Alternate Reality
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Q:  Alternate Reality

I've had several episodes where I entered into an 'alternate' reality. There are a set of characters in this 'alternate' reality, though I can't completely recall them when the episodes are over, who seem to know me and treat me like I'm always there. It's always the same set of people. At any rate, my heart races, I get short of breath, feel very clammy - but before I "pass over", or whatever it would be - I always pull myself out. It's a conscious effort - while everyone seems nice enough, very accomodating, I really don't want to commit to leaving this world for that one. My fiancee would probably be a tad bit upset :)  After these epsiodes, I'm not particularly frightened. I'm just curious as to what might happen if I didn't pull away.  And, if it helps answer the question, when I was younger, I had frequent episodes where time would speed up. Less now that I'm older. But I was fishing at a pond once, by myself, and caught a fish. The time shift occured. It's very disorienting, as though things are going by much too  quickly. And in the end, I was left holding a dead fish. So I take it the time actually did pass?
But I can always shake all of these things off - they're really just more "interesting" to experience than anything that's scary. Except when I'm driving - that's kinda scary, because there's a possible loss of control. Even though I never have lost control. But I do my best to shake those things off immediately when that happens. 
Thanks for any advice,

Hi Jack --
As your primary care doctor (using correct
doctor talk) if perhaps you might need an EEG to make sure this kind of thing is not a sort of seizure-related condition. Sounds pretty suspicious that way to me. If the EEG is normal, at least you have some reassurance you've not missed something obvious; although EEG's aren't perfect, and can miss seizure activity if it's pretty deep in the brain.

Secondly, since you're writing to a bipolar website and the ticker says "been diagnosed", we could wonder if this is related to bipolar disorder somehow. Again, I'd be inclined to think of this story as suggestive of seizure-like activity (read, for example, about temporal lobe epilepsy, which can have some pretty weird symptoms that don't exactly sound like "seizures") and treat your presumed bipolar disorder with an emphasis on the anticonvulsant medications options (Tegretol in particular, perhaps; and Depakote, lamotrigine, or other ideas a neurologist might put forth if your EEG shows something seizure-like).

Dr. Phelps

Published October, 2003 


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