74 comments on “Have You Experienced Daytime Parahypnagogia?

  1. I experienced this today as I sat down in a restaurant for lunch with a friend, and it has happened previously. It’s very unnerving, as if you’re having a stroke or something. The thoughts that come through seem logical and relevant, and connected to each other but only briefly. Today when it happened I attempted to extricate my focus from them and keep it on the person I was talking to, but they continued to flash in, and they led me to connect to other related thoughts and images, and then the train of thought disappeared and I couldn’t, and still can’t, recall them. It was very bizarre. (also, I find that if I try to follow their train of thought that it becomes difficult and I become even more confused as each thought connects to another, even more obscure thought, so I stop before total frustration sets in).
    And all the while I kept up a cognizant conversation with my lunch partner. She didn’t seem to notice anything unusual. I have had mornings, especially with rainy weather, where I seem to be subject to this happening several times, and actually will continue if I don’t make a conscious effort to not let my mind wander down that dream like path. It has been very unnerving, which is why I looked on line to see if there was any explanation. Your article is the closest explanation I can find. I thought I had eaten something moldy or toxic that had the affect, or possibly parts of my brain weren’t getting enough oxygen?

    • Alan, Thank you for reading the blog and I am pleased that you may have found a possible explanation for your experience. In a later post I am planning on providing some statistics on the frequency and perception of this altered state of consciousness. Keep tuned.

      • Dear Doctor,
        Thank you for posting this. This started happening to me a few times a year after I was revived from near death from pneumonia five years ago. I made a full recovery but had been unconscious for 3 weeks on life support. I had another DPH episode yesterday and it really scared me. I am 70 and thought I was having a stroke. Dreams intruded into reality for a few fleeting moments. I was about to go for my swim at the Y and I felt like I was in a dream. After my swim I was fine and am great today as well. I have a lot of anxiety from life events but it was very different from an anxiety attack. You article was so important to me. Thank you. And yes, if I get alarmed I will talk to my doctor but now I know it has a name… DPH.

      • Read Pat Brown’s reply below. I understand it can be scary. But if you now know that DPH is a normal experience for about 15-20% of the population, then there is no reason to be scared. I experience DPH as well and for me they are merely disconcerting. Like Pat said, an annoyance. I doubt your doctor will have medical knowledge as my publication was in a relatively obscure journal. At this point, you most likely know more about this momentary state of consciousness than your doctor does. Thanks for your input.

  2. Pingback: Daytime Parahypnagogia (DPH) – Part II: Empirical Data « The PsychMinder

  3. Pingback: Daytime Parahypnagogia (DPH) – Part III: Occurence and Effect on Functioning « The PsychMinder

  4. Hi, I’m a 21 year old male.

    I have frequently experienced this for many years, I also have many symptomns of hypnagogia when drifting off to sleep and so does many other people in my family.

    I never realised there was a name for this until today, I was actually starting to fear that maybe something was going wrong with my brain. No one seems to know what I am on about when I talk about flashes of images which I swear I have seen before, strangely it feels as though I have dreamed about them before and it isn’t anything pleasant. It varies, yet the images always seem to be the same. Apart from the sense of nostalgia there is a sense of something there… I think the only way I can describe it is impending doom.

    I have suffered from various forms of anxiety since I was about six years old, never having taken medication I am used to a plethora of various symptomns which are never nice… This has always been something I’ve attributed to the anxiety.

    These daytime parahypnagogia flashes seem to have worsened since the age of about 19. When I was 19 I almost had a mental breakdown, my anxiety went off the scale and it was all onset by what I could probably describe as an extended DPH. Maybe it was just hallucinating as that whole period of my life came about due to cannabis. What was strange though is I had smoked it before many times but it was one particular night that set me off… Ever since then and my subsequent recovery I am still suffering from DPH though.

    I realise everyone likes to think they are special, but I really DO think there is something special about my brain. Not that I think it’s a good thing. I also suffer from unbelievable deja vu.

    I definitely notice that DPH occurs when being passive, for example it never happens at the gym.

