Delusional Memories: Did that really happen to me?

Are my memories clouded by delusions?

A delusion is a break from reality. Google defines a delusion as “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument.” It is a misconception that seems real and plausible. A delusion is not a hallucination, but they can involve them. I have written several articles on delusions and the impact they can have. They can leave the person confused and isolated. They often leave you wondering “are my memories clouded by delusions? Did I just make it all up?” The line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.

I struggle every day with my own memories. When I was eleven years old, my parents moved us across town. Starting a new school, the children did not like me. I was considered to be a bad kid in school, before ADHD was discovered.

Getting bullied every day

While walking home from school one day I found myself surrounded. My path had been blocked by ten children, and when I turned around there were 20 more behind me. The children surrounded me, beat me up and then forced me to fight a girl. She was a tomboy and wanted to prove herself. The children told me I had a choice. I could fight all of them, or fight her. My father taught me from the time I was 5 years old that boys do not hit girls. But I didn’t want to fight her, so I tried fighting all of them. Obviously, I lost the fight.

Trying to scare her into stopping, I pulled her hair and pushed her to the ground. Furthermore, that same group of kids would bully me every day for the next five years. It scarred me for life. My father tore me a new one when I got home. And I never laid my hands on a female again. That same group of kids even followed me home three other occasions, but fortunately I was able to outrun them. Additionally, I could not run fast enough carrying a trombone, so I dropped out of band.

I remember the countless days of being bullied in school. Other children putting things in my backpack to humiliate me in front of class. I remember standing with my father on our porch as we counted 30 kids who had followed me home waiting to beat me up. They all had sticks, bats and chains like an angry lynch mob.

The line where delusion ends

I also remember my brother’s friend pulling a knife on me. Sticking it in my face, he threatened to climb through my window and slit my throat if I didn’t keep my mouth shut about that fight. Additionally, in another incident two kids who hated my brother pulled knives on me and threatened me. They had been looking for him but found me instead. My brother had a reputation around town and often helped the local police. I look back at my childhood and wonder if those things actually happened to me. I remember the bullies and the fights so vividly as if it really happened. It has to be real. It is real, isn’t it?

I remember all the bullying I suffered at the hands of the other kids. It followed me everywhere I went, even into adulthood. I tried everything I could to not only fight, but to make it stop. Even going so far as to hang out with some really nasty people. I wanted to learn how to portray myself as a scary tough guy so others would leave me alone. But the feelings were real. Maybe that is the key, the feelings associated with the incident.

Spontaneous confabulation

Confabulation is defined as “a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.” Is that what my memories are, confabulations? They do not feel like it. Why do I remember them so vividly if they are just made up memories? But how can I be sure my memories are not clouded? Where does delusion end and reality begin? Were they delusions, or perhaps spontaneous confabulation?

My mother believes that they are. She does not believe that I was surrounded by thirty children. But I can remember every punch, and every kick from those kids. Being surrounded by that group and made to fight that girl. The scar from living through that has impacted my entire life. All of it has. Some things I have proof that they happened. Others I only have my memories to corroborate.

Why is it so important to know?

Why is it so important that I know my memories are real? Perhaps I need to know because I don’t want my life to have been a lie. I would like to know if they were series of lies I told myself. I’m unsure what the key is to proving to myself that my memories were real. Distinguishing real from fantasy has always been difficult for me. I often find myself getting lost in my thoughts, in what I now know are delusions.

How can I unlock that secret? Maybe I never will and I just need to come to terms with it. I do not know what it will take. Perhaps therapy might help, or even hypnosis of some sort. I might be willing to try that. Are the answers really that important? Is it really necessary that I prove it to myself? In some ways yes, but in other ways no.

I say yes because I need some sort of closure. And sometimes I just feel like I can’t let go until I get it. But I also say no because at this stage in my life, it does not even matter anymore what happened. What matters is moving forward. Perhaps I will simply have to accept that I believe they happened. I remember them happening, so therefore they did. And if anyone else believes otherwise, then so be it. That is their problem, not mine. Are my memories clouded by delusions? Perhaps I will never know the truth. Maybe it is better that way.

Hack the Stigma. Hack the Planet.
IamThePatRatt – The Bipolar Hacker

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