Not exactly The Matrix, but what?
May 2, 2012 9:43 PM   Subscribe

What is the name (medical/psychological term?) for this feeling that "my life been a dream since that one event several years ago"?

One fine morning about 20 years ago, when I was barely 10 years old, I was shaken awake by a cousin with the news that Rajiv Gandhi had been assassinated. It was shocking news, sure, but nothing traumatic for me personally. A little more than one year after that, my father was murdered. The case has remained unsolved. I can't pinpoint exactly when, but at some point after that I started getting this weird feeling that my life has been a dream ever since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. It is not something that happens all the time, just once in a while.

I was reminded of this while reading a sidebarred comment from a mefite who has had the same sort of feeling since Katrina.

Is it a common thing? Is there a name for this condition, if it is indeed a condition?

To be clear, I do not actually believe that I am in some Matrix/Inception sort of life. It is just a vague feeling that I get occasionally.
posted by vidur to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by mossicle at 9:53 PM on May 2, 2012

And its cousin, depersonalization
posted by the jam at 10:00 PM on May 2, 2012

Best answer: IANAD, but my first thought was it was a form of dissociation, which is the umbrella term for both of the disorders already mentioned. It can be triggered by PTSD, and the murder of your father is an event that could cause PTSD. While it doesn't sound like it it's interfering with your life, it's important enough to post a question on MeFi about it, so I'd suggest making an appointment with a therapist or psychologist. Best case scenario, the person can help you understand it better, identify triggers, develop coping mechanisms, and possibly find ways to prevent this eventually from reoccurring altogether. Worst case scenario, you're told a bunch of stuff you already know and, while it might not change things, you'll still walk away with a better context for what you are experiencing. Best of luck to you. You experienced a traumatic event at a very young age, and as someone who lost my father to cancer when I was 12, I know how much that loss can shape your life, and the circumstances you describe must make it exponentially worse. Bearable, but challenging nevertheless. I hope whatever MeFites say can make it easier.
posted by katemcd at 10:31 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Sounds like dissociation indeed. Thanks, folks.
posted by vidur at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2012

Post-traumatic stress disorder?
posted by incandescentman at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2012

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