    • For couple of years, during day I have flashes of images I think from dreams. I feel nausea and fear. They last for about 1-3 seconds, and after that i dont remember any of them. I also suffered from anxiety. I think I was going crazy bu after read this….I dont think! :-)))))))))

  5. Hello, i am 25 years old female.

    finally i found something about my strange dream-like daytime experiences and very unpleasant deja-vu’s.. i think i have symptoms of DPH too (mixed with Hypnagogia?)…

    my first experiences was from early school time..much later for some time it was very rare – only once in half a year i was having one strange day, full of unpleasant DPH symptoms. for about 5 years now it’s more frequent, and today night i had very strong long waking-up, leading to very tiring day. so, today i decided to comprehensively google what is wrong with me 🙂 when i was kid, my mother took me to doctors, i had my cortex checked, but at that time it was very hard to explain to doctors what symptoms were bothering me.

    so, at some nights i have very strange waking-up feeling (during the night), once or sometimes twice, it’s always the same short flash of dream, my body feels like melting, very very unpleasant, then i always wake up, open my eyes, overturn, and instantly fall asleep to my previous “normal” dream, as i was dreaming before that flash. In the morning i feel that light “trembling of conscious”, feels like almost almost that deja-vu dream flash will pop in my mind. during the day i distract myself from that trembling feeling, but i still experience that “body-melting” and the same “waking-up feeling” with several, always the same, dream images. it is so unpleasant that i keep repeating in my head “no no no no” and trying to keep myself conscious and focused. this “flash” lasts only ~2seconds.

    never had two such horrible days in a row, so, with the next night the horrible day is over.

    for me DPH occurs while running, too, so not only when being passive.
    i tried to find the connection between my these horrible days and stress or food or physical activity or period – but they seem just occur and surprise me to ruin my whole day. deja-vu feelings are not so frequent, but very the same. at least they are shorter.

    i am happy to find out that i am not the only one and i am not losing my mind badly. i was very concerned what is wrong with my head.

  6. I am a 43 year old male, married with 3 children 9, 3, and 1. Our 1 year old has since birth had a series of minor health problems that causes my wife and I to get significantly less sleep than we need and it is usually broken up through the night. When I was younger and missed sleep I would be very sleepy the next day. For several months now I haven’t been very sleepy, but I’ve begun having the symptoms you describe as daytime parahypnogogia.

    It strikes me almost exactly the same way every time, but with varying intensity. I’ll describe a specific incident. I was walking through my church, checking on classes (a duty I have), when I suddenly felt a ‘spell’ coming on. Having them many times before I knew to go sit in an empty room. Before I could get seated the ‘dream’ began. The closest analogy I have to how the phenomenon feels is a piece of double exposed movie film of two entirely different events. I could see the room around me, but I could also perceive a dream. Since I’d been through this many times before I sat down and closed my eyes. If it occurs while I am driving I can force my concentration on the world around me, but it is a struggle. Much easier to sit quietly until the feeling passes.

    This instance lasted some time, perhaps 15 to 20 seconds of ‘dream’ then I kept my eyes closed another minute while I waited for the usual slight increase in my heart rate and significant increase in body temperature. After about another minute I stood up and continued my work. I felt flushed for about 5 minutes after and then felt normal again.

    The feeling is not entirely unpleasant but it is unsettling and interferes with my life and work. I’m very glad to have a name for it, even if it is only theoretical at this point. In my case I feel sure that once my son begins sleeping all night my symptoms will go away.

    • Thanks for posting. Sure does sound like you are sleep deprived. It is possible you are not getting enough REM sleep and your body may be trying to compensate during waking hours. This is not professional advice. I would imagine when your sleep gets back to normal, these symptoms will likely subside. I agree with you that most of the time the DPH experience is not usually unpleasant, but it can be both unsettling and interfering as you indicated.

      • Wow, I’m surprised to get such a quick response. Thank you for your concern. The reason I am sure it will go away when my youngest begins to sleep all night is we’ve had periods where he is better and also I travel out of town frequently and am able to catch up on sleep while at a hotel. When I’m better rested the ‘spells’ go away.

        I’d never experienced this problem before last year and when they first began occurring I was very alarmed. Knowing they will go away and knowing others have had a similar problem is reassuring.

        I hope you continue your work on this phenomenon.

      • Dr. Guerstelle,

        I thought I would report back that our youngest just turned 2, he’s been sleeping fairly well for about 6 weeks, and my symptoms have disappeared. Perhaps this information can help in your study of this phenomenon.

