Uncanny, strange deja vu
July 26, 2006 9:42 PM   Subscribe

What is this dream-like state that sometimes overtakes me?

It happens most often when I am drifting off to sleep, particularly when I am very tired, but it can happen any time, anywhere. It begins with a profound sense of deja vu that is punctuated by recurring mental images. Visions of the house adjacent to my boyhood home, something about shoes, and the feeling of needing to count something often intrude on my mind. As the event proceeds, I have the distinct feeling of being outside of my mind, viewing my mind as an object. I often "see" all my responsibilities (my debts, my baby son) and feel acute anxiety about their awesomeness. I also have the feeling that I am in a strange place, wherever I happen to be. These experiences happen about once a month, and I have been having them for at least 10 years, maybe longer. (I'm 40). Sometimes they are mild, sometimes they are powerfully transcendent. Always they are INTENSELY pleasurable.

What's happening to me? Does anything like this ever happen to you?
posted by Crotalus to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

That wouldn't explain why you have them when you're totally awake and alert, though. It's also worth noting that I feel the same way when I'm totally, totally baked.

But yeah, sometimes you can parlay these things into lucid dreams or "out of body experiences" (which aren't, but are still cool). Brains are awesome, harness that.
posted by borkingchikapa at 9:46 PM on July 26, 2006

Sounds like a partial seizure, which tend to happen more often with stresses like tiredness. Deja vu/jamais vu type sensations, hallucinations, acute feelings, dream-like sensations, confusion; yes, I get them too.

You should report this to your doctor and probably get a referral to a neurologist to get it checked out. "powerfully transcendent" is not a state that you really want to get in when you're, say, driving, and untreated they could get worse.
posted by Freaky at 10:18 PM on July 26, 2006

IANAD, but I'd vote for Hypnogogia or sleep paralysis.

I've had sleep paralysis all my life. It scares the living crap out of most people, and used to scare the crap out of me before I learned how to enjoy it.

I would rate it as one of the most pleasurable things a human can experience - better then DMT, better than sex. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen to me as much as it used to. A shame, that.

Nowadays, it seems to happen most often when I take a nap in the middle of the day.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:28 AM on July 27, 2006

and used to scare the crap out of me before I learned how to enjoy it.

I have it while driving. It still scares the crap out of me. Something triggers in me during the monotony of driving long distances over straight roads, and I can't even focus my eyes for microseconds at a time. You know that scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where Chevy Chase is asleep at the wheel, snoring? That's my fear.

It's no wonder I just turn up the radio and sing as loud as I can while I'm driving these days. It's the only way I can keep myself from nodding off.

My doctor says I may need to see a neurologist about it, but he thinks there are some other health problems I need to work out (my severe allergies, sleep disruption, etc) before I take that course, to see if it's just an extended symptom.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:38 AM on July 27, 2006

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