Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Feelings


QUESTION: I sometimes get a very weird feeling of ' this isn't my home ' , I can get this strange feeling almost everywhere , even in my  house . It feels really horrible but I can't really explain  what It feels like. i can remember having it when I was about 4 or 5 and maybe even before that but I can't remember. What does it  mean , What is it and what usually  triggers it ?

ANSWER: Hello Millie,

You ask 3 good questions at the end of your post. What does it mean, what is it, and what usually triggers it?

I am not exactly sure what all this means but, from my experience, it sounds a lot like a type of dissociative event...feeling like you are not totally there, like you are not connected, or that you might be wanting to disappear. Your last question, "what triggers it?", might be a good place to start trying to figure all this out. But the answer lies within you so let's see if we can find out more information. Have you ever noticed that particular circumstances or feelings or events come before you get this feeling? Try being mindful about what has happened previously, before the feeling happened. Just make a mental note of it and then see if you might discover some pattern of activity or feelings that could trigger the episode of detachment or dissociation.

You mentioned you think it might have started around 4 or 5 years of age. Do you recall any event that happened to you or that you witnessed around that time? It would be helpful to think carefully what might have occurred that might have caused some anxiety, fear, or sadness that would have triggered the initial reaction. It is possible that anything, then, that reminds you of that event could cause a surge of anxiety that would make this feeling reappear.

Some other information might be helpful to me as well. How old are you? Sometimes, during adolescence, there are feelings of detachment that occur as a result of the many changes that are happening in both your mind and body. You did say this started much earlier than adolescence, but I am wondering if these changes might trigger a resurgence in those feelings. It might also be good to know what your home situation is like, how supportive your family is, and whether you have a good source of support from your friends. have you felt comfortable enough to discuss this with your parents/family/friends? If so, what were their reactions? Did they try to understand and help you out or did they not seem to listen? These answers would help me better understand how much you may be able rely on your relationships for comfort and soothing.

It does sound as if this is a reaction to some anxiety that may or may not be associated with some form of trauma or hurt. I may be able to help you further with some more information.

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QUESTION: The only event I could think of is my parents spitting up , I was 4 years old and since then I've always been switching from one house to another , I'm currently 13 years old and I haven't got the closest relationship with my parents , me and my mom constantly argue and me and my dad can't seem to get a proper conversation anymore. My family isn't very supportive and don't take much interest in anything I do , they never really listen to what I have to say which is very annoying. I've never discussed this with anyone because I hate talking about feelings to people I personally know  , I really what to go to a therapist or a school councillor to talk to but I would have to have my parents permission and some cost money :/

Hello Millie,

Thank you for providing the additional information. What you are telling me sounds like you feel you do not have a supportive, secure place to call "home" and the important people in your life feel distant and unresponsive to your needs. I think the situation you describe could certainly account for the feelings of detachment you are experiencing. if you think carefully about this, the problems you have illustrated at home describe a situation where the 'attachment' that should exist between parent-and-child has been disrupted. It would make sense, then, for symptoms of 'detachment' to ensue.

I would very strongly suggest that you find some way to get some psychotherapy. Is there a school counselor that you like or trust? Perhaps a teacher who has shown care and is someone you might confide in? That might be a good place to start. You are at an age where, if you could work on the psychological aspects of this problem, you have a VERY good chance at being able to grow and heal. The rest of your adolescence then could be a time of thriving instead of feeling displaced and unimportant. If your school counselor could help your parents understand how important therapy would be for you, they might be willing to come up with the money for your treatment. It is hard for me to ascertain all that is happening to you. However, from what you have bravely shared with me, I think psychotherapy is necessary and could be extremely helpful in getting you to understand what these feelings you are experiencing represent and how to move forward in a healthy way.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please keep me posted on how everything goes.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Jacquelynn Cunliffe


I would like to answer under the category of Psychiatry and Psychology. However, I would like to see a separate category for Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis. I do not answer questions about medications as I do not prescribe. My expertise is in psychotherapeutic treatment.


I am a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who specializes in the treatment of mental health issues caused by childhood trauma, domestic abuse, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, and a wide variety of psychological disorders. The kind of therapy I do is often referred to as deep therapy, talk therapy, or psychoanalytic therapy. Please note that I am not against medications and when managed well, medication can be an adjunct to psychotherapy intervention. I think it is important for the public to realize that psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy DOESmake changes not only in people's minds but those changes can also be detected in their brain structure. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are powerful interventions to help people change their lives from the inside out.

American Psychoanalytic Association American Psychiatric Nurse Association Member of Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia Member of National Eating Disorder Association

Ph.D.-University of Pennsylvania, Psychology and Education, Division of Human Development M.S.N. and R.N.-B.C. Board Certified Nurse in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2-Year Adult Psychotherapy Program graduate 2-Year Child Psychotherapy Graduate Current: Candidate in Psychoanalytic Training at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with clients who have experienced significant childhood traumas. These patients come with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, relationship difficulties and diagnoses such as Personality Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, and, though rarely, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly multiple Personality Disorder)

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