Posted by: | 2019/07/18

I occasionally wake up in a state that feels like insanity, but completely conscious of it.

Hi there. I occasionally will wake up in the middle of the night, maybe to use the bathroom or something, and although totally conscious of where I am and what I'm doing, I'll soon begin to feel like I'm losing my mind in some way. The best way to describe it is that 1) I'll have no internal dialogue/can't hear my self think, although I can kind of speak with some effort; 2) Many various thoughts or instructions for actions are flying through my mind and I'm desperately trying to latch on to the right one. For example I'll be standing there, realizing something is wrong, then it feels like reality is torn away for a few seconds and replaced with something else, like one moment I know that I'm in my room and the next I'm thinking I'm somewhere else entirely, and then quickly understand that that is not right and I scramble to grab hold of the correct thought, sometimes going through a few wrong ones before landing back on 'in my room.' I've tried taking a cold shower, walking around, doing something but it never works, lasts for quite some time (30+ minutes) and usually those tasks are incredibly difficult to see out as I'm constantly fighting off other competing thoughts/actions. I once tried to type out a message to hand over to my housemate and it probably took me 10 minutes to type one sentence before I gave up. Eventually I manage to calm myself down, get back in bed and wait it out or hope to fall back asleep because I'll always wake back up later completely fine. I do have a history of sleep paralysis when I sleep on my back and sleep walking/hallucinating when I have a fever but I haven't had either of those in many years and this feels very different. Any ideas? Heard of something like this before? Google doesn't bring anything similiar up. Who do I even go to see about such a thing?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2019/07/20

Hmmm.  Puzzling. This must be a very alarming experience, but of course you know that.  It must be related to your earlier experiences of sleep paralysis and sleep walking, but in a complex form I haven't come across before. There are a number of complex parasomnias of this family, including nightmares, night terrors, confusional awakenings, REM disorders, and so on.   The best option, if it is available to you, would be to see a sleep expert at a sleep clinic ( and there are quite a number of these in South Africa ) which would have facilities to study your sleep disorder properly, assess it and make a better diagnosis and propose treatment.
Some such disorders may apparently be precipitated at times by taking some other drugs for other purposes, such as antidepressants.

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