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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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Iv been on here alot about derealization ( have not been

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iv been on here alot about derealization ( have not been diagnosed) but i dont know what else it could be. for the past 4 months i have felt spacey ( like im high or drunk or something) and my eyes are heavy and tired 24/7, my upper back of my neck is always really tight too. it all started when i felt over full so i make a dumb choice to try and vomit to relieve myself (never acually vomiting) but i kept trying and pushing and pushing SO hard dry heaving i guess) but then all of a sudden the spacey feeling came on and never went away. i thought i must have hurt something i my brain but i had a mri and scat scan done - normal. i dont know why i feel this way. i saw derealization and figured thats that it is because it basically explains how i feel but i never really thought i had anxiety. anyways could i have hurt something some in my brain that noone can see? and also saw something about neurotoxicity. i dont know why i would get it in the middle of heaving though. i hope i dont have it though. how do you get it? mold, drugs? i do live in an old apartment for about 8 months now but was fine and everyone in the building feeling ok. i have tried cocaine before but havent done it in probably 6 months. for the last 3 years i was on prozac but recently got off of it to see if that was the cause to how i feeling but it wasnt. im scared and i cant live this way forever, its ruining my life. ijust had to quit my job and im now moving back home :( please help me
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.


I am sorry to hear of your struggle.

It is likely that this feeling is not related to the forced vomiting. (Although, if this is something that you do on an frequent or even infrequent basis, it is of course associated with the disorder bulimia and it is important that you talk to your doctor about this so that you can be treated)

It is also not possible that you damaged your brain in any way when you forced yourself to vomit. It is possible that you have a brain disorder

It is more likely that this symptom is occurring as a sign of one of several brain disorders which are commonly known as mental illness, and include diagnosis such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Although I agree that it is important to rule out medical problems, once this is done, you must look at the problem realistically. I understand this can be hard to do, because no one wants to believe that they could possibly be developing a mental illness.

You are at the age when mental illness such as schizophrenia do being to show symptoms. It is very frequently the case that it develops in the first years when the young adult is attempting to live on their own and/or attend college. A preoccupation with the thinking process and sensations is common in the early stages.

Of course we could never diagnose you with this chronic illness, just over the internet. There would be many more details to evaluate.

I would recommend that you see a psychiatrist for evaluation and ongoing monitoring.

While in the past, derealization and the other thought disorders that occur along with mental illness were only partially treatable, since the 1990's new medications have been developed that treat these disorders and if taken diligently one can lead a normal life. The biggest problem can be the denial that such a serious illness could be a possibility.

But keeping an open mind and seeking evaluation with a psychiatrist will allow you to be monitored at started on the appropriate medications. If you do this, then you may never experience the most serious symptoms that can occur with these brain illnesses.

You may find these articles helpful in understanding the potential symptoms of developing mental illness. Again, it is too early and not possible over the internet to tell you for sure this is what you have, this is just one possibility, and something that is better to know about and rule out, rather than to wait for a more serious manifestation.


Feel free to write back to me and let me know your thoughts on this. Please do understand if I don't get back to you immediately, I will as soon as possible. (For example my mouse for the computer has stopped working, and I will have to go now to buy a new one, but will be back in an hour or two)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
eh i really dont think i have schizophrenia, at least i hope not. i want to be doing what i used to do but its just hard because my eyes are always tired and my head feels tight. could i just have derealization? i dont know. i just know i was in the best place and i was the happiest person up until i forcefully dry heaved.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
It is possible that you only have this symptoms, and nothing will ever come of it, yes. But is it bothering you to the point that you have had lost a job and had to move back home? Are you able t get your mind on to other things? What are your plans as far as work or school? I think it sounds like you should at least see a therapist so that you can focus your thoughts elsewhere and be monitored.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
because it is all i think about because its always here and its annoying and because i dont know what it is for sure. i can work but its just hard. im quiting my job and moving home to work on myself really .to just focus and figure out what this is. i went to a therapist yesterday who said she doesnt no what it could be so it sending me to someone else
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.

I'm glad you are seeking treatment. A therapist can help you to get your thoughts on other things through techniques. At least this is something that often works for those willing to work at it. If you are interested in reading about these techniques and even starting to practice them. The techniques and other ideas for obssessive thoughts are abut midway down this page:

If this does not work (and it can take some time and practice to give it a good chance to work) there are medications that help with obsessive thoughts.

Feel free to let me know what you think about them.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you. could it also be (the reason i became spaced out in the first place) that i had some kinda anxiety (i didnt know i had) but the pressure from heaving hard just triggered the whole thing and i just got all my symptoms ?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.

It could be that the dry heaving was in part due to building anxiety that was already developing. It is unlikely that the dry heaving and pressure caused a condition - but dry heaving is certainly anxiety provoking in of itself. But it is not physiologically possible for the dry heaving to have damaged your brain. If you had passed out and had head trauma and were comatose, then yes this can potentially cause brain damage.....but this still does not normally create derealization, and I don't think you were put into a coma anyway from what you have said.. It is more likely that the anxiety was already building and became intense with the dry heaving. Dry heaving is a very uncomfortable and anxiety provoking experience and now you associate the anxiety, worry, and sensation of derealization with it, because it became noticeable to you at that time.

