Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On Hallucinations (and not having them)


"So Bel, have you had hallucinations?" "No Dr, I have never had them, except one time when I was a kid and had a bad fever...."

She said.

So turns out I may have been wrong about that after all- I have done some reading after stumbling upon something in a you tube clip and apparently standard hallucinations are a little less severe than I thought they were…. I watched a beautiful mind once upon a time so there for I sort of assumed that when ppl said they have hallucinations they were seeing complete people / objects etc talking and walking like the furniture in beauty and the beast….

According to the literature hallucinations can be shadows and dream like imaginings crossing into reality while awake type stuff – erm, I do actually get that. And I get it quite a lot... Usually when I’m fairly hypomanic. It’s particularly bad (and a pain in the neck) when I’m driving as I keep thinking that the shadowy things are are Kangaroos etc beside me about to dart out in front of the car, (let me add that that’s quite realistic where I live) it can be a bit of a problem really because I tend to drive a little over the recommended speed when high so swerving imaginary wildlife isn’t practical.

Now while I was aware these little migraine-like flashes /shadowy things weren’t real I assumed that it was either A speeding related phenomenon or my eyes were just playing up because my body was tireder than my mind (I also tend to not sleep for several days when ‘up’) and had considered seeing an optometrist in case I needed glasses for driving.

As for the dream like imaginings kinda like a little scene playing out in my peripheral usually with mild audio should I care to listen – which I don’t –  you know when you first wake up in the morning and someone is talking to you but your still kinda dreaming? Yeah that. Thankfully this is less common and generally more annoying than anything else, unless I’m mega hypo and then they blur into reality a little too much and it can be hard to judge wtf is real or not. Now I’m wondering if these are actually visual hallucinations…??? God I hope not, that’s weird. I have had a few experiences which may have been hallucinations where I have seen cars plain as day and then they have miraculously disappeared into nowhere and I hate to admit that on one occasion driving to work while reasonably hypomanic I saw two such ‘ghost cars’.

 The first car looked like an unmarked police car (commodore, thick antenna… Aussies you all know what I mean) and I was mildly paranoid that it was tailing me as someone may have dobbed me in for my rather persistent and reckless speeding along that stretch of road, and by mildly I mean thought crossed my mind stayed there for a while and resulted in my working out a getaway plan… then the car disappeared into nothing on a country road with nowhere to turn off.

This experience freaked me out a bit and then closer to town there was a marked cop car doing a speed check on the other side of a straight stretch of road – as I passed I saw it pull out in my rear view mirror and pull a u turn behind me, I was thinking “shit I’m sure I’m not speeding”, looked at the speedo (not speeding) looked in the mirror again and the car had vanished – again nowhere to turn off. That freaked me out a fair bit as I thought that’s two things that I thought I saw, how much of what I am seeing now is real and how much isn’t? It all looks real, but then so did the cop car…

Ok. That sounds WAY crazier when I write it down. Hmm. BUT in my defence when the car ‘vanished’ I was aware that I must have imagined it (so that makes it NOT a delusion. Right?)  In the end due to *hallucinational content I put it down to some sort of subconscious guilt about speeding.

So, I guess there appear to be a few things about me I thought were totally normal/ marginally quirky that don’t actually happen to everyone else and I’m finding it a wee bit disconcerting and am very glad I didn’t TELL anyone about it.

*MS Word claims “hallucinational” isn’t a word, but I think it should be, particularly in this context, it just works.

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