Recovering memories help

Irmie0690

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.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
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

Sponsor
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?
 

janincalif

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.
After reading this I am thanking you for sharing. I thought I was crazy too as I have been going through a similar experience except I have had a very strong brick wall all of my life. It showing signs of crumbling now and it's scary.
 

janincalif

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.
Oh my gosh it's funny, but not funny at all. Every emotion and fear you have written about, I have had or am going through too.

I have a whole list of memories, i.e. being in the bathtub with dad and giggling when mum wasn't home, as he's pulling me toward him I'm giggling not wanting to get too close to.. Well you know. The memory starts and ends with that. I have a while collection of those memories, what on earth are you supposed to do with them? Inappropriate behavior may have been all it ever was but why do these movies play over and over when you just want to be done with them and get on with life.

And if he did go further, I forgive him, he's no longer alive and I can't hate him for something that may never have gone any further. Its so confusing and it just won't go away!

I battle with the lack memories, I challenge it, accept it, tell it I don't care, and above all I tell myself I'm making it up even if I don't know I am. The other day I even broke down the brick wall I had built in my mind 20 odd years ago. It was beautiful on the other side, and I have no idea what that means. I can see over the last of the wall, but only to observe. Over the wall it looks like the earth from space but my wall is right next to it so I could step over the wall and onto it.

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?
What is a body flashback? I would really like to know, it feels familiar
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Hi my experience was exactly the same as in your original post and it’s almost textbook the way you wrote it. That was 12 or so years ago now . Lots has happened and lots of therapy. But yes I had large blocks of memory locked away or I looked at them like they meant something else. I hope you can see a trauma therapist as they do something different than the psychiatrist. Welcome and I hope you find the answers you need.
 

janincalif

New Here
I have been reading through this thread and a few others this week. Every thing I read slowly stripped me of all my excuses and denials. I can't believe how normal I am lol, I thought I was a freak all these years!

The thing is, I've known all these years that there was CSA and have a whole list of them and now they have all been slammed down in my face in chronological order. All these little incidents are precursors and I feel the real story on the tip of my brain and I Don't Want It. Ok..taking a break because I'm really f*cking scared right now.
 
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janincalif

New Here
Is there a place on here with hotline numbers? I feel like my brain is about to vomit out the disgusting details of things I can't even put in writing, surely couldn't talk about and really don't want to remember. And I'm babysitting so this is not the right time for it.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Is there a place on here with hotline numbers?
No - as a worldwide forum? It would be a quicker process to google, probably local support hotlines for the particular type of issue (eg. Suicide hotlines vs DV hotlines, big difference).

If you have questions about how to use the forum? The quickest and easiest way is to hit us up at Contact Us.

We do have a specific thread if you feel like a general chat with others would be helpful right now, which you can find here. Bear in mind this is a peer support forum, so for the most part, you're chatting with people who may well be dealing with their own crisis.

If you'd like to start a thread of your own, to get feedback on your own situation, you can do that, alternatively you can start a Trauma Diary if you want to work through some things that way.

But the short answer? Is no, we aren't a crisis support site.
 
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