Is it normal to re-experience memories in your head over and over

I've never had great mental health or sleep, but lately it's taken a nosedive. At my worst, I'll re-experience memories to the point where mentally I am back there, which has led me to do things like get extremely paranoid and hide all my things/lock my door at hearing footsteps in the hall because I am concerned my dad will come in shaking and swinging his fists, or re-experiencing memories of ""conversations"" I had with family over certain phrases. Sometimes, I'll get nightmares or I'll be unable to keep my mind off of past memories, leading them to circle around in my head for hours. I often put off sleeping simply because I don't want to experience any potential nightmares. They aren't usually this bad (certain things still make me very anxious or upset, and I have a lot of self esteem issues for never really fitting up to my parents' idea of being a guy), but they've worsened lately for whatever reason.

Is It Normal?
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  • Ima just throw this out here. You definitely sound like you have anxiety and I recignise some ptsd symptoms so I assume some traumatizing things have happen. The reliving the same feeling as if it’s rehappening like it originally did and having panic attacks at things that trigger you into that feeling and having to avoid many situations because of it is all things that’s associated with anxiety more like ptsd. And having flashbacks feelings of the situation rehappening and nightmares are also common for ptsd.

    If what I mentioned is how you truly feel then maybe talking to a therapist could help. And to experience these is common for ptsd so you’re definitely not alone with it.
    I’ve been diagnosed with it.
    Sometimes I avoid a lot because once it happens It’s like my mind gets taken over and I refeel it the same terrifying feeling as if my minds out to haunt me and doesn't let me get over something or get through something without tweeking out and me hallucinating. And I feel the same exact overly panicked feeling of pure terror just constantly flash backing to make me relive the worst moment of my life over and over. I’ve had it for 5 years now it gets better with time and although I still experience it sometimes, it’s only on one subject one thing that puts me into this and for that I’ve learned better on getting that numb weird feeling away before a panick attack happens. Which is a huge step in more than I thought I could do. Only thing to usually help in walking around and getting some cool air.

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    • Yeah, I know how you feel. It's hard to put it into words, but it's like your mind gets taken over and you're re-experiencing it all over again. I usually try to distance myself from the thing causing it (this sort of stuff only happens at very specific things, like exact phrases my parents used to mock me, or circumstances leading to before they would threaten or harm me). Before, I'd end up emotionally back there, which resulted in me having breakdowns at inopportune times, but it's gotten to the point where my head is back there as well.

      I have had a history of anxiety and depression(mostly all heavily connected to my parents and their behavior; I remember wanting to kill myself as young as 2nd grade because of how they treated me), but the sort of experiences I have been having lately are very different than the typical anxiety or panic attacks I have had in the past at familial or social interaction.

      Normally, with anxiety, I'm pretty good at handling it and calming myself down, but with this, sometimes I'll be reliving the memories of seeing my brother get beaten over and over and I can't make it stop, even after a while of it just going over in my head. It's getting to the point where my mental health has worsened severely. I also have a lot of kneejerk reactions to certain things, due to aversions I've developed from family stuff.

      Usually, I just try to "tough it out", and I have a fear of counselors due to a myriad of manipulative and poor experiences with them, some of them as bad as counselors yelling at or insulting me, or lying to me entirely. I'm also not currently in a situation where I think I can afford to see a therapist or counselor, even if I wanted to.

      Besides, even when I went to counselors, most of them just laughed at or brushed aside what I tried to say was bothering me. So I guess, I don't really know if there's a point if they'll just do that again or tell me it's just an anxious overreaction to normal shit.

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      • I don’t have this issue from any parents or anything like that but I avoid my dad as much as I possibly can because he’s always been a alcoholic piece of shit who would always tell me how I’ll never be anything and so times he trys to talk to me it makes me super anxious and I just want to leave. Sometimes the memories of me waking up to my mom screaming and my brother being choked by him cross my mind when I see him. It blows my mind my mom stays with someone who also doesn’t treat her amazing. He always told her she can’t graduate college and will never be able to when she was just months away. Being 20 and being able to be on my own and away from him has gotten me so much happier and spending time with just my mom is always nice cause we’re close.

