On the topic of memory this week I was particularly stirred, and not only in my capacity as an amateur psychologist, but very much as a product of my personal experience addressing false memories. After suffering significant confabulations of recall, it was by the levelheadedness of my friend that I escaped a life-capsizing situation without having my life too severely affected, although long after the event I remain wowed by the seeming veracity of the remembrance. More than a few moons ago I was attacked in a public bathroom. One of a group of belligerents forced his way into the stall and set upon me from behind, his intention unknown but certainly presumable and therefor exigent, and I believed he was going to kill me. While turning to face my attacker I handled the weapon which I carried about my appendix and presented it fully enough for efficacy, this in the span of surely no more than two seconds (and with myself protruding from my open fly, mind you).
I barked at him fucking stop before striking him half a dozen times, and knew that I had hit him once at least because he stopped immediately, the tremendous force impelling him back out of the stall. And then he was gone from the space, along with his cohort whom I did not see but otherwise sensed, and I knew that I had almost certainly killed him, having struck him so many times. My friend who had been answering nature in another stall found me and carefully recognized my state of acute stress, the adrenaline rush, and he coolly composed my person well enough to steer me out of there, though I was reluctant throughout the hasty-but-comported egress. Despite severe tunnel vision, I had noticed clearly blood on the wall and what had fallen to the floor, confirming my suspicion. I protested, arguing that I'd just killed a kid--a Black kid, he, and a White guy, I, in a city where the contrast would matter--and we had to call it in. When I had recovered to the point of reasoning he explained what had happened: some dudes had busted into my locked stall and fled when I squared off with the point man. He had only heard the commotion from his own stall, and had completed the rest of the picture from what he observed after the fracas, which did not include any blood. A careful examination later proved not only that no gore had stained the bathroom after the upset, but also that I had not hit my attacker even once, due to a snafu in dexterity.
I was so convinced of having greatly harmed the guy that my brain invented the addendum of blood stains, which evidence would reasonably corroborate a belief in his injuries. Furthermore, whereas I remember shouting at my attacker--I distinctly recall the sound of my voice articulating the words--my witness reports that I did naught but roar incomprehensibly. Since the event I had accepted the broad truism that severe stressors can do goofy things to the mind. However, this week's lecture series piqued my specific interest and spurred me toward some Googling as well as to actually perusing the course text. Through my reading I've become a lay expert in the study of psychological shock and its effect on memory and perception, and specifically the topic of combat stress. In this way the memory unit connected with me more than any other thus far in the semester.