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tinyfaery's avatar

Am I having drug flash backs or is my brain malfunctioning?

Asked by tinyfaery (43932points) July 19th, 2009

So this is what keeps happening. It started yesterday, and I’d say it has happened about 3 times since then.

I am doing some simple simple task, like throwing away trash or getting something to drink and all of a sudden I’ll have a vivid memory of a dream, though I am not really sure it’s a dream, it could be a memory of an actual occurence, but it will completely become my reality for about 3 seconds. During these 3 seconds or so my heart kind of races, and I get very jittery (very similar to the feeling one get’s when the LSD starts kicking in). I take a few deep breaths, focus my attention on something concrete, it fades away, and I cannot remember the memory/dream at all. I try, but it seems to just go back from whence it came—from seemingly nowhere.

Is this a flashback? If so, why am I having more than 1 in a small period of time? If it’s not a flashback, what else could it be. Have I finally broken my brain?

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21 Answers

SirBailey's avatar

Either that or you’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That sounds like the description of a flashback from what I’ve read but it’s just a guess as I am not a medical professional.
If it keeps happening, you might consider calling a doctor.

casheroo's avatar

Hmm, well from your other questions, I know you ae pretty stressed out about your wife going away for a trip so maybe stress from that is actually causing minor panic attacks.

Personally, I’ve experienced flashbacks but it was of a terrible experience and usually happened when I was laying calmly…usually watching tv. Something would set me off, and it would be like I was asleep during it but was physically somewhere else, but still awake. Worst feeling ever.

wildpotato's avatar

It sounds more like a small panic attack than a flashback to me, based on my experiences of flashbacks as just visuals, and of panic attacks as similar to the coming-up feeling of acid and boomers. Have you had any bad trips? I suppose a flashback to a bad trip might feel like you describe feeling. But as I said, sounds more like a small panic attack. Have you been having disturbing dreams recently? Maybe your unconscious is trying to tell you something.

MrItty's avatar

What makes you think those are mutually exclusive options? Taking drugs by definition injures the brain, and so a “flashback” is by definition a malfunction of the brain.

tinyfaery's avatar

What about the weird dream/memory? Is that part of a panic attack?

fireside's avatar

I would agree with the idea that it is a panic/anxiety attack.
The symptoms are very similar to a bad trip, but don’t last long.

I just think your brain is short-circuiting at the thought of your wife being gone for a while.
You’re probably having memories of her or of her mother or of whatever it is that keeps you from being comfortable with being alone for the next week.

Try to keep yourself centered and nourished.
Breathing exercises may help because it will give you a chance to sit and let your brain unwind a bit.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Something strange is going on with your brain. It could be easily explained by flashbacks or panic attacks, but you’ve already told us that you are a person who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so don’t ask us—call your therapist/doctor/whatever you call ‘em and ask!

wildpotato's avatar

@MrItty By “those,” did you mean flashbacks and panic attacks? I never said they were mutually exclusive. Hell, personally I would say that you can easily have a panic attack while tripping (and presumably also while having a flashback) – in fact, the one bad trip I did have was probably only bad because I started panicking.

But your question confuses me a bit, cause I am not sure if a panic attack counts as a malfunction of the brain. Panicking is an extension of the fight-or-flight response, no? And tripping, on the other hand, involves chemically traumatizing the brain so it messes with it’s input-functions and makes it release serotonin to help us cope with the trauma. “Malfunction” is a very general term, and while both tripping and panicking could be seen as such, I am not sure that I would put them in the same category of type of malfunction.

ShanEnri's avatar

Sounds like a book I read by Dean Koontz called “False Memory” The lady in the book keeps getting these too. A doctor was putting her under hypnosis and putting false memories in her mind. I think that’s how it went. Anyway, I’d go to a doctor if it doesn’t quit or gets worse! Are you sure it’s not some type of Deja Vu?

wildpotato's avatar

@tinyfaery “What about the weird dream/memory? Is that part of a panic attack?”

Not that I have experienced. Nor has anyone else told me of experiencing exactly this during a panic attack – but one of my exes once had panic attack while driving (I was in the car) and he suddenly couldn’t see. He said his vision became blurred and shaky. But that is not what you are describing, and his experience can be explained by automatic dilation of the eyes in panic.

In this thread they say that it is not common to hallucinate from panic attacks.

Maybe PM Darwin?

MrItty's avatar

@wildpotato I meant the two options listed in the question: “drug flashbacks” and “brain malfunctioning”.

elijah's avatar

Hmmm, I dont have an answer for you but the physical symptoms sound like panic attacks. I have panic attacks and have never had “flashbacks” during them. If anything, my panic attacks keep me acutely focused on the immediate moment. Time slows down, every second is an hour. I am unable to think of anything but the panic attack. I’m not sure if all panic attacks are like this though. I know you have been stressed lately, maybe this is related. Call your doc :)

Clair's avatar

I’ve learned to live with them. :-/
It’s kind of exciting but very scary.

wildpotato's avatar

@MrItty Ah, of course, how silly of me not to assume that you were responding to the question :P My bad.

Shuttle128's avatar

Are you experiencing fading vision, loss of consciousness, or convulsions during these ‘flashbacks?’ Something like this can happen due to loss of blood pressure to the brain (similar to California high). The dreams are usually extremely vivid.

wildpotato's avatar

@tinyfaery Hi Tiny! I’m curious, are you still having these episodes?

tinyfaery's avatar

No. The day after I posed this question they went away. I do have Mitral Valve Prolapse which can make my heart flutter and cause dizziness, but the “dreaming” was the odd part.

Shuttle128's avatar

Cerebral hypoxia can cause brownouts (where you can get dizzy and loose vision) a severe enough hypoxia or apoxia can cause a sort of mental restart in which you can have weird and vivid dreams and even seizures. This could be caused by low blood pressure, hyperventilation, or simply loss of blood flow to the brain. I’ve had a problem with low blood pressure for the last several years and have had several brownouts. On one occasion I had one that included a seizure, blackout, and loss of memory. I don’t think I’ve experienced the vivid dreams, however since the California high is caused by the same cerebral hypoxia it wouldn’t be surprising for this to happen.

I’m no doctor though so it would definitely be in your best interest to talk to yours. This could be an indication of something that needs to be dealt with.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t know what a California high is, but I do sometimes get high and I do live in CA. :)

Shuttle128's avatar

It’s sometimes called the feinting game, or choking game. I just always heard it called California high.

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