Leys (and others) indicate that the inability to remember (amnesia/dissociation) is one of the key components of trauma. But are there degrees of amnesia? Do people have difficulty remembering not only the traumatic, but the uncomfortable? There is an optimistic bent to memory – the “good old times” never really were that great. Perhaps the human brain has a built-in system for systematic forgetting, but this system is “broken” during periods of trauma?
Speculation: this could tie to the prions discussed on NPR’s Science Friday. If prions play a role in both the recall and formation of memory, then a better understanding of how stress interferes with their function could be fruitful. It may also indicate that “normal” academic stress (e.g. sleep deprivation, deadlines) may be internalized in similar ways.