Why Does Everything Seem So Surreal After Brain Injury?

Why Does Everything Seem So Surreal After Brain Injury?

I survived a TBI in May 2010. Since that time everything feels surreal. It is as if I am 2-3 steps removed from everything that’s happening. Can you explain this?


Following a traumatic brain injury, many people experience both their inner and outer worlds quite differently than they did before. There are a number of reasons for this. First, changes to the brain commonly impact a person’s memory, attention, concentration, problem-solving abilities, and reasoning skills. These changes can alter the way a person makes sense of or interacts with the world around them, resulting in very different thought processes and behaviors than the person may have had before the injury.

Changes to the parts of the brain that control either visual or auditory processing can also result in a person experiencing the world quite differently than they did before. When the brain receives information either by looking at something (visual input) or by listening to sounds (auditory input), the brain must de-code this information and make sense of it. When the parts of the brain that have this job are injured, people can have a difficult time accurately interpreting what they see or hear.

Finally, stress levels are substantially heightened for most people with TBI. Whether stress comes from the difficulty of having had a traumatic experience, from the challenge of living with changes to one’s abilities, from the emotional changes that can accompany brain injury, or from a combination of these factors, stress levels are likely to be high. Prolonged, intense stress "• especially when accompanied by trauma "• can have a significant impact on the way in which the brain functions. Survivors struggling to manage stress levels may notice further difficulty processing information or making meaning of themselves and their world.

Some people with brain injury may also experience what doctors refer to as depersonalization (DP) and/or derealization (DR). Depersonalization describes the experience of feeling like you are removed from yourself or as if you are in a dream. Derealization is the sensation that the world around you is unreal or is profoundly and grotesquely changed. Often, DP and DR occur at the same time. The majority of people who note frequent bouts with DP/DR have experienced some type of significant trauma. DP/DR can also occur as a result of injuries or illnesses which impact neurological functioning. Although there is still much to learn with respect to why some people experience DP/DR following a traumatic brain injury, the experience may be more common than was previously thought. In fact, in one study, as many as half of the patients with TBI reported experiencing at least occasional instances of DP/DR¹,². It appears that people with TBI may be more likely to experience DP/DR when they also meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

If you frequently have the sensation that either you or the world around you is unreal and/or dreamlike, speak to your doctor about this. Your physician may be able to prescribe a medication regimen that could help to reduce these symptoms. Additionally, consider seeing a counselor about ways to reduce the significant stressors in your life. The counselor can also help by providing support and encouragement to assist you in coping with times when you experience DP/DR. Combining stress reduction, professional support, and a comprehensive wellness and medication management plan is the most effective approach to regaining a sense of stability and security in yourself and your world.

Posted on BrainLine May 22, 2013. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

About the author: Emilie Godwin, PhD

Emilie Godwin, PhD, LPC, MFT is a faculty member and licensed clinician at Virginia Commonwealth University, with a specialty focus on couples and family counseling after brain injury. Currently, she serves as the Family Support Program Coordinator for the VCU TBI Model System projects.

Emilie Godwin

Comments (88)

