Hello, I’ve had this happen a few times in the last few months where I will be driving or some other mundane task and all of a sudden it’s like a sudden realization of reality. I start to freak out and have what I think would be a mini panic attack or a mental/emotional breakdown. It’s difficult to describe but it feels as if something is trying to come out of my mind and make me realize how reality is. It’s almost as if my life isn’t real in my mind. That I have no significance. I’m don’t regularly have suicidal thoughts though I will admit they do come present when this happens. Though I do not see myself ever acting upon them. Is this some kind of possible mental disorder? Should I see someone? Also in the last few days I have had trouble sleeping 4 hours tops some nights.
There are people who have described similar experiences, but they’re not always negative. The positive experiences people have reported tend to involve feelings of positive illumination, that there is a higher power or reality that is much greater than themselves.
Recounted in the book The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People Are Proving The Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D., biologist Alister Hardy studied the “inner” experiences of more than 3,000 people. He described the following:
“At certain times in our lives many people have had specific, deeply felt, transcendental experiences which have made them all aware of the presence of this power… It occurs to children, to atheists and agnostics, and it usually induces in the person concerned a conviction that the everyday world is not the whole of reality: that there is another dimension to life.”
The concerning aspect about your experiences is that they seem to have been negative. It’s especially concerning because you subsequently felt suicidal. You may have felt that way because of your interpretation of your experiences or because something about them frightened you. The negative feelings associated with your experiences may be indicative of an anxiety disorder or nihilistic delusions but further investigation is necessary.
It’s best to schedule a meeting to discuss concerns with a therapist. He or she will gather a thorough history and determine what may be wrong and recommend treatment. The therapist may also recommend having a medical evaluation to rule out a physical cause. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle