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Mystery Symptoms

Question:

Recently I came accross a document from my behavioral health center. It was my diagnosis from when I first began seeing them at age 13. ADHD (predominately inattentive type) and, to my surprise, a severe major depressive disorder. I say “to my surprise” not because I’ve never suspected that I suffer from depression, but, because my parents never told me about the diagnosis. Go, mom and dad. Anyway, I’m nineteen now and have some nagging questions about symptoms I experienced as a young child through middle school that have not occurred since.

I used to experience this feeling that sound was moving too quickly, literally, everything sounded “sped up”. When I was very young this manifested visually. I thought I saw my father crawling all over the walls, very quickly, when he was actually just putting me to bed. It only happened at night, either when I was in bed or right before going to bed.

I once thought I heard people shouting in the kitchen at 2 AM and was so convinced that someone had broken in that I locked my door all night. I also experienced the feeling that my hands were gigantic – like they were the size of buildings. All of this was very scary at the time. Is there a name for this, and do you know the chances of it recurring?

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Answer:

It is very common for young children to experience all types of wierd things that are not real. It stems from their very active imaginations and tendencies to interpret sounds and noises, when they are alone, as being something fantastic.

In addition to the active imaginations of children there is, in psychology, something we refer to as “confabulation.” That has to do with distorting memories by combining separate events into something wierd. For example, I have an early memory of my mother removing a wall clock and her being upset because she founds thousands of bugs on the wall, under the clock. As a young adult I remembered this and asked her about it. She too remembered but said the wall under the clock was covered in grease stains from the stove nearby. You probably confabulated your father climbing on the wall and having huge hands.

The sensation of some things feeling sped up may have had to do with some hyperactivity. Or, that, too, may be part of a confabulated memory.

As for Major Depression, it is important to understand that ADHD, inattentive or hyperactive types, are commonly accompanied by depression. Your parents may or may not have understood that.

In my opinion, those childhood experiences are a thing of the past, as they are for most of us. As for the ADD, you may continue to need help with it, perhaps with medication, and with psychotherapy. If depression persists, and that is common in the world today, psychotherapy is always a good idea.

You are a young. Do not be bothered by those things of the past. If your depression and ADD persist, get help. Other than that, enjoy your life.

Best of Luck

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