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Illusion or hallucination?

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I think the difference between illusions and hallucinations are this:

Illusions are based upon things that actually exist in reality.

Hallucinations are not.

Therefore, although you are hearing things that are not being said by real people that do exist that are speaking to you they are illusions.

The distortion in size of objects and distortion of people's appearances would be an illusion because these are objects that are in fact real. It's just your minds perception of them that is distorted.

Does that make any sense?

However a hallucination would be seeing a giant two headed pink fluffy martian bunny flying about in it's iPhone spaceship in your therapists office and only you can see and communicate with it via blue velvet brain waves. [sorry, my illustration of the various hallucinatory types just really sucks, I'm not trying to make fun of anyone or anything and I'm also trying to find something so outrageous it really could not happen in real life]

As far as whether it's caused by ptsd or what I really don't know.

I know why I have size distortion issues, deja-vu, etc. but it's related to my seizures and not my other problems.

Sorry I'm not much help.

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Neither PTSD nor DID do not have have hallucinations or visual distortion as part of its symptoms. You need to call your pdoc for an appointment and explain what you are experiencing. Be open and tell both your therapist and your psychiatrist what is happening. You are right that a pdoc is better trained to evaluate this.

hope you feel better.


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I just wondered if anyone else had had any experiences during flashback or a derealization episode or anything like that.

yup i have. i have seen people and places and things transform in size and such before me too,

and i have also experienced myself change in size and age

and i always wonder if other people can see it too. i used to think they definitely could.

sometimes i still think so, but when it's not happening and i remember back to it happening, then i realize,

no, it's not possible to visibly change that much, at least not size wise, you know?

hee hee. like some superhero. what was that guys name?

that super stretch doll? sorry. i am laughing at myself.

i know how scary it can be when it's happening.

i've always felt more like alice in wonderland, actually.

but back to your question.. yes, in flashbacks, during depersonalization and derealization. definitely.

even in severe panic attacks. well, i also dp and dr in those.

i have DID and PTSD too.

just a thought here, from my own experience, i have heard people say things

that they say they never said too, and i think i have gotten confused between

past and present from flashbacks, but also from the voices inside.

does this sound like what might be happening with you, river?

i'm glad you have such an experienced pdoc, and a tdoc that is listening to you

and is thoughtful and wanting to learn and help you.

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Yes... I don't have any solid diagnosis for comparison, though...

I thought one person was someone else for a few seconds until the visual "morphed" back into real life and I have no memory of the 10-15 minutes immediately before this happened. I don't hear voices at all, but I've had my auditory perception totally screw up in a few situations -- anxiety went along with this, but I don't know which happened first, I would assume the anxiety. There's also some smell and touch illusions that I can't put into words.

Doesn't happen often. When it does, the entire experience feels different than my usual self.

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  • 2 months later...

I get that crazy distorted feeling sometimes, usually when I'm DPing. The best way I've found to describe it (with help from a fellow anxiety buddy of mine) is like a dolly zoom (vertigo shot) in a movie. Check out the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertigo_shot

That's the best description for the physical manifestation (at least for myself) I could come up with, so your odd perceptions might be due to this. Personally I can't fucking stand it and makes me want to rip my hair out of my head. It happens in panic attacks for me too because I'm usually DP/DRing.

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i spend more time being distorted or not. although, maddy, thank you for the definition of illusion versus hallucination. i have plenty of both, but it's nice to have a way to describe the difference.

i'm multiple and autistic. i don't know what influences what with my perception of reality.

but you are obviously not alone ;) just tell your pdoc all of it and that'll help them find the best way to help you :)


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  • 2 weeks later...

i have ptsd, and in my case, i'd say i can have hallucinations but not illusions when i have attacks. i have flashbacks and may think someone is someone else, or i heard something someone said wrong. no, i guess i do get illusions too, because i'll have flashbacks when nothing is happening around me and hear things that aren't there.

i get that too if i'm very manic or very depressed.

i don't have DID though (thankfully!).

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is something i was discsusing with my tdoc today, so I'm glad to find this thread. I hope I'm not too long with this story:

I have PTSD and one of my traumas was when a man held a gun on me all night long, from eve. to morn. He made threats, pointed it at me, saying how easy it would be to kill me, etc. I had told him that I didn't want to see him anymore so there he was with his gun.

Sometime during the night I blanked out or became numb while being fully concious. I didn't care anymore. My tdoc said that is disassociation. Okay.

then, while on a train in Hambourg, Germany where I was working, we were pulling into the station when I looked back through the crowded car and Saw Him Looking at Me! The terror I had not felt during my ordeal with the gun got me then and in panic I jumped off the train while it was still moving, oblivious to how fast it was going. I didn't hurt myself seriously.

but was it illusion or hallucination? To me he was real, it was him. Or was it someone who looked like him who triggered the buried trauma? No way of knowing.

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