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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Dreams Feel More Real than waking Life.

 Alejandroe84 - Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:33 am

Name: Alejandro M Eastman
Age: 24.

Hi there I have been feeling like I am dreaming for 8 years now. My dreams feel more of a reality than waking life.
I had taken Zoloft,rhispordal, and Ritalin as a teen, but had dabbled with marijuana at around the same time. I remember at 16 it had faded in and out, about feeling in reality, and feeling like I'm dreaming, but i knew I could differentiate between the both, at that time. I had told my shrink, but he wasn't the best of help, and just gave me more medications to swallow - I currently don't see him. I went to the General Hospital, and they did a brain scan, and did more x-ray, and nothing turned up.
I hate feeling this way(chronic feeling), but I just tend to deal with it, because I know have a family - at a young age. Because I was depressed - it was not my parents fault because I was a teen father.

I was adopted. I lived in an orphanage in Peru, and I probably had a young mother who drank a lot of alcohol. At the age of three I was adopted by loving parents.

When I smoked(past tense) Marijuana I feel the same( feeling like I'm dreaming, and looking down at myself), but I always had the paranoia effect with it.

I always try to look on the internet, to see if I can find resources, and to find out what my mental disease is, or could be, but always find a dead end.

Any help would be appreciated.

thanks, and best regards,

Alejandro M Eastman
 Dr. E. Seigle - Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:21 pm

Dear Alejandroe84,

Your description of your life feeling like you are dreaming suggests a psychological process that we call Dissociation. This is a process, usually developed as a protection by infants, children, and adults who are experiencing traumatic or neglectful experiences. The experiences are shut off, walled-off, forgotten, or the emotional awareness is removed from them. A sense of numbness or unreality (your "dream-like state) often results and can encompass much of the person's conscious experience.

Given that you were born to a mother who couldn't care for you, and that you grew up in an orphanage, it seems reasonable to suspect that you had, perhaps at a very young age that you cannot remember experiences of being neglected, in the sense of not receiving mothering that was consistent, nurturing, and in which you felt secure and loved. This is just a hypothesis to consider, for it could explain your sense of pervasive unreality.

My strong suggestion is that you have a psychological or psychiatric evaluation which is followed by a trial period of psychotherapy for a number of months, and try to determine if this hypothesis is likely to be accurate. Try to find a therapist experienced with individuals who may have experienced neglect or growing up in an orphanage.

The diagnoses of which you may have one or several gives names to your condition, and these possible diagnoses include:

A Dissociative Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a Depressive Disorder might individually or collectively describe your condition. Neglected children who have a lot of trouble being intimate with others are diagnosed with Attachment Disorder.

This might be a scary endeavor for you, or perhaps not; my guess is that it could be very worthwhile and bring about self-understanding, healing, and feeling more alive and present. Good luck!

-Eliot Seigle MD
 Alejandroe84 - Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:11 am

Hi there,

First, Iid like to say thank you for the fulfilling, and inspiring response.

Second, I had just opened up to my wife, and I will now take full responsibility, and take some action, to this costly personal issue, of mine - it not only effects, myself, but my family as well, and I don't want any more disappointment.

Third, I'd just like to say that Is much of an every day hassle, and that I really just want to, one day, wake up, and know that I am living, and not in a dream like state.

My goal is to further look into my mental state of mind and grasp every knowledge, and understanding, so I can then be able to feel "normal".

I also, as well have a fierce perception, that I could have been neglected, as you had stated. And, as I'm told, it was a very malnourished orphanage, and I remember, when arriving, home, to have to take medication, because I had worms, in my stomach.

In all, as I can only conclude, is that I do seek the proper help I need, and be free is this fall back, and in my opinion, turmoil, as it causes me stress, and disappointment.

Thank you Dr. Seigle,

I hope to keep up, on my progress, on my life renewal.


 Dr. E. Seigle - Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:34 pm


I am very glad for you that you feel determined and inspired to seek that help for you that you deserve. I do not doubt that with time and self-exploration, you will see a shift in your emotional experience of your life. Best of luck!

-E. Seigle MD

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