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recognizing people when manic/psychotic


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I'm going through a bit of a manic/hypomanic episode right now, and last night I experienced a symptom I haven't had in a while. I went to a support group where I knew nobody, but for some reason I recognized a least half of the group. I could have sworn I knew them. Their faces, mannerisms, voices... all familiar. But they treated me like a stranger. It felt like being in a TV show where everyone is acting a part.

Has anyone else ever experienced something like this when manic or psychotic?

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I have never experienced this, but I remember Elyn Saks in The Center Cannot Hold saying that she did get the symptom that some people seemed like they were replaced by impostors when she was psychotic; note that Elyn has schizophrenia, not bipolar, of course.

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Yes, I usually have trouble recognizing people if they are out of context, but sometimes I have this issue where a lot of people look familiar. I have walked up and greeted perfect strangers and had them tell me they don't know me.

The thinking people are acting is not as common for me. I have had that, but I think I was psychotic then (it is hard for me to tell) 

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For many years, I have had a prosopagnosia-like inability to recognize faces.  I've re-introduced myself to house-guests, hugged strangers, and see familiar faces everywhere.  I rely on voice tone and non-facial cues (hair, clothes, body type) to identify people. 

Now that I've been diagnosed, I have to wonder if this is tied to illness/psychosis versus just a quirky mental deficit.

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Thanks for the responses... it's interesting to know I'm not alone.

Just to clarify... when I say "familiar" I mean "100% feel like I know that person." It was super weird to walk into a room of strangers and feel that way. It felt a bit like a conspiracy.

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Yes! When i was in patient, i swore i knew about half the people there. One of the staff members i thought was my deceased great-grandmother. She was like in her 50's thougb but died in her 70's. Weird thing about that was she told me she trained horses and lived on a horse farm. When my parents came to visit me i asked my mom if my great-grandmother lived on a horse farm. She didnt know and had to check with her sister. After being released come to find out she was raised on a horse farm. 

Another patient i swore was a guy i dated from about 15 years ago. Another patient i recognized as a famous basketball player.

Another patient i recognized as one of my high school friends. I am friends with her on fb but dont talk to her since graduation 11 years ago. 

It's like i thought everyone was specifically placed there just for me. I felt lime it was some kind of test. There were others there i recognized as someone i knew from my past but didn't really know them.

Another weird thing. I was transferred rooms like my 3rd day ip. My new roommate was i thought my old neighbor who had some issues walking around. Plus she was 27, just so happens my bday is on the 27th and her first name is my middle name. 

 

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On 2/10/2017 at 11:31 AM, Closure said:

I have never experienced this, but I remember Elyn Saks in The Center Cannot Hold saying that she did get the symptom that some people seemed like they were replaced by impostors when she was psychotic; note that Elyn has schizophrenia, not bipolar, of course.

I've read her book ... it was really interesting because she became a lawyer as well as a professor at a University, while dealing with SZ.  She has a good TED talk youtube video explaining about what it was like for her. (I'm sure she has more to say, but this is a part of it.

14:53 minutes total.

 

Edited by melissaw72
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5 hours ago, Lins88 said:

Yes! When i was in patient, i swore i knew about half the people there. One of the staff members i thought was my deceased great-grandmother. She was like in her 50's thougb but died in her 70's. Weird thing about that was she told me she trained horses and lived on a horse farm. When my parents came to visit me i asked my mom if my great-grandmother lived on a horse farm. She didnt know and had to check with her sister. After being released come to find out she was raised on a horse farm. 

Another patient i swore was a guy i dated from about 15 years ago. Another patient i recognized as a famous basketball player.

Another patient i recognized as one of my high school friends. I am friends with her on fb but dont talk to her since graduation 11 years ago. 

It's like i thought everyone was specifically placed there just for me. I felt lime it was some kind of test. There were others there i recognized as someone i knew from my past but didn't really know them.

Another weird thing. I was transferred rooms like my 3rd day ip. My new roommate was i thought my old neighbor who had some issues walking around. Plus she was 27, just so happens my bday is on the 27th and her first name is my middle name. 

 

Am fascinated by this. I’ve experienced what ppl describe here, like reading way too far into symbols, numbers and it provoking metaphysical/spiritual thoughts/delusions. Believing everything I see/read is a “sign” of something personally important. This is formally called “Delusion or Ideas of Reference”  (Wiki) describes the phenomenon of an individual's experiencing innocuous events or mere coincidences and believing they have strong personal significance. It can be "the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own destiny."

Believing others can “read or control” your thoughts/mind is also a common delusion which I have experienced in the past during hospitalization.

I have always wondered what the “recognition of strangers” delusion (you mention above) is called. Where you recognize & believe you know everyone including strangers. Pot & Psychedelics can even provoke this experience (and the ones above).

The closest related one to the recognizing/believing you know all strangers delusion (yet reversed) sounds a bit like Capgras Delusion: This is a type of delusion in which a person believes that someone they know (e.g. a family member or friend) has been replaced by an impostor with an identical appearance. 

http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/04/29/types-of-delusions-extensive-list-of-themes/

http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/03/12-most-mind-blowing-mental-delusions-and-syndromes.php

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On 2/10/2017 at 3:55 PM, aura said:

It felt like being in a TV show where everyone is acting a part.

Has anyone else ever experienced something like this when manic or psychotic?

Sounds a bit like the Truman Show...I know that feeling, you feel your a part of a staged reality television show, or are being watched/taped on cameras in general. Doesn't it scare you or are you used to it? These sort of psychotic symptoms freaked me out (thank god it's been years)

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5 minutes ago, Blahblah said:

Sounds a bit like the Truman Show...I know that feeling, you feel your a part of a staged reality television show, or are being watched/taped on cameras in general. Doesn't it scare you or are you used to it? These sort of psychotic symptoms freaked me out (thank god it's been years)

Yes, that is the way I describe many of my delusions. Like, the Truman show. Where everyone is acting, there is even product placement.

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I don't recognize people, but on the topic of Truman Show type of stuff. I once believed (kind of fighting this one right now actually) that I'm the main character of a novel and that if I stray from the plot of the story something would happen. I don't know what, but I get the feeling it would be bad.

Most of my manias seem to at some point lead to something like that.

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No, aura, I've never had this symptom, but you say you recognize it, which leads me to believe that the treatment you're getting right now still isn't working, and you're pretty symptomatic. I think it might be part of the sense you've described elsewhere of everything feeling like it's connected, like the universe is streaming through you and you have a special revelation to share with the world. You first reported feeling this way on the 9th. That was 10 days ago. That's a long time to be, forgive me for saying so, delusional. Your present docs aren't helping you. I think you need to go to the ER, now, before you end up there and they won't let you leave.

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@Gearhead I'm on the mend, I think. Still recognizing people but much less than before, plus I'm able to realize that I don't know them eventually. I'm not hearing stuff anymore either. Still hypo enough to idiotically give myself alcohol poisoning and not be able to take my meds for a few days though. If things start getting worse again cos of this I'll seek emergency treatment. Thanks for the concern.

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