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All such amazing content everyone, just so real. Reality is a tough nut to crack, but reality after a traumatic brain injury or something equal too has been an incredible journey. Incredibly exhausting, incredibly hard, depressing, gut wrenching, confusing, scary, vulnerable journey, yet has also been incredibly heroic, incredibly motivating, incredibly thought provoking, under dog winning, action taker making badass journey that has brought me on a journey now towards enlightenment. My TBI journey is one I would wish on no one else but also one I believe I had to experience to bring me to the reality I am charging after currently. I experienced a TBI 5 years ago due to a man smashing my head in a sliding van door numerous times. Now years later I still only deal with DR never DP. I am not sure if this is common highly doubtful I've always been a little weird and different but absolutely nothing like now. Let me explain, for me it is as though I went into my coma and 2 weeks later I woke up in the same world only skipping over just one dimension. The world is the same beautiful amazing place I left behind, but every single human being I knew on a personal level has been slightly altered every single one. I say altered but it is more than that, it is as if everyone of my family members, work colleagues, even....this is the one that gets me even my childhood friends that I grew up with and would talk to for the rest of my life have all lost the ability to fully show compassion and love. Ultimately having a massively cold impact on me. A real lesson learned if you will. I am constantly questioning every single aspect of life something I have always done but not to this extreme. After having the ability to think being taken from me for so long I am now obsessed with learning. The more information the better as long as it is factual information. Everything has to be truth, honesty and factual for me since my injury. It's like it's life or death with me I need truth in my life like never before. I continue to obtain new information and instead of calming my curiosity it has actually lead to a thirst for what reality and life really are. The fundamentals of this system we call the Universe. Learning all these new truths has been quite concerning it hasn't been the peaceful remedy I thought it to be. I now know for a fact there is a life after this one because of my injury so that is comforting but whether that life be an artificial unbelievably complex simulation or true real actual life will probably remain a mystery until I take the great plunge. Everyone feels different now not a good different either and the fact that it has literally been every single person I know makes me believe I skipped a dimension.

Here goes again I commented and the purpose was to share my story of feeling as if in a square box imagine 4x4’ sq and 6’ tall
I am 265 and 5’10” life has been hell I am socially a mess and drained mentally even with 4-5 days therapy and no one seems to be concerned except me . But below is an inside of my story I didn’t add the part about feeling I was living outside body experiences as well intact so much goes through my head I can’t type it all . But I sent to on another site in response to a guy’s story he has found joy in life again. I feel the opposite

I first noticed I had a brain csf leak 1/1/2015

No one believed Mr even my wife so I kept working as a trucker with severe headaches from a real stiff neck. Once Covid hit things got worse I didn’t wanna socialize let alone get out of bed finally had test confirmation btw attempted lasting 11/2017 . Gotbsaved 12/2017 but continued working until Feb 2020. Sorry if I bounced around this is normal now days for me . So testing started sometime in December 2020 2 months after they found my right optic nerve had a sac of CSF around it and vision went from 20/20 to 20/100 then was bilateral so the nouroptomolgist sent me to see a neurosurgeon and that surgeon referred me to another because it was out of his scope of operation. For one in Louisville and he and a ENT performed skull based endoscopy csf repair 3/23/21. Spent 7 days in icu sent home . Started feeling a little better but vision issues continued so I seen another neurosurgeon that did an angio gram brain pressure 26.8 at opening. 2 days later sept 1 2021 a stent was placed in my right ventricle sinus stat. Another day in icu. Eye started clearing up I tried returning to work in November and by January 2022 I had a couple spells of blacking out but not fainting. Went to ER imaging showed stent clear and nothing more . I kept telling them I know something is wrong doctors and my wife family all didn’t believe me . They would do a Ct and say all good. Well it got back to me being in bed non stop due to severe headaches and again finally I talked the neurosurgeon into ordering a cisternogram and Ct and MRI. I was correct the repair on may 23 21 failed and intact ruptured was leaking real bad. At this point depression anxiety you name it set in on top of terrible whole body pain. They ordered a bifrontal craniotomy csf repair 11/9/2022 i was freaking out about my head being opened . Went through it and I don’t remember anything from the time I walked into the hospital up until maybe 3 months ago. They also put a LP shunt in on 11/15/2022 12 days in icu. I have felt different since all this and still continue to. Even had a CT scan show encephalomalacia and some other things . My doctor has not even talked to me about it and told my wife it may have been caused during surgery. I also have lumps on my temples now that hardened and are not normal. Had a mri wand without contrast. Same radiologist read it didn’t mention the brain damage but noted the mri was added as part of CT maybe that’s why he didn’t mention it. So since I’ve been dizzy have a racing mind forget everything and get extremely frustrated at myself. I feel like a shell of the old me . I also have serious social issues and anxiety worse than ever . I sleep very long wife seems agitated at me all the time and I feel hopeless helpless and like I have no value to contribute to the world anymore. I know God loves me and is here for me. But the feeling of things worsening is on going even with therapy . I see the surgeon again in December 13 months post craniotomy. I have a lot of nerve damage issues as well and feel like I am being pushed aside and like they think I am making it up . Cervical spine and spine show moderate to severe nerve compression and that was back in 7/2022 . Nothing mentioned by anyone . Thanks for your story and I wanted to share mine as well. I am not suicidal in any way. I can say there are times I wish I didn’t wake from the last brain surgery. Have a blessed day

I just typed this to a guy that had sorta the same experience as me . Except mine is brain his spinal CSF leak and now many many trauma issues . Thanks to all that read it I have felt like I am as I told my wife and multiple therapist imagine being in a box that is 4’ x4’ all around and just 6’ tall I am 5’10” and 265 so this is a tight space. This is how I feel daily and today has been a real mental mess.

Here is my story and trust me the gaps in it are due to time typing and trying to correct errors I have a lot of issues even typing and spelling since last surgery.

I suffered an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH stroke) in my cerebellum by my brain stem 18 months ago. In the weeks that followed in the ICU, I had significant delusions and false memories. While that has subsided, I have since had recurrent bouts of DP/DR. I’ve described it as “otherworldly” and feeling “untethered”. It feels like being a spectator on the outside looking in. Sometimes I have the strong sensation of being in another place and time, yet familiar (like from my childhood). I’ve gone as far as to ask my bf to pinch me to prove I’m still here and didn’t die and kept hanging around. It’s a very eerie feeling. I’ve heard people talk about seeing their life flash before their eyes. This is different. It feels more like my soul or my spirit has left and taken a tour of past times and places. Like I’m here but not here. Intellectually, I know it’s not real, but it feels so weird. Anything can trigger it, but mostly it’s the weather outside or music that does it. So much so that so avoid listening to music and keep the window shades drawn.

Wow I find everything you just wrote very hopeful, I don't mean for that to sound jagged. I experienced a TBI 5 years ago and have since that day been experiencing only DR. I'm not sure if this is common but for me it's as though I skipped over just one dimension where everything is off just a little bit. The people in my life is where I notice it the most, people have changed in this world and literally every single person I knew before my attack and tbi have been altered just a little bit. Not for the better either, it's like a damn nightmare some days. Just stay strong, stay active on communities as you are obviously doing and engaging with and help the next guy that is going through it now. It's all we can do sometimes. Stay strong friend

I was I a car accident, no I don’t remember it, before or after it happened. This is years later and still my memory only saves moments at a time. I can’t read books anymore, I can’t crochet anymore, I can’t do any of my old hobbies. You would think I would be depressed but it seems like I have like a numb brain. It is happy just to sit there in its half working stare with no ability to feel and no ability to think and my brain is ok with this. Go figure!!! So basically I don’t remember most of my life, don’t remember how to do most things, lost a 35 year career, no one in my life understands and for some reason my brain is numb enough not to understand and be ok with this. That is how a TBI affects

I suppose it is the nature of the beast, but I have always felt like the only person having had this occur, or neurology would not comprehend what they hadn't experienced. But like anything, it can be verbalized and thereby imagined by others. At the age of 11, I was accosted in the schoolyard, and kicked extremely hard in the face. Losing a tooth or consciousness didn't trouble me as much as finding the world was now foreign to me. I knew I should be in it, but now was only observing it as through a window. It was terrifying. I couldn't explain it to anyone. I tried to tell my mother, and saw a GP and psychiatrist, who put me on chlordiazepoxide because all they could see was my anxiety...I have remained anxious since my condition never changed. That was 1975. Since then I have tried to do what other people I observed did, but in spite of graduate school, of my IQ and potential, find myself in my 3rd marriage, unable to hold a job (10-years now), and stressed by every event, noise, or movement I encounter. I fear being alone, but also burdening another with being incapacitated by the 2-dimensional world I see.

I feel the same way.i rolled a car over on its top and went thru the sunroof and my head it the pavement as the car slid down the road. I knew I was bad off. Went on a helicopter ride.i slept thru that I know I got issues. I stay home most the time. Can't trust alot of people.im taking advantaged of. Cops harass me it seems like.i never had any rehab.no full coverage insurance. Haven't had a job in 15 years.my whole world is messed up.its like you smashed your computer.it will never be the same.i have no patience.grouchy. hard time reading non verbal ques.i piss people off.people think I'm not trying.oh I just figured out recently that the accident 12. Years ago is affecting me in every way.they got a book written about us.tbi nuts and our bad behavior.i say don't worry get high and be happy.dont drive stoned.you might get a tbi with a dwi then you will be p.o.ed .

Does anyone else feel like they’re different after their concussion? Mine was 7 months ago and I was drunk when I hit my head (I don’t even remember the incident). The next day I thought I was still drunk and thought it was funny and didn’t mind the feeling, but after a few days when it didn’t go away I got really scared bc I started to feel confused and was questioning if anything was real and if I was dead. I was also very lethargic, so I went to the hospital where I got diagnosed with a concussion. I had a lot of insane mood swings in the first couple weeks and would sometimes feel completely numb. I also had a weird thing where I could still taste food, but I got no pleasure out of eating and couldn’t enjoy it, it felt really exhausting like all it was was chewing and swallowing. After I got better though, and those severe symptoms went away, but I feel like I’m different now. I still would question life and wondered what the meaning of anything was bc everything felt pointless and strange. I’ve gotten really bad headaches since my concussion and sometimes feel emotionally numb. I also feel like my head is empty a lot these days, I don’t ever get bored bc I just don’t care about anything and time passing feels the same whether it’s 5 hours or 5 minutes. I can’t tell if I’m actually different though or if I felt this way before my concussion too. I don’t think so, but I feel like I can’t recall how I felt before then. I have suffered with depression in the past but I’m not sure if this is the same because I’m not suicidal.

I hit my head 4 nights ago while being drunk as well and I feel exactly how you do. (minus the eating part) I feel emotional mood swings where ill be sad, then motivated to be productive, then just not wanting to do anything and I can't even concentrate on taking in commissions from my art. I find myself zoning out into nothing more than usual and im also very tired...I can feel the fog in my mind and in my eyes almost like im dreaming, also the headaches in different areas...the worst part is I feel like im not even myself anymore like I literally got another soul inside my body or something I just feel completely different. perceiving everything out of my eyesight just feels so completely different and strange I don't like the feeling of it

I’ve been dealing with the same thing for almost a year now. I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. It’s like I’ll be going about my day and I just forget how I got to where I am, the only way to describe the feeling is the feeling of confusion and disorientation that someone gets when they first got high, that dream like feeling where everything looks fake or plastic and it’s hard to connect with people. I forgot what it feels like to be normal and I try thinking so hard to remember what it was like before I was injured and I often find myself getting really frustrated and sad. It’s such a hard thing to deal with because I’ve felt un present or in a dream forever now and it’s turning into a nightmare. May I ask how you have been dealing with these feelings and emotions recently or if you’ve recovered from them?

I suffered a spinal injury as a kid playing basketball. Knee to my lower back as I was coming down from a rebound and my body went numb and hit the ground. Head too and instantly blacked out. I don’t remember hardly anything about my childhood, possibly related. Not even sure how old I was when this happened. Don’t even remember being in an ambulance and the hospital stay. I do remember always comparing life to a movie or dream and that nothing seemed real.

Only as an adult have I started noticing the complications of this persistent disassociated state. From mood swings, to irrational decisions, to interactions with people being shallow and others not seeming real. Partly because it’s almost like I forget that I’m even looking at another human being.

It’s like my memory is so fragmented. My experiences of life are compartmentalized and only accessible depending on my “state of mind.” Lots of back problems growing up. Lots of behavioral problems. I never considered that the injury could have caused some significant change and it was never discussed with me. I just correlated it all to stress at home.

There’s times when I feel like completely different people because I guess my brain has problems correlating specific experiences in the moment with my entire self as a whole. Past and present.

