Story by "Jennifer"

 

I'm really glad I found this site. I suddenly feel less alone.


Anyway, I'm a 28 y/o female. Initially I sought treatment for cognitive difficulties, memory problems, an inability to focus and a general sense of fogginess. My psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression as well as ADD. He claimed that the "brain fog," as I call it, is attributed to the depression, which could be attributed to the ADD.  I honestly believe that there's more to it than that, since I've been having these problems for as long as I can remember. I doubt that, at the age of 4, I was depressed enough to have these problems. Originally he put me on Zoloft for the depression which, to my horror, made me even foggier! Now I'm on Adderall, which seems to help a bit, though I still don't feel completely "here."

I was never abused, unless being teased mercilessly and occasionally beaten up in school is considered abuse. I don't do drugs. I don't drink. I have, however, turned into quite the chain smoker.

I remember being 4 and watching Scooby Doo, which was my favorite show at the time. A commercial came on, and a few seconds later I completely forgot what show I was watching. It bugged the hell out of me, and I refused to move from that spot until the show came back on so that I knew what I was watching. This was the first, and least severe of a lifetime of similar episodes.

My head is foggy, as if it's full of static so loud that the world around me becomes unreachable. When people talk to me, I rarely understand what they're saying. I can hear them, but their words are toned out by the static. It's like trying to watch a TV show with a TV that doesn't work, the static overrides the words and makes the picture all fuzzy. Only bits and pieces can be made out if I focus enough. I feel very detached from the world around me, almost like I'm stuck in my head and can't get out. This, of course, leads to many problems at work and at school.  I also tend to zone out, meaning, I go blank, completely, I just "leave" and it's often hard to stop this from happening.

Lights seem too bright, sounds too loud. Walking down the hall to the office where I work is blinding. The carpet is pastel, the lights are just too bright and I zone out, often walking right up against the wall, not even realizing I'm so close to the wall until I feel it press against my arm. My perception is off. I'm shaky and off balance, dizzy even. Time and space don't seem to have the same meaning in my world, as they do in everyone else's. 

There have been times when I've looked in the mirror and barely recognized the person staring back at me. I even got embarrassed, as if that person knew way too much about me, the thoughts I have, and my body (which I hate and won't let anyone see). I was embarrassed that someone knew all these things about me, but that "someone" was me! I was embarrassed of myself!  Other times I can't identify with my body. It's almost as if my body is a foreign object completely separate from me. I'll look at my hand, wiggle my fingers, contemplate how odd it is that I can make this "thing" move, completely perplexed, as if I knew nothing about anatomy and how the brain interacts with the body.

The car. I noticed that someone else wrote about an experience similar to mine. Actually, it's more than similar. The same thing happened to me. I was in a parking lot, saw my car, and even though my rational mind knew that it was mine, I could not identify with it. I thought "Wow, this is my car? I have a car?" Now, this didn't come from the excitement of having a car, as in the first time a person gets a car and thinks "WOW! 'I' have a car! Neat!" No, this came more from not being able to identify with the world around me, being a part of it, having a place in it...existing in it...existing at all.

Which brings me to the worst aspect of all of this. Sometimes I wonder whether or not I even exist. I know others sometimes contemplate this, but they can usually let it go. I can't. I can't let it go. I think about all the theories people have about the universe, about human beings, and I wonder which, if any, are right. The human soul. It's a notion people entertain for the comfort it brings. That doesn't, however, make it real. What if we have no souls? What then? What makes us human? Our brains, our thoughts, emotions, conscious awareness, etc. So what happens when we have no thoughts, when we, even for a brief moment, lose our conscious sense of awareness? I dissociate. I've been known to completely shut off. I've gone into the kitchen to get my boss coffee, completely forgot about the coffee, did something else (can't remember what), went back to work, only to have my boss come out and ask where the coffee was. I've occasionally driven home miles without being conscious. As I'm about to turn onto the street where I park I'll suddenly snap back into consciousness and wonder how I made it home without even thinking, without being aware of the fact that I was driving, without being aware of my surroundings. So...if what makes us human are the conscious thoughts we have, what does it means when we're completely void of those thoughts, not there, not here...not anywhere. Where am I when I'm not in my mind? Do I, Jennifer, the human inside this body, still exist when the very thing that makes me human is not there? I've become exceedingly bothered by this. Is there a point to this, to life; am I human if, at times, what makes us human doesn't exist in me? Can I, for a few brief moments, cease to exist, and then snap back into existence when I'm conscious again?

Sometimes I wonder if anything is real. Sometimes, while I'm sitting in class, I'll listen to the teacher and the other students from a detachment that can only be described as if in a movie. or if I'm seeing them through a foggy window. I'm watching everything happen, but I'm not really there. I don't belong there. No one else there is real; they're just automatons, holograms, God knows what. It's all so foggy, hazy, the static is too thick to break through. It's almost like they're vanishing, getting less and less visible, and all that's left is a hologram of a class full of students. I'm part of it. I'm vanishing right along with them. It feels as if I reach out to touch people, objects, my hand will smoothly pass right through them. Matter has been done away with.

This is all very hard to explain. I have a problem communicating vocally, so I tend to write a lot. Usually this serves as a means of getting my point across accurately, but in this situation, not even the written word is working for me. I haven't explained this as well as I would have liked to. I just don't have the words. This, all of it, barely touches on what I'm really dealing with.

It all comes down to this: Am I insane because I have these feelings, thoughts, or is it everyone else who is insane, or just delusional, for blocking out very pertinent questions about life, humanity, existence.

Please include my e-mail address. I'd love to speak with others who have had these experiences.

Jennifer

 

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