    • I thought I would give a final report. It’s been almost three years since I last had symptoms. My youngest is now 4 1/2 years old, he sleeps through the night and my wife and I are much better rested. I have not had the phenomenon happen since 2012. I can still remember the specific incident I reported on August 13, 2012. For others who are having this happen to them, I would suggest you check carefully into your sleep habits. My sleep was broken into small intervals due to my son’s acid reflux. I would sometimes get 6 or 7 total hours, but it was usually only an hour or so at a time and much of it sitting up in a recliner holding him. I think the lack of deep sleep caused my symptoms. Dr. Gurstelle’s report and the other comments helped me to feel I wasn’t losing my mind or having much deeper health problems. Hope the description of my experience is helpful to others.

      • Thank you for your update. Happy to hear you are doing well. Yes, I do believe lack of sleep can be a contributing factor to the frequency of DPH episodes.

  7. Dear Doctor.
    I am suffering from anxiety disorder for about 20 years. The last 5 years I have several dream fashback with strong fear and nausea.The flashback only last for a few seconds, but it is very intense and scary. After that image from a dream I do not remember anything from flashback. I also expirience sleep paralise some time. I thik this is daytime parahypnqagogia??? Sorry for my bad english. Cheers !

    • Doesn’t sound like DPH to me. I would suggest seeing a mental health professional. Did you experience any traumatic event? Sleep paralysis is normal if one has a hypnagogic experience upon awakening from sleep. If “sleep paralysis” (cataplexy) occurs during waking hours, I would check with a neurologist. Good luck.

  8. No no, I dont experience any traumatic event. I have sleep paralyse only when I upon awakening from sleep! :-))) My neurologist said that I am fine. My psychatrist said that during day I have “hypnagogic memories” and that might be frightening but it;s not harmfull.

    I ask you about “dream flashbacks during day”, from nowhere I have flashbacks from some dream that least only few seconds and it is familiar to me. I know them from some dream or maybe hypnagogic halucination. After that i have nausea and fear ….


  9. I’m 80 years old and female. I’ve had these episodes periodically since my twenties. They occur every few years, and over a period of five to seven days, increasing in frequency over the first few days, then declining over the same period. There may be a dozen on the peak day. They are not frightening, merely annoying like a case of hiccups.

    I’m very happy to find your article. I’ve always supposed they were not an isolated phenomenon.

  10. I can remember episodes like this occurring on occasion throughout my entire life. I was always afraid to try and explain to other people what was going on in my mind for the fear that they would think I was crazy, as well as the fear of finding out I actually was crazy. It’s great to find this post and finally have an explanation for these events, as well as a name for them.

    • Could be, but I haven’t heard of “alien abductions” being reported during the day. Often such “reports” are a result of a similar hypnagogic phenomenon that occur upon awakening from a dream, called “hypnopompic hallucinations.” See my other posts regarding alien abductions. Thanks for your question.

    • Thank you, Toni, for this fascinating link. Perhaps DPH might be a related phenomenon to some kind of mild seizure. However, I suspect that since DPH occurs only under certain conditions, such as attention fatigue, and feels something like sleep onset, I believe the “Forced Reminiscence,” as Oliver Sachs describes, has a different mode of neural activation than DPH. Although I don’t have empirical evidence at this time, I suspect that in DPH, some type of REM-like dream process is breaking into waking consciousness.

  11. This just happened to me and I feel crazy talking about it.
    It happened like this: I started to have flashbacks of a dream, within 10 seconds felt extreme nausea. I then got extremely dizzy had to lay on the floor of my classroom and began to have the cold sweats..
    It happened 6 times in one day. I called the doctor and they told me to go to the ER. 5 hours, bloodwork, and EKG and a urinalysis later, I was told nothing. Just scheduled me a follow up with primary care doctor. I was exhausted the next day.
    Everyone I have explained it to thinks I’m crazy.

    • Jen: Sorry you found the experience so disturbing. I am guessing that because it was the first time, it was very disconcerting and scary for you. That may be why you became nauseous. Now that you know what the experience is, it probably won’t be frightening the next time it occurs. However, if you get severe headaches with your nausea, it might be a good idea to see a neurologist to rule out the possibility of a migraine headache. Thank you for contributing to the blog. Oh, and you’re not crazy.

