Q. Why am I getting mental images of my past?

Answered by
Dr. Prathap
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 07, 2017

Hello doctor,

I have been suffering from what I think are mental problems since last year. To give you some context, I went abroad for studies, and I felt extremely lonely and miserable there. After a year, I was suffering from sleep problems. However, one day, I had confusing thoughts, just before I went to sleep. For some reason, I became convinced that I had a mental illness, and I began researching my symptoms. My condition also declined. I began to feel detached from everyone and everything around me, and I felt like I was losing touch with reality. This went on for some months. However, during this time, I felt fine when I was in the company of others, and therefore longed to be with people and talk to them.

I gave my exams, even rejoined a job, which I had left to do my masters. There are periods when I feel completely fine. But, there are periods when I feel terrible. I am having the following symptoms. Whatever dreams I have, I tend to remember and notice them more. I could be dreaming about my old house or someone. So when I wake up, these dreams cause me to feel uncomfortable, like maybe I will lose my grip on reality. Whenever I see or meet a person I have dreamt about, I get an uncomfortable, unpleasant feeling and a memory of the dream. This makes me afraid that maybe I will be unable to distinguish between dreams and reality.

I get mental images and thoughts of memories or things I dreamt about. This gives a very unpleasant feeling. For the past few days, I am getting strong mental images of faces of people whenever I talk to them or think about them or see them. For instance, I would be thinking of someone, and I will have a strong mental image of their face. I would be talking to someone, and a different mental image of their face would pop up. I am really scared about this. Why am I getting mental images of everything like this? I feel depressed and sad that I will lose control, and that I will go crazy. At times, I am confused and not able to process things properly. I have also started feeling scared and petrified for no reason. I get a sinking and nervous feeling in my chest. My hands shake at times, and I feel like I will lose control. This has been happening for the past 10 months. Are my worst fears true? Do I have a mental illness?



Welcome to

  • This problem you are facing is a mental illness for sure. The description of your symptoms seems that it is a serious issue, as it has been persistent for the past 10 months.
  • The problem you are facing is probably visual hallucinations or illusions, which are a part of psychiatrist illness like depression or somatoform disorder. The cause of this may be multiple. It can be genetic, or it can be secondary to the circumstances you are living in. The probable causes are:
  1. Psychiatric illness.
  2. Depression.
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • This needs to be treated as soon as possible. The treatment options available are as follows:
  1. Psychiatric counseling.
  2. Psychotherapy.
  3. Antipsychotic drugs.

This can be done only with in-person consultation with a psychiatrist. So, I advise you to go to a psychiatrist in-person and start the treatment.

For more information consult an internal medicine physician online -->

Thank you doctor,

To clarify, I do not actually see things that are not there. I just have mental images in my mind. I know this is a product of my imagination. Would it still be psychosis? Or can it just be anxiety or depression?



Welcome back to

  • Even though, it is a psychiatric problem only. If at all it is anxiety, it may not persist for this long. Probably, you are neglecting your issue. It is better to get the problem solved early than waiting for long-term consequences.
  • At this stage, it can be solved with simple psychotherapy, which includes counseling. It also appears that you have got depression component also.
  • At times you say that your mood is stabilized or normal right, then it is called as bipolar disorder. It has periods of intermittent depression and elation of mood and normal mood.

My sincere advice is to go to a psychiatrist in-person. Kindly do not neglect the issue.

For further queries consult an internal medicine physician online -->

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