Mental world

daisydew

Learning
Today I was thinking back to some odd occurrences from my childhood and I remembered that I had very vivid memories of playdates at an apartment with a young boy about my age. The strange thing is that I know it never happened in real life. No one in my family ever took me to an apartment and the boy seems to have been someone who "lived in my mind" if that makes sense. I'm guessing this is connected to my trauma and dissociation--some form of extreme escapism I guess? I genuinely thought it was real as a kid, the playdates felt quite real. Has anyone else experienced something like this?
 

Friday

Moderator
the boy seems to have been someone who "lived in my mind" if that makes sense.
Imaginary Friends are super common in childhood... including normal & even golden childhoods... a child’s mind is an amazing place; full of endless possibilities and potential, the real & the imaginary often having no boundaries whatsoever.

I always wanted an imaginary friend, but never had one. Not as a child. Not until I was much older & started writing stories... creating whole universes to play in... as I spent countless hours in cars, trains, planes, attempting to fall asleep. By the time I started doing that, the only place the people and worlds I made up could live were in my heart/mind, and on the page/canvass/clay/whatever medium I was playing with, (and in other people’s hearts/minds). The boundaries between imagination and reality were too strongly set, by the time I started creating things.

***

There were ALSO things I swore up & down were real... and was told were absolutely not... that I later found evidence I was right. The adults had just forgotten, was all -OR- the way I described them didn’t make sense to an adult mind. Like I swore for years I had pet fish in Japan, that I fed every day / it was my job, and they loved me so much they tried to come out of the water to hug me... and was told I did not, we didn’t have fish until we came back to the states, and fish DONT do that. Well? I found a pic of me petting the koi I SWORE were real, for years, and was told those were the koi I loved so much at the train station thay every time we rode the train we had to detour to the koi pond, or I’d throw a temper tantrum about not being allowed to see my friends, the fish. My parents? Knew the koi weren’t “ours” so they weren’t “my” pet fish. And that koi surface to be fed/petted/etc. they didn’t see as “coming out of the water for hugs”. Similarly, everyone fed those fish, it wasn’t my job. And whilst I might have considered the train station part of “home” (I also swore there was a river inside our home, that I was told I was “just imagining”; but seeing the picture of me at 2yo petting the koi in their river in he train station? Yep. THAT’S the river in our house!!!)... because we left “home” every day from that train station, and returned “home” every day TO that train station... it’s hardly insane that a child attaches the train station to meaning “home”).

Just 2 ways of remembering the same event(s).

So whilst it’s totally possible you simply had an imaginary friend, as a child? It’s also possible that the kid WAS someone you knew... but your parents weren’t taking you for a play date. But dropping you off at a sitters. Or the apartment building WASNT an apartment building but a preschool, and you and another child were always there the earliest or latest, so it was your special time, together. Or any of a hundred other disconnects between how a child’s mind sees an event, and how an adult mind sees the event.
 

daisydew

Learning
Thanks for your reply @Friday ! Everything you said definitely makes sense. I think I was particularly imaginative as a kid, so I guess it makes sense that it would feel so vivid or that I could mix up memories and things like that. I was told by my psych that my dissociation seems quite severe, so sometimes it's hard for me to know if things I did as a child were "normal" or dissociative/trauma responses.

@grit that definitely makes sense! I think that's probably why I tend to daydream a lot now, it was a very effective coping mechanism as a kid.

I appreciate the responses! It sounds like my experience with this is probably not super out of the norm, which is good to know!
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I had two imaginary friends when I was little. Being the unwanted child and everyone, except for one, was pretending it was ok that I was there and even as a child I felt how untrue their acting was.

So, enter my friends that would never leave me, always liked me, and were happy to see me. Many stories were told in humiliating attempts to make me less than as an adult by the one who hated me.

It didn't work. It was the one true thing I had as a child and all the hate in the world couldn't make them go away. Thank the Universe we find ways to live thru it all. And that is our normal when we have little else.
 
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