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Staring into Space
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Staring into Space

How many of you end up staring into space randomly for seemingly no reason in the middle of something you're doing either knowingly or unknowingly and does anyone know scientific reasoning for this?
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Avatar_m_tn
I suppose I should add my experience with this so there's more detail.  When I was a kid this happened a lot more frequently than now and often I'd be in the middle of doing something and just stop and start staring with no thoughts in my head and I didn't feel sad or anything.  It happened sometimes in the middle of playing with my cousins for example when they came over as well.  I used to not be able to pull out of it and they would call my name but I couldn't respond while it was happening but through the years I learned how to break out of it usually although sometimes it happens and I don't realize it's happened and I get stuck like that for a little bit anyway.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Not really sure what the cause was but if you are mentally aware the whole time (I know that in minor epilepsy a person can appear to "blank out" for a short period of time from a loss in consciousness) for myself before recovery, I was either having psychotic thoughts or self focused in some manner. I can't really explain it but there was a break from reality that is typical of schizophrenia and people would have to call me to have it stop but even if I wasn't aware I was having psychotic thoughts I was somehow disconnected from reality. This is not uncommon in schizophrenia. In extremity before anti-psychotics existed people would experience catatonia and be disconnected from people for hours or days on end so the brain does somehow stop processing outside stimuli and the severity of schizophrenia depends on the extent of this and other symptoms of course. It may be part of negative symptoms but you could speak to your psychiatrist about this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yeah I agree it's hard to explain it which is why I love the lyrics "I can't explain, you would not understand, this is not how I am" because that's true with any symptoms of mental illness, especially with people who have never went through it but then that's true with anything that people don't truly understand something just by imagining it, I don't think it makes a difference how intelligent and imaginitive they are.  Thank god my episodes of that weren't so bad it lasted hours or days but I hear that's rare these days anyway with advances in treatment but I do notice now they got progressively longer as the years went on and I was getting there.  Makes me wonder now if it didn't become suddenly 10x worse and rather I just didn't notice it was slowly getting worse when I remember things like that.  I remember when I was like 15 after I got done from one I said wow I never knew it was so intriguing to stare at walls for me and my friend was like uhhhh you should talk to a psychiatrist which I find sort of ironic because he didn't think to do that himself and he was saying he was god and going to decimate humanity and such back then in all seriousness and now he tells me recently voices were telling him this stuff and didn't realize it wasn't right much like me until older.  I find it interesting how it can make you when you hear people talk about this stuff tell them that but at the same time you can possibly not have the same reaction for it happening to you.  It confuses me now that I think about being a kid where this stuff would happen with my illness but I would be totally oblivious to knowing I had it when it came to people asking me if I did, hell I didn't even realize I had some negative symptoms or cognitive deficits until after talking to a therapist this year.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for telling me about this in the other post. I have the same problem but I feel like I'm in my own little world. It was worse when I was a kid too, but I wasn't as bad later on. Then lately my mom told me I was getting as bad as I was back then. So now it is just as bad as it was when I was a kid. At first I thought I was like my Dad, but I don't think it was a problem for him. But people talk and I don't hear them. And it really gets on my Mom's nerves.
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539549_tn?1315985262
this happens to me....I think my mom does it too cuz she'lljust space out when im talking tto her
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1066198_tn?1333312628
i do this too-- have for years....since child hood. usually short in duration...
have been told they are "absence seizures".... ????
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been doing this my whole life. It's weird like if I'm playing a video game or reading it never happens, but if I walk into a different room or someone is talking to me it does. It's not like I go from object to object or anything. I can pay plenty of attention to somethings but other things I space out. Mom often had to answer for me when I was a kid because I didn't hear. Maybe it's a bipolar thing I don't know, but I can't imagine that I've been bipolar my whole life.
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1039200_tn?1314915608
This used to happen to me a lot before going on APs. It was really antisocial and I could literally stare at someone in the face whilst they were talking to me then walk away without answering, or acknowledging them so people thought I was hellish rude.
