CSN Login
Members Online: 6

Has anyone experienced this?

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi all,

I am new here. I am trying to find some answers to some emotional problems that I have.

Its really kind of strange to explain but the best way I can explain it is like this... I know everyone around me, I know where I am, what day it is, what time it is, what the date is but its like Im not there. Its like living in a dream. Whenever I have a stressful situation it seems to get worse. I really dont know how to explain it other than that. If anyone here has experienced this please let me know what I need to do.

Thank you,
Billy

beachgypsy
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Billy, I am new here too. Are you having treatment at this time? Maybe you should see a phsycologist to help you understand whats going on.

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Gypsy,

My treatment has been over for quite some time now but this has been going on for quite some time also. I am seeing a psychiatrist and he tells me its all stress related but I was trying to find someone who has actually experienced this. Its very strange and can be very scary.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

Nothing leaves us feeling more threatened or vulnerable than something like cancer invading our world.
We have two basic responses to danger...fight or flight.
You may be in a 'flight' mode, escaping a frightening reality the only way you can...by not being totally 'there'.
I have read that people who are being literally physically attacked sometimes take their mind someplace else for the duration of the danger.
I can't say whether or not this is 'working for you', as Dr Phil would say, but it seems to me you might be missing out on a bunch of really good stuff while you are mentally or emotionally tuned out. Something to consider.
As to what to do about it, I leave that to the professionals.
:)

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

I agree with you here zahalene in the fact that Im missing out on a whole lot. No matter how hard I try to "pop" myself back to where I feel normal it doesnt work. I would give anything to feel like I was in the here and now. Its not something I am doing intentionally.

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

billy-calcutt, glad to hear someone else has had experiences like that. I was driving around one day doing errants and all of a sudden I lost all sense of where I was. It was really weird. I started feeling stressed but stopped the car and got my wits together. It happened another time, too. It felt unreal. Maybe like I was partially out of my body. Probably chemo affects the brain in more ways than they realize. I space out quite abit but I can basically function normally, I have a job and am raising a teen-age daughter all by myself. I just call it "spacing out." On Labor Day I was in Door County on a date with someone and we were going to a little shop. I made the comment to him that across the street was the restaurant I've been to a number of times. He realized I was confused about where I was. The restaurant was actually in a different town nearby. For some reason my mind thought I was there, even though logically it wouldn't have been there. I told him that happens to me sometimes even since I had chemo.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Billy,

About six years after concluding my chemo protocol, I was driving from driving from Chicago's northwest suburbs to Springfield and "spaced-out" until another driver honked his horn to warn me that I was drifting into another lane. When I glanced at the road sign showing how far I was from my destination, I was amazed to learn that some 19 miles had elapsed during my "trance", yet I managed to keep the car from running into anything. I find myself "living in my head" quite frequently, albeit, not to the same extent. It seems like a "mental vacation from stress", because I actually experience a sense of relief following such an episode.

How do you feel immediately following your events?

Love and Courage!

Rick

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

I call it "spacing out" too dream. Its really weird and it really only happens when my mind is idle. If I am busy then I dont think about it at all. My wife said if someone didnt know me they wouldnt know anything was wrong at all.

I agree with you Rick in the fact that its like Im trying to get away from the stress all of this has caused. I fell like Im living "in my head" quite frequently too. My wife has been researching "chemo brain" and even though all of it doesnt apply to me alot of it does. After reading these two posts I think chemo has a lot to do with it also so I guess I will keep taking my meds and let time take its course and hopefully it will get better.

Thanks again,
Billy

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

billy,

Do you have problems with concentration or short-term memory? Does your wife say that you sometimes seem "distant" or uncommunicative"? I've had these also during times of stress.

Rick

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

I have some problems with short term memory and alos forgetfullness. I usually forget to turn the stove off after Im done cooking. My wife also says I can be very distant at times and Ive really never have been much of a communicater to start with. Im more one to keep to myself.

Thanks,
Billy

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Billy,

Since my divorce, I have been unable to sustain a relationship for very long, actually being more comfortable by myself. I actually feel more relaxed when I am at home in my own company. This "spacing out" is much easier when I don't have to deal with interpersonal situations, although I do enjoy getting together with friends over dinner sometimes. I HAVE been a "communicator", pretty much my whole life, especially through my work, which is why I find retreating to the quiet sanctuary of home, so welcome and relaxing.

I neglected to check my sump-pump prior to the downpour we had last weekend and wound up with a foot of water in my basement, a real Homer Simpson, "Doh!" moment!

