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What was THAT? Perplexing 4-day blackout


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Last Saturday I experienced an unusual four-day blackout-ish episode.  The episode lasted until last Tuesday evening.  I have little memory regarding what occurred.  Apparently my mother and I were going out to look for apartments for me.  I pulled out in my car onto a main road and crashed into another car already in that lane.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  I have a recollection of my mother flailing her arms at me as I was joining the traffic not far from the road to our house.  After the crash I have vague recollections about having difficulty picking items up off the ground that I'd dumped out of my wallet, such as my driver's license.  I couldn't figure out how to call my town's non-emergency line for the police department on my phone.  I remember the man whose car I hit.  I don't think I apologized to him, which was rude.  My mother said I was stumbling and slurring.  (I'm not sure why the police officer didn't take me into custody, but am grateful he did not.)  I did not even get the man's name.  I recall my dad arriving and putting part of the front of my car into his vehicle.  I made phone calls to the apartment folks with whom I had appointments to reschedule rather than paying attention to what was going on around me.  This behavior is unusual for me.  I typically don't talk on my cell phone when interacting with others present, as I find that obnoxious unless absolutely necessary.

When my mother and I arrived home from this incident I apparently insisted on going to look at the apartments anyway, so my mom drove us.  First, however, I called the body shop my family uses to set up a time to bring my car in, my auto insurance company (I guess I called them to tell them I'd been in an accident, although I had neither the other driver's name or information re: the police report), and texted my younger brother to ask if I could use one of his three vehicles while he is out of the country.  (He said no, but that's a separate topic.)  My mom and I saw a handful of apartments, none of which I remember, and I guess I did not know what day or month it was.  After that my recollection is even more spotty.  I had an extremely volatile argument with my parents (with whom I live), of which I can only remember unpleasant snippets.  I remember talking with my pdoc on Monday night on the phone asking if it would be OK for my mom to come to my appointment on Tuesday morning, as she was worried about me.

Monday night I believe I stayed up all night making lists of medication side effects and creating a Power Point presentation to show my pdoc.  I remember some of my appointment with him the next morning.  I believe I spent most of it shouting at my mother for causing my accident due to her flailing arms.  My pdoc seemed unconcerned by my behavior.  I was still having the episode at that time but didn't want to tell anyone because I did nor want to be committed as an inpatient and because I was afraid that my parents would cancel a month-long trip they planned.  (I am really upset about my pdoc's attitude, as he is usually kind and supportive.  But that's a separate issue.  I have been seeing him biweekly for almost a year now, so I should think he knows me rather well.)  I remember my pdoc telling my mother that I was disassociating for reasons unknown.  The blackout ended on Wednesday, and my head has been clear since that time.  I apologized to my parents for my behavior when I "came to".  I'm so embarrassed by my actions, although a part of me says it's not my fault as I was not in control of myself.  (I have also effectively been placed under house arrest since that time, but that is yet another issue.)

I ask you: what the heck was that?  Does this ring a bell with you?  The episode was like an alcoholic blackout, only the blackout lasted longer and I had had nothing to drink.  My first thought was medication change: I recently increased Latuda from 80 to 120 mg.  That doesn't seem like the answer to me, although I'm not sure why.  I had a similar experience about eight years ago, when I stayed up all night calling people to tell them what I really thought of them and then drove, intending to go to the local mental hospital, wearing my nightgown and flip flops, no underwear.  I don't fully recall that episode, either, but it only lasted about two days.  At that time I was spotted by a fellow motorist as I drove erratically and was stopped by the police as I scraped along the guard rail and was transported by ambulance to a hospital, where I hollered for my childhood pdoc.  At the time I chalked it up to an Ambien reaction or an odd mixed episode.  

Christmas is a difficult time for me.

Last week's symptoms weren't like episodes of mania/hypomania/mixed I believe I've had before.  I'm looking forward to confronting this episode with my pdoc at my appointment on Thursday.  In the meantime, I'm confused, scared and embarrassed.  WTF?!  Are the incidents connected in some way because they both related to an automobile?  My pdoc said he thought I was disassociating, which seems accurate, but I don't know why it occurred.  To my knowledge I have no experience with physical abuse or PTSD or other symptoms of disassociation.

Thanks for reading and for sharing any thoughts you might have.

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My first thought was also... Is that a type of dissociation? Any kind of a car accident is very upsetting and frightening, the sort of thing that can cause dissociation. I don't think you need PTSD to disassociate, I think it's associated with depression and anxiety too. And car accidents are very very upsetting things, regardless of how serious they are

It all sounds very scary for you, especially seeing as how this is new, whether it's dissociation or not, it's something new to you. How are you feeling now?

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On 12/31/2019 at 2:21 PM, Antecedent said:

My first thought was also... Is that a type of dissociation? Any kind of a car accident is very upsetting and frightening, the sort of thing that can cause dissociation. I don't think you need PTSD to disassociate, I think it's associated with depression and anxiety too. And car accidents are very very upsetting things, regardless of how serious they are

It all sounds very scary for you, especially seeing as how this is new, whether it's dissociation or not, it's something new to you. How are you feeling now?

Thanks for your insight, Antecedent.  I have been OK since Tuesday night for most of the time.  I've noticed over the last day or so I've been shaking more, that I weave as I walk, and I can't pick items off the floor.   My pdoc isn't quite sure what the episode was.  I'm just hoping whatever it is goes away.

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Thank you, A.

My pdoc has no idea what this episode was.  I am disappointed in him.  He put forward the theory that it was caused by stress of the car accident, but it started before I got into my car.  Also, the accident occurred at a low speed, so there was no physical trauma.  I'd just increased Latuda, but reading the side effect information did not ring a bell.  I can't find anything re: a multi-day blackout.  We agreed to stay on the current dose (120 mg) for another week or two and then try cutting back if it's still not helping my mood.

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