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Zoning Out - Where Do We Go?

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its a sunny day no too hot had a walk down the road sat on a bench lit a cigarette and , zap, zoned out completely, wasnt even aware that a friend of mine was stood there waving in front of me asking if anybody was in, dang thing just snuck up on me no warning no nothing, just beep end of transmission no one home please call back later, realised my finger was hot as the cigarette i had lit had burned down and my mate was looking a bit confused, managed to stand up and wander back, mind is fragged but, why do these things sneak up, is it that i was just relaxed nothing going on enjoying a nice day? damn brain thinks if im relaxed and not stressed then somethings about to jump out and bite so it switches off, spent so much time dealing with stuff that when i relax brain thinks something is going to come along and stuff things up, dang brain, got so bad at one point that i was just sat there for days not aware of anything just the odd bout of shakes , living in the mind where everything around is unreal, time space reality all seem far away, dang thing snuck up on me today. dang keep an eye on it and then try and keep a grasp of things around is the trick i find to get back again,
Yep, you gotta hate it when that happens. I don't do it much now, and I don't know why, but concentration still sucks pretty bad for me. Maybe it is something as you said, where your just really relaxed? A few people here mention it to this extent, but I don't think any off us understand it fully. I think I will do some research on this topic and see what I can dig up for us all.
Good plan. See if you can find something that doesn't say we're all nuts - I'm into denial mode again!
ive had the same thing but i was driving,i was going to a mates house to talk about the problems my wife and i are having and i cant remember driving there i went right across town and cant remember a thing,i can remember driving the car but the trip was a blur.
Thats actually different Paul, in that everyone actually experiences this whilst driving certain routes they become familiar with. For example, a persons brain can actually stop thinking about the semantics off having to turn left, turn right, etc etc, if the route is well known and driven often. Our brain actually is processing what we do, but we tend to be capable to think about other things whilst travelling the route. You would think that you would be more susceptible to having an accident, but from the studies done, your not, as your brain actually is actively processing your driving, its just you have more ability, for a better term, to process other things on common routes. People tend to do this often on highways they know, routes to and from family and friends, shops, etc etc. Quite common, and not related to PTSD.
Ok, just done some reading, and what the zoning out actually is, is actually the dissociation disorder that is part of PTSD. Basically you can lose mental awareness, surrounding, etc etc, which is merely part of the dissociation we feel from the effects of PTSD. Whilst some professionals diagnose it independently, it is actualy just a part of PTSD (the real PTSD that is). Because PTSD itself is a chemical imbalance within our brain, this partly causes this dissociation effect that we sometimes get more than someone without PTSD. It is very much a mind, space and awareness symptom, that you need to recognise when going into, to stop going into it. Basically that could be something as simple as concentrating on wiggling your toes. Is it dangerous? I don't see any immediate threat when doing it, as your brain is actually very much still part of the reality surrounding you, you just don't remember everything, but your brain is storing your surroundings.

Interesting read. Lookup PTSD dissociation. If you want the medical geek speak on it, then here it is:

Abstract. Introduction: The amygdala is thought to be primarily responsible for detecting, generating and maintaining fear-related emotions and has been implicated in neurophysiological and animal models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While previous neuroimaging studies of PTSD are largely consistent with the notion of amygdala-prefrontal dysregulation, there has not been robust evidence for amygdala hyperresponsivity across experimental tasks and different types of PTSD. We used functional MRI to investigate amygdala function during both conscious and non-conscious fear perception tasks, in a non-combat PTSD group relative to non-traumatized controls.

Methods: Fifteen participants with PTSD and 15 age and sex matched non-traumatized controls took part (with support from the Brain Resource International Database, http:www.brainresource.com). Functional MR images (1.5-T Vision Plus) were acquired during perception of fear and neutral (baseline) face stimuli, selected from a standardized series. In the conscious perception condition, stimuli were presented for 500ms with 767.5ms ISI (black background). For non-conscious perception, stimulus duration was 16ms followed by a 150ms neutral mask (to prevent detection, based on psychophysical data), and an equivalent ISI. Random effects analyses were conducted using SPM2 (http:www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/spm2.html), to examine amygdala function to test a priori hypotheses.

Results: ROI analyses revealed a dissociation of amygdala activity according to condition in PTSD participants. The PTSD group displayed excessive amygdala relative to controls in the non-conscious perception task, but not in the conscious perception task (indeed, amygdala responses were absent during conscious fear perception).

Conclusions: The results suggest that exaggerated amygdala response in PTSD occurs specifically during covert perception of salient signals - such as fear. The lack of excessive amygdala activity during conscious perception may reflect an ability to override automatic responses to threat-related stimuli when these stimuli are overt, and more controlled processing is possible. These results support those from previous studies suggesting that hyperresponsivity of the amygdala plays a key role in the pathophysiology of PTSD and that such activity related to fear perception may be best detected during non-conscious tasks.

Source: Brain Dynamics Centre
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