But I am 57, Billy, you are still young and married, with a future that need not end up like mine. If you and your wife see this as an impediment to your relationship, consult your doctor for suggestions.

Rick

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

We are in constant communication with the doctors my friend. I am now back on my medicine and feel better than I did a few days ago. My family is the most important thing in my life and we all have been through hell and back with the cancer.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Billy. Sorry to hear you having issues with your sense of place but I can relate to some extent. I guess for me the short answer is that you are right, you are in a different space from most others, the cancer experience can do that for many people, put them in a place they have never been before and one which doesn't have to be scarey or unwelcome, it's just different.

For me this type of feeling, similar to what you explain, happened to me just after my first set of treatments many years ago. When I finally was well enough to get out for the first time, to grocery shopping actually - something I used to enjoy, I walked into the same grocery chain store I had gone to for years but this time I felt as if I was in a big clear bubble - not able to actually touch anything per se - it was all through the membrane of that bubble, that separated me from the actual real world - I was separate from the normal world. Since that day I have never felt quite the same as before but then again how could we be? We have faced the possibility of death in some way or another since diagnosis and that can't possibly leave you feeling the same as everyone else - in the same place I mean, it just makes sense. Over time I have just learned to live in this 'bubble', it doesn't prevent me from doing anything others do but it just serves to keep me in this different place through a thin bubble membrane, that's how I can describe it. I check in with a shrink once in awhile to make sure I am firing on all pistons, the stress of what we go through demands a checkup of mind as well as body, don't be ashamed to do that, you aren't alone. Take care.

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

I can totally understand what you are saying here. Its like I am in my own little world. I guess I will have to get used to it also unless it passes which is what I am hoping will happen. Thanks for the response blue.

Billy

imsurvivng
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Billy

Sounds like what I experienced, although not to your extent. It is stress related and a defense mechanism of not wanting to face the word cancer. It helps to have friends around that will support you and give you hope. You must know that it is beatable and cancer is not a death sentence. I should know, I'm stage 4 and on-going chemo until I'm healed.

After chemo, you will probably experience chemo brain which makes you forget or can't get the words out to explain things.

I don't want to say this is normal. Let's just say, I've been through this. Once you are aware of this, it is good to have someone with you!

Hope this helps!

billy.calcutt
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2008

I have been out of treatment for 16 months now and this is an on-going thing. I have been told the same that you are saying though in the sense of its stress related and its my way of dealing with the cancer. I just hope and pray that the day comes when all of this comes to an end and the fog clears out of my head.

Thanks for responding,
Billy

nsquirrely
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2007

I recently brought a key chain that says I'm in my own little world but it's okay they know me there.It's also the truth. Strange, maybe, but it protects me from the things I just can't handle. I can't blame it totally on cancer as it didn't start with that but it has been a tremendous help thru it. It started when I was much younger and needed to escape from the real world. It just happened to come in handy when I got cancer. It is health? I think it is and that it is a safety mechanism to keep us from going absolutely bonkers.The stress and turmiol of every day life, let alone facing cancer, is enough in itself to warrant some form of escape from it all. I guess the important thing in all of the behavior is that we manage to separate the it from reality and still are able to accept reality and go on.
I am single and live alone.For the most part I am very independent and happy with my life. Yet there are times when I need to shut out the world and live in my own world. I have had difficulty in the pass with anxiety and stress attacks. At one point a simple trip to the store was difficult. Sometimes I made it thru it and sometimes I didn't and had to leave. I worked thru those issues but when I was dx with cancer, I had some difficulty with again. Simple things stressed me out so much that I just couldn't deal with it. Life does go on though and at some point you have to put a effort into facing the difficulties in our lives. In the meantime,it is okay to spend some time in your own world when needed or to space out.It's a safe place to be till we can deal with things on our terms.

NoQuiSi
Posts: 106
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Billy...while I'm not a licensed professional, I've had some psychology and what you're describing sounds like it could be dissociation. I've done it before, myself. It's the minds way of protecting itself in stressful situations. It feels like you sort of 'unplug' from what's going on around you for awhile. It's really nothing to fear and actually fear can make it worse...cause you to dissociate more. When it happens to me, I just go with it, knowing that when I'm ready to I'll 'come back'.

It WOULD be helpful to have someone around you to sort of keep an eye out on you when it happens. If this is the case (dissociation) and stress is the origin, I hope you can find ways to ease your stress levels. I know firsthand, that's not easy in dealing with cancer. I try day to day to take some time at some point to do something relaxing for myself...if it's only for a half hour or even ten minutes, it helps. Music does it for me. I'd find what does it for you and make sure to build that into your day. I hope things get better for you.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network