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severe memory loss
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severe memory loss

at a loss for what to do...my wife loses her memory several times a month.  In the past, she reverted back to the days when she is a teenager or even early twenties.  She gets splitting headaches, feels exhausted, goes to sleep and wakes up a different person.  not a separate personality but just a different age in her life each time.  Recently, she woke up replacing all of the painful memories (and there are a lot of them) in her life with happy ones.  I was told by her physician to talk her through the painful memories until she can handle them.  After doing this several times, she gets splitting headaches...falls asleep...then comes back forgetting all the painful memories again.  Not sure at all what to do...three doctors and no solid answers...one just wanted her far too heavily medicated.  Another said that one day she would forget everything.  The recent memory losses had all painful memories replaced and I was happy to live with this (the memories she dropped are excruciating (and I mean excruciating) to say the very least...i love her.. and would rather live with the memory loss than see her in so much pain and at the same time she deserves to know the truth and be fully present...many times when she wakes up, she becomes aware that she lost a day or so).  Problem is with the recent memory loses is that she faints sometimes...almost like the memories are flooding back too fast and she physically cant handle it.  I try to help her with the memories...she is aware that things are very foggy and not real like...she believes me and then the headaches...and then the painful memories are gone again.
she is truly an amazing women...an extraordinary survivor...and i am at a complete loss of what to do for her...
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Firstly, I would ask this question on an expert forum.  You might like to try the mood disorders expert forum.
I would probably opt for an independent assessment.  To me it sounds like some dissociative disorder.  Without doing some research I couldn't be sure which one.

Reverting back sounds like a form of regression.  This can happen in most people to degrees.  Regressions usually happen when people are stressed or overwhelmed.

I'm wondering if her physical symptoms are a manifestation of her emotional symptoms.
You could try looking up somatization.
Many people with mental health issues have done this.  It seems particularly common in those with anxiety and depression.
Usually as a person goes through therapy they will gain insight into this and be better able to identify emotional difficulties.

I personally would refrain from taking the meds but I think taking something to ease her anxiety could be useful.  I think given her symptoms that she would have trouble tolerating the reality of her memories.

It's possible the fainting is related to her fragile emotional state.  If you have concerns you could always bring it to her doctors attention.  I would also be quite mindful of nutrition and hydration.

I think that your wife could benefit from some really intensive psychotherapy.  I think the goal would be to work through the trauma and to integrate them.  I think you put it well, to know the truth and be fully present.

I see the major problem as being anxiety and I think if she had a therapist or an individual who could contain that for her she may be better able to move forward.

For a diagnosis I would start by checking out the dissociative disorders.  If you were interested you could try looking up the dsm-iv.  They list diagnostic criteria for each diagnosis.

She trusts you and that seems grounding.  I definitely think that she needs to be in therapy.  If there's a possible trigger it may be useful to minimize its effects for now.  Best to let a skilled and experienced clinician direct treatment though.

Good luck.
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