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Drinking, Anxiety and False Memories


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I struggled with what to title this. In 2018, I had a night out with my girlfriends that still haunts me. My husband of 3 years but boyfriend of 12 had left me the year before so I was in the midst of a divorce and really struggling. The much needed night out with girlfriends was on what would have been my 4th wedding anniversary.

 

We had a great time at dinner and all drank a fair amount. After, one of the girls (I’m not super close to her but have known her for awhile) and I decided to go to a bar when everyone else went home. While there a man I was NOT interested in came home to us and started hitting on me. He chatted with us for a bit and then left back to his friends. The place was not packed. Admittedly we drank a lot there and while I can remember a lot of the night including conversations, there are brief moments of time I don’t recall. I went to the restroom several times. I remember paying and I remember us leaving. Unfortunately, I drove us home. I live about 7 minutes from the place and she lives a few blocks away from me. I’m not saying the 7 minutes to excuse myself I am providing it as frame of reference for time and how much I remember/did not remember. I remember the drive home but not the entire drive step by step. I know this is wrong and I had never done it before and have not done it since and have made sure that if I am drinking I Uber home.

 

I have a great deal of anxiety in general. I often spend hours ruminating about whether I am repressing memories. The day after I was a little hungover but not sick. I was mad at myself for driving but nothing else occurred to me. In the days later I started worrying about whether or not I had had sex in the bathroom with the guy who was hitting on me. I have only ever had one sexual partner and that was my ex husband. Sex is not something I take lightly. However, I have had fantasies of sex with a stranger in bathroom. I sometimes feel like I remember him opening the door with me and me thinking at the time “eh this was a fantasy of mine anyway.” I don’t know if I actually remember him opening the bathroom door with me - I have a vague recollection of that but I don’t know if it’s because I was thinking of my fantasy when I was walking to the restroom or if it actually happened or if I’m creating false memories by thinking about it so much. It was not a one person at a time restroom so if it did happen I presume others would have seen and said something?

 

Because I am not close to the girl I was with it took me until a month ago to ask if anything out of character for me happened that night or if I did anything stupid. We were sitting close to the restroom. She said it was a perfectly fine night. However if it did happen she may not know it happened.

 

I have been tested for STDs and all is negative. But the thought that this may have happened has been haunting me for a year and a half and is making me sick. Is there a possibility that I would not remember something like that happening.

 

Thanks for listening.

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I agree and continue to count your blessings that your choice to drive drunk didn't injure yourself or anyone else. My sense is that ruminating is part of beating yourself up for your dangerous choice. Rather than doing that how about volunteering with an organization like mothers against drunk driving or making a donation at least?

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One of the first things I did was make a donation - checked all the money I spent that night and matched it when I donated.

 

Really -that is impressive and so very generous and thoughtful of you. I agree with Holly. I experienced something like this to a lesser extent -meaning I was paranoid about whether I contracted HIV despite not having engaged in ultra risky behavior (my reasoning back then -in college- was so utterly ridiculous but for a few days I was basically obsessed and even called one of the new HIV crisis lines -this was the early 1980s) -I know how debilitating and gripping it can feel. It's awful. Please do speak to someone and get some well-deserved relief.

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Yes very exhausting. I do see a therapist but the entire situation is too embarrassing for me to say out loud. Writing it is the only thing I can seem to do.

 

Then write it down and hand it to her. I remember going to clubs more than 30 years ago bathrooms were always jampacked with women. If you had sex with this fellow you would’ve done so in front of at least 40 other people probably never happened. Believe me you would’ve heard about it.

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Before drilling yourself into any mysteries to resolve, ask yourself what, exactly, you would do with the information and how useful or helpful it would be.

 

You have this moment to correct any behaviors you've identified that you don't want to repeat. Beyond that, decide what purpose self torture provides, and then make a better choice about that, also.

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