What Do I Do When Unexpected Memories Pop Up?

In our last two blogs, we’ve covered the topic of unexpected memories when living with trauma or in trauma recovery. We’ve discussed the way traumatic moments impact the brain and cause information to compartmentalize when there is no room for processing it. Even though we don’t always know that we have memories stored deep away in our minds, their existence isn’t unreal. When our memories decide to pop up and make themselves apparent to us, we have to be ready for them. Of course, we cannot be ready for every memory at every point in time of our lives. We can, however, utilize tools from our therapy and treatment to help us cope with whatever comes up for us, when an unexpected memory does.


Memories can be pleasant, healing, and extremely hopeful. Unfortunately, memories can also be unpleasant, terrifying, and triggering. Regardless of the nature of our memories, we need to catch our breath when they come up. A memory surge is a miraculous moment because it is evidence that our brain is healing itself and finding trust enough in us to release new information. After our memory play out ends, we can take a few deep breaths to bring us back to center, especially if we are prone to episodes of dissociation, which is common to PTSD and trauma. Breathing helps activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the “fight or flight” response which might trigger in reaction to the content of our new memories.

Reach Out

If the memories you experience are disturbing, you’ll want to reach out to someone you trust to talk about what you saw and what you’re feeling. Memory surges can lead to days of trauma symptoms, feeling, triggered, and being uncomfortable. Just because your brain felt you were ready to handle the information in the memories, doesn’t necessarily mean you are fully equipped to handle them in the very best way. Always reach out for support to someone who is a safe person for you.

Trauma is most often the root cause of many emotional, behavioral, and mood disorders. Until you can heal your trauma, you will find great difficulty finding the healing you need to live a life of recovery, health, and wellness. At Khiron House, we provide effective residential treatment and cutting edge therapies which seek to transform mind, body, and spirit from the effects of trauma. Call us today for information. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours) USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).