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Scoots5012
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13 Aug 2005, 4:47 am

Did you ever feel as if you were "not there"? I explain...

Others have noted on ocassion that my mind has a seemingly endless ability for recall.

As I have reviewed all of my memories of my past in an attempt to make sense of it, I have noticed that many of my childhood memories, espeically those going far back, seem to have surreal feel to them, especially ones where I was out of my routine.

It's hard to explain precisely. I was talking about this to my psychologist, about how as a kid I knew I was "there", there being what ever, but not feeling like I was "there".

Examples:

August 1983 - I got sick one day and ran up a fever. I was in daycare that day when it happened. I remember sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, I remember the two cormatic paper towel dispensers next to the sink and the bathroom being lit by incandescent light. I remember getting home and sitting at the kitchen table while I had my temprature taken, I remember my mom picked me up some kiddie cups as a get well present.

My first day of school in September 1985 - I remember running around on the playground right before the start of the first day, my dad watched at a distance, he was wearing a black shirt and sunglasses. The bell rang, we all lined up to go inside. The room was right next to the door, some kids were crying and didn't want to go inside, but I was indiferent to it.

March 1984 - I was in the hospital to have tonsils out and tubes put in my ears due to near constant ear infections. I remember being with my dad as he signed the commit forms for the doctor to preform the sugery. I recall the day I was to go in I was in a reception area watching the price is right on TV. I recall having to take a bath as part of the prep for sugery and I refused to get into the bathtub at the hospital because it was not in the bathroom we had at home, and my dad having to give me a spongebath instead. I remember getting a shot in the butt and it hurting like hell. I remember being wheeling into the operating room and fighting like mad with the anesthesiologist becasue the knock-out gas he was giving had the most noxious smell to it. Then I remember waking up in hospital bed, I was in the room with a kid who was 13, who was also in for some kind of surgery. I was up at 10pm that night and I went exploring outside my room. I made it down to the hallway night station where a male nurse was attending. I said nothing to him, he said nothing to me. I turned around and made my way back to the room and went to bed. I remember going home and getting to eat lots of ice cream!

While each of the aformentioned events was different, from my POV, they stand out becasue I had sense of not being there. To me it was more of a dream than anything else. However, I know these were not dreams. I can easily differentiate my dreams from reality.


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Sanityisoverrated
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13 Aug 2005, 6:41 am

I sort of remember things and dream in 3rd person, or 360 degree vision, if thats kinda what you mean.



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13 Aug 2005, 8:09 am

I see everything around me as if I am watching a 3 dimensional movie, or in video game. Nothing looks real to me. My doctor says I am not connected to the world around me. Very similar to Depersonalization disorder.


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13 Aug 2005, 10:37 am

Scoots I always love your posts. I share a similar fascination with my childhood memories, and seem to have an abundance with lots of detail like you. Sometimes I want to ask my parents about a memory, but I know that they never remember what I do.

One day I was at a neighbor's house all day for some reason. Late in the evening my dad came to pick me up. We walked down the street to our house. Then when we were inside I started to make chocolate milk, with the nestle quick powder. It seems like we never even said a word the whole time.

I think one of the things I find so fascinating is that they are so surreal, and looking back it all seems so fleeting. I often seem to exhibit signs of depersonalization, but I think this is just a fancy word for "seeing clearly." Society is to me a collectively mutual delusion.
I think that I sometimes see the world in very surreal terms, because that is really how the world is. But society only works if we keep everything mundane, and focus on important things like money and hair and teeth whiteners.
I feel a rant coming on.



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13 Aug 2005, 11:26 am

Quote:
I remember being wheeling into the operating room and fighting like mad with the anesthesiologist becasue the knock-out gas he was giving had the most noxious smell to it.


I did that too when I got my tonsils out! The gas smelled like plastic. I was also very mad because the nurse refused to tell me what was going to happen after I was knocked out.



azalynn
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13 Aug 2005, 11:40 am

I have often felt a bit detached while growing up, and I had a major "derealization" episode 6 years ago, when I was 20. In my case, it seems to be a state I can induce in myself by "thinking about thinking" and wondering how the heck human consciousness works in the first place and feeling as if I have to find "the answer" to reality before I can feel fully "real" again. I have always been rather philosophical: I remember asking my father when I was six, "Daddy, how do I know that I exist?" I think in some people this "things aren't real" sense might be a matter of brain chemistry or a trauma response, but in my case it has more to do with dwelling on how much of what we think of as reality is social construct, etc. There have been times when I've looked at my hands / arms and gotten almost a sense of fear because objectively, they're pretty weird-looking. Also, the human form in general seems a bit bizarre and arbitrary to me. If I think about it too much I start to feel even more alien than usual.



spacemonkey
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13 Aug 2005, 11:52 am

Quote:
it seems to be a state I can induce in myself by "thinking about thinking" and wondering how the heck human consciousness works in the first place and feeling as if I have to find "the answer" to reality before I can feel fully "real" again

Metacogitation= thinking about thinking. To me this is what being human is all about.



childofalessergod
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13 Aug 2005, 1:50 pm

I always thought surreal was like floating above yourself and seeing things with stroboscopic vision. I can distinctly remember having an episode where I was awake and did both of these things, but I was on Nyquil at the time so that may be a completely different experience.


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hell_grey
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13 Aug 2005, 2:43 pm

A few years ago when my depression was at its worst i had symptoms similar to depersonalization/derealization disorder. twas a horrible feeling. it felt like I was looking at everything through a glass pane. it induced a lot of self injurious behavior which brought me back to feeling like i was THERE and not just an observer. now i only feel like that when im really stressed out by something which isn't often. ive read its a normal response to a stressful situation.. just not when it's happening 24/7!

also i just noticed scoots that you can easily differentiate between your dreams and reality.. i had the opposite problem. the feeling of detachment i would have in waking life mimicked the feeling/ambiance of a dream for me. this made it hard to differentiate between dreams and reality, especially if the dream involved real people or stuff that could actually happen in life. i always knew it was adream though if it was something ridiculuos like being able to fly of course, though.



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13 Aug 2005, 4:15 pm

I've had an episode like this a couple of years ago. It felt like an out-of-body experience.
I was a party. At one point, I started talking to this girl. She was pretty friendly, and looked cute too. During the coversation, I noticed that she was touching me on the arm a lot, and even grabbed my hand a couple of times, as she talked to me. She even kept rubbing her hair against me, making it look like an accident. I haven't had it happen to me before, but it felt really good.
The whole night felt very surreal, almost like a scene in the Persistance of Memory by Dali. One one hand, the room looked real, the music sounded real, and the girl's touch felt real. On the other hand, I felt like it wasn't me talking to the girl at a party; I felt like I was somewhere else, simply watching myself talk to her.
Has anyone else here experienced something like this?



nirrti_rachelle
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13 Aug 2005, 6:03 pm

I experienced that feeling the first time I went to New York City. Seeing Manhattan for the first time other than on television was absolutely surreal as seeing pictures didn't do it justice. Coming from Tennessee, I've never been in such a hustle and bustle place and the sights, the magnitude of being amoung such tall buildings, which looks amazing in person, overwelmed me so much my vacation was like one four day dream.

What made it so bad, it was one of the few times I wanted to be fully "in the moment" and I just couldn't, even though everything was fun and exciting. I usually experience that out-of-body feeling while making oral presentations or when something stressful suddenly happens but my trip to New York was the first time I experienced it on that level.


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13 Aug 2005, 6:32 pm

Not really, though some of my memories seem like events that couldn't really have happened because they were so 'wrong,' but I know they happened- I guess a good example is something my mother denies ever saying, but as a little kid I asked her if she had to choose for me or my adoptive father to live, who would she choose- she said "him." I know that happened, but it's like, how could that have happened? Not to be dramatic but to say some memories seem less real because they'e so far removed from "normal" and what you'd expect to see/hear/have happen. There's a different quality to that and other memories for me; they also have little emotional content though intellectually I am outraged by them, still.

I do know my first memory of disassociating as that I was graudtaing kindergarten, and that was I think the first but definitely not the last time I thought to myself, "This is too big. It's not really happening. Big things don't really happen." But I remember that happening to me; I feel as much as if I was there as any other memory.



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13 Aug 2005, 8:51 pm

I remember nearly everything as if I was watching TV - in 3rd person - sometimes lately I do remember things in first person but I still have a hard time feeling connected to my body at all - I look at my hands and I know they are my hands - this isn't a psychotic thing - but I don't feel any more connected to them than to my cell phone or my SUV . . .

From what I've read this is not at all uncommon with autistics . . .



azalynn
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13 Aug 2005, 9:37 pm

Quote:
I look at my hands and I know they are my hands - this isn't a psychotic thing - but I don't feel any more connected to them than to my cell phone or my SUV


This is exactly my experience -- very nice clear way of expressing the sense of "detachment" from one's body. I have a bit of a cyborg / transhumanist fixation and I have always felt that I would not mind having my limbs replaced someday, or even getting an entirely different artificial body (mind you, I'm not saying this is definitely going to happen, I'm just saying that I would definitely take the opportunity if it were offered and I was very old / ill, etc.). I basically have no emotional attachment to my human form; it does not seem "special" to me and I could really take it or leave it, existentially speaking. All I care about is having a vehicle for my consciousness because the universe is very interesting and I like learning and observing.



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13 Aug 2005, 9:53 pm

azalynn wrote:
I basically have no emotional attachment to my human form; it does not seem "special" to me and I could really take it or leave it, existentially speaking. All I care about is having a vehicle for my consciousness because the universe is very interesting and I like learning and observing.


I would be happy with an artificial body too, but not out of any serious sense of detachment, just expediency. I kinda like my body, but I don't consider it in any significant way a part of myself, so if there was a better alternative with few drawbacks, I'd go for it.

There have only been a few times where I've felt the kind of third person detachment described in this thread. Moments of extreme fear or anger when I know I have to do something I'm almost not capable of, because to not do it would be a far worse betrayal of myself.