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False Memory or Glimpses From Fugue State?

A couple of years ago, I went through a very heavy OCD-related breakdown. At the time, I was home constantly – taking school online – so I did not leave my house much and used all of that time to think pretty much.

*Let me preface this part by saying that, I am a very spiritual person and do believe in seeing “signs” from the universe or spirits. In the house I lived in prior to this, I had experiences with a haunting and it was very negative and draining for me- this is going to sound crazy, but I would use a pendulum to communicate with it whenever I felt like I needed reassurance for my OCD. When I moved a year later, I had thrown all connections to that away and tried to move on.*

Flash forward to another year of homeschool, but in the new house this time. [I was homeschooled for about 2 1/2 years due to not being able to handle going to school anymore.] I had to use my laptop for schoolwork of course, and this was at a time I was still paranoid about the spirit from my old house. Whenever I’d use it, I started to get this compulsion that I had to look for “messages” whenever I’d see a group of letters somewhere (aka, laptop). Eventually, I felt like the “messages” I was receiving started to sound too ominous regarding my OCD triggers and I took it as a reason to believe I was being told I had done something I had forgotten, and thus, needed to investigate. This didn’t just occur out of the blue and happened over a period of time where I’d “check” to see if something was telling me something.

Eventually, that morphed into me believing I was being told I had killed someone. —No voices in my head or anything like that, but basically a construction of a narrative from spiritual belief. In that year, over time, I would obsess over the news/look at cold cases/feel paranoid if a cop was behind us in the car/etc. And that turned into me having visuals added to the paranoia, along with having very very VERY strong feelings of going back to that “moment” and feeling everything you’d feel when going back to a memory. This progressed and worsened over time obviously- to the point that I felt like I was having intense flashbacks and spurts of recollection just like any memory would feel (what really boggles my mind is that I only see people with harm OCD talk about having images pop up in their mind, doubt, etc. so that sends me down another rabbit hole of worry). It genuinely concerns me that people say “but I have had no memory of this, just doubt!” when I have had moments where it definitely wasn’t just doubt (or images).

Here’s the kicker: despite feeling like I’ve had moments of realizing it’s a real memory, going back to “a” moment, feeling myself “be” there, etc — I have never once recalled any details of where I was, what exactly I was doing, what happened, or what the situation could’ve even logically looked like. And that led me down the path of worrying that I repressed a memory of harming someone.

Now, do keep in mind, I would have to have been 14 years old if this were to be a real occurrence (of me harming someone) and I was about 15-16 when I began having this false memory debacle. I say that because the only time I had harm OCD relating to murder was at 14 years old and it did heavily dissociate me, but I do not remember having any plans to go and kill someone or any desire to leave my home.

I just want to ask — has anyone had some sort of similar experience with false memories before!?? Where it feels like it takes real memory and completely fabricates a false moment? I feel so alone and lost, even almost 5 years later.

DISCLAIMER: I have received therapy for this issue, and while it has helped sometimes, I am extremely worried that he just assumes it’s like any other case — and I can’t tell if it’s not because I’ve never had anyone relate (not talking about the spiritual stuff, I am mostly speaking about the real-ness of how everything felt and how it is described). Also, no I do not have schizophrenia or anything that would cause delusions, or at least I don’t think so.

I guess what my point in posting this is — I have been on OCD forums looking for stories similar to mine (not the spiritual details or how it came to be) such as, how the “memory” feels and how my mind doesn’t even necessarily put an image next to it when I get these feelings!! I’m extremely worried (and suicidal) that I could’ve harmed someone and repressed it even though I can’t even imagine myself doing that. I want to fit into the false memory OCD label but I can’t help but feel so, so, so alone.

To make matters worse, I went on my local news website & searched cases from that time period & found a “suspicious death” which happened when I had a large gap in my Facebook activity. And it’s strange because in the months/years surrounding that, I don’t have a gap as large as that anywhere. For reference, I live in a small town so it’s hard to believe this as coincidence. My assumption is I was dissociated during those days and had an aversion to social media or something. I don’t know, I just feel like giving up.

If anybody wants to read this, please do. I’m sorry if any of this is distressing or weirds anyone out, I’m just trying to piece my life together.

 

Just made an account in case anybody sees this post and would like to message. Again, I’m sorry for any upsetting details in my story. 

Can anyone respond to this? 

Hey, im also very spiritual and understand your beliefs there and how they get super messy with OCD fears, and also false memory is my number one theme.

Repressed/ suppressed memories dont really work this way, the way OCD makes us fear.. usually we repress something if it is something bad that happened to us.. outside of that we can block out, be in denial and avoid bad memories of things we did but it would still be a there in the background as a certainty and on some level we know we are avoiding it, but we never doubt if it happened or not.

Real memory of doing something bad is not something we have to try to figure out, if anything its impossible to forget from the very moment / day it happens.
Also if you had killed somebpdy or any other horrific crime of harm.. you would natuarally go into instant flight or fight mode and realise what consequences would be coming.. you would go into panic.. almost straight away after the crime..

False memory OCD is not always just images.. it can be a sense of emotionally remembering the feeling of these moments , it can be feeling like you remember the feeling on your hands, it can be sounds, smells, facial expressions, and visions and images.. it can be all of it.. but if your still feeling like you cant figure it out, or need to try to figure it out..
then its automatically OCD, in real life you wouldnt need to figure out of it happened or not.. you would know that it did from day one.

I know how terrying this is, your not only obsessing about a past event thats horrific and bad, but also the future consequences if the thought was real.

but I promise you, its always a lie, if it was true.. you wouldnt be on this forum asking if its OCD or not..
that question “is this OCD or not.. “ automatically means it is OCD.

but no amount of reassurance from me or anybody will be enough , especially with false memory, you get reassurance on one detail and it will make the next detail feel even more real and true.

Do what Ali says, track the time, reduce rumination and within days/ weeks/ it will lose power and you will start to see it clearly.

take care

I've had the same thing, basically I can't always tell if its a real memory or not. I don't hear many people saying this but sometimes I really can't tell, and it scares me so much. I get the same as you, images, feelings, familiarity. I researched false memory and apparently when things are suggested people very commonly make up completely false memories that they believe are 100% true (but are completely made up) and I think OCD people can do that to themselves.

The thing is, there is no way to know, and we have to live with the uncertainty and the good thing is, every time I reduce my OCD I look at the bigger picture my brain switches over to "mehwho cares, maybe you did, but its unlikely" because its almost like my confidence in who I am comes back and after the OCD goes, and then I know I'm not a horrible person. It's strange. I'm in a false memory OCD right now and it's awful. 

Also, I would steer clear of that new agey spiritual stuff. In therapy I was told I can either believe in Law of Attraction or have OCD. You just can't have the belief that your thoughts are causing things to happen magically....LOA is literally OCD imo. Maybe that's not what you are into but I don't think talking to "spirits" is helping you in any way. 

One thing that really helps me when nothing else will, is exposure by writing down my fears. It helps a lot, I have to start doing it again. I was stuck in really bad false memory stuff and I would write it out on paper like "worried i did X" "worried my memory of X is real and feel X" write a decent amount of detail and face it, write a list about feeling, worries, images, what you think you did. You're already thinking it anyway. Then burn it or shred it or whatever you want to do (I had a fireplace). THEN use Alis meathod of not ruminating. She also recommends the writing thing. It does help a ton.  I used to do this 2x per day if i was really bad. I also tracked while trying not to ruminate, it makes you aware of when you start to ruminate, so then you can stop. I'd just allow the anxiety, thoughts and try to listen to a podcast that I was interested in. I'd suggest finding Ali's video for instruction on this, I'm not a professional so I don't want to make anyone worse, it just worked for me.

Some physical things can help like Ali says, waking up no later than 9. I find getting a good hour or two of sunlight helps, light actually signals our body to make certain hormones and can lower cortisol later in the day having just 20min of outdoor light in the morning. Best to get it within 30min after waking.

Hope this helps and you feel better soon!