Thursday, April 1, 2010

Just plain scary

I guess "normal" is a subjective thing in any context, but probably especially to mental health professionals. In the last few months I have definately had some experiences that fall outside the realm of normal for me. Things that make me feel like I may actually be losing my mind. In particular, hallucinations (though these do seem to be linked to periods of extreme deprivation and seem quite benign when one considers what a hallucination could be.... its more shadows in my peripheral visions, strange patterns dancing off the wall and carpets ect) and dissociative states. Up until today, I would have said that I have experienced dissociative states beyond that which an average person would...we all do it, some of us just do it better than others I guess. Particulalrly in periods of real stress, ie after a horrible session, i would have no real memory of how I got home or what I'd been was like a mist I would slowly emerge from. But if I thought really hard, i could pinpoint the pertinenet details. Maybe not conversations, but yes, I saw that person. Maybe not how long, but I was in the Park for a while stuff like that. Until today. Today I blacked out an entire hour and a half, and I honestly have no recollection of what went on. I have evidence. (A new tooth in my mouth and an appointment for next month) but I went from lying in the dentist chair, beginning to panic, to being at home sitting on my bed, with an aching jaw and no idea how I got there. Just Blank. I even checked my medication to check i hadn't taken something. And frankly it scared the living shite out of me. Because I must have appeared normal-ish to the dentist or they would have kept me there. Or called someone. So "me" can leave my mind for an hour and a half and have some other seperate part of me take over, and no one notices?

I spoke to (K) and finally to (D) and (D) reassured me that everyone dissociates and whilst this was an extreme example it didn't mean I was going nuts. In fact given my fear of dentisits (not the pain, just feeling trapped and having things shoved in my mouth....flashbacks...enough said), given that I was alreasy under a wee bit of stress because the new attempt with efexor was not going to plan (same reaction, vertigo, but we're going to push on and see if it abates) and given that in general it has been a stressful few weeks, and there are a lot of changes coming up... it is quite understandable that it would happen. Rationally, I see her point, just as I did about the hallucinations, just as I do about the 'voices'.

But there is another part of me that thinks voices+hallucinations+losing periods of time is pretty much just leading me toward a nice cosy padded cell. It may be normal, expected or understandable to them, but to me it is just plain scary


  1. When I raised almost identical matters with my psychiatrist in January, she told me that quasi-psychoses and complete dissociation were very common in people with a history of CSA and other abusive experiences. It reassured me in a way, but the worry always is, "what if I dissociate and end up at the top of a cliff or something?" I've certainly ended up in some weird places.

    I suppose in that sense it's 'good' that you were able to behave normally in front of the dentist and get home - but I totally understand your fear; for it to happen at all is bloody terrifying.

    Wish I could say something more useful, but sending hugs and empathy for what they're worth. Take care xxx

  2. I have had this happen to me before too. I was in group therapy and someone started to say something I was very uncomfortable with and I got upset and went into another room to try and self harm, but I ended up laying on a beanbag and I didn't sleep, I just stared in to space for 2 hours with no recollection of anything. I was being supervised so the lady that was keeping an eye on me told me how long I was gone for. I don't remember it. I sometimes smell things that aren't there, once in hospital I had an awful experience with this and thought it was coming from one person, got really upset and angry at this person (the nurses told me the next day there was no smell) and had to be given meds. I dissociate too but not lately, only under stress like you have said. I can feel myself start to go and I have only a moment to grab myself or I'm gone. I think every one has these things, but you know what, because we have labels, I think we just notice them more! I really believe this. In a way we look for things like this and then if we find them, we go ah ha, there you go, this happened! Be gentle with yourself! It's only when this upsets your whole life every day that it becomes a problem.