I have a number of problems that go on inside my head. Since I was a kid, I had a voice in my head. She had a name and she talked to me. I had also created an imaginary world in my head that I was absolutely convinced was real. I haven’t heard the voice in about 2 years, but I’m still having problems convincing myself that the imaginary world isn’t real.
I always feel as if somebody is watching me and for a long time I felt as if I was being stalked. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was convinced that a man was watching me through the windows. I didn’t know that it was imagined at the time and I even had my parents paranoid to where they wanted to call the police.
A lot of the time I feel as if people who are really close to me can read my mind. So I usually watch what I think and I try not to think about certain things because I’m afraid that they’ll hear my thoughts and make fun of me or get angry at me for them. I know it’s completely ridiculous, but I can’t stop myself from feeling that way.
In the past I’ve had a really, really hard time distinguishing what’s real from the things that were in my head. I used to have phone conversations with imaginary people and not even know that I wasn’t having a real conversation. I don’t feel that way anymore, but recently I’ve had a problem where I don’t feel real and the things around me or certain situations don’t feel real and it absolutely terrifies me.
Also I have this problem where my body doesn’t always feel like my body and that I’m looking through somebody elses eyes. When I’m really nervous, stressed, or anxious colors start looking a lot brighter or more defined. I have to look away or close my eyes. I don’t like how this feels and I want to know what’s wrong with me so I can fix it and get better for my boyfriend. The way I act affects our relationship.
I always feel as if something’s wrong with me. I’m always focused on any physical problems I might have and I tend to overreact. I get really irritated all the time and it’s really taking a toll on my relationship with my boyfriend. I want help.
A. I think getting help is a very wise idea. As you said, you created an imaginary world and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the difference between what is real and what is not. That is something you also experienced as a child. If I could interview you in person, it would be helpful to know more about your childhood. Sometimes children who experience trauma or very difficult childhoods create an imaginary world because their real world is too psychologically difficult to handle. The imaginary world serves as a defense mechanism to protect the child but problems can develop when an individual has difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary.
You also seem to be experiencing paranoia. The idea that someone is stalking you may be proof of this. The fact that you believe that other people are reading your mind may also be indicative of paranoia. It may be also a symptom called thought withdrawal which is the idea that people are extracting your thoughts from your mind. Thought withdrawal is a delusion that is associated with some psychotic disorders. Paranoia is also associated with psychotic disorders. There is no way for me to know with certainty if you are experiencing early signs of a psychotic disorder. The only way to know for certain would be to have a psychiatric evaluation.
You also mentioned other concerning symptoms: you don’t feel real; you don’t feel that things around you are real and sometimes your body feels unreal, as though you are looking through someone else’s eyes. These may be characteristics of depersonalization, derealization and disassociation. Depersonalization includes feeling disconnected from one’s body. Other people describe feeling as though they are observing themselves outside of their body.
Depersonalization mainly involves having a distorted perception of one’s body. Derealization is a feeling of being detached from one’s environment. Disassociation is an emotional deattachment from the mind and sometimes the body. Depersonalization, derealization and disassociation are often related to a history of trauma. Coupled with the fact that you have created an imaginary world, (and have done so since you were a child) the possibility exists that your symptoms are due to a past trauma. You did not mention a history of trauma but given your symptoms, it is a possibility.
The fact that these problems are causing you distress in your everyday life means that it is time to seek treatment. As you noted, they are interfering with your relationship. I would suggest seeing a therapist for an evaluation. You may also want to consider seeing a psychiatrist for medication. The combination of medication and therapy could help you deal with these issues. I would specifically look for a therapist who specializes in dealing with trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders. Please click on the find help tab at top of this page help you locate a therapist in your community. Please take care. I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Oct 2010
Randle, K. (2010). Problems With My Head. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/15/problems-with-my-head/