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We answer all types of Neurology/Neurological questions about the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Include your age, sex, current meds, and known diagnoses, upcoming/completed appointments, tests, or procedures. We are not physicians. We help explain medical terminology and give support.
Lack of sleep=lack of recognition?
hwlarae posted:
Could lack of sleep cause lack of recognition? I really didn't get sleep last night and the night before. When I just went to wash my face and looked into the mirror, I didn't recognize myself. I know who I am, but my face just wasn't mine. It wasn't like I looked at my face and said "I'm getting old", my face looks like I got a face transplant. This has NEVER happen before and I need to know what is going on.

I'm 23 and female.
lifes responded:
Lack of sleep or times of increased stress could cause depersonalization. It's a big name meaning a person temporarily loses a connection to self. You know you are *you*, but that "other" you seems totally different from the "you" you have always known.

You can also see yourself outside yourself. For example, a person might reach into a kitchen cupboard for a cereal bowl and suddenly--- but just for a few seemingly "slowed" seconds --- "the hand" doesn't seem to belong to the same person. It can occur about one part of the body, or the whole body. Depersonalization is usually fleeting~~ happens, then it's gone. It may happen several times over a short period of time (a cluster), or it might happen once and never again.

On Google enter define depersonalization for quick definitions of depersonalization.

Since depersonalization is a more a reaction to something recent (versus a chronic symptom or condition), it should go away when you're rested / or less stressed.

Some tips to help yourself when it happens:
1. Don't focus on the "UNreality" -- instead focus on reality.
2. Sit on a chair with your legs uncrossed, both feet on the floor. Push your bum down into the chair. Push your feet down into the floor.
3. If your chair is near a table or desk, put both hands on the table, palms down. Push your hands into the table.
(Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are called "Grounding Exercises". They help reconnect your brain, thoughts, and emotions to the "here and now".)
4. Take a piece of paper and write down 5 positive things that make you "you". You could include roles you do; things you value about yourself; the qualities that make you unique. For example, one person might write: adult daughter; mother of a 1-year old; protector to my child; student in college; fiercely honest; loyal friend; caregiver for my dog. There are no right or wrong answers--- just write the things that define parts of "you" and your life.
5. Sit quietly and in your mind, picture how *you* look. Recall old photos taken of you at different ages, as though looking in a photo album in your mind. Out loud, describe characteristics about *you*. For example, "I have brown eyes, brown curly shoulder-length hair, I'm 5-foot 3-inches, I have a mole on my right shoulder, I wear size 12 clothes and size 8 shoes..." etc. Put your hands on both sides of your face and think of words to describe the structure of your face. For example: I have an oval shaped face, my hair covers part of my forehead, my face is wider at the cheekbones... etc.
(Numbers 5 and 6 help your thoughts and emotions to reconnect to the physical aspects of you. Your job is just to see yourself from various ages up to today. Don't make any negative statement-- just factual, as though you are describing how you look to another person.

If the incidences of depersonalization are combined with any troublesome emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, "feel like I'm going crazy" etc.), first, remember that many people have temporary or isolated incidents of depersonalization. Second, you could talk to a therapist if you're uncomfortable about what's happening or feel you need more support.

I hope this info will help reassure you.

adaku replied to lifes's response:
This post has been very insightful.
Have felt DP for some days now, and got me feeling really scared. This I believe is due to a very tough pregnancy I had and having my baby stay in the NICU. Cant wait to get myself back.

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