Hi there, that sounds like a pretty unnerving situation to be in and I would urge you to follow this through thoroughly with a doctor/specialist.
There are any number of medical/environmental conditions that could be causing this (happily, all of them fixable
) and if I were you I would get them checked out thoroughly - thyroid problem, B12 deficiency, prescription drugs, autoimmune conditions, depression......
I have a thyroid problem and experienced memory problems with that, even though my tests results were only slightly 'off' at that stage. That meant the doctors weren't taking it very seriously at all - which is why I urge you to really
persevere until you get an answer. What you describe sounds pretty similar. Some people call it brain fog. Memory problems caused me all sorts of trouble in my work and personal life - couldn't recall conversations, commitments I had made to people, total lack of interest in even sticking my nose out the door, and, eventually, lack of confidence. (I am a senior consultant in a very complex area and I truly didn't know what I was talking about for a while there
Given your age, sadly you may have a problem trying to get a doctor to take this seriously, but please persevere - there are so many things in life you will be limited in doing if you don't get a proper diagnosis and treatment now. Things you cannot even see if, indeed, you are in that brain fog.
One other thought as a kind of benchmarking thing, is for you to take something called the Mini Mental State Exam - it is a short test that your doctor can give you which gives you an indication of whether or not you have some level of cognitive (or memory) dysfunction. That might be a starting point to see if there really is a problem (from a doctor's perspective I mean).
I can't answer your question about what a normal memory is like - but I do love reading about it - it is a fascinating and complex subject and there are some very learned and articulate authors/presentations (Oliver Saks for one, and a downloadable British series on types of memory for another) that it would be a great disservice for me to even try.
I hope you get to the bottom of this - all the best