      • Hi Jen 🙂 I am in the same boat, but like Doctor said: YOU ARE NOT CRAZY…. Be strong and happy 🙂 Toni

      • I am convinced that we suffer from a lack of magnesium!
        Magnesium is closely associated with migraine, epilepsy, anxiety and depression.

        I taking magnesium and vitamin B complex for two months.
        For now,I have no more attacks and I have a great sleep!

        Good luck!


      • Conceivable. Thanks for your input. I had never thought of finding a way to stop DPH, but DPH could possibly be related to some slight seizure activity.

  12. “If one is actively involved in interacting with people or the environment in some fashion, the phenomenon does not occur. ”

    Are you sure about this?

    I’m pretty sure I also have this phenomenon, but today it happened in the midst of my conversation with my girlfriend. I only recently have DPH occurring and been trying to analyse it.

    It only occurs for a microsecond or so – my speech did not stop but I know it happened because my brain left / shut off for that split second. My brain very quickly re-gathered it’s thoughts and what I was talking about midway and continued the speech.

    I was talking about something very common / easy – nothing that requires full or hard thinking.

  13. This is interesting information to come upon. I’ve suffered from migraines with aura for years and recently I experienced what you have described above. I have combed the Internet for an explanation and the most similar phenomenon I can find is a Temporal Lobe Seizure. This gave me a scare except that there is one major difference – when I experience this, I do not experience the nausea, fear, and confusion a lot of seizure sufferers have mentioned.

    In addition, I have also experienced more hypnagogic hallucinations, sleepiness, and even sleep paralysis lately, so it makes me think it can be partially explained by actual dream phenomena.

    • Thank you for your comment. I too suspect that DPH is related to dream phenomena as well as perhaps a small burst of creativity. I wonder where fiction writers get their stories from. Dreams can be elaborate stories. Perhaps a waking mechanism related to dreams may be the answer.

  14. I also have experienced these funny turns on and off for 20 years. It only really happens every few months after some poor sleep. At first I just did not know what was happening and thought I was experiencing déjà vu or going mad!. Then more recently I have worked out that I am experiencing flashback dreams I had the night before or previously. I am aware of them happening while doing any day time task, each dream flashback lasts for only seconds and I cannot recall them after about 20 seconds. The whole episode can last for up to an hour.

    I experienced a very bad episode today, I was very confused and felt I was on a different planet while at work and still carrying out daily tasks. As the episode peaked after 20 minutes or so I had a feeling of impending doom which has happened previously and felt I was just about to have an almighty panic attack! After this there was a slow recovery to feeling normal and just very tired.

    I can now relate these episodes to bad sleep periods. Interestingly I am going to a sleep clinic for possible sleep apnea and wonder whether this could be related?

    Anyway thought I was going completely bonkers over the years but it does seem others experience something similar.

    • I appreciate your contribution to the understanding of this altered state of consciousness. I am glad that you were able to find a possible explanation for your experiences. No, you are not going bonkers. Maybe a little sleep deprived.

  15. Dear Dr. Gurstelle

    I’m so excited to find this article as I have been experiencing this for a few years now every 4 to 6 weeks or so. Usually in the morning after I shower, when I’m getting dressed but once while driving to work, once when walking from my car to my work building and yesterday while I was sitting at my desk at 2:30 in the afternoon. This is the only time I had paper and pen near me and I was able to write down some of the visions/ideas I was having during the episode. After the episode was over, I looked at the paper and I don’t think those words have ever been written down at one time before. hahaha. The words were:

    Breaking Up
    The Spot
    Droopy Dog

    I never remember the visions and I have no idea what these words represented. I have described these episodes to friends as “dreaming while I’m awake” When they come on I’m like, oh, here it comes! and thoughts come into my brain that seem very familiar like a dream I’ve had before – like deja vu.

    The only thing that I find different than all the other posters is that when the episode is over, I get queezy like the feeling you get when you are about to faint but I never have fainted – I’m weak and I have to sit down but I’ve never fainted.

    Is there anything to be concerned about with DPH. One thing to note is that I have MS and my original diagnosis was because I was having mild seizures but only I would know I was having them, Those seizures stopped many years ago and were very different from these experiences.

    • Thank you for sharing your consciousness experience on the PsychMinder blog.

      I conjectured the existence of daytime hypnagogia originally based on my own experience. At some point I began to wonder how many people there are out there with similar or somewhat similar experiences. My research suggests that perhaps between 15 and 20% of us have these brief altered states. Yours may last longer than many, but other than that, it sounds consistent with the altered state I postulated. In your case it was long enough that you were able to write down some of the words that popped into your head at the time. I appreciate that.

