Weird dissociative state

Lisamarieaxo

Learning
Hello I posted this back in 2018. I ddnt happen again. Until last night. I will say I havent been able to work since my original post here in 2018 and my life has just deteriorated. Below is my original post. I got SUCH relief here on the forum, especially from Shimmerz (not sure if still in the forum bc I have not been back in some years).

I will say I just moved back to my childhood home/room as the cPTSD got so bad I couldnt work at all. So 1 week ago I made this move (grateful to have somewhere to go). And then this happened again last night after several years...

Hello everyone,
This is my first post and I am looking forward to getting support and being a support here.
I had been doing great with my panic disorder (w mild agoraphobia) and thought it was over. I had a traumatic event (moderately) and a couple weeks later, put of the blue, I get a panic attack (after not having one for over 2 years). Then begins a relapse.
The WORST THING (and new thing although itndid happen once before the new trauma about 5 months ago) is I am waking in the middle of the night and I am totally disoriented. No idea who I am or what's going on. My thoughts are strange and I can't follow them or male sense of anything. A part of me is aware and freaking out as this is happening. When I start to come out of it I feel total terror about the whole expierence. What was that? What if it keeps happening all the time? How will i work and support myself (I have no supports)?
I feel like it is a delirium and I am loosing my mind. It feels like decending into a state of madness. I am very disturbed. It has also happened while falling asleep just as I am drifting. Anyone have anything weird like this?
 
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Sideways

Moderator
It sounds a lot like you're not waking completely. Like how people describe being "half awake"...

Add to that your panic attacks, and you have panicking at not being fully awake?

It makes sense that moving back to your childhood home would stir up your anxiety. Are there things you can do during the day to empty out your stress cup? Perhaps spend some time working on your sleep environment, adding colourful, soft nightlights etc so that the waking experience is less unsettling?
 

Lisamarieaxo

Learning
It sounds a lot like you're not waking completely. Like how people describe being "half awake"...

Add to that your panic attacks, and you have panicking at not being fully awake?

It makes sense that moving back to your childhood home would stir up your anxiety. Are there things you can do during the day to empty out your stress cup? Perhaps spend some time working on your sleep environment, adding colourful, soft nightlights etc so that the waking experience is less unsettling?
Thank you Sideways.. I agree that's definitely a part of it. I just go into this feeling of learned hopelessness where I just do nothing ... I have to challenge this somehow.

Thank u!
(Btw yesterday's sleep was great .. no issue like this at all)
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
Damn. Have you been reading my mail?
I had a similar experience for many many years after leaving home to get away from intolerable situation. I would wake up in terror that I was in my parents basement, like leaving home, going to work, having a place of my own, even getting married and having kids hadn't happened and I was in the dark in their basement again. Even now, they are gone, and I am unstoppably approaching being a man of a certain age (ha) I will wake up with that horror, It is easily dismissed but I have a flash of OH CRAP until I open my eyes and see my radio and my wife and her hair and the night light and know I can close my eyes and go back to sleep.
It got better for me, and I was having that wake up more times than not for decades. hope it passes, not a kind visitor this "dream'.
 

Livi

New Here
I have had this a few times. I can totally relate. I wake up - half awake/asleep - and then I am totally disorientated. In this state I can re-experience traumatic events and often end up fighting/shouting etc - I am only half aware of what I am doing but my eyes are open and I know that I am in 2021. But it feels like my actions have been hijacked and my body is not my own. It's terrifying! It usually happens if I am triggered/stressed at work and things have built up for me over a period of time. It leaves me dissociated for a few days - out of sorts, 'behind glass' and only able to function at about 50%. I retreat too and find my (chosen and wonderful) family almost unbearable to be around, noises are also intolerable at this time. I watch mindless TV and take baths, eat chocolate! I am usually better after about 48 hours and in a better state to reenter the world again. Hope this helps - and thanks for sharing.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
When I moved, and had no supports....the sounds of the new place kept me on edge. The bed didn't feel right, the bathroom wasn't in the usual place as before, the covers didn't seem right.....so, I made the bedroom a desirable place to be.....the bedroom was a safe harbor for me.....and I put notes on the wall for things I just had to do when I woke up....so I wouldn't stay there....along with fun things to enjoy after getting a task done. It's hard moving.....things don't feel the same.....so the sooner I made the place mine.....my space.....my organizational style....the less stress I felt.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I had this for a long time, and it happened curiously yesterday. It does happen more frequently with alcohol intoxication though.

So in the morning I find out that I sent bunches of sad messages to my ex trying to explain myself about something utterly silly where nobody is at fault. I was angry, he got pissed and I spiraled from there. I then sent an apology with a wasted selfie, only to discover the whole thing again the day after with shame. Another apology over the apology. Nothing makes sense and I felt void, disoriented, didn’t understand why I took my watch off, couldn’t understand where I were exactly and wanting to crawl back into my blankets. Not nice. Really not.

When I’m caught in an emotional flashback that I don’t identify or that is too intense, this is the kind of thing that can happen. I first self-medicate hoping the distress goes away, and then it’s a 50/50 to see if it will. Sometimes I don’t take medication and a dissociative state happens as well and I can see myself doing things without having much control of it to the point of risking my life or body integrity. (Fortunately this isn’t happening anymore!) In other settings, the meltdowns were so violent the only thing that could stop me from turning around, wailing and yelling me was to literally hit me on the head or push me until I get too tired and crash in tears. It’s a scary state and it’s scary to see we don’t have control.

However, once these patterns are identified it becomes gradually easier to find the windows of decision or design alternatives and protocols to manage them when they happen, because they’ll happen. Have an environment where you try to take out all activating elements (pictures or triggering objects, whatever) and replace them with things that you find nice, are new there and are anchors to make you know where you are and that you’re in the present and not in some disquieting of doom.

I do personally sleep with soft lights on and specific objects of decoration. The house has markers of "present" so if a flashback occurs somewhere I can place my attention on it.

I hope this helps a bit.
 
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