I got into so much trouble for it, once a woman hit me with her handbag a busy street and threatened me because she had taken so much offence. I had no recollection of seeing her at all earlier on let alone ignoring her - so what could I say? and there she was shouting that I should get my head looked at cause I was ****** mental. Embarrasing.
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Avatar_f_tn
That really bites that something like that would happen. I swear so many people don't understand. Luckily with me I don't usually look at the person half the time anyway. So people don't think I was just being a jerk. They usually ask if I am deaf or tell me to clean my ears out.  Something like that. As for mom she still gets mad at me. Of course she knows I can hear just not listening. Just the other day I told her she should be used to it by now. But she isn't even though I've been like this since before I can remember. I don't really like to look at people very long expecially if I am spacing out.
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Avatar_m_tn
Rude people like that really **** me off.  Makes me wonder if back in the day when people could shoot each other in duels and such if people were more polite back then.
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1039200_tn?1314915608
LOL, you're probably right. I'm lucky cause I can laugh at some of the stuff that happened to me now, whereas at the time it was pretty disturbing. What else can you do? I guess I have come a long way since then!
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah is that a good thing? I'm not so sure. I know a lot of rude people who if they lived in that time would be shot in the ***. LOl. It makes me mad to. So your'e not the only one who gets ticked off with people like that. If it was me there would probably end up a fight. I don't know how you stopped yourself from taking a swing at that person.
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Avatar_f_tn
I believe this is something like 'silent seizures.' Obviously not the kind of seizure where your body convulses and such. I am not sure of a scientific reason, though you may be able to look it up and find it online. But this happened to me as a child. During school in second grade, apparently it happened pretty often. I still do not remember it, because I was not there in my mind when it happened. It was like being completely absent. My teacher would call my name, be right beside me trying to snap me out of it. She would even grab my shoulders and shake me a bit and it wouldn't work. I would be staring, awake, but not there. I never knew it was happening, and I only know from being told. My mother took me to the doctors because of it, that's all I remember. But for me it was just one of the many symptoms of an uncommon disease that has since been taken care of. We did not know until many years later. But it stopped when I was a child, taken over by other mental symptoms.
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1102927_tn?1268961271
I do the same thing, especially when I was little. I would space out so intently that the room would blur, usually i'd just stare at an object. My mind would be completely blank. Like you, now i'm more able to control it, and it comes a lot less frequently. I honestly did not know it happened to anyone else. Interesting..
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Avatar_f_tn
I know I had no idea either. I don't know about this seizure thing I can't imagine having it everyday since I was a toddler. That's a little scary. A lot of times I daydream during one but not always sometimes I just blank out. I always thought I got it all from my dad. Maybe I'll even look up that seizure thing. I might but I don't think it is that for me because if I had that many attacks wouldn't I be really effected by it by now? Just a thought.
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585414_tn?1288944902
There are many varities of seizures and some appear psychiatric. They can be confused for a psychiatric disability but they can also occur in addition to one. This might do for a start:http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/epilepsy-symptoms-types
and also I am sure the National Epilepsy Foundation has brochures. And for an informed answer post in the neurology forum for an answer from the staff neurologist as each person is different in what they may be experiencing and only a medical professional could tell the difference between what is neurological and psychiatric. If anything is every suspected a psychiatrist would refer a person for further testing from a neurologist.
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Avatar_m_tn
After reading the seizure symptoms I'm not sure if it was silent seizures I have as I'm always entirely aware of everything and usually know when it happens or if I don't I become aware later and then snap myself out of it usually although even then I still don't lose awareness of my surroundings.  I can think while like that but usually I don't want to so I don't.  Going to ask my psychiatrist what it is at any rate next time I see him.  I read about stupor on wikipedia anyway and that was pretty dead on with what goes on for me except it left out some details but of course there's a lot of causes for things like this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just read about it. I don't think it is me, but I don't know. So many things can cause people to space out. And I can snap myself out of it too. And I know what's going on. I tend to daydream half of the time. And can someone have a seizure everyday maybe even several times a day? And I really don't have any of the other symptoms apart from spacing out. I won't be seeing my phychiatrist for awhile. I just saw him several days ago.