      I really don’t think it is anything to be concerned about since you have had DPH for a few years and no harm has come. At least now you realize you are not alone. Considering the nausea, you might want to consider the unlikely possibility that you might be having some form of petit seizures or migraine. The MS could also possibly account for experience. I would see a neurologist just to rule out these other possible explanations. Please let me know what you find out. Good luck.

  16. I have been having these episodes for about a year and half now. Mostly in the morning, either in the shower or right after I get out though they can occur anytime. It is like I have a weird feeling maybe deja vu and then I start remembering a dream. I am not sure if it is a dream from the night before or long ago, but it has a dream feel and I remember that I have had this dream before and what I did during this remembrance. It is like I am remembering that I have remembered this dream before and exactly what I did when that happened. I usually have a sense of panic when this happens, though I don’t think the panic causes the dream, more like I panic, because I know this is not normal and it scares me. I usually do not get sick and I can’t remember the dream after but I can remember everything I did and I can talk to people around me, when it has happened most people told me I seemed perfectly normal. I do sometimes get a headache after but not always, I do have pressure in my head and feel sleepy after and a little off, the rest of the day. I have been to a Neurologist, I have had (2) MRIs both normal small areas of hyperintensity that can be from headache or aging I am 47. I have had (2) EEG’s and (1) Ambulatory EEG for 4 days. All normal. I have had (2) sleep studies both showed mild sleep apnea and I am now sleeping with a CPAP machine. The episodes have went as long as 2 months a part but can come as often as a couple of times a week. I am under a lot of stress, just the nature of my job, My sleep can range from 5 to 8 hours per night. Dr does not believe it is epilepsy thinks it could be a migraine phenomenon. Is this typical for what you are seeing as DPH?

    • Not typical, but no reason to panic. However, if you have sleep apnea, you may be lacking in REM sleep. It is possible that REM-like activity could be intruding into times when you are awake. I have not seen DPH associated with migraines. Thanks for writing.

  17. Hi
    I have been having these weird flashbacks since I was around 13. Up until 2 years ago it would happen every few years. Now it happens around once a month. It can sometimes be triggered by music and puts me in a trance like state for up to 10 seconds. Afterwards I feel odd and a bit sick. i try to remember what I was thinking about in my trance but find it impossible. I always thought it was just me but last week I decided to search the internet and found out that others have the same things happening to them. Can you confirm I am not mad.

    • Dear Scott. I was formerly a professor of the Psychology of Consciousness, which is how I became interested in this research. What I learned is that there are many states of consciousness we are capable of experiencing. I figure if 15-20% of the population can have these altered states during waking hours, we can’t all be mad. My may concern is not whether the experience is pathological, but rather how much it interferes with functioning or results in subjective distress. I understand the “odd feeling,” as you call it. I am not sure what you mean by “sick.” The trick is not to be scared of DPH, now that you know what it is.

    • You are not alone. When I experience the phenomenon I also feel flushed, somewhat dizzy, and a bit nauseous. My symptoms are related to my sleep patterns.

  18. About a week ago, I began having “dream flashbacks,” from what you describe they sound very similar to my experience….very crazy, yet wonderfully intriguing…one second I am going about my day, maybe even daydreaming, the next an image from one of my dreams pops (involuntarily) into my head and back out again at lightning speed, leaving me to catch my breath and remembering the experience. Interestingly enough, this feels like a progression in some way, as I began having auditory hallucinations at 19, where I would hear voices, snippets of conversation…doesn’t happen very often and can be accompanied by an image too in my mind, my last was about a year ago, they happen when I’m trying to get to sleep, in that in-between stage, where I am still awake but about to drop off and usually bring me back to full consciousness. I wonder perhaps if we are getting an insight into the nature of consciousness, I wonder if this research would be of interest to Hammeroff and Penrose, as they have been theorizing on consciousness at the quantum level, linking it to microtubials in the brain. So far this has been a truly wonderful experience, a happy quirk of the mind…hope it continues in this vein. Would love to know where your current though process is at in relation to this area of study…what do you think is the primary causation factor? Why do some people have DPH and most do not?

  19. I am thrilled to have found this site!! I have wondered for years what this was and what is was called. I experience this every now and then myself, but for some reason, only when I am driving,riding in a car, or otherwise employed. I am conscious, not asleep; and it only lasts for a second or two.
    My question is: Can this state be intentionally summoned or brought on? Personally, though somewhat scary ( probably because I am driving at the time ), I actually find the experience quite pleasant. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that I am fairly creative or just because I am weird.There are times, when I am watching tv or just idle time, when I feel that an episode may be trying to emerge; so I try to concentrate to bring it on but am unsuccessful. Any leads I this area would be appreciated.

    • DPH also happens to me. It doesn’t scare me, but kind of confuses me. I don’t like that it makes me feel like I’m crazy. I have a plethora of other ‘weird’ little things that happen to me. I’m actually going to the neurologist tomorrow for sleep study results. Anyway, my reason for replying to you is to tell you that, although I can’t directly tell myself, “I want to have a DPH episode right now, so let’s do it,” (haha) It is almost guaranteed for ME that if I sit down and read or draw, especially, it will happen at least once.

    • Mine usually come on when I am sleep deprived. I wouldn’t recommend trying this if you have to drive or be at work, but perhaps going without sleep might bring one on for you.

  20. I have had many episodes of DPH, going back to when I was a child. I have probably had 1 a month since childhood, and I am now 52, but it is usually when I have been sleep deprived over the course of a few days. I never knew what these episodes were called, so, THANK YOU, for finally explaining it. I rarely talk about it to others, for fear they might think I have issues. I was fascinated by reading all of the possible side-effects, emotions, nausea, paralysis, vividness, and bursts of brilliancy that others have experienced. It really enlightened me.

  21. Uhhhh I have been in this state all day, literally I could almost barely function properly at work. Even right now I am in this state and I don’t know how to stop it honestly. It almost feels like euphoric reality I’m not sure, I feel present but absent strangely so but I am mostly aware of everything around me and what I am doing. It’s almost like looking through a very short tunnel into reality at the moment, I am unsure how to… “Get back inside” my body. I woke up this morning wide awake at 520am ready for work but as soon as I started work I felt I sort of left and my body became “autonomous” and continued working at a slightly slower than normal pace. But I didn’t leave I was just sort of half out of my body, even typing this I feel I’m almost watching myself do it, I’m slightly worried I won’t “get back” so to speak.

  22. My son began having what we called ‘episodes’ anout 2 years ago. They were very sporadic and sometimes didn’t happen fir several months, so at first it a while to realize what he was doing . He is almost 18 now. What he does is while he is fully awake he will become distant and begin to talk is a quiet voice. He almost acts comfused or alarmed in some way. He can converse with you but the answers he gives can be completely off the wall and weird. It is obvious he is dreaming. These last from 10 seconds to almost a minute. We never wake him from them. But will direct him if out in public. Afterwards he will be exhausted the rest of the day and out of it. He does not know when he is doing this nor does he know afterwards. The following day, he will not be able to remember the entire day when the episode happened. The doctors have spent weeks trying to find seizures. I know they are not seizures. But what causes this and how can it be treated?

    • I have found too much caffeine has caused me to have poor sleep. I would remain unconscious and therefore unaware, but I think my sleep did not completely restore me. Since I have cut back to only one cup of coffee in the morning my occasional light episodes have gone away. Is it possible that something similar is happening to your son?

  23. I have been making myself break my habit of having the radio on softly all night. Some of the discussions and news will enter my dreams. I have realized that the sleep interference might be contributing to my occasional spacing out during the day .

  24. I feel the need to comment here. I have also been having these episodes for years and I am so comforted by the other stories on this blog. I thought I would weigh in here with my own story. Mine come on usually slowly but this afternoon it really came on quickly and hit me really hard. I always have nausea associated with them and the feeling that I am somewhere else, experiencing things from my past. They feel like flashbacks almost but non-sensical. I can usually remember nothing once they are over but I can remember little snippets as I keep having the same one for a while before a new one comes along. In one, I have sweets on my shoe laces and am in my shed as a child, but in my neighbour’s garden, about twenty feet in the air! They stop me in my tracks and I have had them whilst in the shower, driving and getting ready for work etc so I am very much awake. This afternoon I had to lie down and wait until it passed and I am now very tired indeed. I have been under considerable stress at various points in my life and wonder if this is connected? Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone here for their contribution and Dr Gurstelle for starting this in the first place.

