Hallucinating?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Please help me understand this. Because of money reasons I had to move and stop seeing my therapist. Twice now I have seen her when she isn’t really there. Once I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and when I was washing my hands I saw her behind me. I called her name and asked her a few questions. The image I saw of her reached out and touched me. I could feel her like she was really there. Another time I was studying late at night. I looked up from my homework and saw her standing over me. I talked to her for twenty minutes and gave her a hug. But the thing is she isn’t really here. I know she’s not, but it feels so real. I want it to be real. I miss her. Am I crazy? It makes me sick how much I miss her and I wish I could afford to pay for more therapy. I’m so worried that I’m going insane or that I’m becoming psychotic because I am seeing, talking, and feeling a person who is not there. I feel like she died except that she isn’t dead. what can I do? Am I crazy??? Please help.

A. It would be premature to suggest that you are experiencing hallucinations which are associated with psychotic disorders. It may be that this separation has been traumatizing and these images are associated with that trauma. It is also important to rule out other possibilities such as illicit substance use or sleep deprivation. To know what may be happening, I would need to collect much more information about these experiences.

Your experiences are unusual and require investigation. I would recommend having a medical evaluation and a mental health evaluation. You were not able to afford your ex-therapist but there may be free or low-cost mental health services in your new community. Check with the local health department or your community mental health center to determine what services are available.

Finally, it would be advantageous to document when these experiences occur. Do they happen in the middle of the night or when you’re having trouble sleeping or when you’re having a particularly stressful day? You might begin to see a pattern. Documenting this information would also assist a mental health professional in determining what may be causing these experiences. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 May 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Hallucinating?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/14/hallucinating/