Earlier today, while looking through an email account I haven’t used in years, the strangest symptoms of depersonalization started to creep into my mind, bringing to the fore something I’ve had to deal with all my life. That is, the feeling that my own memories are alien to me. Some blame chronic stress and/or depression for this but even in better times this has been a feature of mine – the feeling that every experience I have had prior to just two or three years ago is, in fact, not mine, but planted in my head.
By ‘planted in my head’ I mean that sometimes I feel the world is some sort of Phillip K. Dick-esque simulation and that all these memories came pre-loaded. I do not feel as if they are my own. When I look back, I have no association with the people, places, and things that I assume were a part of my life. They feel like the dream of a dream. When I try to recall them they come to my mind’s eye like stills from some movie I might have watched, not my own life.
I do not know when my feeling of self-awareness actually kicked in. Perhaps I’ll feel the same way about now in just a few years. That’s why it is good to keep a record like this. I feel that I am a dissolving person.
Addendum: Let me itemize some things I associate with this feeling: I do not feel my parents or other relatives are really my own, as if I’m some spontaneously existing being conjured from the ether; when I look at a photo of myself from years before, I have no association or identification with it; places that were once so familiar are alien to me; and strangely enough, my sister feels the same way, although she now feels like a stranger to me, too, as she has moved on in her life.