I found a study on depression and anxiety for starters, so I was quickly able to confirm that there has been research in this area. It's interesting that the study found that while anxiety alone does not have an effect on memory, it can significantly compound with depression. It suggests that other studies that did not control for anxiety levels were frustrating to analyze.
I then discovered that there is a newsletter devoted to memory loss, and they had a wonderful article specifically addressing memory loss and depression a few years back. Salient points include:
- Memory loss, like motivation and focus, are likely affected by the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
- The mind filters memory to match mood; depressed people are much more likely to remember times when they're sad than they are to recall happy experiences. "It also reinforces the person's drab and negative view of life, fueling the depression."
- Long term memories are not actually being lost so much as they are never forming at all due to the lack of focus and attention.
- Treatment of the depression alleviates the memory problems.
Goal for today: write down a good thing as soon as it happens. Many treatments suggest some sort of journal; if you want to make this part of one then by all means go ahead. If not in a journal, put it someplace you will see it, like on your refrigerator. You're experiencing happiness despite your depression, and you deserve to know about it.