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#412196 - 10/04/12 07:09 PM Repressed memories discussion?
Jwmcd2 Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 110
This is one of the things that bothers me a lot. Without going into many details like in my survivor story thread,I managed to repress 2 large hunks of my life (both when I was 3~4 from a female preschool teacher and when I was 9~11 or 12 from an older male cousin) and up until Feb 2011 I didn't remember any bits about what went on then.

As a quick disclaimer of sorts, I'm in counseling and I've been diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive disorder and also some indications for mild dissociative personality disorder.

Some things that bug me about it:
* I had trouble remembering a lot of the information early on, and when I talked about it to really close friends it flowed out of my mouth like I was making something up on the spot without "remembering" it first it seemed.

*I have a lot of feelings thinking that it cannot be true

*sometimes I would remember stuff almost in a 3rd person view or tell the story in 3rd person. E.g. it didn't happen to me, but "that little boy she did stuff to"

*sometimes I can't remember some things that went on and there are bits and details missing out of the abuse events. Other times there is a ridiculous amount of detail like certain smells or touch sensations.

*sometimes I will see, hear or smell something and I can snap into a certain kind of mindset and remember new things. Once happened when I was working in a facility and seeing the floor tiles suddenly made me remember an event and I got physically sick from that, but never really recalled that memory before then.

*I went from being very emotionless to suddenly being a "crybaby" again like I was when I was younger. I can honestly say that there may have been 1 or 2 occasions when I cried from the age of 13-21, not including a close friend dying in a 4-wheeler accident or a close relative dying. Now emotions seem so fake when they pop up out of nowhere.

So does anyone else have problems with this stuff? I'd appreciate any feedback.

#412198 - 10/04/12 07:52 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
I've experienced every item on that list you put out there.

I still have little bits here and there that I know are tiny parts of other memories that haven't totally come to the surface.

Growing up I had little things I always remembered (but didn't understand) and then I had things that were completely gone until they suddenly popped up like having a big old curtain pulled back on a game show.

I still can't remember most of my childhood. Just bits here and there.

#412203 - 10/04/12 08:53 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
Jwmcd2 Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 110
It's really weird-- it's like I have all these issues that didn't make any sense (like anxiety when going to use a restroom) that suddenly made a lot of sense. And so much in my life really started to connect together. I can't help but worry i didn't fabricate some "why is this" explanations. But it really, really helps to know you've felt the same.

And I like that curtain analogy. It could be where I'm having a relatively good day then all the sudden "SURPRISE, LETS SEE BEHIND THIS DOOR!" and I'm knee-deep in an oddly vivid flashback. Sometimes it's odd details I remember like cold hands or color shirt I was wearing. Other times it's like I can remember the smell of laundry detergent or dust and it's really vivid-- it's incredible something so strong could be covered up so i guess I worry about it a lot.

I still kind of remember the first person I ever told about my problems, how he asked what was wrong with me and suddenly I'm spilling my guts about something, able to tell what color shirt and pants I had on when I was 4 years old and what I could see through a window, just out of nowhere it seemed. That's what scares me so much too-- not knowing what else there might be :c

#412213 - 10/04/12 11:25 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
traveler Online   confused

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4285
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio

it's all classic dissociative reactions.
in other words - you are normal in your responses to a very abnormal traumatic experience.
and most of us here understand most - if not all - of those symptoms.
i know i do.
so - keep on thinking it through, writing it out, posting, sharing, talking, even though it's not unique - your particular details and insights help others and others can in turn help you - we are very symbiotic!
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#412218 - 10/05/12 01:47 AM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
WVguy Offline

Registered: 09/23/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Upstate New York
Originally Posted By: Jwmcd2
*I went from being very emotionless to suddenly being a "crybaby" again like I was when I was younger. I can honestly say that there may have been 1 or 2 occasions when I cried from the age of 13-21, not including a close friend dying in a 4-wheeler accident or a close relative dying. Now emotions seem so fake when they pop up out of nowhere.

