One of the most common symptoms which my patients complain about is their memory. Or more specifically, their lack of it. This is a broad-ranging topic, with many different types of symptoms, along with a variety of different causes and treatments. At the most general level, memory is a function of self-consciousness, as we know from the fact that most people do not have any memories of their life before about the age of three, when their sense of “I” first awoke.
Impairments of memory can occur at different levels — anywhere from short-term memory issues such as forgetfulness to long-term issues such as amnesia. Memory loss may result from a shock or trauma, such as a contusion, or even a strong emotional shock, where remembering a certain incident would be too painful. This is true in various ways in patients with histories of extreme abuse. Other factors such as nutritional deficiencies, particularly ones which have a direct impact on the brain are known.
All this to say, that there is no universal homeopathic remedy, or even nutritional approach which will solve all memory problems. Part of maintenance, of course, goes back to the “use it or lose it” principle, where our mind and memory function in particular needs to be used and exercised on a regular basis. But beyond this obvious level of care and maintenance, there is a much deeper exploration that is needed on a case-by-case basis to determine what is getting in the way of a healthy memory function.
Even looking at Kent’s repertory (of homeopathic remedies), under the “weakness of memory” section, we can already see that there are very different presentations of weak memory, including:
Weakness of memory for:
- What he has just done
- What he is about to say
- What he is about to do
- For proper names
- For what he has just thought
And so on. Each one of these categories (and there are several others) is connected with a different potential set of remedies that may help the patient, and needs to be matched precisely.
Now, given all of these factors of the pathological side of memory, keep in mind that there is actually a healthy function to forgetting — there is a state of hyper-memory which is not healthy, which is described by the state of mind of Natrum Muriaticum. This is where someone pathologically attempts to “hold on” to everything, including memories and sentimental thoughts and feelings about past events in their lives.
The healthy mind lives somewhere between these 2 extremes, where there is a healthy amount of remembering, as well as a healthy amount of forgetting. Like all healthy functions, there are extreme forms which move outside the range of “healthy”, and into the pathological.