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Avatar_f_tn
I see. For me, I was completely unaware of myself or my surroundings. It was as if my mind shut down. I didn't even ever know it was happening, even after I would come out of it. I don't know what it was like. And it was long ago. And as for the post by ILADVOCATE, mine were most likely caused by another condition which has since been cured. Mine had nothing to do with anything that I could control.

I think I know what you are talking about, and I think it is fairly normal. It is just like zoning out, I suppose. I think it happens to most people. Happens to me and pretty much everyone I've known as a normal thing.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think it's possible for someone to have seizures that much in fact I think someone told me before that someone they knew had them that often.  I didn't know until they told me but seizures can severely developmentally disable a person.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Severe seizures if untreated or severe treatment refractory seizures that are severe can (I know because this is happenning to a distant family member, very sad story, but they have been tried on every anti-convulsant known as well as brain operations to stop the seizure activity, then again they acquired epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury after a car accident, which being a form of brain damage makes seizures from them or anything else hard to treat) eventually cause dementia but seizures that are treated or minor treatment refractory epilepsy will not. This is not a developmental disability. However, people with developmental disabilities such as autism can sometimes have seizures as part of a developmental disability which can often have accompanying physical disabilities (such as a cousin of mine with Rett's Syndrome, a severe developmental disability). No one here is experiencing any of this so people should not worry. As to whether its a normal habit of staring into space, episodes of losing touch with reality from schizophrenia (which is common) or some form of minor seizure this is best talked over with a psychiatrist or if a person doesn't have one yet a doctor and they can determine what is going on and make a referral to a neurologist if needed. I've had EEG's and MRI's and they are painless, easy procedures to undergo. There are many books about all this as well as clinically accurate websites where a person can update themselves as well.
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1137575_tn?1265598226
.  I'm new to this community.  I was diagnosed with being bipolar 1 a few years ago when I was 29.  The symptoms were always there, but I didn't realize I had such a problem till I got older.  Anyway, the very same thing happens to me too!  I just stumbled across this page a few minutes ago and I was like holly **** this happens to other people!  I actually have been getting worse with those episodes the older I get.  I'm 32 now.  I have a problem with remembering people's names because I'll space out and don't remember half of what they told me.  I've also been called rude or snobby by people.  I'm really not.  I'm a very nice person.  I'm just glad to see it happens to others and I'm not a freak.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well yeah I didn't mean they were a developmental disorder I just meant someone born with them can be developmentally disabled because of them where they never reach a lot of milestones or soon forget them from where I was told seizures can screw up the brain like you said where it can eventually cause dementia.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'd hear before anyway and been told by someone about how their child had been hindered developmentally because of untreatable seizures damaging their brain.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was wondering when you said no one here has to worry what did you mean exactly? Did you mean seizures or devolopement disorder? I just want to make sure I got it. But yeah I would imagine that seizures could damamge the brain.
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1011826_tn?1274496312
I know I am late answering to this thread but your question intrigued me.

I used to have this happen in grad school under periods of extreme stress. I was overwhelmed, living in NYC and attending a high pressure school, and working, so my brain would just sort of shut off sometimes and I would stare at the wall for about 2 hours every few days or so. I have read and from the responses posted that this may be a type of epilepsy, so definitely get it checked out if you can. But there is a part of me that thinks sometimes the brain just gets overloaded, and it needs a break. Of course, I am bipolar II and at the time was on Tegretol. There is no way of knowing what contributed to these "spells," but they went away a few years ago when my life situation changed. Now I structure my life very differently so I am not in such high stress situations, as stress contributes to bipolar symptoms immensely for me.

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Avatar_m_tn
I don't think it is epilepsy because ILADVOCATE told me just yesterday in a question I had about it that they can rule that out with MRI and CAT scan and I had both of those within the last year which I'm fairly certain was also forwarded to my mental health services to be used before diagnosing me and no one told me I had that.
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