When Mental Illness Affects Your Memory

My experience with mental illness has drastically affected my memory. It’s upsetting because my memory used to be excellent, but now I struggle greatly.

As such, I’ve had to adopt all of the methods I’m about to list in order to make sure I can function on a day-to-day basis. I’m sharing them today in the hope that someone out there will find them useful.

Notebook pen list writing

  • Pill box

When I pick up my medications from the pharmacy, I immediately sort my pills into a weekly AM/PM pill box. This helps me to track if I have taken the pill and prevent me from accidentally taking my pills too many times. It also helps me to remember to re-order my prescription when I have a few days worth of pills left, because I can see it in front of me, rather than them sitting in the original boxes, which would mean I wouldn’t notice them running low, and I wouldn’t remember to sort out my repeat prescription in time.

  • Alarms

I use alarms on my phone not only to tell me when to get up (along with a note on the alarm to tell me why I need to get up and how long I’ve got to get ready) but also to remind me when it’s time to take my medications.

  • Calendars

I use calendars to make a note of all of my appointments and responsibilities.

– Paper version

I have two paper calendars; one by my desk, and one in the kitchen – the two places where I spend the most time so I’m more likely to see them.

– Phone version

I use reminders that pop up a certain amount of time before the event. You can send them to your email, or just have them pop up as a notification on your phone – whichever is more likely to get your attention.

  • Sticky notes

I keep sticky notes on my desk for when I think of something that I want to remember, for example, a blog idea, a quote I like, or a reminder to text someone about something, etc.

  • Key hook

I used to constantly lose my keys (not permanently, just somewhere in the house) and it would take me ages to find them. Now I keep my keys on a hook in a specific place so I always know where they are.

  • Friend/family member

If there is something I really need to remember and I’m not confident the methods above will be sufficient, I ask a family member to remind me by text on the day. If it’s something I need to do immediately when they call, I stay on the phone with them whilst I do it, and only hang up when it’s done.

Has mental illness affected your memory? What tools do you use to help you remember things? Let me know in the comments!

postit scrabble to do sticky note


When Mental Illness Affects Your Memory The Patchwork Fox



  1. I’m the same way. My memory is definitely affected by my illnesses, so I keep notes, alarms and calendars updated as much as I can. It helps. Thanks for sharing, Fox!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to think it was just me!
    My memory used to be so sharp and now I’m lucky if I remember to put a bra on (not always a bad thing)
    For a long time I was paranoid that I had alzheimers! Then I read up and realised other people had the issue too.
    This is a really useful post, thanks for sharing!
    Jess (coffee and corfu) xx

    Liked by 1 person

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