Something I’ve been thinking constantly about in the last few weeks (besides the Apocalyptic Situation the world is in) is that I do not remember who I was before my depression.
The beginning of this was part of a conversation with a friend about how he sometimes wanted to hop back into his own head before one particular trauma. I realised how odd it was to really try and stretch my mind back to pre-(a Capital T for constant and multiple) Trauma Annie and… not be able to.
There was nothing there. I don’t remember pre-Trauma Annie. I’m not even sure she was real at any point, and don’t know many people who knew me for secondary information about the Me that I’ve lost. Rare is the scenario where I can ask for details about an event that someone else was also at from over 10 years ago, mostly because those details are usually presumed knowledge for that kind of conversation.
On occasion, the people around me will recall memories from as far back as 3 or 4 years old. I can’t relate. I have one specific memory that is my very first memory, and it has to do with my Trauma.
I have had therapy sessions where I remember details from events that I wouldn’t have been able to recall without being poked and prodded, but none of the things I’ve remembered have been memories from before the beginning of what I would consider to be the evolution of current Annie.
It’s likely, if I’m to armchair therapist myself (something I don’t really recommend doing without a professional present but I clearly don't follow my own advice), that my preoccupation with the concept of Identity comes from having this lost version of Me. I remember the very moment I realised I had no solid memories from before I was 6 - I’m not sure how old I was, but I was looking through childhood photos of myself at my father’s place, in what was my room for something like 6 months. There was a photo of me as a baby in the bath, and I remembered an accompanying video had been taken of that moment, or perhaps a video taken on a different day in similar circumstances. I remembered the sounds of the water splashing and my own laughter, and then I realised my memory, and all the other memories I had from that period of time were in third person, from the perspective of the camera person.
I had reconstructed an entire archive of childhood “memories” by photographs and videos of myself as a child, which my parents took regularly until about the age of 4. I don’t remember anything outside of the recorded moments, and what I did have hazy recollections of I wasn’t sure I trusted.
I’ve wondered if I’m repressing anything, but that’s really a problem for future Annie to sort out. There’s no way in knowing until I’m ready to face the possibility, so I try hard to redirect myself from that train of thought.
I’ve also wondered how much of the current Me is echoes of past Me. I wonder if parts of my personality were formed by moments that I don’t remember. If I were to remember, would those memories change the current Me?
Am I obsessed with this idea that there’s a lost Me? Maybe. My brain has done a lot for me but it's also taken a lot from me. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad one.