Memories

It’s so weird with my memory, it works fine most of the time but once in awhile I get a blast from the past of things I didn’t and couldn’t remember before I was diagnosed with my depression and got medication for it.

The thing is, my depression is due to a serotonin imbalance in the brain, serotonin has the effect on you that it, amongst other things, improves well being and assists you in learning new things, fetching and placing things in your memory. At least, that’s how it was described to me back in the day.

But because of big swings in my serotonin levels it is quite often difficult for me to access memories and sometimes it’s like I don’t remember anything regardless of how hard I try and remind myself of the thing I’m supposed to remember. Which is not true of course, the memories are there, it’s just the pathways to them that are messed up due to the imbalance of serotonin in my brain.

What’s the big deal then?

Well, the thing is that I’ve begun to get strong memories quite often lately of things I haven’t had access to for many years, even decades.
Recently, they have been of this house.

Grettisgata 40

Grettisgata

From that house, a lot of the strongest memories I’ve been getting lately originate. This is actually the first home I remember from my childhood, this is where I lived when I started going to school. Though I don’t remember going to school there at all, I now remember a lot about the house, the yard and our neighbours there.

As an example, I remember that my room was on the lower floor, the window to the far right. There was a wall between that window and the middle one and in the next room to the left was my sisters room. The top floor was divided into a living room on the left with two windows and the kitchen to the right with one window.

I’ve dreamt this house regularly but in those dreams, the internals of the house are completely different and often quite a bit larger or stranger than the house would offer. Sometimes I dream that the insides are something similar to a monkey gym, bars everywhere, tight entrances to crawl through to get to the other and bigger rooms, but the floors in the house would never be just two like the house is in real life though.

New memories I’ve been receiving have been of how the house really was, I remember the smell and texture of the carpet in my room, I remember the number of steps in the stair that lead from the kitchen to the lower floor, I remember the window that was in the middle of the way down which was also under the deck my father built on the backside of the house (you can see a bit of it there to the right of the house).

Another thing I remember is that the garden wasn’t as “au naturel” as it is on this photo, it was a lot tidier.

The local candy shop

Vitastígur - Sjoppan

I also remember when I played with my friends in the neighbourhood, here on this photos (where the short sun visor is) was the local candy shop. I went there to buy candy and malt. The fence there on the right wasn’t there when I was younger though.

The malt was in glass bottles then as it is now here in Iceland, but the rule was that if you gave the merchant a broken bottle neck with the lid still on, you’d get a new one and he’d return it to the brewery and get it written off himself. So what me and my friends would regularly do is try and scrounge some money off our parents and chip in for a bottle together (1L bottle) and buy one, then we’d go with it, a sift and a bowl, under the stairs you see there on the right. We’d break the bottleneck on the side of the stairs and then pour gently out of the bottle through the sift to get the glass out to be safe. Then we’d take turns going to the shop asking for a new one with the bottleneck and the lid still on it.
This went on for so long one day that the merchant started yelling at us and we ran away to do something else.

The old hut on Vitastígur.

Vitastigur - Gamli kofinn

There on the left side, where there is now only rough grass and weeds, there was a hut built from concrete. But it was in disarray and hadn’t been kept up for many years, if not decades. There was no door nor windows, and there was nothing inside it. The roof was halfway caved in but that didn’t deter us from using it as our clubhouse.

The biggest memory I have of this hut was that one day I decided that I was going to be cool towards my friends and stole a pack of cigarettes off my mother, a green Royal (mint) and we decided to start smoking then and there.

Well, it happened, we started smoking a few cigarettes each and I remember the feeling of unease and nausea from smoking the menthol cigarettes. Even today I get a bit of a shiver when I smell menthol cigarettes.

So now what?

Well, it’s been really fun to get these memories from time to time, I feel like I’m gaining something new again and again. It’s amazing how much we take for granted that our memory works well and to be able to fetch information from our mind and memories without any issue.
I wouldn’t mind having better access to my memories myself, there is so much I want to refresh and remember again.

But there’s always tomorrow, right?