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More Than Delusions?

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I’ve dealt with BPD, anxiety and depression – among other undiagnosed issues – for most of my young life. But I’ve been struggling with something I have a hard time explaining, even to my therapist. There is a certain fear that grips me at times, a primal sort of horror that beneath the fabric of normal, everyday life is a world of primordial chaos. I’ve alluded to this when seeking help from people before, but the responses range everywhere from “spiritual sensitivity” to “transient psychosis.” But it does little to ease the fear. There have been times when, say, I’m driving somewhere in my car when this strange and frightening notion takes hold, and I feel myself lulled into a trance-like state by it, to the point of having closed my eyes while behind the wheel. I usually manage to wrestle control of my thoughts back, but there have been days where the only safe option was to pull over and wait for it to pass. The “trance-like state” is itself frightening – I zone out, strangely peaceful but terrified as this chaotic, distorted whispering fills my head. And it’s always present – I guess it’s like not noticing the ticking of a clock in your room, then once you hear it, it’s all you can focus on. I’d chalk it up to paranoia and brief psychotic episodes, but its persistence bothers me. It gives me night terrors, and lingers with me throughout my daily life. And with incidents like the ones I had while driving, I fear for my own safety. Like this haunted void I fear exists is a malignant force out to get me. I have no idea how sane or… less-than-sane all of this sounds right now, but this phenomenon has crippled me to the point of social isolation. Most of my days are just trying to drown out this constant fear with flimsy coping mechanisms, and I worry eventually that won’t be enough anymore.

More Than Delusions?

Answered by on -


You said that your symptoms are undiagnosed. That would suggest that you have not consulted a mental health professional. Therein lies the main problem.

Before, we look at the more serious possible causes, I would like to mention two things in general. First, you may be describing an altered state of consciousness (ASC). ASC’s are natural events. You may experience them when falling asleep. or reading a book, or meditating or when watching a movie. Second, highway hypnosis is a well known phenomenon. You mention that these experiences do occur when you are driving. You can research this but it would be best to look at all possible causes, for what you are experiencing, with a therapist.

You might be describing symptoms of a panic attack or possibly a medical condition but an evaluation would be necessary to determine what’s wrong. It would be advantageous to consult a mental health professional, especially because this has become a “crippling phenomenon.” Now is the time to seek help.

It’s important to address why you might have waited so long to seek help. One of the most common reasons is fear. People fear the unknown. Mental health professionals want to help you. They undergo years of rigorous training to help people with the kinds of problems you are describing. They want to help but you must be willing to ask for their help.

Another common reason people don’t seek help is shame. Many people mistakenly believe that they “should” be able to solve their own problems. No one is born with problem solving skills. Just like any other acquired skill, they have to be learned. You can learn them in counseling.

I hope that you will strongly consider seeking help. There’s no reason to suffer from “crippling” symptoms when good treatments are available. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

More Than Delusions?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). More Than Delusions?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Oct 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.