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time and memory existential thoughts

3564 Views 17 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Al_pk
Hi everyone

So I am about 2 months down the line in my wonderful journey with dpdr - most of the symptoms have cleared up, I feel in my body most of the time, things look real enough which is progress - but at the moment I am really struggling with the Existential thoughts.

I have really struggled with whole Solipsism thing and stuff to do with the universe - how big it is, how it could end at any second, you know all of that fun stuff. I am pretty much over that now, it still gets to me sometimes but I can deal. I've also dealt with being trapped in first person view, not being able to understand the "self", not recognising myself in the mirror. The focus of my thoughts now is about how the brain works and understanding time and memory. I just can't get over the fact that this moment is all we really have and after each second it just becomes an intangible memory in our heads - we can never be sure if anything actually happened. It is really hard as I will look back at how far I have come from when this shit all began, but then question if any of it has even happened at all. Call me crazy but this whole experience has made me think that my existence is some kind of experiment, I've just been created and put on this world that doesn't make any sense at all and whatever has put me here wants to see how long I can take it until I go insane. Seriously, though - it is really hard because whenever I actually enjoy doing something, I'll come back home and immediately start questioning if it happened at all - and the fact I will never get that moment back. It's like I exist with all of these happy memories but they're almost there as a form of torture - I can never fully appreciate them as I will never be sure they are real. For example I'll be having a conversation with someone and they'll ask how my day was, and as I'm recalling what I've done my mind is constantly doubting everything I am saying. So much of our day to day experience is built up from recalling memories - the physical world would make no sense without them. I'll wake up in the morning and hear a car outside - but the only reason I know that is from memory... I know it seems like common sense but there's something about it that scares me? Has anyone else dealt with and got over stuff like this? I guess if I've gotten over the whole Solipsism syndrome I can get over this - but then again, did that actually happen? Again - the problem with it is that all the things I use to reassure myself rely on memory, things I have read, conversations I have had etc.

I used to love my life so much and love talking with my family, boyfriend and friends about memories we share - but now everything just seems ruined. I can't just enjoy the moment without thinking about how it's going to be over soon. The concept of time freaks me out so much. I feel so sad and broken and I just want to be able to embrace my life and not doubt everything constantly. I want to be able to wake up tomorrow morning and just think "Yesterday happened, lets get on with today" instead of analysing if me and all of my memories have just popped into existence. I feel like I'm far too self aware of my thoughts - I'm worried that one day my brain is just going to collapse in on itself - brains aren't supposed to turn inwards and start interrogating themselves, right?

To help with the thoughts about Solipsism and stuff, you could say I used my own kind of Exposure Response Prevention therapy, I just kind of accepted that the thoughts were unfalsifiable by nature - I gradually accepted them and even told myself they were true, and as my brain stopped over-reacting to them my logical brain was able to kind of take over again. I'm pretty sure I've always had some from of Pure O OCD, ever since I was little I've had periods of obsessive thinking about various themes; Existential is definitely the worst one. It's just so exhausting battling my mind all the time, there are so many contradictory thoughts in my head every second of the day. It honestly just feels like every little thing I thought I knew about life is slowly being unravelled - the nature of the self, the nature of time, space and everything. I feel like I'm discovering some kind of profound truth about everything - but it's so damn depressing instead of enlightening. It's so sad because these topics used to really interest and inspire me, but now they're just terrifying and make me want to never leave my bed. Although I still do - every day.

Any help would be appreciated.

Alice xx
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I'm just so helpless at the moment - I am just about to finish Uni and used to be so excited about going out and getting a job and starting my life but now everything just seems so pointless. Its hard to even say that because "used to" doesn't hold any meaning as the past could just be fake. I'm so sick of this, I just want to be ignorant to all of these existential questions, I wish I had never thought about any of this.
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It feels good to know I am not alone, thank you :) I'm not really sure when or why this particular fear started, I had come across it before on this forum - but I never really thought it could be something that I could worry about, but yet here we are! My fears have come in waves, first it was Solipsism, then it was the end of the world and the vastness of space and now it's this time thing. Something that helps me is to just think of the chance that we have of being here in the first place. For whatever reason, we are something rather than nothing and although it is mind boggling and there are things we can never understand, we have to just live and appreciate the crazy hand we have been dealt! That's how I got over the Solipsism thing and I am hoping that this is how I can get over this particular issue. With any fear, from the fear of spiders to this particular fear of time - one of the most effective ways to get over it is to expose yourself to it. Talk to people about your day, even if you're doubting it the whole time. Really the issue has the same root cause of any obsessive thought; it is an issue or a question that has no definitive answer. When I was scared about the world ending I just made myself watch documentaries about it happening and although it still scares me, my brain doesn't see it as something to flee from anymore as I voluntarily exposed myself to the thoughts without running from them. With Solipsism I just told myself "Hey, if no-one else is real the least I can do is interact with them like a big game of sims!" and eventually it didn't scare me as much and everything began to feel real again and my logical brain took over. I think if we are to enjoy life we just have to learn to accept uncertainty - or turn it into curiosity rather than fear. We'll never understand time properly, unless there is some kind of scientific breakthrough (maybe you or I can crack the code!) but until then we just have to try our best. I think people that have this issue are often very abstract thinkers, and I think a lot of my problem (I don't know if it is the same for you) is that I have too much time to think, so I am looking forward to getting back into a routine as I'm currently on a break from Uni.

Good luck for your job interview! It is really great you are looking for work again, when your brain has something to do the thoughts are less intense, for me anyway, and work will bring a sense of routine which will help I'm sure.

Thank you for your responses, it really does help to know I am not alone in this. We will be okay :)
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This video also really helps me deal with the intrusive thoughts, both with this theme and others I have struggled with. :)
Hi everyone, I just wanted to give a little update and hopefully give you guys some hope if you have been struggling with similar issues to me :)

Since this post I have been trying my hardest to live my life and stay away from these forums as much as I can - and I am beginning to see improvements. I have moved back to Uni and even though it has been really difficult, I have been making myself go to classes and go out with friends no matter how terrible I feel, and I am glad to say things seem to be slowly looking up. Talking about memories with friends has helped me to realise that this is the nature of human experience - we are all the same. We all store our own timelines within our minds, and while these moments are fleeting and only last a short while but they are stored inside us forever and help us to make sense of the world. Trying to figure out the nature of time in my own head seemed impossible, but in going out and living in the world again and connecting with people it has started to make sense again and click back into place. These types of obsessive thoughts are impossible to logic your way out of, you just have to experience life and everything will work itself out eventually. I'm definitely not 100% yet, quite a way from it, but my attitude towards this whole ordeal has improved massively and I think that is the key to getting out of this.

Anyone struggling with this similar obsession, or just DP in general: I know all you may want to do is stay indoors and hide but please, please force yourself to get out into the world again. No matter how horrible you feel nothing can hurt you. I promise. I was literally sat in class the other day and I felt like I was about to spin off into another dimension, faint, and go psychotic all at the same time and I was terrified. But I just let myself sit with those feelings and guess what - I made it through the class and came home and felt so proud of myself. Getting back into a routine has been really helping too. When you have nothing to do all day time does seem weird, as you are literally just watching every moment pass, but since making myself go out and do things this has become less of a concern, as I am not simply watching time but living in it and making the most of it.

Keep going :)
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You're so right about not realising until you're anxious, it's crazy all the things we take for granted when we're in our normal state of mind, whatever that is! While this journey is a hard one its made me appreciate my memories and time so much more - we are so lucky to have them even if they are confusing for us at the moment. Memories should be cherished and I'm sure in years to come our memories of this struggle will remind us how strong we are and what we are capable of enduring.

It's the nature of obsession for logic not to make you happy or satisfied - which is why it's important to do rather than think, as at the moment we aren't fully in control of our thoughts but we do have control over our bodies. For example someone with OCD who is obsessed with germs knows logically that they most likely haven't caught a deadly disease from touching a door handle, but the obsessive mind can't rest until they know for sure. In order to combat that they need to accept that, yeah, they might have some deadly virus but it isn't worth completely stopping everything/carrying out compulsions until they have the all clear. It's a similar thing for us. The nature of time is weird and scary and we will never know for sure where the past is or what memories are, but we need to carry on even though we're freaked out and let our experiences help us understand, rather than trying to think our way out.

You seem like a very strong person and I am sure that relaxation will come to you in time. And when it does you will definitely have earned it! :) I remember reading something on here about time seeming like an enemy right now but that it will actually a good friend if you allow it to be - I find it helpful to remind myself of that when I feel really down.
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Anyway, I'm getting off these forums again for a little while and will probably check back in a week or two. I honestly recommend anybody else to do the same, its good to stop feeding your mind new dp/dr stuff for a while and give it some fresh material to work with!
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