A study from Oxford University suggests that hazy memory recall may predict the development of depression, according to the NYTimes.

The human brain is hardwired to suppress hurtful, bad, and traumatic memories.  When people try to recall them, these memories tend to be very general and lacking in details.

Usually, that’s a healthy function of your brain protecting you emotionally.  Indeed, studies show that people with hazier recall of bad events recover faster from them emotionally. 

However, a problem occurs when that mechanism is extended to general memory recall, a condition called overgeneral memory.  The Oxford study has shown that overgeneral memory may increase the likelihood of a person developing depression later on.

What may happen is that a person is upset over something but  can’t figure out and address the cause of it because of overgeneral memory.  The sadness or hurt, then, becomes a pervasive emotionally state.

In light of this finding, the Oxford researchers are trying to cure certain cases of depression by training patients to recall specific memory, accept their negative emotions, and the working through them.