Waking up thinking I'm in another city


I think this is some kind of dissociative event happening.

I just had an intense trip to the town I grew up in, where a lot of abuse and pain happened. The trip went much better than expected, but I'm also having a post-trip symptom spike. I was only there for a few days, but I haven't been back in many years and there was a lot to take in during the trip. Now that I'm back home, I keep waking up initially thinking I'm back in that town and state, not where I actually am now. Once my brain fully wakes up, and I realize where I am, I tend to go numb.

I was also in a cab recently reading something on my phone. For a second, it was like my brain wasn't in the right city again - but driving down a particular road to my abuser's house. Almost flashback like. I looked out the window and zap, was back in the right state... and it's disorienting, much like a flashback.

Anyone else experience anything like this?
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Every time I make the trip "back home" my flashbacks increase. Like you, it's always occurred post trip. It really knocks me for a loop for a while. Once I settle back into my routine and get busy with life again, it lessens its effect.

In short, what I think happens to me is when I am in my home town my brain is hyper aware of everything, doing it's job and trying to protect/prevent injury from occurring in an environment known for danger. So, a super intense trip followed by returning to a "safe" environment allowing a decompression of sorts and allowing room for flashbacks and vehement emotions. Really symptomatic in general.


It keeps happening to me now. I moved a year ago and don't realize where I am when I wake up. Yesterday when I woke I saw a concrete bunker falling on me. I put out a hand to stop it (as if) and it kept coming. I woke up all the way then and realized it was a hallucination.


I came back to this because I wanted to ask if this is the same? I don't have it with places, but with time (times in my life). Like I wake up and it is the wrong year, and my decisions are based on what would be happening then. And I say that's ridiculous that's the past and then 10 or 20 minutes later I realize I'm still in the wrong year, like thinking I'll throw a shirt on from years ago. Not sure if that's the same but it's disturbing. I suppose it comes with high stress. I guess it could all qualify as disoriented to person, place or time? But oriented enough to challenge it.

Simply Simon

@PlainJane nailed my experience with this phenomenon. I have a strict 48 hour maximum on exposure to my home state and family for this reason. I turn into myself at 15, and I have the same disorienting aftershocks you described afterwards, sometimes for weeks or longer. Even an intense phone call will give me trauma nightmares followed by intense disorientation and dissociation, even though I’m no longer DIDNOS, so that’s awesome.


These responses are really helpful. It's been a really sticky experience for lack of better words. It seems to be shaking off, bit by bit. Not the full symptom spike yet, but this part of it. I'm beginning to find my feet under me when I wake up. I'm making myself swim at 6 am every day and the cold splash brings me back around.