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Repressed Memories? (May Trigger)


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Hello everyone-

My name is Miri, and basically I joined because I'm just so sick of having no one to talk to about this. I'm 22 years old, and for the past couple years I've been dating a really great guy named Aiden on and off. He is very sweet and patient, but there are times with I get extremely panicky around him. There was one time I can remember specifically when we were making out--it was a little dark out, and all of a sudden I was terrified. I've had panic attacks around him before, and usually he is very comforting--he'll just talk me through it until I'm calm again and usually hold me. This time though, I couldn't stand his touch. I ended up screaming at him in terror, and when he pulled back I bolted for the bathroom, collapsed on the tile, and had a full-blown panic attack that lasted at least 20 minutes and took another 15 to recover from. I know that that hurt him a lot, because he would never hurt me but I'm still sometimes terrified of him. That's hardly the first time it's happened too; it's getting to the point now where he thinks I need to get professional help (I've tried in the past), but I don't think it will help me. The thing is, I don't want to accept that there might be parts of my life that I'm missing (I have extremely huge memory gaps too). I want to know what happened (if anything did). I need closure. Does anyone else feel like that? It's driving me crazy!

Anyway, any and all help/advice is appreciated--thanks!

Miri

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Welcome to the community, Miri.

This must be very frightening and stressful for you. :( It's good that you reached out.

Traumatic experiences can lead to some of what you have described here. I'm sorry your other therapist was not helpful to you. It can take time and some searching to find a good match. I hear you that it is scary to consider that parts of your life are missing from your memory. There are ways to empower yourself now. A qualified professional may be able to help you understand what is happening so you can begin to heal. You can also learn ways to cope with and manage triggers. It's great that your boyfriend is supportive. Support is so important. We are here too if it helps to express yourself more.

Wishing you peace today.

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Thanks for the welcome! I had just come from his apartment last night, and was feeling so frustrated about everything! It's hard for other people to understand what I'm going through, even him. I think that he's very frustrated with me right now, and I'm upset at him. I just am so sick of not knowing why I am the way I am.

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Would it be fair to say it's also hard for you to understand what you're going through? I mean, you can feel the intensity of it, and you're aware that it's a panic response rather than something dangerous in the present situation, and that puts you ahead of many people. At least you understand that it _is_ panic rather than real; some people who experience panic reactions don't understand them. But you're of two minds: you want to know why you are the way you are, but you seem doubtful that you'll be able to, with professional help.

There's the direct idea that Beth suggested, of trying a different professional. But it would also be interesting to look at the possibility that you don't want to know. If there are in fact repressed memories (and there's no way to know for sure, at this point), then they were repressed for a reason, which you would need to honor. Not that it's healthier to leave them repressed, but that you would need to strengthen yourself so that you could cope with them coming back (if they're there.)

It may also be possible to have a fear reaction without ever being able to recover a memory of why. We don't form memories very well at a young age; even if you don't remember something, it's still possible something happened. On the other hand, it's possible that nothing (unusually traumatic) happened; it hasn't been proven that all anxiety disorders have their root cause in a traumatic event.

What all this means is that the exploration of this reaction is probably better done with a competent professional.

One question I did have was whether you had had past boyfriends without similar symptoms, or is this the first time you've been this close to a guy? If some guys trigger you and others haven't, it would make sense to explore the differences. But if this is your first boyfriend, it seems unlikely that it has anything to do with him, and more importantly, it's likely you would have the same trouble getting close to any guy. I would think that would make it pretty important to find out what it is, so that you have a chance at a happy life.

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Currently, I have no way to pay for any kind of mental help. I am a full-time college student and work multiple jobs to pay for it.

One question I did have was whether you had had past boyfriends without similar symptoms, or is this the first time you've been this close to a guy? If some guys trigger you and others haven't, it would make sense to explore the differences. But if this is your first boyfriend, it seems unlikely that it has anything to do with him, and more importantly, it's likely you would have the same trouble getting close to any guy. I would think that would make it pretty important to find out what it is, so that you have a chance at a happy life.

Aiden is my first boyfriend. I have never really felt comfortable around guys, and sometimes will get panicky if I'm alone with one. I've always been like that.

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Check out whether your school offers counseling. Many universities do, and many offer it for free.

And of course, you're welcome to talk about how you feel, here. I'm sure there are people who can relate to what you're dealing with.

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