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Blackouts? Dissociation?

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Q: Okay, this is kind of actually two questions, but they are inter-related, so they’re all going to be here. First, I don’t really know if what I’m experiencing is blackouts. Every description you hear or read about blackouts is people finding themselves in places they don’t remember going, or missing chunks of time. I’ve never experienced that, that I can recall. What happens with me is someone will tell me that I have done something that I have absolutely no recollection of doing. And it’s not regular forgetfulness. For example, just recently my sister complained that it was cold. I told her not to touch the thermostat because it was going to get warmer when the sun came up, and because our mom doesn’t like it on until a certain time of year. When we got home later that day the thermostat was on and I yelled at my sister for turning it on. She insisted that I was the one who turned it on, right after I told her not to. She was believable. Why would I do something I told her not to do, and then not remember doing it? The other incidents are very similar to that; things I wouldn’t do or wouldn’t forget doing.

Secondly, the dissociation. I think that’s what I’ve been doing. It feels like I’m not real when it happens. I can feel things on my skin and in my hands, but it feels like they are far away. It’s hard to concentrate on the things around me. It feels like I’m dreaming.
What are these things happening to me? Am I just over-reacting? If they are happening, what might be their causes?

Blackouts? Dissociation?

Answered by on -


I’m sure this is very distressing. Before concluding that you are having a mental health problem, I think you need to see your doctor for a complete physical workup. There are a number of medical problems that can cause forgetfulness, difficulty with concentration, and unusual sensory experiences. Thyroid problems, insufficient hydration, and certain vitamin deficiencies, for example, can cause the symptoms you describe. While waiting for an appointment, it would be helpful if you kept a journal and recorded any unusual feelings or behaviors and what you are doing at the time. Also record what you are eating and drinking and whether you are getting enough sleep and exercise. Share the information with your doctor. If a thorough medical exam doesn’t result in a diagnosis, then it might be time to see a psychologist for an evaluation.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Blackouts? Dissociation?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Blackouts? Dissociation?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 27, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.