• 20 days ago

    Disoriented/Confusion ... Panicking??

    I am a 20 year old female and I feel like I've been experiencing this for most of my life, I just don't know how to thoroughly explain it. At very random occurrences, and I 100% know where I am because it always happened in the car, at school, or at home and I haven't felt this way in years until about a couple of weeks ago. I start to feel very confused of my surroundings even though I know where I am. I remember this one day specifically where I was leaving my elementary school when I was 8 years old and I started to walk outside after school to look for my moms car and all of a sudden I didn't fully recognize my surroundings or anyones faces around me and I felt very disoriented and numb and I started to panic and freak out. I don't think I have felt like that since I was 13 years old until about a week ago when I was walking up the stairs at the library at school that I have been going to at least once a week for the past 3 years and in the middle of a conversation with my friend I stopped talking because I started having that same feeling where I felt confused, numb and disoriented and not sure as to where I was but I knew exactly where I was?? I started to panic for a little then I talked myself out of it telling myself that this has happened to me plenty of times and it'll pass. I was thinking it could be because of stressful situations I'm in and that these are mini panic attacks but I don't think so because I've only had one full-on real panic attack in my life. I'm not sure as to what it was and was hoping someone would be able to help me figure it out and let me know if I should see a doctor.


  • RE: Disoriented/Confusion ... Panicking??

    Hey, anonymous-
    You're on the right track: You can remember having this experience in your past, so it's not brand-new to you; as you're walking up the stairs and talking to your friend, you stopped to get yourself oriented in the middle of those symptoms; and then you talked yourself down from it ("I've had this before, and it's going to pass"). Here's the next step: don't escalate this, don't make this bigger than a set of symptoms. Sure, it probably stemmed from the stress you know about, and maybe a few other stresses that you're not quite aware of (and don't necessarily need to be). Your primary sensation is what we call de-realization, and you are exactly right: you have an experience of not knowing where you are while simultaneously you know where you are. Obviously, that would be terribly unsettling for anyone. Chalk this up to being a little too stressed. Find ways to reduce that stress, whatever it it may be. And know that you just happen to be vulnerable to that kind of depersonalization experience. That's your sensitivity, and make it not a big deal that it happens every once in a while (but, of course, it's going to freak you out for a few moments). You are doing great so far; keep up the good work. And please be reassured by what I'm telling you.