Disturbing mental event II

I was reading this thread and was reminded of a disturbing mental event I have experienced several times.

Occasionally, I will feel disassociated with my body. I feel that my body is somehow not a part of me, yet I can still control it, and feel with it as normal. It lasts for a few minutes and usually happens when I’ve been working at the computer for a while, and usually, but not always it happens when I have been concentrating fairly hard for the past few hours.

It’s happened about 10 times. The strange thing is, I remember taking part in a survey-style experiment in Psych that asked if that phemonenon had ever happened. At that time, it hadn’t.

So, about 8 years later, I’m wondering what the hell this is all about.

According to at least one religion, you’ve reached enlightenment.

No, really, I’m serious.

In his book The World’s Religions, Huston Smith describes a form of yoga (karma yoga, for those following along) whose purpose is to distract yourself with work until you lose yourself and find God (that’s a liberal translation, I think).

So, congratulations.

It’s happened to me once or twice. It happens to Mammahomie all the time. Mammahomie is nuts, though. :wink:

In Mammahomie’s case, she’ll describe being at work doing her job, and at a certain point she’ll feel as if she’s watching herself do her work.

IANAPsychologist. My WAG is that this is a hallucination. Essentially most of the brain is so focused on efficiently doing the task at hand that whatever neurons are left in the brain are free to go about some other business. Why those remaining neurons choose to hallucinate that their owner is detatched from itself is beyond me, but there you have it.

Happens to me quite often, usually when I’ve been web surfing too much or reading a lot while in a sitting position. It’s usually preceded by a “pushing” sensation in the base of my skull, at the top of my neck (case in point, it was starting to do that while I typed this reply). After that, if I don’t move, I start to feel my awareness is slightly detached from my body and drifting. Getting up and shaking everything out usually fixes things. I assume it has to do with blood flow or something.

It happens to me on occasion. Most recently, while playing Grand Theft Auto III.

Enlightenment through violent video games. I think I’ll start a neew religion.

I usually experience it while watching TV, but as with slortar, all it needs is a little bit of movement to get the blood flowing again.

I get that on occasion and think its caused by several factors, one being your body’s chemical balance at the moment. Some days I am more prone to it than others, but overall its rare. I think it can be sort of enjoyable as long as you don’t assign any special signifigance to it, its a different state of mind which can give you a slightly different perspective on events in your life.

I would imagine it could be caused by nothing more than losing some blood supply to your head. I have experienced something similar when I lay down before I fall asleep.

Did I read on here where someone had a stroke because they talked on the phone for too long? Well, I’d imagine this could be something similar? If your body is in a position long enough, and some blood vessels somewhere are having issues, your head might do some weird things.

Of course by working and concentrating on one task for a long time, you might be exercising your brain in such a way that you tap into something special?

This happens to me too sometimes; I believe the medical term for it is depersonalization. It is pretty scary but unless it happens frequently it usually doesn’t cause major problems (I did know a guy who almost ran off the road when a depersonalization spell occurred while he was driving.) Here is a link to a website with more information.


Thanks for the replies, people. Glad to know I’m not alone out there, just a lonely head, drifting, drifting…

I would guess the “blood flow” explanation is a good one. I seem to be susceptible to these things. Every day when departing from the school bus, I used to get tunnel vision as I stood up and prepared to go to school.

Oh, and thank KRC. The depersonalization stuff seems very similar to what I experience. Thanks for the link.

Wow. I just always considered that to be an unfortunate side-effect of humanity: a painful dose of self-awareness, when you’re sitting there thinking about yourself thinking about yourself.