Have you heard of the behavioral experiments by Pavlov and Skinner in any of your science courses? An example, is the dog that is fed meat when a bell is rung every day for some time. After a while, the dog starts salvitating just when they hear the bell ring, because they associate the bell with the meat. This sort of association occurs easily in the brain. This is why we do experiments and research in order to differentiate between what we may think is the cause of something, from what is actually the facts. What I am trying to explain is that, just because you had anxiety and derealization after the dry heave incident, does not mean the dry heaving was the cause of the problem. Does that make sense?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yeah thats what i ment! that the dry heaving was just the final push to the anxiety or whatever that caused the symptoms. no i dont no rememeber those words. i know that the dry heaving wasnt how i got anxiety and derealization but that i could have had it (not noticable) until the dry heaving because of the force and everything could have just brought everything on ?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.

Great, I'm glad that this makes more sense. Certainly the episode of dry heaving was anxiety provoking and could have excellerated you in perceiving and becoming aware of the derealization.

The main thing is to know that there is help for the anxiety and derealization. Therapy can help you; there are techniques a therapist can teach you and you can also learn helpful techniques by reading the link I provided you. If down the road these techniques are not enough alone, then it may be necessary for you to try medications.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
will this spaced out, like im here but not totally anymore feeling go away ? i have tried buspar for anxiety and it did not help :/
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
also wondering if in a mri of the brain can they see if there is anything wrong inside the ear? they said because i dont feel dizzy it has nothing to do with my ears but i saw something in the ear that can cause a spacey drunk feeling
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.

I had an reply prepared but it did not take.

Buspar takes several months to work, in case you were not aware of this.

Inner ear problems have a very specific set of symptoms. The individual looks drunk and spacey, rather than feels drunk and spacey, but this is also not how you had described the sensation you are experiencing before. If you had this, it would be fairly obvious, you would have a sensation that the world outside of you was spinning, and have difficulty walking. This can occur when there is an inflammation of the inner ear or in a condition called BPPV, where a tiny hair follicle inside the fluid-filled tubes called semicircular canals becomes loose. The fluid in the inner ear allows your brain to interpret your body's position. If a piece of the sensory hair breaks loose, this sends the brain confusing messages about your body's position.

It is possible that the sensation you are experiencing is due to stress hormones which are released with anxiety. If so, then it would be helpful for you to do a daily aerobic type of exercise. This helps to use up the excess adrenalin and cortisol that is released with anxiety and stress. You will need to work up to 45 min or an hour, but at least staring with 20 minutes per day of an activity like running, race walking, bicycling, swimming, or rowing might help you tremendously. Additionally, over time as you build up muscles, you will likely have an improved mood. This is because, we now know that muscles have receptors for neurotransmitters like seretonin and endorphens. These are 'feel good' neurotransmitters that help you to feel calm and pain free. Most people no longer have a physically active life, and this in itself can lead to depression and chronic pain.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok just wondering about the inner ear thing, thanks. so since the doctors are telling me nothings wrong than its gotta be something like derealization. i just never new i had anxiety
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
it is common not to realize you have an issue like anxiety. IT can be because, this is how you are used to feeling. It may be that you have reached a point in your life where your body is starting to develop symptoms from the anxiety. After time, chronic anxiety effects the body and brain in more obvious ways. When you are young, your body can compensate more easily.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
will this feel go away (spacey feeling and tired eyes) go away ? if i take meds or therapy
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
I do believe it will go away, but can't make a false promise to you of when. Medication might help. If you good get into an exercise routine, this would likely help as well (I mentioned this earlier). Also, you mentioned at one point that you had been on an antidepressant for a while. When did you stop taking this, and how did you stop taking it (over what length of time)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
prozac - around a a month after all this happened (so 3 months ago) and i was on 40 mg, went down to 20 for 2 or 3 weeks then 10 for a week
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
Ok, I wanted to make sure that you didn't stop it first, then had these symptoms start. Some people have similar feelings as you describe after stopping SSRI medication.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yeah iv seen that alot in looking things up but thats not the case :/
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
God, you are at least lucky in that way.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
Excuse me, that was supposed to be "good"! What do you think about an exercise program? Are bodies, and our brain function best when we are getting a good amount of aerobic activity daily. Our bodies simply evolved to function best. We sleep more soundly, we process out of our systems excess stress hormones, etc.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

i def cant run, i tried and it makes the spaciness worse i think but i can do other things.

Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
You may have to power through some uncomfortableness for some time until you build up muscle and cardiovascular strength.
Susan Ivy and other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
How are you doing? Have you seen the new therapist? If not were you able to read the information recommended, and do you have any questions about it if so?