the integrity of claiming it. The stature of integrity brings credibility, so stature is still yours. YES!

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