We have terrible working memory. Once a thing makes it into long-term memory, it’s there for good. Working memory is more like short-term memory for things we need to use for particular tasks.
The other part of this is retrieval. I think a lot of people get memory confused with retrieval. I might have something in my long-term memory, but that means absolutely nothing if I can’t pull out the information when I need it. I liken it to a really crappy filing system, where instead of filing all of the information about cats in a folder called “cats,” it’s been filed into all of its different bits — say, a file about “tails” and one about “claws” and one about “ears” and one about “sounds” — and I have to sift through a lot of unrelated information to find what I actually need. What’s really annoying is that because things are stored in illogical places, my knowledge can be triggered by really weird stuff. That’s why in a conversation about dogs I might suddenly interject a piece of information about snow. (We used to have a dog who we took sledding and got him onto a Krazy Karpet a few times.)
Does that make sense?
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If ADHD people have terrible memories, then why can I remember anything in my past or what someone said but I can't apply that to school?