        I also have depression and had it as long as I can remember. Before the past 5 years of my life I never really experienced much with anxiety and never ever a panick attack so this is just so much and makes me feel so crazy. Having this has changed me a lot.

        I’m sorry that’s happen to you I wish people weren’t so fucking shitty.
        I also try and kinda tough it out and sometimes put myself in situations that normally trigger me to try and grow stronger in getting over this but idk if it’ll ever go away. The moment that caused my mind to go fucking weird was beyond some shit I ever thought could ever happen and my mind acted in a way I kinda understand but to keep refeeling it the exact same thing just makes me feel more depressed that I can’t get away. Last time it happen was like a month ago and my body went numb and my vision went all weird and blurry and my mind went weird and I had to walk around breathing slow. I fucking hate it and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy but it’s nice to feel less alone on it. I had no idea what was happening and felt so crazy and like some mental bitch but once I saw a psychiatrist and found out all my symptoms as ptsd I was so excited to know I wasn’t alone.

        I totally understand the counselor stuff when I saw one she didn’t know what to say and kept repeating herself and looking at me like I’m crazy or some kid making weird shit up. I’d offen leave feeling more stupid. And true I was spending like $170 a hour for some old lady to constantly say “our body’s and minds are connected” “fight or flight” my god that’s all she’d say.

        Have you tried medication? I was on zoloft 25 mg then went to 50 and was beyond depressed and quit them but when I was on the lowest dose idk if it truly helped me or to know I had something to possibly help but whatever it was I felt like before attacks happen it made me more relaxed as if I could get out of it or prevend it and was able to sleep without a hour later waking up with a weird vision that turned into me fucking panicking and feeling not even alive.

        Not all ptsd comes right after a traumatic situation had happen, it can be months or years later. But I certainly hope things get better for you and if possible avoid your parents and getting away is a great start.

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        • Yeah, it isn't great, but it's also nice to feel less alone in what you're feeling, so I can relate. I've tried antidepressants in the past (when I was still a minor), but it never helped all that much, probably because I was still around family. It also gave me some poor health side effects. I remember when I was on it I would just feel numb, like a vegetable. It helped with not feeling anxious or depressed, but it also numbed everything else out.

          Most counselors disbelieved me or thought I was exaggerating. Sometimes I'd end up with them (at most) saying my parents were "a little overbearing" or "dysfunctional" when I talked about my mom hitting me over and over with her fists to get me up. I can relate to the "our bodies and minds are connected" thing, I've heard that one a million times, along with "fight or flight".

          CPS investigated once when I was younger, but they didn't do anything, and they only ever took my parents' side. I feel like when I was younger, counselors just saw me as some dumb whiny teenage boy, so they didn't really care. Pretty sure one of them told me to stop being so emotional and just man up at things.

          Trying to cut ties is hard, but I've had plans for a while. I'm worried about the threats they've made about if I ever attempt to leave them behind, but I try not to think about it. I just have to be smart, I guess. I don't feel I can rely on anyone else to help or be sympathetic if I try.

          I'm glad you have a good relationship with your mom. I don't particularly have good ones with either parent. I know what you mean about the memories crossing your mind when you see them. Even looking at old photos, all I can think about my parents are all of the terrible memories and events from them. They get angry a lot that I avoid them and don't spend time with them, but it's hard for me to feel safe even being in proximity to them. They ruined so much about my life, and even these days, I find myself wishing that I had good family memories to look back on, or some sort of familial love, I dunno.

          Thanks for the well wishes and the responses, I'm doing the best I can and I'm hoping that things will improve for me soon.

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          • Understandable I tend to worry about it making me worse and when it did I’m like nope done with all meds. Wow that’s fucked up for anyone to say let alone someone in a field to help.

            When you are able to and go to leave just up and leave when noones around with no word and get as far away as you can. My dad treats me worse when I ignore him and if it wasn’t for my mom I’d probably keep some serious distance.

            Sorry you didn’t have any good things to look back on but never to late to get a future away from them.
            You’re welcome and I hope so too good luck.

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