Sometimes when I look in the mirror I am surprised at what I see. I recognize the reflection. I have seen the reflection countless times, but I do not recognize it as ME. It’s like something foreign. I used to be able to identify with it, but it has become increasingly difficult to do so. This is problem number 1.
Problem number 2 is that I’m not always sure about what is happening around me. During a conversation I can become confused as to whether I said something or the other person said that thing. Likewise, I am constantly unsure of whether or not I was only thinking something or saying it out loud. Nobody has notified me that I’m doing this, but I can’t help but consider it. Perhaps I’m just really self conscious. Am I crazy? Yes? No? Maybe so?
If I were interviewing you in person, I would inquire about recent life changes. Are you under a great deal of stress? Did you begin a new job? Did you move? Was there a breakup? Do you have medical problems? Did you experience a loss?
I also would want to know if you ever experienced anything like this before. Is this the first time?
You have seen your reflection “countless times.” When was the last time you saw your reflection and under what circumstances? If you don’t think it’s you, who do you think it is? The answers to those questions might help me better understand your situation.
All of us have a memory of what we think we look like but sometimes, when we catch a glimpse of our reflection in an unfamiliar environment, we are surprised because it does not match our memory.
Your symptoms are unusual. A dissociative disorder might be a possibility, but only a therapist who interviewed you in person could determine a diagnosis. It’s always wise to seek an evaluation, especially when it’s causing you distress.
Consider also undergoing a medical evaluation. There is a condition known as prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. Prosopagnosia often affects one’s ability to recognize the faces of family and friends. In extreme circumstances, it can cause you to not recognize your own reflection. Your primary care physician could refer you to the appropriate medical specialist.
Finally, no, you are not “crazy.” “Crazy” is a pejorative term and therapists don’t think about people in that way. Don’t let the fear of being labeled “crazy” prevent you from seeking help. Therapists appreciate clients who want help and who are willing to do whatever it takes to get better. It is often these types of clients who have the best prognosis. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle