Validity of memories

I often, at least once every to months, experience a situation I'm pretty sure I had 'remembered' in the past. Essentially, I have a memory that says "hey you thought of this exact situation last week because it is a memory you already have and you realized it was a memory of something that hadn't happened yet". But if it was a memory I already had, how is it happening now? Dejavu.

At this point it has happened to me so many times, I am convinced that this is the explanation: for some reason, at these points in time, my brain implants the memory of this situation in my mind as though it is a memory from the past, and then implants another memory in the past, after the first, of me remembering the first memory.

This scares me. It scares me very much. I have no way of knowing what the previous state of my mind was, it is literally memory alteration. I know right now what I do and don't know, but what's to protect against something changing that? Then I would be completely sure I had always known it and had always been that way with that state of mind, with no idea it had ever been different.

It scares me. It really, really scares me. I could completely change and never know I'd changed, only the people around me could tell me that. I'm afraid I could lose who I am.

I've seen signs already. There have been many times where I could swear I remember something happening or existing, but all people I speak with, all history I search, all evidence I am sure I have that I seek to find, says otherwise.

I recently tried an experiment. I decided that whenever I would think of a memory I knew hadn't happened yet, I would take a sticky note from a special sticky note pad, write it down, and stick it in a drawer.

A few weeks later, dejavu. I suddenly remembered a week earlier taking a sticky note, writing it down, sticking it in the drawer. I checked; no sticky notes have been removed, the pen had not been used, no sticky note stuck anywhere. But I remembered doing it with clarity.

I don't know what to do here, it's really unnerving me. I remember things that didn't happen. I remember remembering a situation I am currently in. I don't remember what my mind was like before. I'm afraid that my memories can't be valid and that they could be completely imagined without any distinguished from real memories.

Why am I posting this here? I just really needed to have this written down and read by people. Let's hope this is real and not a fake memory. But how would I even know what is real an what is not? (Am I insane?)
That's interesting...maybe you are remembering parts of dreams you had or something? /random guess

Never had this happen to me though.
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Déjà vu is very common, and no-one has 100% reliable memories; that you're aware that your memories are unreliable is probably a sign of self-awareness. You're (probably) not becoming schizophrenic or psychotic, if that's what you're worried about. Psychologists have never successfully established a link between déjà vu and mental illnesses like psychosis and schizophrenia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9j%C3%A0_vu#Links_with_disorders ). Unless your family has a history of mental illness or you're taking lots of psychoactive drugs, you probably have nothing to fear. If you are taking psychoactive drugs, stop it, or at least decrease the amount.

If you're still worried, see a psychiatrist, if only to put your mind at ease.
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Thanks. I feel better knowing it's a natural phenomenon that everyone experiences.
That's interesting...maybe you are remembering parts of dreams you had or something? /random guess
Seems like a very plausible explanation if OP is getting so obsessed with his own memory that he's modifying his own habits to test it. Deciding that you're going to do X the next time Y happens and then dreaming about doing X would be hardly surprising. For example, it's not at all uncommon for someone to have have a lucid dream the first time they read or hear about lucid dreaming.
Also, most people can recall only a small fraction of their dreams (or even whether they dreamt at all), despite dreaming nearly every night.

Honestly, freaking out at the fallibility of memories seems kind of silly to me. Think about it, how many things have we invented merely because our memory is imperfect? Writing and everything related to writing would have to cover like 25% of all human inventions.
It's more amazing when our minds do remember things accurately than when they forget, distort memories, or flat out make stuff up.
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I'm not scared I'll forget something, I'm scared I'll remember something that isn't real.

Also, does it mean anything if my dreams have no sound at all? Or is that just one of those things that differs from person to person?

I'm also not obsessed with this, I just did an experiment out of curiosity. I don't think I'll worry about this any more.
Also, does it mean anything if my dreams have no sound at all? Or is that just one of those things that differs from person to person?
The latter. It can also vary from dream to dream, or even within the same dream.
L B wrote:
Am I insane?


If you're asking yourself this question, then I am sure that you are not insane. I went through a similar period of frequent dejavu experiences shortly after my long-term girlfriend left me that lasted for nearly an entire year. During this time I also experienced recurring dreams that I don't feel comfortable discussing on a public forum.

The question that you should be asking yourself isn't "Am I insane?", but rather "What is causing me to experience these things?".

Oh, a disclaimer...

I am not a psychologist.

Not that psychologists actually have any weight over my advice either, but still, use your own judgement.
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Thanks Duoas! It says dejavu is about 10-30 seconds, but my dejavu is only a snapshot of the exact state of my surroundings, not anything that lasts over time. Close enough; everything else matches!
No!

The phenomenon of dejavu occurs when the omnipotent beings controlling our perception of reality have altered conditions locally within The Matrix, such as when agents are taking over peoples bodies nearby, etc...
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There's a lot of interesting studies about the unreliable nature of memory:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/law_in_action/7458536.stm
@LB
Glad you found it useful reading.
The experience of déjà vu is one of perception. Hence, there are generalizations that can be made about our experiences, but not all experiences are the same.

Oddly, I haven't had any déjà vu for a while...

@fun2code
LOL, I'm glad you said it, because my vampire associates warned me not to tell or they'd off me. PS. Garlic doesn't work. Find some mechanical device that creates static in at least two physical domains. They can't stand that.
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