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Can You Explain this Weird Experience?

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From a 14 year old guy in the U.S.: Over the past 2 years iv’e always had minor ticks, like a head jerk when I’m stressed, or my hand would spazz. I can kinda suppress it, but that only makes them stronger later.

Had an argument with my parents over something dumb. I think it had something to do with homework? this time I had this experience where I felt like I wanted to cry, but then I had the feeling of absolute hilarity from nowhere. I couldn’t help but laugh. it started as little bits of harsh breathing in my nose, then by the end I was busting out to the point my chest hurt after.

the argument happened a few weeks ago, but the laughing stayed with me. out of all the other ones, this is the only one that has caused some form of distress to me, because I can’t tell it from regular laughter sometimes since it all starts with the same tickle-y funny feeling you get when someone tells a joke you like. Now it happens seemingly at random, although most apparent at night or when I’m stressed.

There’s also another thing I experienced on the day of the argument, but never really since. The only way I think I can describe it is through metaphor. Everything felt Both fake, and hyper-realistic at the same time, everything looked dark, like when you stare into the same spot for too long, and there was this sensation like I was staring into a fire and couldn’t look away.

My guess is that it’s some kind of stress induced tick, or some form of thing my head does to step away from a situation so I don’t freak out but idk. Thought I’d ask a pro. I just want to put words to my feelings so I can move past them in some way

Can You Explain this Weird Experience?

Answered by on -

A.

I can’t really tell without talking to you but I do have a couple of guesses. Some people are born more sensitive than others. You say you’ve had ticks ever since you hit adolescence. I’m guessing that you are a sensitive person who gets anxious more easily than most. You haven’t yet learned how to manage your anxiety, so your body takes over for you.

Believe it or not, the kind of involuntary laughter you report is one of the ways some people discharge high stress. So are ticks. So are a kind of distancing moves like what you described.

Just controlling or ignoring your physical reactions isn’t going to make them go away. You need to learn more helpful tactics for managing stress. If you could do that, you would have done so already. I strongly urge you to seek out an appointment with a mental health counselor who specializes in working with teens. He or she will do an assessment to determine whether I’m right about the root cause being insufficient coping skills for managing anxiety or whether something else is going on.

Either way, some sessions with a counselor will help you understand what happens to you and will help you learn other ways to manage your sensitivity. If you are worried about your ability to tell a counselor what is going on, just take your letter and this response with you to the first appointment as a way to jumpstart your conversation.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Can You Explain this Weird Experience?

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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. (2020). Can You Explain this Weird Experience?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/06/03/can-you-explain-this-weird-experience/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 1 Jun 2020 (Originally: 3 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 1 Jun 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.