Gift of the Gab is a friendly mix of current affairs, popular culture, and whatever else is relevant and tickles my fancy. One day I could be talking about birds falling from the sky, and the next it could be a lively debate on the best place for coffee in Southern Ontario. This blog is an eclectic combination of information and entertainment because that's how I roll as VP of Communications!
I considered starting this post by asking you to recall your worst memory. Then I decided that I would probably lose a lot of readers because really, who wants to think about the less than stellar moments of their life? I sure don’t.
When I read that the University of Montreal had conducted a study which showed that the drug, metyrapone could reduce levels of cortisol (a stress hormone associated with memory recall) I immediately thought about one of my favourite movies – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you remember (pun intended), the story depicts Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski as they fall in love, fall out of love, attempt to erase the other from their respective memories, and eventually (SPOILER alter) find each other again. The story is beautiful and believable, despite the fact that at the time, there was no study to prove that we could forget painful memories.
Now that there is proof we can reduce things like post traumatic stress disorder, we can begin to look at how important negative moments and emotions are to our everyday life. It seems a little freaky science to play with nature like this, but as Marie France Marin, lead author of the study explains in the National Post, “If every time you retrieve [a bad memory] and it’s not helping you because you cannot calm down a bit and put things back into perspective, it might be a good idea to retrieve it under the influence of metyrapone so you will recall less of the emotional or very traumatic part”. That seems like a reasonable argument, as they are not actually erasing memories (insert Men in Black reference) but “reducing, modifying [and] decreasing”.
Personally, this isn’t something that I would do. I know I said I don’t like to drudge up the past, but I recognize the importance experiencing pain, learning to live with it, and subsequently moving on. That being said, I wouldn’t judge someone who went through a traumatic event (war, violence, etc) and used metyrapone to modify the memory.
I wonder, does the saying “Whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger” apply here?