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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Spacing Out - January 28th 2015, 04:03 AM

I have Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety and about a year ago I became aware that I tend to space out during situations that cause me a great amount of anxiety. Now that I think about it, this has been going on for many years. Probably since preschool. Throughout the years my teachers have pointed out that I frequently appeared to have a blank stare..which everyone assumed was seizures or ADD. I highly doubt it's either of those since it only happens when i'm extremely anxious.
I'm not totally sure how to describe what goes on when I space out but my vision gets blurry. I can hear people talking, I can hear them saying words but I can't make out the words they're saying. Like whatever they're saying doesn't process in my brain. Sometimes my hands and/or feet get tingly. I lose track of time. My mind goes blank. It's just a whole lot of nothingness..
I don't notice it's happening until I snap out of it.
I poked around google and a lot of sites mentioned dissociation. But every website i've looked at linked dissociation with PTSD. I don't want to diagnose myself and i'm not looking for a diagnosis from anyone here, but could it be dissociation?
Could it be ADD or seizures?
Could it be something else?
Has anyone else experienced something like this?
   
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Re: Spacing Out - January 28th 2015, 08:58 AM

I have social anxiety, and it happens to me quite often, but only when I feel like I'm about to pass out. It's as if my body is attempting to cope with all the stress and everything that's going on around me. Granted, everyone is different, and I do thing you should see a health care professional. They would be able to answer any of your questions with certainty. Hope this helps!


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Re: Spacing Out - January 28th 2015, 09:49 AM

Hey there,

I have had very similar experiences to you, and I always assumed mine was due to a panic attack because I also noticed my heart and breathing rate increased. But I also space out when really stressed or anxious, without having a panic attack.

It could be a few different things with different causes. Lack of sleep, depression, stress, anxiety, medications, and previous traumatic situations could all be causes. However, it could also be ADD or seizures, especially if teachers have picked up on the ‘blank stare’. Perhaps when it happens again, rate how anxious you were before it happened, and keep a log of every time it happens along with how anxious you were. This might help to see if it is anxiety related.

If it is anxiety related, it might be helpful for you to do some deep breathing exercises, and when you feel yourself spacing out, remind yourself that even though it feels horrible, nothing bad is actually happening, and you are safe. Try to ground yourself by tapping your feet, or hands, noticing the environment e.g. what can you see? Touch? Smell? As hard as it is try to focus on the conversation, and let go of the spacing out feeling. When you focus on other things the feeling will pass quicker.

It might be worth getting it checked out though as well.

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Re: Spacing Out - February 4th 2015, 10:47 PM

Hi There,
I am sorry I did not reply to this sooner.

I have not experienced this. It could be a number of different things. A difficulty with mental health issues is that many have similarities and it is best to speak with a mental health professional that is able to give appropriate testing to help figure out what specifically is going on. It could also be a combination of disorders ie. trauma-related (PTSD), disassociation or depression and anxiety.
I agree that writing a log would be very helpful so that if you go to see someone you can show them what patterns in your behavior before, during and after the anxiety occurs.
Hope this helps in some way and you can PM me if you ever would like someone to talk with.


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