Memories are part of the human experience. They are snapshots of our existence gathered over the years. Some good, some bad.
But what happens when OCD in the present, contaminates the pleasant memories of the past?
A couple go on a round-the-world trip. They have an incredible three months, seeing sights, experiencing cultures, making memories.
Two years later, they break up.
They have two very different outlooks of their memories.
One of them moves on and is grateful for the memories. The other feels all of the negative emotions of the breakup ‘contaminate’ the memories they shared together.
Those memories no longer bring feelings of nostalgia and happiness. They are now impossible to look back on without feelings of pain and anxiety.
These aren’t to be confused with false memories.
These are real memories that continue to be viewed as such. The issue being that the emotions and anxiety felt in the present, change our feelings for these memories, that are now actively avoided and/or resented.
This experience can overlap with false memory OCD, with a false memory being the catalyst for a sudden emotional contamination event in ones life.
An example of this would be to have an intrusive thought about a partner cheating during a trip, a partner you went on safari with for the first time. Talking about this safari, or safaris in general, may no longer be enjoyable.
Emotional or mental contamination may be the cause
Emotional contamination- sometimes called mental contamination- is the feeling that emotions can ‘contaminate’ other aspects of our lives. It can make the things we do feel ‘dirty’ or ‘not right’.
Memories aren’t immune from this. In fact, memories are affected for many people suffering OCD and anxiety disorders.