  25. I just found this site and am somewhat relieved to hear of other similar stores to mine. My first experience was 31 + years ago after the pre-mature birth of a child I was “forced” to place for adoption. The stress during the short term pregnancy and the few months that followed were excruciatingly painful emotionally. I also had a very abusive mother who did not handle this situation well at all. Over the years, it has been my experience that if I am so pre-occupied with life and work that I am not sleeping well and do not eat well – general lack of care for me – I end up having flashbacks or brief snippets of dreams. The dreams could be currently had or from years past. A few repeat themselves, however, with all of them they are so brief I can’t even begin to speak to tell anyone about them when they are gone. My physical reaction is usually a slight roaring to ringing in my ears, narrowing of my vision, I break out in a mild sweat and my heart rate goes up. Sometimes the feelings are so intense it makes me slightly nauseous. The duration may last from a day to 3 days and the frequency is all over the board. It has been about 3 years since my last “episode”. Before that it was more frequent, maybe 1 x/year. It can be frightening. I have read through here and see folks referring to it as unnerving….I wish it was just unnerving for me. The longer the episode lasts the more tired and completely unfocused I become. I find it impossible to remember answers to the most basic question, or even an answer I’ve known my whole life escapes me. The only comfort I have is when time in between these flashbacks increases, I know I am nearing the end of the incident. I am almost 54 years old and within last 2 months have concentrated on my health and fitness. Although my work has not been so cooperative. I have had tremendous pressures of late that are now coming to an end. At the worse part the flashbacks are often quick but can come multiple times within a minute. Any help, guidance, or insight would be greatly appreciated!!

    • As you describe your experience, it may not come under the definition of DPH. I don’t diagnose from a post, but you might want rule out anxiety or panic attacks.

  26. My episodes I have come to believe are linked to the fact that after a year of situational stress I could sleep better
    If I kept a radio on all night. I feel that the talk shows are intruding into my dreams and during the day dreams pop up in the awake state.

    I stopped this habit and haven’t had an episode. Just wanted to share this.


  27. Hi there

    Reading through these stories has brought some relief to me ….. I have no idea if what I go through is this DPH, but it makes me feel better, thank you. People think I am crazy, looking for attention so these days if I have an “episode” I keep quiet. Nobody seems to have a clue as to what I am on about.

    I can feel it coming my head gets light, blood rushes out of my face and I feel faint. Then the flashes start…..they don’t make sense it feels like they come from a different planet!! After it goes I am confused and dazed for up to 1/2 an hour….. it lasts for 2 to 3 days …..I am in the 2nd day now.

    • Dear Louise,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. These do not sound like typical DPH. I would bring these episodes to the attention of a neurologist. With DPH, any confusion or dazed feeling doesn’t usually last more than a few seconds. Please let us know what you find out. Thanks.

  28. The worst thing I find is the churninng stomach effect I get and the sense there is somebody doing it, either a dream figure or somebody I know or have known. It’s like it’s saying “here’s the new reality you’re in and this is how it feels” and everything from the dream is folding in on itself and swirling.

  29. Hello.
    54 year old male.

    This has happened to me three times, with the first incident being the longest — about 7 hours — and the most intense. I had been somewhat sleep deprived for about two weeks. I awoke from a nap one afternoon and immediately checked my phone for new text messages. This is when the fun began. I reread a text thread from the day before, but I did not recognize it. It kind of seemed familiar, but there were chunks of dialogue that seemed foreign. It got worse. I was reading things that I didn’t remember writing. It was like I was reading another’s texts. My heart stopped. Was I insane? Did I suffer from a split personality? Dream like “packets” of thoughts would enter and exit my brain. I recognized nothing. Then I realised I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I cannot read a thing without them. I was terrified and called friends until someone picked up. My buddy Bill sensed the panic in my voice and he was at my side in less than thirty minutes. Thank God. Because I was terrified. He stayed with me for about six hours. I kept telling him, “I have one foot in the subconscious realm.” Gradually the fleeting images and surreal trains of thought dissipated. My friend and I went to see and film and afterward he drove me home and exhausted, I slept for about eleven hours.

    I was fine when I awoke.

    As mentioned, it has happened twice since then, but it has been less intense and terrifying.

