It feels like my mind is splitting in two

Lilac5598

New Here
For the longest time, I've felt like the more I thought about a memory, the more vague it became. But tonight, I realized that's not quite accurate. When thinking about bad memories, it feels like my mind splits into two. I have the part that is "playing" the memory and the part that protecting me. Has anyone else ever felt this way? If so, do you know what is happening?
 

Sideways

Moderator
the more I thought about a memory,
My personal experience? Is that with traumatic memories this is kind of like the horror version of daydreaming.

Sitting and mulling on a particular memory (traumatic or not) is a recipe for our mind to take it in all kinds of weird, less weird, or truly wackadoodle direction that I could never see coming, let alone wonder why my head would go there...which, is generally what our brains tend to do when we let them wander. They wander, and wander, and wander, until they're so far into a different reality that it's either really awesome, or really terrifying!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Yep. And I think that is exactly what your mind is doing? Helped you cope with it at the time.

For me, it just doesn't feel real. It's outside my body. The visuals are like me watching it happen to me. Which makes it feel even less real. But then some bits are what I would have seen or felt at the time.

It's traumatic memory. It's fragmented.
It's very confusing. But when you look at it through the lense of disassociation, it begins to make more sense.
 

Friday

Moderator
There was a time in my life where. I. couldn’t. stop. remembering. everything. Total floodgate collapse and everything came pouring out. To the point I couldn’t even stand, most of the time. Lurching to the bathroom was my best parlour trick. It was like all the EVERYTHING was trying to exist in the same moment, all overlaid, years upon years, all happening… right now. Worlds colliding

Try and TALK about anything that was there, though? Or deliberately reach for something? And it was like I got zapped over to the other side of the dam. Huge big white walls stretching as far as the eye could see. Total chaos and tumult and flood water churning in maelstroms on one side… where I spent most of my time… silence and white walls and -nothing- on the other. No access. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

On. Off.

It would have been a totally neat trick if I could call it at will.

Couldnt. It was like living in a flash flood zone. No warning. Just knocked down, bashed about, swept away, left pounding on a blank wall.

^^^
Which doesn’t sound like what you’re talking about.

Nor does the years I exited in a week-on // week-off dichotomy. In each? I had total access to 26 weeks worth of info. But not the other 26 weeks. 2 seperate -and decidedly unequal- lives. Lived consecutively. Week on. Week off. Week on. Week off. <<< But THIS version of normal I was living? Did exactly the fade into Monet meaninglessness you’re talking about if I TRIED to think about anything thT happened during one of the “other” weeks. I knew those weeks existed. I knew things happened during those weeks. I even journaled fairly extensively just to make sure. I just couldn’t think about them (including reading the wrong set of journals). If I tried to think about them? Like if someone asked me a question about something that had happened the preceding week, or about something thay only existed during one set of weeks? It went from intellectually knowing they were there, and real, to Monet, to pixelated mist blowing away, to nothingness. Total brain fog. Frustrating as hell.

^^^
The mind? Is a sneaky SOB. Capable of all kinds of ninja meets cirque du Soleil worthy acrobatics and tricks.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I have this on several degrees, going from total external viewpoint (quite rare), blackouts and unreal or foggy. Or everything floods in but somewhat no emotions or whatsoever. I found out recently that there is such a thing as emotional amnesia. Like, one (or several parts) still have the emotions attached to it while others might have the visual memory or simply the information something occurred.

Sometimes I can sense I’m on the verge of "entering" or "accessing" certain ranges of memories, it will glitch several times before being finally accessed but it isn’t without effort. I’ve seen this happening right before my eyes, like day after day it’s more difficult to remember until loosing fairly big chunks or having them being really bizarre, foggy and detached. Honestly given what’s been forgotten I don’t really complain. Some memories though really have this stonewall vibe and you can feel your brain doesn’t want to let it out.
 

StillPen

Confident
My experience is a little different, but similar in some ways. I definitely split. I see my memoreies in two ways. I am either in it as if it is happening in the moment (what I consider an active flashback), or I see it as though I am watching it happen to me on a movie screen or TV with no emotion attached to it so I def. think that is the protective part. I can, when aware in the moment, shrink or grow the image in my mind's eye...or make the image or movie play in black and white...they both work to make the experience less intense. I also experience what I call emotional flashbacks. A sound is usually the trigger. Some noise that catches me off guard, aggressive voice, etc. and I regress to a youner self, no memories, just overwhelming fear, paralyzed in an absolute frozen state with no specific trauma/abuse to tie it back to. All of these experiences, for me, are meant to protect me. My brain's way of trying to understand and cope with the memories. When I come out of them I do my very best to journal about them and try to remember what triggered them. (C)PTSD sucks, in all its glorious forms...what once protected me now inhibits me. But one little step at a time, I'm learning the triggers, challenging the belief tied to the triggers, and shifting the blame to its proper event/abuser. I'm with you on your journey. Gentle hugs if you if you accept them.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
For the longest time, I've felt like the more I thought about a memory, the more vague it became. But tonight, I realized that's not quite accurate. When thinking about bad memories, it feels like my mind splits into two. I have the part that is "playing" the memory and the part that protecting me. Has anyone else ever felt this way? If so, do you know what is happening?
that's exactly what im experiencing today. It's horrible. It's like a video tape playing in my mind. And there's one part of me suffering and another part trying to defend/protect me. It's really unpleasant and takes up so much mental energy. It's very draining.
 
For the longest time, I've felt like the more I thought about a memory, the more vague it became. But tonight, I realized that's not quite accurate. When thinking about bad memories, it feels like my mind splits into two. I have the part that is "playing" the memory and the part that protecting me. Has anyone else ever felt this way? If so, do you know what is happening?
I do recognize those moments. My rational mind realizes that I'm dissociating but the damaged portion continues to drift away. Unfortunately I don't have the answers. Still working through this too.
 
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