Brief, Unexplainable Episodes

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

OK, this may sound crazy but from time to time, I’d say maybe 2 times a month or even less, I have about a 10 second delusional episode. I dont even know if I can call it delusional though. It can come out of no where and its a feeling I get almost like a warm sensation comes over me and I get thoughts of a particular female that I’ve never met before. I have no control over the feeling and when it fades I’m left feeling temporarily exhausted. In my mind as its coming I tell myself “no, I dont want this…” I feel completely drained after it passes but am fine within 5 minutes or so. This has been going on for about 10 years now and sometimes it wont happen for a few months, then I’ll get 2 in a week. I had one the other day and just had one a few minutes ago. Its not like I can go to a Dr and get hooked up to something that will monitor my senses because theres no way for me to predict when one will happen. I just dont know whats going on. My whole body feels like something is running through it and I HATE how it feels. The fact that I get an image of some woman in my mind makes it more disturbing to me, like I know her but in reality I dont. I dont black out, I’m completely cohereant when its going on and I remember it so I dont think its any kind of schizophrenic episode, but I’m at my wits end because I really feel no one else on the planet will know or understand what I’m talking about.

A. The episodes you have described are unusual. They are not characteristic of delusions associated with schizophrenia but that possibility cannot be ruled out. Another possibility is dissociative identity disorder. Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric condition in which an individual claims to have at least two separate and distinct personalities. There may also be a medical explanation. It’s important to rule out an organic cause.

Individuals who claim to have psychic abilities report an experience similar to yours. Their experiences would be termed paranormal. I use the expression paranormal to mean something that would be difficult to prove scientifically. Individuals who claim to have psychic abilities or who claim to be a medium (an individual who speaks with the dead) describe having similar experiences. Mediums, in particular, have described the experience of “channeling” another individual, usually someone who is deceased. When they are “channeling” the deceased individual, they may claim that the “spirit” temporarily inhabits his or her body, usually to communicate a message. During the channeling process, the medium will often claim to have the deceased person’s thoughts and feelings. They have also described feeling exhausted after that experience. It is difficult to scientifically prove whether or not those abilities or experiences are real. If you are interested in learning more about the scientific validity of mediums, you may want to read The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death by Dr. Gary Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz claims to have performed randomized, controlled experiments with mediums claiming to receive messages from the dead. There was also a HBO documentary created based on his experiments. None of these claims have been proven scientifically.

You don’t think that seeing a physician would be very helpful but I believe otherwise. You should be evaluated. A physician is not going to manufacture a problem. If there is a problem and it is found that would be good because then it could be treated. That’s why an evaluation is an important first step. I hope you consider it. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Brief, Unexplainable Episodes. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/10/brief-unexplainable-episodes/

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