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Not Sure if Something Is a Memory Or a Dream

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Due to the virus I am stuck at home and this has caused me to think some about my relationship with home. Up until I left and went to college I always had panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, but then I moved to college and almost immediately the panic attacks became less frequent and I started to feel interested in the future and what my life could be (a feeling that I had never had before). But whenever I come back home the panic attacks come back and I lose all motivation (which is a little difficult since I am attempting to do classes from home right now).

But all that made me wonder why I have such a negative reaction to my home environment. My parents have always been lovely to me and we live very comfortably. I do, however, have these random memories from my childhood. When I was younger I thought they were real memories but when I got older I decided that I must have dreamed those things and that they never really happened.

I used to leave my clothes in a pile in the corner of the bathroom after showering and my mom would get annoyed because I rarely remembered to put them in the laundry. In one of my dreams (memories?) I found a camera in the clothes so I called my dad up to the bathroom and he said it was for something else and took it away. To this day I have never left clothes setting in the bathroom.

Another one took place in a basement that I didn’t recognize and in a bathroom that I don’t recognize. I was supposed to wait for something with my underwear down, I think he said it was something to do with shoving a pill in my, ahem, bottom. Would there be some medical reason to give a child a pill through their rectum??? But I didn’t want him to do that so I pulled my underwear back up and he got mad.

There are a few others too. Maybe none of this even matters? Because even if some of these did happen, maybe I am just not remembering the context for them. I should just be doing my homework right now, I am so behind. Maybe the bigger problem here isn’t random memories, but how to not fail classes this semester, lol

Not Sure if Something Is a Memory Or a Dream

Answered by on -


The reality is, you may never know if these are memories or dreams. Since you remember so little, it is difficult to know what they are.

You should try to write them down. Document everything you remember about them. For instance, have a designated notebook where you can write down exactly what you are remembering, what you are doing when the memory arose, and what you’re feeling about it. Over time, you might eventually have more information to piece together.

Relatedly, you should also keep track of your dreams. This might help you to decipher whether or not what you are experiencing are dreams or memories. Dreams can be difficult to track because upon awakening, they can fade very quickly. Keep a notepad near your bed and make it a point to write down everything you remember. Having this documentation might bring some clarity to the situation. It might not, but it is certainly worth trying. You won’t know until you try.

Regarding your question about medical reasons to give children pills via the rectum, it could’ve been a suppository or some other medication that was prescribed. It’s possible that a doctor prescribed a medication that had to be given in this manner. You could ask your parents. You might also ask your parents about the other memory regarding your clothing in the corner. They might remember things that you don’t. It could help to fill in your memory gaps.

The fact that you have panic attacks at home and immediately started to feel better after moving away to college, would suggest that there is something about being home that is troublesome. One does not develop panic attacks and suicidal ideation, without a cause. There has to be a reason for them, even if it is not evident to you.

Think deeply, what is it about being home that makes you feel unsettled? You lived in that house for many years and would be the best person to know what may have happened or why it causes you such anxiety. You might try journaling to spark memories. You might also ask your siblings (if you have any) about this, as well. Did they also have problems living in your home? Is there something about your parents or how they treated you or anything else that you can remember that might have caused these problems? Those are all things you need to think about and write about in order to potentially uncover the source of the problem.

Moving out of your home seemed like the best thing for you. It took away your panic and suicidal ideation. Hopefully, this pandemic will be over soon and you can move back to college. However, it is important to uncover the source of the problem. I would advise you to contact a mental health professional to assist you in uncovering what may be underlying your panic attacks. They could help you, especially since you’re beginning to develop these problems again.

Thank you for your question. Good luck with your classes this semester.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Not Sure if Something Is a Memory Or a Dream

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Not Sure if Something Is a Memory Or a Dream. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 10 Apr 2020 (Originally: 10 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 10 Apr 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.