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Confusing a dream and reality
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Confusing a dream and reality

I was hanging out in the gym one day while under a period of a lot of stress and a "memory" came to mind that was unsettling from a period of time about 15 years ago.   I started going over the memory (which was unsettling) then realized that I may be thinking about something that never happened as I had never thought about it before then.  I thought all the usual suspects (memory repression, etc.) but then realized that because this "memory" has no context (eg. if it was unsettling I would have some memory of being unsettled at the time it happened).

Then I got stuck in a stressful loop.  If the "memory" is real it is unsettling but I have no recollection of the memory before that day in the gym (15 years later after it was supposed to have happened)  If the "memory" is not real, then I brought something out of subconscious into the conscious mind and reacted to it which makes me think I am mentally unstable somehow.

Is it "normal" to confuse a dream fragment with reality when under a lot of stress?  So much so in fact that the only way you can tell the difference is to rationalize it out?

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I would not jump to the conclusion that this is pathological, unless you are suffering many other symptoms than stress.  You should think of this "memory" as a symbol of something related to your current stress..that is more like the brain works...trace it through, and talk to a professional if you need help doing that.
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