How I’ve Learned to Live with a Nonexistent Working Memory and You Can Too

Bullet journaling, personal journaling, and other tools have helped me remember how to live.

Kat Moody
Ascent Publication
Published in
14 min readAug 26, 2020


Image by Author; My two notebooks — My everyday bullet journal and my personal journal. In red, of course!

My memory is a sieve — in that, I don’t remember half of my life.

No exaggeration; I know things happened and I remember emotions and feelings but rarely specifics, like what a person said or other details that make the event more memorable.

My therapist and I have had some intriguing conversations about why my brain mocks me like this. Early trauma. My lizard (read: ADD) brain. Fibromyalgia memory fog. All the above.

Unfortunately, having a reason doesn’t matter when I still have to live with the consequences.

What Consequences?

I don’t remember many of the important things that have happened to me. I know they happened and sometimes even have the pictures to prove it, but I don’t always remember anything about them.

  • My wedding day.
  • The days my boys were born (aside from a few specific moments; and honestly, part of this could be because of being on the ‘good drugs’).
  • My graduation.

I’m still surprised when I see photos about get-togethers I don’t remember, sometimes including people I never remembered meeting.

If I didn’t write about it, even fleetingly, I rarely recall it. But if I write it down, I’ve found it will sometimes come back to me even years later. Not always, but sometimes.

Details are filler.

I forget or just never retain details, especially about people, even about people I love. I get mixed up on birthdates, anniversaries, years, and everything in between.

My grandmother used to tease me because for years I remembered her birthday on November 11 — except it was on November 10. I was ridiculously proud several years ago when I scheduled her birthday in my calendar, along with a reminder a few days before, and I called her — on the right day!

When I realized the full extent of my memory issues, my grandmother was the first person I told.



Kat Moody
Ascent Publication

Wife. Mom. Writer. Advocate. Imperfect Christian. In our home: Autism, Epilepsy, Rare Disease & Awesomeness. Addicted to coffee. >>