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Avatar universal

Everywhere reminds me of a dream. Even strangers faces seem familiar and recognisable....

Hi.
I'm 31 years old, and I had mild panic attacks when I was around 23 for a few months, but was lucky enough to read a book on meditation which described the "Safe Harbour meditation". This helped me immensely, and I have not had one since. It worked for me, but I don't know why, or if it surefire to help everyone.....
However.... Over the last few months I have had a very strange thing happening, which has just got to a peak in the last few days.
Basically, I feel awake, but it is like my subconscious mind is pushing to take over my "awake" mind.
Everywhere I go reminds me of a dream and I begin to drift towards that dream.
Places I have never been, or even familiar places have a new feel to them.
It's like, even though you can't put your finger on a dream, (just like after you have woken up from sleep, the dream made sense whilst asleep, but no sense when you are awake) I feel like it is real, but also my mind knows it cannot be. Very strange indeed I can tell you!
I also seem to recognise lots of (Not all) strangers faces.  So....people I have never met before have familiar faces...... That is even weirder....

I am going through a lot of stress at the moment. I am away from my wife and daughter, and am unsure at the moment how we will fix our situation to be reunited. I know this has most likely contributed, but can anyone shed some light? please...... Even smells, or touch, or anything can make me feel like im dreaming the reality that should be normal while awake......
i have had no issue keeping myself in reality as such. In other words, no-one is aware that this is happening to me even when we are talking, as i try to keep myself in the room so to speak.
The other day however, my brother had a conversation with me, and I was awake, and i don't remember it.
I had just woken up, and had not been drinking the night before, but he remembers me clearly wide awake.
I think I must have just been trying to get out of the dream and been on auto pilot... i'm not sure...

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for listening, and if you have any advice or answers I will be eternally grateful.

Many thanks,

Duncan
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Sorry, just to add that some of it can be pleasant, for example I have always tried to see the best in everyone, and get on well with people, but recently it is like everyone is family.
I see beauty everywhere. There is however another side to that coin, which is fear, and phobias, and in affect mini nightmares.
Not the type you would wake up sweating from, but enough to put me really on edge.
Even typing this now, the keys feel weird, the sounds as well seem to take me somewhere else....
I really can't explain it fully.. It is so weird and unsettling and uncomfortable.... it has not yet become a problem where I can't work or leave the house, but if it gets worse than this.....
i am battling every second at the moment not to drift off with my subconscious.....

Thanks again for listening.

Duncan
1688437 tn?1307985969
Hi! Sorry to hear that you are going through such a time but if you google 100 symptoms of anxiety it will reallu shed some light it sounds as if its the derealization mixed with the dejavou excuse the spelling please! I had these symptoms in the begining which was about 3 years ago. Also therapy and or seeing your gp about some ways to help you get over this hump! Hope this helps and hope you r feeling better soon
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reply my friend.
I will google that and see what transpires. That is a big help and i'm very grateful.
Take care
480448 tn?1426952138
You are describing a very common side effect of chronic anxiety/panic, called derealization...where everything looks weird, some people describe it as though they are looking at the world through a movie projector or someone else's eyes.  Every day common things begin to look "odd" to us.  That can include all of your senses, like you said...even smells and tastes, sounds...can be affected in addition to visual "changes".

The good news is, as frustrating and unsettling as the sensation is, it will not harm you in any way.  The way to rid yourself of it is to address your anxiety.  Best starting place for that would be your family doctor.  There are many different approaches to treating anxiety, if you had success with the meditation before, try that again.  If you find it isn't working, then have a pow wow with your doc about your options.  

Derealization usually sticks around to some degree until you can start getting a handle on your anxiety.  It varies for everyone, but commonly, it is one of those things where all of sudden you realize that is has improved greatly.  The changes aren't usually very obvious at first.  I've had just about every sensation related to panic, and I can say that DR was by far the most annoying and upsetting.  I've been there many times, and every time I reigned my anxiety in, the DR subsided within a few weeks or so after.  The best thing you can do is start addressing it now...the quicker you start hammering away at the anxiety, likely the faster the DR will subside.

Keep in touch and hang in there.  You are not alone and what you're going through is very typical of anxiety!!
Avatar universal
Thank you for the reply!
i shall be going to see my G.P asap to get this sorted.
I don't feel anxious though which is weird... i mean not in the typical sense, but some of the symptoms I read do ring true....
It is really strange. I guess I know the basis of this is being away from my wife and daughter, with no solution to us being together permanently, or even a definite date i will see them next....

There is another thing that keeps popping up in this also, and that is like when you try to remember a dream... I keep getting flashes of a memory or a dream or something that I can't put my finger on.
It is like, a situation or something, I don't know, i can't explain.... And flashes of dreams and memories from the past also....... So very very strange....
Apart from this I have going on, I am ok. or would like to think so.... lol.

I sincerely thank you for taking the time to help me, it means a great deal, and I shall push forward with the knowledge that i am not alone and others have been there and come through it.
That definitely helps a lot!

Thanks again, take care.
8 Comments
Hey! Did your GP help you? I had the same thing happen to me.
Wow I had completely forgotten about this post!
I was diagnosed with mild Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I have been taking pills for years now and it has helped. I don’t have those issues any more.
I would say if you have any similar symptoms to those I described, get it checked out. It was Epilepsy for me.

This was a trip down non memory lane for me! Wow...

All the best, I hopefully you get it sorted also :)
Ok wow! Yeah, that’s wild. Can I ask how you were diagnosed? I’m a hypochondriac and told the neurologist, and she wasn’t concerned.. she specializes in epilepsy and ran an EEG when my dream flashbacks happened and gave me an MRI and found nothing. Let me know!!
For me I had a “petit mal” which is a mild epileptic fit. It happened at work where I just completely zoned out like I was daydreaming and my hand was twitching. I didn’t know it happened (it was a second for me, but about 10 for them) but my manager saw it and made me go to the hospital.
They diagnosed me there.
I’m not sure what to advise if you have already seen a doctor. I would say try another doctor for a second opinion maybe?
I wish you the best of luck and I hope it gets sorted. I know how confusing and unsettling it can be. Just know that it can be fixed. I am fine now.
All the best
Thank you so much for your quick response and for sharing!  Yeah, it’s confusing. I’ve never experienced that, and my doc said it would have shown up on the EEG if it was seizure related... She said it was panic. It’s very odd. I’ve been panicking a lot lately and my doc prescribed me with Zoloft, and it seems to happen only when I’m panicking. It’s just hard because panic and temporal lobe epilepsy have a lot of overlap!

Did those symptoms of yours happen (the feeling like you remembered dreams/dream recall pops/strangers look familiar) when you had your petit mal?
I honestly can’t remember. I don’t remember much from that year or so if I’m honest. I think it was more like a full blown daydream. Just off in my head for a bit.
Sorry I can’t be of much more help.

I do know that mindfulness and meditation can help as well. I still use that to calm my overactive brain :)
Thank you so much for responding! I really appreciate it! I hope things are going well for you. Meditation is KEY!
I love the update and help from a member who hasn't been here in a while. Here is some information on Derealization which is a real phenomenon and is treatable.   https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mental-health-disorders/dissociative-disorders/depersonalization-derealization-disorder.  Don't let that title scare you.  And this is fairly common!  
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