Adult ADHD: Why Your Memory Sucks

In today’s blog, we are talking about why our memories suck when we have an ADHD brain.  If you have ADHD, you probably already know that your memory cannot be trusted. In the next few paragraphs, we are going to explain the main reason why adults with ADHD struggle so hard to remember things and what we can do about it. 

Point #1: We struggle to remember things because our working memory is impaired. 

We have many different types of memory, but the one that is impacted the most with ADHD is our working memory and our visual memory. Working memory is the type that allows us to keep something in our minds long enough to accomplish a task. Visual memory is remembering the things we see. Both of these memories are impacted because our frontal lobes are impaired and that affects our executive functioning skills – including directing attention, maintaining task goals, decision making, and memory retrieval.

So if you have trouble remembering things, don’t feel bad. It really isn’t your fault. 

Point #1: Because our brains have trouble remembering, this means we must externalize everything. 

We can’t trust our brains to hold on to information, so we need to create a system to externally hold information for us. When it comes to our tasks, dreams, goals, vision, and schedule, we need to write everything down. We need to schedule our lives, make vision boards and calendars, and rely on these external systems to help us remember our next course of action. 

So here are 6 tips to externalize our life, so we can remember what to do next:

Tip #1: Set reminders on a calendar

Tip #2: Make lists

Tip #3: Don’t rely on your brain to remember, write it down somewhere

Tip #4: Use Siri to help you remember

Tip #5: Set up a vision board or a visual calendar

Tip #5: Read books on how to improve memory

Tip #6: Do a brain training workshop or sign up for a cognitive therapy program

To wrap it up, having an ADHD brain means that you are going to struggle with remembering things. This is no fault of your own, but it’s a great idea to externalize the process so you can get things done. I recommend you find a system that works for you by making lists, creating a schedule, and using technology to set reminders for you.

Overall, the key takeaway here is that you need to support yourself and your brain with strategies that will help you externalize your goals and tasks. 


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