Fandango has decided to revisit past questions for Fandango’s Provocative Questions prompts. This question is actually one I have for many years and is the topic of many counseling sessions.
How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?
I don’t. It is as simple as that. My mind has been my greatest protector and most devious enemy for much of my life. My medical doctor blames my age on my failing memory, but as with many of my medical doctors, they don’t hear me. I have memories, they are just either completely false, grossly enhanced, or so faded they are practically non-existent. My counselors over the years have explained that my brain is “protecting” me. From what, however, I cannot remember. Maybe from feeling insignificant? Hurt? Stupid? Not good enough?
It would appear that I create stories in my head to enhance/protect my life story. I vividly recall beating my sister up after putting a locust shell on my curtains. She was crouched by her bed in her yellow room and I was punching her like a mad-woman. My father had to pull me off my sister. Vivid memory. It never happened. Well, the locust shell on the curtain did. The rest did not. Could I have been so traumatized by the bug shell (I was terrified of all bugs as a child) that my brain created this very real story to protect me from my real reaction? (I cannot recall the “real reaction” at all.)
But if you ask me my telephone number or the birthday of a long ago friend, I can tell you with accuracy. If you ask me the Court rule for issuing a subpoena, I can recite it – even down to county specific. What I did in high school, who were my friends, what we did for fun, conversations with my mother, I cannot remember.
Not all of my fake memories are from my past. I struggle to recall the actual facts of a conversation held a week ago. I know, after years of counseling, that my brain fills in the blanks or “corrects” things that did not exactly go my way. I guess it is a defense mechanism, but I really, really wish my brain would focus on solving world hatred and diseases like cancer, instead of driving me further down the insanity path.
I suppose my next round of counseling should be a form of hypnosis or something to bring the real memories to the surface so the alleged horrors my brain is protecting me from can be dealt with, but I might spontaneously combust.