Free delivery on orders over £75

HSAM_Highly_Superior_Autobiographical_Memory_Sensory_Emotions

Living with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)

September 12, 2017

In addition to autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I have also been identified as having an extremely rare kind of memory which is called HSAM (or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory). HSAM makes a person unable to forget all or most of their past experiences.

 

My parents (and also myself) first heard that there was such a thing as HSAM in January 2011, after seeing a 60 Minutes episode featuring the first few people identified with it. Initially I didn’t feel like there was anything too unusual about my inability to forget experiences stretching back to my newborn years. I just put the way I’d fixate on past memories (both positive and negative) down to my OCD. Though my parents said that most people don’t remember in that kind of way, and how they believed that I too had HSAM. Mum asked me if it would be ok for her to send the University of California, Irvine (UCI) an email. The McGaugh/Stark lab at the UCI were the team who had identified and were studying the six people featured in that 60 Minutes story.

 

HSAM_Highly_Superior_Autobiographical_Memory_Child_Sensory_Emotions

After two years of various tests the University of California, Irvine identified me as one of 60 people in the world currently known to have HSAM. For the past year and a half the University of Queensland/Queensland Brain Institute have been studying my case additionally. When researchers (initially) test to see if a person has HSAM, most recollections require calendar dates and/or what day of week certain dates fell on for validation. As a result of that I’m asked many times as to whether I remember events because of calendar dates themselves.

Yet my memories are not actually from calendar dates. This is especially apparent when I recall memories from my very young months, which was long before I had knowledge of calendars or days of the week. Memories more rather come from emotional and sensual recollections, and they are in truth about what we have personally experienced in our daily life. Hence the fact that my earliest memories are remembered in exactly the same way as my more recent ones, despite having no date or time attached to them.

 

HSAM_Highly_Superior_Autobiographical_Memory_Sensory_Emotions

What mainly causes me to relive memories are particular words, scents, emotions or anything visual that is in a similar position as it was at that previous time of my life. So essentially people with HSAM remember life events in the exact same way that a person usually does. The only difference is that as our mind has an inability to discard all or most of them, this happens far more often with a person with HSAM. Events that we relive won’t always be significant events either. They can be as mundane as what we had for breakfast or the clothes we wore on an ordinary day.

The only reason for why dates and times get attached to my later recollections is because our daily lives are very much influenced by time keeping devices such as calendars, clocks, schedules and timetables. But those three things are only a means of measuring time.

 

So whenever I’m asked about whether I remember life events based on calendar dates, it’s more rather a case of me remembering calendar dates by the life events themselves.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Rebecca's Blogs

Routine and Slower Processing
Routine and Slower Processing

January 27, 2018

Whenever something unexpected occurs which leaves me with no other choice than to change my timetable, I experience extreme anxiety and often have a meltdown as a result. In addition to having autism I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which multiplies those challenges by two.

Read More

December As An Autistic Person
December As An Autistic Person

December 19, 2017

Every event of my life that is most significant to me occurs in the month of December. It contains my birthday, Christmas and New Year's Eve which are all very exciting but at the same time cause me stress and anxiety for various reasons

Read More

How an autistic meltdown differs from an immature temper tantrum
How an autistic meltdown differs from an immature temper tantrum

November 23, 2017

General characteristics of an autistic meltdown can involve amongst other things yelling, banging or thrashing around. On the surface they look very similar to immature temper tantrums but in truth are very different. Rebecca Sharrock explains from her own personal perspective why this is the case.

Read More

Size Guide

KayCey Size Chart

SIZE CHART
KayCey bodysuit size chart
UK(Age) Europeon(up to) US Chest(up to) Body Length(up to) Weight(up to) Tube Access Width
2 96cm/38" 2T 56cm/22" 44cm/18" 18kg/40lbs 8cm/3"
3-4 107cm/42" 3T-4T 60cm/24" 50cm/20" 21kg/46lbs 9cm/3.5"
5-6 116cm/46" 5-6 64cm/25" 54cm/21" 25kg/55lbs 10cm/4"
7-8 128cm/50" 7-8 69cm/27" 58cm/23" 35kg/77lbs 11cm/4.5"
9-10 140cm/55" 9-10 73cm/29" 61cm/24" 44kg/97lbs 12cm/5"
11-12 152cm/60" 11-12 85cm/33" 66cm/26" 54kg/119lbs 13cm/5"
13-14 164cm/65" 13-14 90cm/36" 72cm/28" 66kg/146lbs 14cm/5.5"
15-16 172cm/69" 15-16 102cm/40" 76cm/30" 72kg/158lbs 15cm/5.9"

 

Wonsie Size Chart

Wonsie UK size chart

 

Ez Sox Size Chart

Ez-Sox size chart