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Why am I insensitive?

Q: I am a 40 years old male. Recently, my mother had expired and I suddenly lost all her memories. All I remember is the last vision of her in the hospital. I did not cry much on her death. I am single, living with my father, who has Alzheimer's. I feel odd because I was so close to my mother but there is no sense of loss. Am I insensitive? Why am I not experiencing a state of grief?

A:Sorry to hear about your mother. May her soul rest in peace. You appear to be in the state of acute grief, a natural human reaction to the loss of a family member, especially one whom they are close to. This is a state of excess stress and fatigue for the mind. Natural reactions like crying etc. may also be altered in this state that overwhelms most of us. There is no neurological explanation for loss of memory of a single person, as the brain does not store memory classified for different persons, and there is no separate area or pathway that stores memories of a person. Even at the beginning of Alzheimer's dementia, such selective total loss of memory of a single person has not been described. Give yourself some time to overcome this grief, and let your feelings be known. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not insensitive. This is an abnormally stressful state of mind. Mourning does not have to be crying.

Set your immediate priorities which should be (a) to accept the reality and express your feelings about it (b) to maintain good physical health by eating nutritious, fresh food at regular intervals and drink plenty of water (c) to take fresh-air walks, to listen to music you like and in such manner keep yourself occupied (d) to not take any major decisions while in this state of mind. You may also want to go through the family albums, and talk to your father or friends about your mother. Antidepressants may help some people (after consulting a psychiatrist). Some memory loss may be seen in many while in this state of grief, and this usually recovers as the person overcomes grief. This process may take about a year or so. If your father has Alzheimer's, it does not mean you will definitely have it too. It is better to consult a qualified Neurologist at a later stage, if memory loss progresses or persists.

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