If your memory’s going, chances are you’re getting old. But what if you’re a teenager and you can’t remember a thing – even what happened ten minutes ago?
Encephalitis is a potentially fatal brain condition and one of its side-effects is severe amnesia. It’s one of the reasons why, in Britain alone, thousands of teens are battling against debilitating memory disorders every day. As soon as they wake up they’re unable to remember the simplest of tasks, such as brushing their teeth, eating breakfast or even taking their clothes off before a shower.
From school and sports to shopping and dating, this documentary sheds light on the young amnesiacs for whom everyday activities become a heart-breaking struggle. Encephalitis has left 14-year-old Sam with a memory that lasts only a few hours. When asked to go upstairs and fetch something, he’ll often forget completely within seconds and sometimes doesn’t even remember to take his clothes off before getting into the bath. It makes life a struggle, and it’s embarrassing, since every minute Sam feels people are watching him to see if he’s going to forget something.
The film follows Sam and two other teenagers, 19-year-old Ricky and 18-year-old Rosie, all of whom suffer from brain injuries. With exclusive access to a unique ‘memory camp’ in Yorkshire run by the Encephalitis Society, we’ll see how the three teens cope with activities specifically designed for improving their amnesia, such as falconry, which gives them close physical contact with another living creature. Can the camp help transform their lives?
A co-production with GroupM Entertainment.
60 mins, Channel 5, 2013