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Dissociation and Amnesia

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Friday night I started having an anxiety attack. I dont remember a whole lot. The next thing I remember I was a child holding my boyfriend and sobbing uncontrollably as if something bad had happened to me. Then my boyfriend said I sat up and said I don’t know who I am. Tell me who I am. He said he showed me pictures of the kids and I and I didn’t recognize any of them and I said that wasn’t me. I remember curling in a ball at some point and saying please stop, I am sorry. My boyfriend said he asked why I was sorry and I was picking and said I don’t know, I am sorry. I remember a flash back of being smothered, and saying I cant breathe, I cant breathe!  Then I felt like I was someone else looking at myself. I dont remember the rest. I am afraid this will happen again. And I want know what this is. I don’t want to forget who I am. I am scared. (age 36, from US)

Dissociation and Amnesia

Answered by on -

A.

 This experience does sound very scary and I’m sorry that it happened. There could be lots of explanations but it sounds like you might have had a flashback and a dissociative experience, which are generally caused by some type of severe trauma. Sometimes people can experience depersonalization (not feeling like yourself) with bouts of extreme anxiety or depression, but this experience seems to include elements beyond just that.

Due to the severity of the experience, I would highly recommend that you seek professional counseling. I suggest that you seek a therapist who specializes in trauma, even if you don’t have memories of being traumatized. Our mind can do wondrous things to protect us and sometimes the information begins resurfacing when we are strong enough to handle it. I hope you can eventually make some sense of the situation and I also hope that it doesn’t happen again.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

Dissociation and Amnesia

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Dissociation and Amnesia. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/25/dissociation-and-amnesia/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.