Story by "Vanessa"
I have suffered from this for YEARS and didn't know what it was. I smoked my first marijuana cigarette when I was 13 years old and thought what I was experiencing was normal, but it changed my life. I had very strange dream-like hallucinatory states while I was high and realized that what I had smoked seemed to be laced with PCP. An informed guess. Thereafter for a couple of years I had severe attacks of what felt like "flashbacks".
Out of nowhere, a feeling would overcome me like that of being trapped in a bubble. I would say things, but not really remember or "feel" saying them, but the sound would bounce back at me as in an echo of my voice. Everything was hyper-exaggerated and I felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. People wouldn't notice, but I would become utterly panicked and petrified. I would shout expletives at my mother and slam doors and cause all kinds of chaos, and not remember 2 minutes later what I had done to cause all this. I tried smoking pot a few times after that and the same thing would happen. I would feel trapped and Claustrophobic, laugh hysterically (because of the pot), but then end up on the ground and not remember how I got there. A feeling of "existential" angst has since been a large part of my life. When I ask friends, "Do you ever feel disconnected from what's happening around you?" or "You know that feeling of panic that you are not really living your life after you wake-up from a nap?" No one seems to really understand. I also have severe Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder which can exacerbate this feeling at certain times. Also, I have ALWAYS, even as a small child, had an abnormal fear of death and existential perception of things around me - so that's nothing new. In fact, it's probably less so now than it was when I was 5. Anyway - I find this fascinating. I only heard of it today as I was listening to an NPR program with a filmmaker named Jonathan who recently released at film called "Tarnation" about his mother's mental illness. Thanks for the insight.
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