You may not link your poor memory and inability to focus on depression, but depression affects memory and focus. This is more prevalent than most people realize. I used to be a successful multi-tasker. Now there are times when I absolutely cannot focus on multiple projects.  I attended nursing school and School of Social Work simultaneously; one in the day, the other at night.  This was challenging but I graduated with honors and passed my licensing exam on the first attempt. I completed all this as a single parent with a part-time job.  I have always had a mindset that all things are possible. If I were to try to do this today, I would certainly fail in every aspect. When I experience bouts of depression I have to focus on being focused and take measures to remember all that needs to be accomplished. While before, I never gave remembering things a second thought. I never made lists of things-to-do or bills to pay, I always remembered and I was organized.

What Can You Do When Depression Affects Memory and Focus?

When you are living with depression, so many factors lead to feeling confused and having poor short-term memory. Firstly, depression can cause insomnia, and lack of sleep leaves you feeling fatigued which can cause poor concentration and poor short-term memory. You’re tired, of course you can’t  focus!  Dr. Matthew Edlund, M.D., researches rest, sleep, performance and public health, and is the author of The Power of Rest, says “One of the earliest symptoms for many depressives is insomnia. They can’t fall asleep. They can’t stay asleep”. So what can you do? Depression affects memory and focus, but here are some suggestions that can help. These have put me back on track during periods of poor concentration, poor memory and feeling confused because you’re going in circles trying to get it all done. Use a smartphone as your assistant: Make a list of things to accomplish: break it down to daily and even hourly.  Set all your appointments, set reminders for medication, important dates like anniversaries and birthday.  When you make a reminder, be clear. Instead of writing “Appointment” write “hair appointment at____ with ____”. Set the appointment to go off in enough time for you to prepare to get to where you’re going.  If the reminders are for a term paper, then set the reminders in increments, listing exactly what needs to be done by when.

Make a list of things to accomplish: break it down to daily and even hourly Click To Tweet

Don’t Feel Ashamed

With all this said, everybody is in a different head space.   I am sharing some helpful tips to help you get over feeling confused, unfocused and having poor memory while living with depression. Remember what I am sharing is simply my experience of how depression affects memory and focus. You may not know for sure what exactly is causing these symptoms. If you are noticing these signs and symptoms, but are unsure of why you are having these experiences. Then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can work with you to determine the cause. From there, they can create an effective treatment plan to elevate your depression and improve your memory.

Don’t feel ashamed that you have to make these adjustments to enhance your life. It is not your fault that depression affects memory and focus.  Your goal right now is to live your best life every day. Do what you need to do to maximize your potential, live, love and laugh.

Pin Me

Let's Keep in Touch


It's Brittani & Adenike (a.k.a. Nikki), we hope you are enjoying our blog. We are just two sisters sharing our experiences in order to encourage other women who have experienced depression. We'd love to stay in touch. Join our email list for our latest advice and exclusive resources. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest