Will I discover the cause of my childhood amnesia/episodic memory loss before January 1, 2024?
closes 2024

This market resolves as YES if, by January 1, 2024, I have found a definitive explanation for my childhood amnesia. Otherwise, it resolves as NO.

To give a brief explanation, without divulging too much personal info:

  • Roughly two years of my childhood, from late spring of 2002 until spring of 2004, are entirely missing from my memory.

  • My biological father passed away last year, and my sister sent copies of home movies from our childhood to me (along with some other stuff I inherited).

  • The other day, I watched the home movies that were recorded from early 2002 until roughly July 2004, and to my frustration, I was unable to jog any memories. As a matter of fact, it's eerie just how little I remember of that period compared to the ones that came before and after; it felt like watching footage from someone else's life until I suddenly remembered some things shown in the footage from June and July of 2004.

Potential explanations include, but are not limited to:

  • Regular childhood forgetting. I don't think this is it; I have a lot of memories from 2001 to mid-2002 and mid-2004 to 2005, but almost none from mid-2002 to mid-2004. My sister, who is three years younger than me, has more memories from that time period than I do.

  • Brain injury: Possible, but I'm dubious. I don't think many injuries could cause two years of retrograde amnesia without significantly interfering with my brain's functioning, and aside from my trauma and ADHD, I actually function fairly well.

  • Psychogenic/dissociative amnesia: My current theory. It causes "retrograde episodic memory loss," which is exactly what I experience. Notably, other components of memory from that era - sensory and emotional - seem to persist better than the episodic memory, which is more or less just gone. Dissociative amnesia is typically caused by trauma, and makes that trauma difficult to remember - in severe cases, dissociative amnesia leads to DID or OSDD, among other dissociative disorders. This theory only has one real hole in it - my biological parents were always abusive, having admitted to hitting me as a literal baby, repeatedly; since that didn't cause much dissociative amnesia (I can remember plenty of events from when I was 3, at which point I was still being physically abused) it implies that the 2002-2004 dissociative amnesia must have had a separate cause.

My sister and I both have an agreement that "something very bad happened" around early 2002, but neither of us knows exactly what it was - myself because of amnesia, her because she was literally two years old at the time. (Sidenote: some alters in my system DO know, but they won't tell me anything more specific than "it's really bad" and "It would be like opening Pandora's box." Yes, I am/we are very mentally ill. I might make a good case study, though, if anyone knows someone writing a thesis or research paper on trauma and the disorders it can cause. So there's that at least!)

My theory of the potential causes for each type of amnesia goes like this:

  • Childhood forgetting: Natural. Recalling memories in full likely impossible.

  • Brain injury: Caused two years of retrograde amnesia via hippocampal damage while leaving the rest of the brain pretty much intact. Recalling memories in full likely impossible.

  • Dissociative amnesia: Unknown severe traumatic event ca. spring 2002 that I took two years to fully recover from. This is speculation. I have evidence that something bad happened, but no evidence of what it was, who did it, or why it happened. Recalling memories in full maybe possible with therapy and strategies to minimize dissociation and heal from trauma (or possible via flashback, but I'd rather not relive whatever it was.)

Note: above, "in full" means "to the same extent a typical person would remember their childhood at ages 6 and 7," or potentially slightly more than typical given my usually-very-good memory.

I need to find definitive evidence to resolve this as YES. Such evidence could include:

  • Other video/audio recordings or photographs that were hidden somewhere in my biological family's house

  • Explanations of what happened - by voice, text (including journals/other things not meant to be seen by me) or any other communication or documentation by anyone who was an adult at the time (could include medical records etc., especially if the cause is physical trauma of some kind)

  • Reliving the memory of the cause of my amnesia, or experiencing a flashback of it. Somewhat subjective, but crucially I am not known to have a history of false memories and the accuracy of my episodic memory has surprised even me at times.

We'll see what happens. I won't be betting on this market, but I would estimate the probability as of May 24 as "less than 30% if I don't find a therapist by early October, greater than 75% if I do."

If I feel that the existence of this market is hazardous to my mental or physical health, if the comments devolve into a cesspool, or if I feel that the market's existence causes problems for Manifold in general, I reserve the right to resolve it as N/A without warning. I'm starting the market listed, since I don't believe it contains any objectionable content, and I genuinely might be a good case study in trauma, but I will not object should admins choose to delist the market.

Sort by:
jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack

this reads like an ARG tbh

evergreenemily avatar

@jacksonpolack LMAO, I could see that. This is all very real, unfortunately. Someone could probably make a great psychological horror ARG that resolves around mysterious amnesia, trauma, and dissociation, but I'm not creative enough for that.

adele avatar
Adele Lopezbought Ṁ10 of YES

If you believe it's worth it in the long run to find out, why won't your alters tell you? Do they disagree with that premise, or do they simply think you aren't ready yet?

evergreenemily avatar

@adele The latter; and FWIW, they're probably right, at least at the current moment. I expect the rest of 2023 to bring me even more stability and safety, though, which will make handling trauma easier.

evergreenemily avatar

Related market:

Related markets

If I discover the cause of my childhood amnesia before January 1, 2024, will I regret it?52%
Will I be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease before I die?39%
Will I be diagnosed with Alzheimer's diseases before I die?45%
Will I be old before I die?72%
Will I consider myself to have basically succeeded at my 2023 resolution to better treat my ADHD?72%
Will I overcome my weird cereal aversion by the middle of 2023?26%
Will I live to be 200 years old?17%
Will I live to be 100 years old?22%
Will I live to be at least 200 years old?19%
What will be my cause of death?
Will I live forever?8%
If I go on a writing week away before 2024 will I consider it better than the alternative?
Will I live to be 125 years old?24%
[Convince Me] Will I sign up for cryonics with Alcor by the end of 2023?13%
Will I make a rescue in my capacity as a lifeguard by the end of 2023?24%
Will I have an iron deficiency in a year? (M200 subsidy)45%
Will I break a bone by end of 2025?10%
Will I be free of long COVID symptoms within two months?28%
Will I live to be over 1000 years old?12%
Will I live to be 150 years old?21%