I have a serious problem remembering a lot of things. I barely even remember what happened yesterday. However, there’s a rare condition that very few people around the world have, and it allows them to remember literally every single thing that happens to them, in full detail. One such person is Rebecca Sharrock.
The 27-year-old from Brisbane, Australia has a condition called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (or HSAM), and it basically stops you from forgetting anything. Only around 60-80 people in the world have it, and she recently shared the story.
“My earliest memory of which I can date is from when I was twelve days old. My parents carried me to the driver’s seat of the car (my father’s idea) and placed me down upon it for a photo. As a newborn child I was curious as to what the seat cover and steering wheel above me were. Though at that age I hadn’t yet developed the ability to want to get up and explore what such curious objects could be.”
“When I was reading a newspaper in mid 2014, I came across an article that said that it was impossible for us to remember personal events which happened to us before we were four years old. After I’d finished reading the article I was thinking ‘what absolute nonsense’. I’m currently in the process of writing a book My Life is a Puzzle, and memories of events up to the age of four fill a very long chapter.”
“At the very beginning of my life, I would spend a lot of time in my crib looking at surrounding toys and the stand up fan next to me. On my first birthday I had no idea what the day was about, all I knew was that mum was putting me in an itchy satin dress, and I was crying. Though I was told that this was my own special day and that lots of people were coming to see me. I still didn’t understand but stopped crying eventually. That day my parents also gave me a Minnie Mouse plush toy, whose face terrified me, though I could not word this. All I could do was cry and push it away whenever I saw it.”
“When I was about 18 months old (assumably because it was before my second birthday yet I was out of my crib) I began to dream whenever I fell asleep. At that age I thought that I really was leaving home each night, so I’d always want my mum with me while I was sleeping. Just after my second birthday my sister Jessica was born. I didn’t understand what a sister was back then and was far more interested in playing with my toy train. Though I did get up to some mischief over the next year or so, when it dawned on me that I wasn’t an only child anymore, and I had to share everything with a sister, as well as give away my old clothes and toys.”
“It is true that I’m one of about 60 people in the world identified as having a very unusual memory which is called HSAM (or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory). This makes me unable to forget any day of my life, and I’m also constantly reliving my past (emotionally) in clear-cut detail. However those of us with HSAM are not alone with having memories from the time when we were under four years old. In fact the vast majority of the people I’ve come across also have distinct memories of them welcoming a sibling to their family as a toddler, as well as early birthday and Christmas celebrations.”
A truly amazing story. I feel like someone should make a movie with a plot like this.
Check out the video below to hear Rebecca discussing her amazing condition:
I can see HSAM coming in useful for doing an exam.