So does anyone else have problems with this stuff? I'd appreciate any feedback.

This is completely me right now. I was the guy that showed no emotion to anyone, I even once wondered why I couldn't cry at the funeral of a good friend's mother. And ever since I have admitted what happened to me to myself, I have been a roller coaster. I am sad, then happy, then raging pissed off, then so depressed I don't wanna move. And all of that can take place in a just a few hours time.

#412233 - 10/05/12 05:44 AM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
Metolius Offline

Registered: 02/09/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Oregon
Everything you listed in your post sounds like perfectly normal reactions to having been traumatized by abuse.

I have only the tiniest fragments of images regarding the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my father when I was very small. I was abused by a priest in my high school and college years; putting together the pieces of what he did to me wasn't so much a matter of recovering repressed memories but lifting the veil of denial about what his actions meant.

In either case I've struggled with not being able to piece together what feels and sounds to me like a coherent narrative of what happened to me. It all feels fragmented and left room for lots of doubt about whether it really happened or whether I made too big a deal about the abuse. One of the biggest gifts of attending a Weekend of Recovery was hearing the accounts of other survivors who were clear about what they remember of their experience as well as what they are unable to recall. It was healing to figure out that 1) I know enough to know I was sexually abused and deeply traumatized by these two men (and several others), 2) my gaps in memory or inability to put together an exact timeline of what happened and how the abuse escalated is perfectly normal for me as a survivor, and 3) I am not alone in any of this, nor am I alone in my journey of recovery.

Welcome to a world where 1) your experience is, sadly, all too normal for us, 2) your courage in working on your recovery is recognized and applauded, and 3) you are surrounded by and connected to many kind, generous, courageous men who are healing and thriving.

#412257 - 10/05/12 01:29 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3852
I can understand everything that has been said here. As time moves forward and I work on healing I seen new pieces of the past. I always had memories of some of the abuse but so much of it was pushed to a place in the mind that I disowned. I have a good sense of the events but when new information surfaces it sends me back to that dark place. But I am handling. The gaps and denial caused many periods in my life to be foggy and unknown to me. I seemed to have developed a coping mechanism to leave when I was under emotional stress. Normal tasks would be done and I would be confused when I did not remember doing them. Other times I was baffled and scared by where I was and what people said I did. But throughout life I always thought everyone had these gaps in life. But I am beginning to understand mine were more extensive because the abuser, a priest, when I was a child my mind allowed me to escape from the memories of the abuse so I could survive but also taught me to leave when I was in some emotional or stressful turmoil. It allowed me to escape from emotional or psychological pain, the unknown world became by safe place.

So everything I read here is makes total sense to me. Today, as I heal I am focused on not using my coping mechanism of leaving but rather focus on the here and now. It can be tough and the efforts are great and impacts my ability to tend to details and work I need to address. But as I face the past the pains of the present are bearable. You are feeling and accepting the past-keep going you are amongst people who have lived what you are experiencing and accept it for what should have never happened to any of us.

#412277 - 10/05/12 05:32 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
Jwmcd2 Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 110
Thanks everyone for giving some responses back-- I'm feeling a lot better about this stuff now. I've been kind of feeling isolated, thinking maybe I was different to other people.

Thanks again.

#412342 - 10/06/12 03:39 PM Re: Repressed memories discussion? [Re: Jwmcd2]
Randy65 Offline

Registered: 04/14/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Alabama
Hi Jwmcd2,
You are very accurate with everything you said. I was reading back through my journals last night and and when all of this starts being released you have more questions than answers. I wanted quick answers and solutions and that sure didn't happen. You are not alone in this. The dissociative episodes have been the hardest, I rank it ahead of the depression which is getting better. Our MS family and support has been critical in me getting better.
Stay Strong,
My Story of CSA

My Story of CSA: The Day God Entered My Heart

My Story of CSA: "Flashbacks" (Trigger Caution)


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