Hello I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, I’ve been diagnosed with depression but this is a lot more than sadness. Lately I’ve been just zoning out randomly and I always just have these horrible violent daydreams and thoughts. Once I was sitting in the car with my father and a friend and I imagined just strangling him to death, I never feel the need to act on it but it’s terrifying. Sometimes I’ll imagine lighting my carpet on fire or just stabbing They’re all very graphic and realistic, what do you think is going on in my head? As stated I never ever feel the need to act on it, it would just be really nice to know of this is something I should worry about.

A. The violent daydreams may be associated with depression. They are not a symptom of depression per se but may be indicative of your emotional instability. For instance, if you are not sleeping well, then you may be more inclined to “zone out” than when your sleep schedule is normal. Lack of sleep can be associated with depression.

You did not say whether or not you are in treatment for depression. If you are taking medication, then the violent daydreams may be a sign that your medication needs to be adjusted. Having unusual visual experiences is a side effect of some medications. You should discuss the possibility of side effects with your physician.

Depression, as you correctly noted, is “more than sadness.” It is a clinical disorder that typically requires treatment. If you’re not currently in treatment then you should be. Comprehensive depression treatment often includes both taking medication and seeing a therapist. Working with a therapist may also help you to decrease these violent daydreams. In the meantime, it may also be helpful to try to shift your focus when the images occur. Distracting yourself might help to decrease the number of occurrences. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle