A former school classmate posted an old elementary school picture from the 5th or 6th grade on Facebook. When I look at that picture all I can think about is the bad memories.
When I visit my hometown, instead of remembering the good, I can only think about the bad.
Why do we remember bad memories first over good memories?
I don’t necessarily think of one bad event but just a general bad times thought. That school picture was a time after my brother was born that Mom started to fall into mental illness (with this I have my idea for my I’m Blogging About Mental Health post next week). I don’t remember many specific instances just a conglomerate of many instances. I don’t remember when she told me that I was not her family only her parents and siblings were her “family” but I do remember her saying that a lot.
While looking up why we remember bad memories over good memories, I came across this article from the New York Times that talks about people who overgeneralize memories have a better chance of being depressed.
This quote from the article struck very close to home:
“Without detailed memories to draw upon, dispelling a black mood can seem impossible. Patients may remember once having felt happy, but cannot recall specific things that contributed to their happiness, like visiting friends or a favorite restaurant.”
Lately I am more mindful of what makes me happy – specific music, a good book, seeing friends but going back in time, I have a hard time saying, “Yes, such and such made me happy.” I can’t think of anything. I just have a general sense of blackness.
Do you overgeneralize memories like me? Are you more mindful now of what makes you happy or sad?