OMG yes yes and yes
All of that is what I'm experiencing after 4 yrs
I'm still going thru it
I was healthy didn't smoke was small I did drink but not excessively.
I did work in the
Heat one summer going up and down stairs in the heat lifting extremely heavy boxes and placing them in the attic in a garage outside mid summer .
I live in the deep south in tx
C.C. tx
I did get a pneumonia shot 2 days later and then this happened
I also became unconscious ehen the ambulance arrived
I was taken to a local hospital .
Then was airlifted to Houston for better care.
My only question is will this stop, after being told by a med. Doc .that this is it.
I was also told by neurologists the same thing, but not to loose hope, so here I am, at 69.
Thank you.

Good write life is a darn move, but it is your life.

Take courage. I have been 12 years living in the altered state. When it first happened after a final concussion blow, it took me several years to get back to a better state. That better state isn't fully lifted out of the dream, but enough to interact with being in a joyful way. It will get better.do not be afraid, as many people are with you. Thank you everyone for sharing their experience. If you go on Facebook, there is a group for further information. The challenge will be your friends and family will not be able to relate, and of course, relating to one other and sharing life's joys and challenges is important.

Can you tell me what the Facebook group name is? I've been dealing with this after two craniotomies.

Great article and something I have experienced following a head injury last year with intracranial hypotension and a subdural haematoma. The surreal nature of recovery is quite unusual. As a musician I have used it within the creative process to write songs inspired by my slightly altered reality. I'm lucky.

My mum recently had a brain bleed and she is currently recovering. It has only been a month since the bleed. Most of the things she is experiencing are things I was expecting (fatigue, headaches and trouble sleeping) however she has mentioned that she feels “weird”.
I’ve asked her to explain and she says its as if she is seeing the world differently. She says places seem different to how they used to feel/look. Almost like she is looking into the world from outside. She said the world feels far away as if shes not actually in it. Anyone else feels like this?

This is all new to me…
I’d appreciate it so much if someone could explain to me how they were feeling and what helped them?
Also any suggestions on what I could do to help?


I'm 17, I had a brain bleed near the centers of my brain at 16. I know exactly what she's talking about, I don't think it's curable cause I've had it for a year and a half but I think it would help her if she knew she wasn't the only one experiencing it, it's scary and it makes us feel insane but let her know she isn't the only one, and as far as I'm concerned it won't effect her ability to live a normal life and be happy.

Wow. I have been wondering what is wrong with me and I have not been able to put my finger on it for the past couple months. I had multiple brain surgeries and thought maybe I was just depressed because I had lost my job because of the surgeries, but after reading this it all makes a little more sense. I haven’t been depressed, it’s just the lens that I have been seeing life through has been changed. Has anyone else dealt with this after brain surgeries? I also feel like my brain works a bit different as I have become more philosophical, as to before I was very black and white and fact based. Such an odd thing. The thing about it is, it makes it hard not to second guess yourself. For example, I have very bad ringing in my ears now after the surgeries. Before the surgeries I knew I had ringing in my ears but it just seems like it has gotten worse after the surgery. I don’t think that is the case, I now believe that I am just experiencing that sound differently and am more aware of it. Almost like my mind has been opened. Happy to have found this page and happy be at least hopeful that there are other people that have experienced the same thing as I.

It’s been a little 30 years. I’ve never been the same. I had a brain aneurysm under my brain. You know they have to put you in a coma like state to do the surgery. I believe we are still in that coma state. It’s like looking through a window and you know you’re there but it’s like you’re not there. Depression has had me since then even with medication. I have a hard time trusting people . I’ve lost a lot of friends because of it. I’m totally different than what I used to be. I hope this kinda helps anyone going through this.

That's cool to me! What I have noticed, almost 4 years since my first TBI, is that I am more "in tuned" with my mind now...like how it FEELS etc....even though I still have issues with feeling a bit overwhelmed and/or a kind of feeling like I'm in a dream-like state while out and about around lots of people.

