Remembering yourself in the third person

Some of my most powerful, upsetting memories, i remember as if I were an onlooker.

Last night, I got caught up in a loop of memories about my cat dying, and some of them - my cat pressing his forehead against mine and holding it there for what seemed like forever, standing in the lobby of the vet’s office after he was put to sleep and hearing my sister and roommate assure the receptionist that I had someone to drive me home, sitting in my kitchen and hugging his cat bed as if it were him - all of these memories I see as if I’m an onlooker watching myself.

Does this happen to anyone else? I can still find the real memory if I try. It’s painful, but it frightens me to think about losing the real memory.

Out of the deluge of memories that came flashing back to me in my mid 20’s I can’t think of any in which I remember that way, no. The only thing that is similar is my memory of an out of body experience I may have had in my teens. I’m sitting in what we called the breakfast nook and there’s cartoons on the little tv we had there. Everything’s fading out, I’m slowly losing consciousness and not even fighting it. Next thing I know I’m floating, it’s pleasant and calm but I’m floating up into the sky but my body is still there down in the house. Then, something’s wrong, I’m being pulled back and next thing I know I’m coming to with my mother shaking me awake yelling hysterically and I’m yelling back at her “Let me go! Just let me go!” Because I was at such peace that going back into that body in that world seemed detestable. I wanted to go.

Sorry about you’re cat too, I’ve seen many, many furry loved ones pass.

Dear Rhubot, Yes, this is how I remember most things. Like a movie I saw.

One thing that helps me really remember, though it’s a very vulnerable feeling, is paying attention to the physical sensations in my body and remembering by feeling. Maybe it’s easier to try with good memories, like when your beloved cat was still here.

I remember most of my memories as though I’m watching a movie of them. Do your more pleasant memories also feel like this? It could just be the way your brain processes and stores information. Or maybe it’s a coping mechanism to remove yourself from the pain you can’t handle yet. Most of my dreams are in the third person too.

That’s how I view my past substance abuse. I know I was there. I know it was me. Doesn’t feel like it was me. It’s like I’m watching someone else in my body now in the memories because I can’t relate to them. Strangest feeling.

My takeaway is that I’m no longer that person who enjoyed doing those things and it’s a sign of growth. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Thanks, @hereandhere, that’s exactly how it is for me.

That’s how I found the real memory, too, remembering the feel of his head pressed against mine. That’s the important part I didn’t want to lose.

It might be that none of those memories are ones where visuals were at all important to me. In all of them, I’m very much in my own head, or my eyes were closed. This just occurred to me, actually.

I’ve been having a rough time with memories lately, I guess. Last week, it was that I couldn’t remember where he liked to sit. We got new furniture not long before he died, and I had to remember the old furniture before I could remember him on it. My roommate spent an hour or so with me helping me remember.

These hiccups just spin me out when I have them. I’m so afraid of losing any of these memories, even the painful ones.

I think most of them are first person, but it’s hard to tell. A lot of them are, anyway, even some very painful ones. It’s good to hear that other people experience this, too - it felt like some kind of strange rewriting, but maybe my brain it providing a visual memory when there really isn’t one to draw from.

That makes sense to me, that’s probably a very healthy way of looking at it.

Probably healthiest for me right now is to get the heck out of my own head. Maybe I can talk my roommate into Deadpool today.

My therapist was saying in the last session that because our bodies work inwards only for us, that we tend to look inwards too and be too much inside our own heads.

I get the same as pixel, the drug use seems like someone else. But I think it has to do with the fact that I don’t see myself as a junkie, maybe you don’t see yourself as guilty as you feel and that’s why that happens.

Hope you feel better today :heart:

Thanks, mussel - they’re all special, but he was the special-est :two_hearts:

Just reading this made me think that maybe this is just a new course of attack from my brain. It was just a few weeks ago that the guilt finally let go of me, so maybe this is just a new way of making me feel guilty again, thinking that I don’t remember well enough.

It can be… It can also be that you’re starting to become comfortable enough to let it go, and react that way because you don’t want to let it go.

It’s healthy to let go you know? You’ll still have your memories, you won’t lose them.

That part is definitely true. Oh well oh well oh well

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It seems you are experiencing the very normal feelings and fears of grief for a loved being. (Guilt is especially normal during grief, though I know you also experience it in other ways.)

Of course you don’t want to forget your dear cat. Writing some details down about things like the furniture where he sat might jog your memory in future years.

Yes, get out “of your head” for awhile. As Minnii wrote, you won’t lose your memories…

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