When Mind Goes Blank (AWOL moments) — Day 38 of “100 Symptoms”


Thanks for tuning in.
I’m nednednerB the Schizophrenic. This is Day 38 of “100 Symptoms”:
When Anxiety Makes the Mind Go Blank When many people hear the phrase “AWOL”, it
might bring up the image of a fighter pilot who has lost control and is now firing at
bogeys as well as friendlies. AWOL stands for “absent without leave.” To go AWOL basically
means a person lost awareness (is Absent) but their behaviour continues in some way
(WithOut Leave). To have an AWOL “moment” on the ground is
much less shocking than being in a fighter jet. Sometimes when stress hits a certain
way, or the thoughts go to a certain place, there is a freezing up. Maybe having a conversation,
one person is talking and the other person noticeably and suddenly goes absent. It’s
like their mind goes blank. Sometimes they say “yes” or “no” to simple questions even
if really, it is clear the person is not aware of the interaction for a period until returning.
I’ve heard a person say “oh sorry I totally gapped out for a second. I’m back now.” This phenomenon relates to other dissociative
symptoms, like fugue, where a person blacks out but continues acting out behaviour sometimes
overlapping and compounded by use of substances, or otherwise where in the experience there
is a suppression of conscious awareness of emotions, thoughts, or the immediate environment. I have the following interpretation to offer.
I’ve noticed this AWOL moment happen more frequently when there is indeed some kind
of psychological stress in the thoughts and emotions due to serious conversation causing
the self to back out or black out. It is perhaps a safety mechanism of the brain to pull the
self out of harm’s way and out of the way of otherwise “unconscionable” perspective
and experience. That makes sense why people with traumatic
experiences can exhibit dissociative symptoms. When I have suffered from an acute psychotic
episode, I think I have had these blank out moments in the psych ward accompanied by either
staring off in the distance or experiencing having thoughts and emotions overwhelm me
and I notice it’s hard to keep aware of my environment, like I am losing myself in some
moments. Sometimes this probably looks like a catatonic state. Out of hospital, sometimes at home when I
am thinking and meditating, I notice my mind go blank when stressful subjects are on my
mind, or I notice those subjects cause me to blank out visually. By that, I mean I’ll
notice suddenly a sticky thought shift and it’s like I wasn’t in the room for a second
but now I can see my surroundings again. As stress can vary, there seems to be differences
in the extent and depth of this freezing up due to anxiety. If this has been interesting to you, please
like and comment below. If you share this video, you will help me reach a wider audience,
contributing to raising awareness. Help me to reduce the stigma around mental illness
and suffering caused by schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. This has been nednednerB the Schizophrenic,
With Day 38 of “100 Symptoms”. Until next time.

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