Well...what I experienced in the few years after my surgery was ambition. I was on fewer seizure meds, so I was able to get my B.A.. It took me a while, as I had other responsibilities, and the seizures returned, but I did it. As I walked across the stage to receive my diploma I had a seizure. I'm just going to stop there, bc things didn't improve.
My family says I'd be dead by now w/o the surgery, but the long term effects it has had on me (anterograde amnesia, depression) make me think life's not so much better. Sorry. Just warning you.

I had a TBI about 3 weeks ago, ER, CT scan= concussion. I was assaulted and was struck 8 times to the right and left temporal lobes. The strangest thing and I can not find anything on this is I have never felt so Euphoric.. a little like I would be high, and no I don't drink alcohol or take any drugs, no Meds.
This feeling came actually during the assault and continues.
I see a Psychologist next week and can't wait to see what she has to say about it.

Brain surgery... for 14 years I “felt” like I was watching myself in a movie everyday. No one believed me.. drs thought I was nuts.. ‘Cause their surgery went perfect’ lol It was bizzaro world and very frightening. I eventually lived on anxiety, checked myself into psych hospitals cause I thought I was nuts.
Then one day.. literally walked out of grocery store and it’s like I just stepped back into my body before surgery.
It was strange and wonderful, I cried. I was me, again.

Do you have any idea why it just snapped back after 14 years? Was it getting better over time? I have been 12 years now in the dream. Thanks!

Years ago my Doctors didnt believe me when I told them I felt like I was having outer body experiences. Like I was watching myself. When I had flooding before It was called flooding I could hear myself crying, speaking, or yelling but it wasn't me. Like I was watching this person control all my emotions and I had no control. It was scary. I was told a few years ago, I had what they call a "deep" head injury.
I went head 1st through the side door window of a car- opening the window with my head on impact from the other car. She was going estimated 55mph. We were stopped. I was in the back seat, exactly where she hit. My head was split open in the front as my body, in shock landed on the sidewalk with the back of my head banging up against the corner of the side walk.
When I woke in the hospital I knew I had parents but couldn't remember what they looked liked. My sisters and brothers - I felt like I didnt really know who these people were.
My mother and I well it was just awful. I thought she was just mean and she thought I was being a brat.
I was having trouble hearing and everything sounded muffled.
I struggled to understand what people were saying. If I said I didnt hear or understand and asked... I was told I was a liar and got punished. My thoughts all came right out my mouth - I had no control over it. My music was to loud for my mom. She would lower it and I couldn't hear it. She would disagree and become very angry and fustrated with me. This was on going.
Eventually they took me to get my ears checked and sure enough my ear drum was barely reactive. I couldn't understand what the tester was saying because she covered her mouth.
I pushed myself to get better and go back to school. I was lost - very lost. In a chronic state of confusion. I actually couldn't really understand much. I would be in the halls feeling like I was watching myself -watching everyone around me. This happened for several years after my TBI. 1985

Please share with staff at Bryn Mawr Rehab, esp. their neurologist.

very helpful to read, 20 years in from multiple concussions over a small span of time, I often say to family members I feel like Im outside looking in, viewing a world in technicolour, and as a joke flicking the lightswitch here in my house but turning the light on in the room 3 houses down ..... I kinda am getting better at dealing with it and it comes and goes, but anxiety always seems to lie there just under the surface.... keep up the good fight people, you are not alone ....

And let’s not forget that psychiatric drugs are a very well-known cause of the type of brain damage which causes the symptoms this article mentions. Don’t ever forget that. That bit of information may well save your life. And if you started out with PTSD after the drugs do their number on you you will certainly have it much worse than you did originally. Or if you didn’t have it to begin with you will certainly develop it. From the drug damage itself which is an incredibly traumatic experience.

Amen, Mark. I just had a fall and suffered my first concussion. About a decade ago I was put on one of these drugs for anxiety/depression. When I was taken off, about a year later after taking as prescribed, I had a horrific time. It was obvious to me those drugs damaged my brain. It took years to get any sort of semblance of normal working brain activity.
The doctor who prescribed them to me then had the nerve to tell me these new symptoms were ‘’just my old mental issues coming back now that there was no medicine”..TOTAL BULLSHIT! First of all, the drugs I took didn’t really do anything for me. I know my own body, and what I went through, now after having a concussion, I can say the withdrawal from those drugs was very very very much like the symptoms I had with the concussion, only 1000 times worse.

