Recovering memories help


New Here
Hi! I'm super new here. Please be patient with me if I'm using this thread/forum in the wrong way - I'm just looking for any sort of guidance I can get.

General background: I've been diagnosed with GAD/panic disorder & major depressive disorder since 12. I'm 31 now. Recently, I've been diagnosed with CPTSD, relating to childhood emotional trauma (mom died in my early, early childhood & I grew up in an emotionally abusive home). I have plenty of memories of emotional abuse and memories of a few instances of physical abuse. What I don't remember is any CSA, but I've always carried around this weird suspicion that something happened (for a few reasons, but mainly - an extreme fear of most men that I had until for all of my childhood and a shame surrounding physical intimacy that I've never been able to explain. Also, my constantly crumbling mental health has made me wonder). For the majority of my life, I wrote off these underlying suspicions because they seem like the perfect recipe for invented memories. I don't even know how legitimate that is, it's just what I've told myself.

A few months ago, something triggered me and I was flooded with memories of CSA. For a moment, it felt like puzzle pieces were coming together. It also felt like terror. The physical reactions that accompanied this were intense and something I've only experienced in the worst moments of my life. I called a close friend of mine and told her what I was experiencing. I also begged her to remind me that in that moment, I knew those memories were real.

I contacted my psychiatrist, he told me to take a walk.

So after, I once again, told myself these are invented memories, that the brain is a funny thing and that I am constantly looking for reasons to explain my mental health problems - when I probably know all of them already. All of these things still might be true.

I avoid my family, I see them once to twice a year out of obligation but I spent this past week with them. It was fine, I was mostly fine in terms of my mental health. I got home last night... and I had a similar experience to the one before. I know this is the most meta thing I could describe - but this time, it was like my consciousness split into three: one part was protecting these memories, one part was curious and validated by their existence, and then there was... me (?) just observing my brain going to war with itself. I didn't remember any old memories, but that felt almost like a choice I was able to make. Like, I was able to see them (not "see" them in the sense that I was hallucinating, it was just a visual) in boxes, and some behind brick walls but leave them there.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before?? Could I legitimately have protected myself from certain memories from my childhood? or is it more likely that I'm just inventing memories? I'm a little scarred from trying to seek guidance from my psychiatrist and essentially being brushed off (he also told me "these things tend to go away on their own). I, am, of course trying to find a new psychiatrist but it's genuinely not that easy where I live. I also have a therapist, but I'm worried this is a little outside of her comfort zone. I could find another one, but again, I moved here two years ago, and this is only the second person I've been able to get into see.

Any responses would be helpful. I don't even care if you tell me I'm crazy. I just... i dont know. need guidance.


My mind ran a bunch of weird connections after doing emdr. I had real memories with giant blanks around them. Over time things started filling in. I still don’t know if they are real or not, but my therapist said that as real as they feel, we just need to deal with it, so we do.


Memories coming back is just so confusing, unsettling, crazy making.

But yep: I relate. Been there.
Totally relate to the three parts you are talking about too. Which makes sense when you think about 'parts' work and fragmentations of ourselves to survive trauma.
(There is a thread about the book 'healing the fragmented selves of trauma survivors by Janine Fisher that might be of help once you are making more headway with these memories and believing yourself).

Your T and mental health professionals should be validating this. If you read threads here, you'll see how common it is for memories to come back and create this confusion you are going through. We all describe it in the same way you are. We all feel these feelings (disbelief, dismissal, confusion, etc). So T's and psychiatrists should be familiar with it.
Do you feel able to test the waters and bring it up with your T?
This is a very confusing and destabilising time to recognise what has happened, so support is key.


I’m more or less at the same point, but with very few of these memories. However what I found a year ago is that I have a blank of 2 years in my life with just a few flashing images and a feeling of dense, cold terror. I don’t even know if it’s real, I’m afraid it is. When I spoke about it to a friend they dismissed it and to my pdoc she’s like holding my horses before we do anything. So it’s very frustrating as I’m frankly scared of what can come up, and as you I have visions of parts and "areas" if that makes sense where part of me is seeking what it is and others just buried to thing so deep no chances to ever find it. It all is a very weird place to be and I don’t have any beginning of idea on how to get out of it or make it progress, but, at least I understand what you mean.


With trauma memories - exactly the same. Months of therapy and suddenly - there they were. Clear as they could be. 45 years later.

Feeling: The worst most soul disturbing feeling you can have.

Hidden: This time last year couldn't have told you that memory existed.

No it doesn't just "go away", yes you need professional help.

Yes you need a different psychiatrist, diagnoses and a therapist, soon.

Simply Simon

I could write an essay about topic of recovered/buried memories, the history of mental health professionals regarding such memories giving context for current prevailing attitudes and their gunshy nature, and my own experience of surfacing memories that were, blessedly, not only proven accurate but proven the tip of an iceberg that was better sketched out in full by my primary abuser and other witnesses.

But instead I’ll just say welcome, and yes, I’ve been there.

Are you familiar with body flashbacks?