    I am SO glad to have found this site.




  30. Hello,
    About 7 months ago I “Overdosed” on marijuana which sent me into a very dissociated and “psychotic” state for a few hours, it passed and ever since i have been constantly been experiencing de-realization at differing intensities, and during this time i have periodically began to have brief moments like that described; it’s like my mind goes off without me and when i reel it back in i forget what it was thinking about. It’s like I’m on board and then once i try to focus on whatever i was thinking about, it leaves. The only discomfort i get from this is paranoia that it means I am losing my mind. I think these run-away thoughts seem awfully like DPH, do they not?

    • I doubt you are losing your mind, as you put it. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if your cannabis experience precipitated the dissociation you report. Best not to be afraid or paranoid about it. You will have little to no anxiety if you just go with the flow and let it pass.

  31. Thank you for giving a name to a phenomenon I have experienced since early childhood. I feel much less crazy now. I will add my experiences in hopes that it will help others.

    From early childhood, I have had episodes of insomnia. I remember laying awake in bed for hours. I also remember vivid hallucinations and not knowing if I was asleep or awake. These hallucinations were crazy things like a window in my ceiling that had people staring at me, or the knots in the wood of my door being faces talking to me, etc. During the day, I would sometimes have the sensation that time slowed down, and ‘hear’ in my head a repeating rhythm somewhere between a voice and music. It wasn’t unpleasant, it seemed like a familiar voice trying to say something important to me, but I could never figure out what. As a child, I concentrated on the ‘sound’ to try to figure out what it was saying, and the trance-like state would continue for several minutes. While it was happening, everything around me would seem to happen to that rhythm. I realized as I got older that not everyone had this experience, so I stopped telling people about it. I also started finding ways to snap myself out of it, and push through, interacting with the world while trying to ignore it, usually with success.

    I still get this, generally when I haven’t been sleeping enough (or when I have a hangover). It usually happens when I am doing something boring and repetitive, like doing dishes or walking on a treadmill, but not always. I can usually ignore it and continue what I am doing, but there are times when it is much harder to break. It has happened a few times (very rarely) that I was trying to talk to someone while this was happening and I had to REALLY concentrate to get the words out, like trying to remember how to speak a foreign language after years, pulling one word out at a time. When it stops, it stops suddenly and I have no other symptoms.

    I sometimes have another related phenomenon. It comes in the form of a sudden flash of something bad happening. It is like I am suddenly aware that something terrible is happening and I need to find out or warn people. This is like a flash of a nightmare and sometimes has visual and auditory elements. It is over in a second, but I have to admit that I start scanning the news and/or checking on family and friends, because it seems so real. This also happens more often when I haven’t been sleeping well.

    Thanks again for this!

      • My experiences are somewhat the same but It only happens when I’m about to fall asleep when going to bed or about to take a nap. What happens is I will close my eyes and probably within less than a minute I’ll have a quick flashback of a dream. I will wake up suddenly and have an overwhelming feeling of nausea with a weird sense of reality. While it slowly goes away it seems like the dream goes back into suppression and I can’t remember the dream anymore. I know it happens, I just can’t remember the dream. It’s really weird. I’m 44 years old, my first experience with this was when I was in my late teens and never experienced it again until last year which I’ve had it happen 6 times since which is why I’m looking for answers and landed here 😉. I do lucid dream and do experience sleep paralysis occasionally.

      • When we have this experience upon falling asleep, we call it hypnagogia. My hypothesis was that hypnagogic-like experiences could occur during waking hours under certain conditions. Thanks for your contribution.

  32. 50 year old male- ,,,Symptoms – feeling of intense deja -vu ….. followed by a feeling that I am linking dream imagery into reality… Images of outer space can trigger this. ..and sometimes hearing TV news is a trigger. I actually get this when standing in one room in the house mostly. I also get a weird taste in my mouth every time. …..(.I had used LSD / mushrooms as a teenager about 30 times and had good trips always.) ….. I have always been able to remember a good portion of dreams through life. Could this be natural DMT ? Because I feel like I am sightly tripping and time dilation feeling. Yet I can be back to normal within seconds of an episode. Thank you

  33. Although I have never used any drugs, I have had similar instances. Déjà vu is the biggest aspect of it. I can be watching a TV show, have an episode, and know exactly what they are going to say on the TV show.

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