These pills are brain damage. And people NEED to heed the warnings coming from us. They won’t though because the lure of a ‘cure’ is too much temptation, and it’s easy for the pharmaceutical companies and doctors to sweep all of what is said by us under the rug of ‘’mental illness’’ to cover it up. It’s heinous and criminal. So many people have taken their own lives because of these pills.

I agree.im not a pill popper and refuse to take the shit they want to give you.i don't want a foggy feeling ,nausea feeling,headache,vertigo sensation.

I suffer both concussion and withdrawal from medications. Its hard to tell what is what, but i Feel awful and not like myself. I have no emotions and my mind is blank. I dont function cognitively and have bad DPDR.

Is it possible to get better? Is time all i have or is there something else i can do?

I have had three friends take this type of medicine for depression...they each heard voices before blowing their brains out. A lithium salt type of pill where the Dr SHOULD have observed them closely since it alters the state of thinking.

Hi, 4 months ago I was in a car accident. I never went to the hospital for a tbi or concussion diagnosis, but I know I have something. After the accident I developed a panic disorder because I didn’t feel like I was me. I felt like a different person in the same body and this feeling gave me daily panic attacks. Also, something really weird happened, my social anxiety I had before the accident disappeared. I used to be able to watch scary movies. Now I get so anxious I feel as if I’m a character in the movie, which also leads to panic attacks. Everytime I try to go to sleep it’s just me and my thoughts, which often gives me panic attacks. Driving, eating spicy foods, learning new information, even hearing a door creak gives me panic attacks. The weirdest most random things give me panic attacks or make me feel anxious. I’m also constantly sleeping which is harder for me to get to work on time. I feel like my mind is blank, like it doesn’t even exist, it’s not in my head, my head is just empty. The only emotion I feel is anxiety and panic.

I suffered concussion after a car crash back in April.
Even though I was suffering with depression at time of crash,your symptoms resonate with me so well.
I feel so different, very emotional, agitated, angry ,I would sleep most of the day ,I didn't know if I was depressed or not as it was different.
I just want to be happy and know that I will be ok.

I've had all of those symptoms in varying degrees since my first TBI almost 4 years ago. Most of the anxiety I have felt were in the first 3 years...don't feel much of that now. What I've still been feeling for about a year now is the tiredness/fatigue/lack of motivation and still feel light-headed all day.

Same here

I experience the same things. I have little emotions and my head is all blank. I get panick attacks and anxiety because i dont Feel like myself.
Any idea How to handle and treat this? Can it get better? I dont Feel like myself when i cant daydream or visualize or Feel any emotion.

Hi, went through a big tbi 6 months ago snowboarding. Had a terrible break down 2 months after and have been feeling ok until a few days ago. The anxiety and stress of moving I think caused a relapse and it feels worse than ever. The feeling of dreaming and super detached has me feeling like I have brain cancer or something. It’s such a relief hearing others go though this and it’s normal. I’ve had A lot of concussions in my life but this one messed up my vision and reality. So scary trying to provide for a family and be there for them when u can barely get out of bed without being scared. I notice I am always crying now over stupid things. It’s really embarrassing. I feel so bad for my wife and kids having to see me go through this.

Just wanted to say my heart goes out to you!!( I’m in a similar situation) I also suffered TBI about 5 weeks ago, and still don’t feel quite right. I’m hoping the cognitive skills that have slowed will eventually return. Ofcoarse the internet is a double edged sword. Great for information, but so many stories of people never getting back to 100%, makes it hard to stay positive. Has anyone actually had positive improvement after a 5/6 weeks or is that likely to be it ?

I hear u. I really do. Something that helped me a lot was neurofeedback. Wanted to share. :). Hoping you feel better soon!

I was in an accident October of 2000. I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember anything at all. My injuries did not match where or what I was doing. I lost all memory of my life and people in it. One and a half years later my memory came back due to a drug I had taken. I had some long term issues due to the accident and some short term ones that are thankfully now gone. However, I don’t feel like I’m from here anymore. I don’t mean this area or my hometown. I mean this planet. This is not my home. This body may have started here but who or what’s inside is different. As if a voyager on a far off mission sent here to do what I’m unsure. I am knowledgeable about things I shouldn’t know anything about. I’m am driven by an unexplainable force I cannot stop and yet still have no clue where it’s taking me. What I have learned about this planet is that it is filled of a world full of learned responses blind to the true realities of life and this world. The primitive nature of our existence is just that, primitive and somewhat disappointing. This planet is a vacation destination for the universe. A melting pot of universal species forced to live on the same rock.

What you don’t understand is that I now see they the filters of society and learned behavior. On this planet anything is possible if you know how to do it. Literally anything. We are only confined by our inabilities to see past our own hinderance of imagination and belief that anything is truly possible. We are given a gift to live on this rock. This planet of possibilities. I am here for reasons I have yet to figure out. I walk among you in the masses and yet do not belong.

Life is daily, never forget. Perspective is everything.

Hi mate, sorry to hear what happened. Do u know what drug you took? cheers

I also feel disconnected or even possessed. Sometimes I feel like myself but most of the time I feel like someone else are you still watch TV all the time well when I got home from work I don't watch TV anymore my house is full of clutter nick-nacks him Little things I used to be a minimum is I am a stranger in my own world I just do things differently or think things differently . A friend of mine was watching Bohemian Rhapsody and I watched it as if a oil painting was moving around I hear cricket score tree frogs when there's nothing there I have problems concentrating controlling my emotions I get really aggravated when I can't do what I used to do decision-making forget it

Hi all, I am now 31 but was in a motorbike accident over 10 years ago and was in a coma for a month due to this. My balance is still shocking and I get dizzy everytime I tilt my head back. Over the time I have got more of a understanding about my injury and emotions, however even if I cannot fully recover just talking about it is amazing and been able to read others experiances lets me realise nobody is alone. Accept all the support and rehabilitation whenever you can. I never used medication just self belief and help from the professionals to get where i am today. Time is the biggest healer so use has much theoropy as fast has you can an eventually your brain will subconciously learn to develop again. Every week I attend a T.B.I centre to help others alike so I can try inspire and give them whatever incentive they require. Also I would like to let people without T.B.I understand us too. I am very lucky to be alive and not ashamed to show it anymore but my recovery did'nt just involve luck. Keep motivated and stay healthy because your older body will be the only thing that thanks you for that. Peace love everyone and take care XD

I had a high grade TBI 6 years ago from a car accident. Saturday 4 days ago I banged my head hard. I feel like I’m dreaming and don’t have emotional feelings inside right now, but other things feel quite amazing. Like my bath water feels like silk but my close feel awful. I just don’t want to be going backward it took 2.5 years in regard and I’ve just regained my word flow. I’m scared.


On my last snowboarding trip I had hit my head quite hard. as I was making my way down the mountain I started to question if i was dreaming or not, I asked my mother, who is a nurse, about it and she assured me I was not dreaming .

I had to go back up the mountain to get to the car so i took my time and slowly got down to the parking lot. the session was strange, but everything looked quite beautiful, like there was a camra filter and lots of contrast over evrthing.

By dinner i felt pretty much like normal and i haven't had problems since.
I got back on the mountain the next day with no issues.

Is this something I should worry about? If this happens to me or somone I know again is there some actions I could take to reduce risk?

I can't fully answer your question, but if anyone gets concussed, or may be concussed, it is VERY important that they avoid any further possible head injury until the concussion is FULLY better. E.g. stop snowboarding if you have a concussion/possible concussion. This is because a second concussion (before the first one is healed) could lead to "second-impact syndrome", where the second knock on the head (even if not that hard) can lead to severe injury or death.