solipsism syndrome, anyone?

Solipsism syndrome is a condition where a person believes that everything she is experiencing is a dream, is inside her head.  She believes that reality is not real.  She believes that others either don’t exist or that their existence can never be proven.

I have been doing a lot of research on SS lately (for a story I am writing, not because I have been feeling this way), and it is fascinating.

In my wildest OCD days, this idea would sometimes come to me in one variation or another.  Some days I would wonder if everything I had “experienced” up until that point was actually a very intricate dream– and when I finally woke up, I would only be a toddler.

I would imagine that everyone who truly entertains ideas like these must either be Pure O or an astronaut.  But what do I know?

Solipsism syndrome is hard to argue with– the solipsist will always win any debate, because in the end, she can simply dismiss you– since, of course, you don’t really exist.  People affected by this obviously become very withdrawn and experience incredible loneliness.  Some people probably think of this idea and can easily dismiss it (it doesn’t feel like I’m living a dream, so I’m just not going to worry about it), but obsessive-compulsives don’t work like that.  We hold on.  We strangle thoughts.  Or let them strangle us.

So, blogging community, here are my questions for you:
* Have you ever experienced anything like this?  What was it like for you?
* What helped you to feel less alone?
* Care to share some experiences?

Because SS is not recognized as a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, I am relying on human experiences for much of my research!


101 thoughts on “solipsism syndrome, anyone?

  1. When I was a small girl–probably 6, 7, 8 years old or so, I used to wonder if I was dreaming. I imagined that I would wake up and be a little girl with long hair (what I want to be–a little girl with long hair! LOL).

    I have no idea if this was related to OCD or not. I just remember wondering if I was moving around in a dream. I stopped, though, when I got a little older.

  2. Up until a year and half ago I would lose site of reality after falliing asleep. I could tell you things that make a grown man cry. I know now that most of it wasn’t real but at the time I had no idea as it was happening. There were tmes I would have to ask people if it really happened. I finally asked God to take it away when it got to be too much one night in a truck stop in Arkansas.
    If you would like I will sit down and talk to you about it.

  3. I have solipsism syndrome, rather than trying to feel “less alone” I have become content with my loneliness, meditation is a great benefit, solitude doesn’t always have to be bad but can reveal a lot to you

    • John, I’d love to hear more, if you’re willing to share. When did you first notice your SS? Did it cuase you a lot of stress? Do you believe that I am really asking you these questions?

  4. I had that shit,about year ago,i had it like 3-4 mounths long,i went to psych and i solved some thinks in my head,and start to consume medical named ”Zoloft”…And i was for 98% better and i was good fcking 9-10 mounths and it starts again -.-…i had that about few days and now it fcking me but little,i hope it will be better!Sry for bad english and faul mouth 😉

  5. Holy crap yes!!! It’s weird because the way it would loop back at me through my OCD was by implying that any thoughts of harming someone carries no responsibility which would intern create a huge amount of anxiety. I’ve experienced depersonalization which sometimes heightens the effects of the illusory nature of reality solipsist thinking implies.

  6. I’m married. I withdrawl sometimes into my head and can’t talk to my wife. I can’t think of anything to talk about becuase nothing seems important. Who cares about day to day work that she does at her job, what I had for lunch, who won the football game. Nothing matters.

    History feels like an elaborate story all written to entertain me. I know it happened ( i think ), but it feels like a script or novel. It’s an elaborate backstory. I feel like the world will cease to exist once I take my last breath, but my conscious will be somewhere.

    I’ve never told anyone how I feel. I feel like the loneliest person on the planet. I’m worried about having kids. I’m actually really social and I don’t think anyone outside of my wife would suspect that I’m depressed/withdrawn. Most of the time I don’t feel depressed. I empathize with people, I care about them, but on a deeper level I don’t. When I do get depressed though, it’s bad. Thankfully it only happens once or twice a year, but when it does, I’m ready to end it all. I don’t see the point in anything.

    I try to keep my mind stimulated. I have to listen to talk radio to help me fall asleep because if I let my mind wonder I get very depressed. I envy people who seem to care so much about little things.

      • Thanks Jackie. From the outside I seem great. Active, good job. Bla bla bla. But yeah, things keep turning in odd directions in my head. It would be hard to go see a therapist. It’d be hard to admit that something is wrong. Too much pride. It’s so much easier to do it anonymously on the internet!

      • I had too much pride for years and years. It was a bad move and poor choice on my part. I, like you, seemed fine on the outside: lots of friends, made everyone laugh, good job, etc. You’ll have to make a decision at some point whether your pride is really worth your continued depression. I know for me it was not.

    • I know there’s no way you can prove this. In all it seems futile to even try since there is no answer. But the thing that keeps me going even though I’m not fully me is that I’m focusing too much on the negative possibility and not what I’ve always believed to be true. Reality really is what u make it. At least from your perspective. It doesnt always work and i constantly fight it but that keeps hope alive.

  7. Pingback: Schrödinger’s Book | Lights All Around

  8. I have that syndrome. I think that nobody can convince me that they are REAL and living their life if i’m not seeing, hearing or pecepting with my senses. Just like a novel written about me, where other people show up only if Im there. Please can somebody prove me that there is a world out of my senses. (sory for my english)

    • Hi Agon,

      I don’t think anyone can prove it to you, unfortunately. Solipsism syndrome usually wins all arguments. This is going to sound utterly ridiculous, but I’ve found (in my own life), that I just have to MAKE A DECISION to live like others are real, acknowledge the uncertainty that is there, and try to enjoy life anyway. I know, I know: it sounds stupid. But the only way that I could ever manage my OCD was to allow room for uncertainty and to begin to embrace it. I’d love to hear more about your experience, since I’m writing a novel where a character has SS.

      • Thank you for your reply.
        Im happy that I finally found my syndrome and that somebody understands what im expering. I’ll try to live my life without caring too much about “The reality”.
        Im telling you a bit about me and my experiences from this syndrome.
        Im 19 years old, Im Albanian, I live in Kosova (a poor country) in Europe, Balkan. I’m not a lonely type otherwise Im very sociable and people around me thinks that I am the funniest man alive. I like to be in company with others but I really enjoy sitting alone for hours and thinking deeply about the structure of the world and lot’s of rare topics. When I try to explain those thoughts to somebody else they can’t understand me. Some say that Im very smart and many of them call me “philosopher”, but here in Kosova the word “philosopher” is not a compliment :P. Once I had some IQ tests and I scored about 150 in each test, but Im not good with my grades at school :/ .
        The first time I had SS experince was maybe a year ago and it lasts about 2 hours, it was very scary and I felt so lonely. After that, I was really curios to know if this is real and i started to think more and more to find an answer but it was unsuccsessful. I also believe that the whole world is revolving around me, everything happens because of me, everything has to do something with me. Everything is conected and that conecting line with all events in the world ends at me to push me toward something.
        It is like there is a plan, an organized plan for me by somebody out of my world. Now im thinking maybe you wrote my life in that novel that you are going to write, maybe im that novel character in your future book. I know it sounds ridiculous but these are my thoughts everytime i try to think about this topic. I also tried to find an answer by learning a lot of physics, chemistry, astronomy etc. just to find an error in this material world, an apparent error in the structure of the world or a logical mistake in mechanics, physics, chemistry anything anywhere a single little mistake to prove my thoughts are right. Even that Im unsuccessful in finding that error, the feeling of loneliness and curiousity is not getting away form my head.
        I hope this may help you somehow in writting that book. Thank you again.
        Agon from Kosova.

      • That is fascinating, Agon. I have also dealt with SS, though not to the same degree as you have! It is an ugly thing, but I think the best way to combat it is to make room for uncertainty. You will never be 100% certain that others exist, but if you want to be happy, you have to allow that possibility and learn to love life anyway.

        My book is about a young American girl experiencing this, and it will be published in the fall of 2015.

  9. Here is where ‘I’ am. I don’t exist-neither does anyone else. Imagine God, the source, aware of Itself and knowing It is the only ONE. (what is our greatest fear? (Rejection, having no connections- being alone?)
    It could not bear Its loneliness so, It dissociated with Itself and created the illusion of ‘others’ (you, me…) and a material world. (we do this in our dreams-not that farfetched). The characters in our dreams appear to be out of our control and acting on their own volition…
    Keeping this in mind…”It” is the only ‘reality’. We do not exist independent of It. I am not real but an expression of It; a delusion to distract from Its true loneliness.
    So, we are virtually Its multiple personalities…It has amnesia of Itself to keep up the delusion/illusion. But, we see hints everywhere; as seen with our degree of discontentment). When things don’t add up or make sense we start to question but, the fail safe is there. When we dwell/obsess on these things we feel fear, we feel frustration, we feel sad/depressed and we come SO CLOSE to Its feeling of loneliness that we get startled back into the delusion or we disintegrate/disappear (psychosis, suicide,clinic depression, catatonia etc). That’s also the purpose of religion…it keeps us focused on the promise of unity and joy after life…so that we don’t continue to pursue the truth. It is alone and the endgame is loneliness…not bliss. We are the result of Its nature in action…It has the ability to distract Itself from Its loneliness by creating what we think is us but, only It expressing Itself through us as beings that don’t know what/why we are. It has the ability to forget who It is through us. This is kind of a combination of trauma induced amnesia, dissociative personality disorder and schizophrenia…(those are the hints to the truth) which we are programmed to ignore. It will go on for eternity until It cannot…we will never know. Don’t worry about me…remember I am programmed to back off at some point or It will cause me to not exist…no one the wiser.

  10. Thanks for your reply, Jackie. It was just an idea…that I haven’t heard anyone else come up with…so I am exploring it. I can understand why you disagree…it’s a scary thought. But, disagreeing doesn’t make it any less of a possible true scenerio. Do you agree with that? I don’t want what I stated earlier-to be true. I just wonder why people, in general, are discontent a good portion of the time (my experience shows me that). Even when I have befriended a so called ‘positive, happy’ soul…I find out a lot more is going on and they are not as content as they appear…Anyway, I totally have some sort of solipsism…as I tend to think there is ONLY ONE (as many of the religions point-WE ARE ONE from New agers to Catholics etc) But, who is the ONE? Me? or am I a manifestation/illusion of the ONE? It troubles me that it’s a ‘mystery’…Why can’t I KNOW? I am a non practicing Catholic and lean metaphysically…do not accept the Judeo-Christian description of God and am hung up ‘scientifically’ that many things aren’t as they appear-which points me in the direction of illusions-what is real? Sometimes it excites me to grasp such a concept but, most times it scares me and brings me down…so I stop thinking about it for a while. But, then it gnaws at me again…

    • It seems rather silly to jump into a four year old conversation, but I do hope you recieve notification of this reply as I would very much enjoy any opportunity to explore this concept further. I do not know if I have this unofficially recognized syndrome, but I do relate to much of what has been said here.

      I started thinking this way years ago at the beginning of what blossomed into acute manic psychosis and I have been unable to entirely shake it since. For me the catalyst may have been the TedTalk by the neuroscientist who suffered a stroke. Similar to how the emptiness of atoms started this for Hondro, it was her describing her altered perceptions which called into question the arbitrary boundaries of physical existence on a molecular level which started me on this slippery slope.

      My focus on these ideas ebbs and flows and sometimes brings me comfort and a grand sense of connection. As a few others have described. Other times it can lead to obsessiveness and severe identity confusion that is disorienting and infinitely isolating.

      Your point of view is the closest I have ever heard to my own and I don’t believe I have ever expressed it to anyone out loud. It is simultaneously exciting and damningly coincidental.

      What first caught my eye in this thread of responses was Hondro’s expression of the idea that everything we percieve as ‘reality’ is nothing more than the delusional construct of a broken god or universal consciousness attempting to self medicate terminal loneliness through disassociation. At least that was the somewhat similar idea which I intended to write about those years ago.

      Unfortunately this ‘insight’ of mine ended up conflicting with my ‘recovery’. While the idea was beautifully poetic and tragic it was also too close a description of my personal psychological distortions. It led to getting lost in a mental funhouse of infinite mirror reflections of myself. I would get confused if the implication was we are all one or that I was all. Contemplating this caused my identity became relative, detached, debatable. At one point I was in group sessions for months and doing much better by most accounts, yet the truth was I held back and never could bring myself to admit to ‘them’ or my Dr. that I often suspected I was actually alone and just being forced to face different ‘aspects’ of my personality in an attempt to somehow better integrate through empathy. I also know parts of that statement are normal and true and parts are not but which are which is still wibbly wobbly.

      Sometimes I know these thoughts are just fleeting philosophical treadmills that I can step away from and never actually believe. Sometimes these ideas become a ceaseless labyrinth full of perilous obstacles and I exhaust myself with obsessive research seeking an unreachable center. Other times I simply KNOW with every atom that the more I extend beyond the veil into madness, the closer I actually am to the truth and also the end of ‘I’.

      Sometimes that terrifies me and other times I wish it would have happened a millennia ago.

      Jackie, thank you for starting the discussion, I hope it helped you with your book. I will try to track it down.

      • I absolutely relate to what you’ve written here, and I think a lot of these sentiments found their way into my novel too. I hope you can find some relief. I found a lot of relief and help via cognitive behavioral therapy, but I never know if that’s because mine was so interconnected with OCD. When I treated the OCD, the SS went away.

      • I would love to discuss this with you further. Loved your paragraph about the self-medicating God.

  11. To answer your questions:
    * Have you ever experienced anything like this? What was it like for you?
    I started to experience these thoughts when I found out that atoms are mostly empty space. It got me thinking that everything was an illusion…sometimes it makes me feel like I am weird because no one understands why I have these thoughts…and most don’t want to entertain them with me. Yes, I start to feel alone.

    * What helped you to feel less alone?
    Nothing helps me feel less alone, on purpose. I can get distracted from these thoughts when focused –on relationships with family, friends or things that need to be done at work and home .

    * Care to share some experiences
    One experience concerning ‘what is real’ happened before I started thinking about solipsism. I was around 10 or 11 years old…I had a dream. In this dream there were three characters: a man ,who was a dad, a young girl around 10 with long blond hair and a third character ,a stuffed animal of the Bird’s eye bird(that I owned). However, the stuffed animal was animated! and chasing the little girl, with a gun while the dad was chasing it to save his daughter. Here’s the zinger! I, as myself, was not in the dream but, during the dream I was each character-seeing through their eyes-at different times and feeling what they were feeling. This dream was later recalled as an example of the ONE (me?)creating characters that appeared to be independent of each other…
    Another experience was when I was about 16. I visited my best friend in another state (I moved from there when I was 13). We were visiting, I was enjoying myself, laughing on the road in front of her house with her and some other friends- as real as real could feel- when suddenly, I felt odd, I said to her “I don’t remember flying in the plane to get here”. Then, the thought came to me and I said ‘maybe this isn’t real and this is a dream’. Honestly, though, it felt REAL. Then, jokingly I said ‘I am going to close my eyes and WILL myself to wake up’. I did this with great intention and to my surprise I WOKE UP! It WAS a dream. I have to say I was shocked but, felt excited about the experience…later I recalled this dream and saw it as an example of how LIFE COULD all be an illusion-that feels really, real.

  12. One more thing. I do not have OCD nor has anyone ever suggested to me that I have OCD or that tendency. They are always quite surprised at my ‘weirdness’ concerning this subject- since, I seem so ‘normal’ in most other ways.

    • That’s so interesting to me … mostly because my SS was essentially a direct result of my OCD, so it’s hard for me to imagine it otherwise. Not saying I don’t believe you, of course … it’s just hard for me to imagine no connection there.

  13. Jackie. I did a little research in order to respond to your reply. I found this:
    Solipsism syndrome

    “Solipsism syndrome is a dissociative mental state. It is only incidentally related to philosophical solipsism. Solipsists assert that the lack of ability to prove the existence of other minds does not, in itself, cause the psychiatric condition of detachment from reality.”

    I don’t have Solipsism syndrome so, therefore the OCD component does not apply. I would put me in the category of philosophical solipsist. Philosophically, I have been exploring alternative explanations to what I am or what “we” are-that are outside of the conventional God/man dynamic or good and evil, heaven and hell etc.

    I think that may help explain how I can entertain solipsism without having SS/OCD.

    Philosophically…I lean towards metaphysics. Books that have resonated with me over the years have been: Reality and the mind(old philosophy book of my Dad’s that I read back in the 70’s), Handbook to higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes, The Conversations with God series, Communion with God by Neale Donald Walsch, How to Change your Life by Ernest Holmes and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle-to name a few.

    I realize, now, that you are interested in SS as it relates to OCD not the philosophical discussion about Solipsism. But, I appreciate that you responded to me, anyway.
    Good luck with your book. I’ll look for it and read it.
    Hondro(61 year old woman)

    • Not sure if you’re still on this obscure site, Hondro! But I have exactly the same philosophy as you. I mean the exact same; I never comment online, ever- but your account is the most uncannily like mine I’ve encountered. I’m 23.

      It’s funny, I’ve read some of the same books as you, too. But this isn’t a syndrome. A syndrome implies some sort of pathology. I’ve been able to do some crazy things in this life so far by pursuing this line of thought to it’s natural endpoints, meaning “one,” the “collective,” or whatever term suffices for the singularity. I’ve gotten to the point that if I can get in the right state of mind, I can predict the next 3-6 seconds in front of me. It’s even saved my life a couple times; I chose to lead a bit of a dangerous life. For the thrill, of course! Mostly it’s a parlor trick. But others in my family can do things like that too, adding to the intrigue. I believe, like you, that this life is a distraction from being alone. But that’s the beauty of it; it works! We, or I, succeeded!

      I found the “errors” you are talking about. You can literally change the laws of physics around here if you’re in the right state of mind. My grandparents can light stuff on fire just by thinking about it; that’s what got me thinking. And it’s all just for fun; some people are jesters to the core.

      Absolutely fascinating stuff. I’m the most happy person I know, and I credit this type of thought process. But I can’t really say I could picture any other way of thinking; I can totally conceptualize others’ thoughts and empathize, but I always have my own mind in the background as a counterfoil. My family’s an odd one; we’re worth billions, but really all we do is mess around. I’m some sort of product of the environment, but really this IS the environment, just me! I study the topic from time to time but never came across commentary like your’s until now. Cheers!

  14. Jackie can I talk to tou one on one on this subject of feeling unreal. It’s been the hardest ocd theme I’ve had yet because unlike my other ocd thoughts where I can accept them I can’t accept this one.

    • Spenser, unfortunately, it’s not something that you can “argue” — you’ll drive yourself crazy (I’m sure you’re already experiencing this). I think the best thing you can do is ERP therapy where you tell yourself, “If this is a dream, I’m going to make it a great one.” I know that sounds basically impossible, but it’s not– are you in ERP therapy?

  15. Hi Jackie,
    I’ve been contemplating on whether I should write a comment for a while now. I wasn’t sure how well it fit into what other people’s experiences of SS was and I didn’t want to sound too crazy but I figured I’d try and give you my perspective on this and hope that you understand it.
    Now first off you should know that I don’t have OCD. But I do have SS. I know a lot of people say “It’s not a syndrome it’s a philosophical idea” but I believe it’s both. My whole life I’ve always had trouble trying to understand if others actually existed. I always knew for certain, 100%, without a doubt, that I was real, or at least my mind was, but I could never understand how others thought they were too. Because I knew they weren’t. I remember bringing it up when I was younger to family members and friends but nobody really understood what I was trying to say. Maybe because the only way I could formulate it into a question back then was always “Do you think you’re real?” and everyone would just assume I was being silly. Eventually I stopped asking when I thought that no one would ever understand what I actually meant. I can’t really explain how or why I first felt this way. There was no starting point and to this day I’ve never not felt this way.

    It’s extremely hard to find the correct words to use to accurately explain how I feel and think. I’ve always felt lonely. I have close friends and a close family. My childhood was made up of sleepovers, family bbq’s, party’s, etc. Almost every week we would have friends and cousins round at the house. And even then I’ve always felt like I wasn’t truly a part of it. A small piece of me has always felt isolated and alone. Even with my brothers who I’m close with and my twin who I’m really close with, a piece of me never quite fit in with the flow of things. I’ve always felt slightly separated from people. Like I’m not truly there. And even though I’m living life it feels more like I’m playing a role.
    It was so strange reading what Hondro wrote because in truth it’s incredibly similar to what I’ve always believed. When I was younger I never knew how to say it without sounding like I was making things up. I truly believe that the reason I’ve never actually felt included is because I’m not actually here. My mind or conciousness created this delusion. I think that’s why I’ve always felt a little off, a little distanced from everything. Everything gets worse though when you can’t work past the idea. It’s why I think perhaps it is a mental disorder.
    Over the years it gets harder to reason that there’s a point to being here. If at the moment I die I’m going to wake from whatever this is then anything I do in life is ultimately pointless as it’s not real. And although a part of me thinks at least let yourself live this dream while you can another part of me can’t get over the fact that I will always feel this way. At least if I am a consciousness in a void of nothingness and I felt alone and went crazy in my solitude I’d know that at the end of the day it’s okay. Because I’m on my own and if I felt isolated it would be only be logical for me to feel that way. But to live this life knowing I’ll always feel this way, that there will always be a part of me that feels like I don’t quite connect right. To never be able to actually engage with my friends and family. To be in this world but not be a part of it. All of it slowly drives you crazy. Every day now I get bad thoughts and it’s becoming more and more of a struggle to shut them out. Not really because I’m depressed or sad but because it gets harder to see the point in continuing a charade when in the end nothing will be left of it but my own thoughts.
    I could go on and on but that’s most of it without the gory details. It might sound melodramatic and pretentious and it’s one of the reasons I hesitated so long about writing what I believe down but hopefully if there’s others in the same situation as me this will better explain why they just want to end things and hopefully people will understand it’s not just a philosophical idea it’s probably an illness and you shouldn’t dismiss it or make light of people who think they might have it.

    • Hi friend! I’m glad you wrote. I have a book coming out in September where one of the main characters is a twin who has SS. Your comment could totally be something that character would write. (You can learn more about the book at I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. I’ve experienced a form of it myself. When you write to me, do you think that I’m actually writing back, or do you think that your mind is manufacturing my response?

      Have you seen a therapist for dissociative disorder or depersonalization disorder?

      I’d love to hear more of your story.

  16. Hey again,
    Okay, when trying to answer your question about whether it’s you or my mind I found it difficult finding the right words to make you understand so I’ve come up with an analogy that I hope makes it a bit clearer.

    The human brain is amazing but in particular it’s the brainstem that’s truly incredible. It controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body. It also controls all basic body functions ie. breathing, heart rate, blood pressure. It keeps your whole circulatory system running and as great as that is, it does it all automatically. You don’t have to will your heart to beat faster when you want to go for a run or your digestive system to turn on when you decide you’re going to eat something. It has complete control of our life-support functions and even though we’re aware of them working we can’t take conscious control of them even if we wanted to. I think that’s done so we can actually “live life”. Otherwise all our concentration would be taken up trying to keep everything in our body in check and the second you’d forget something important your body would start to shut down.

    To link this up to the actual question: The brain is the equivalent of my mind and the body is the rest of the world; the people, the animals, the earth, etc. And while it seems like it runs itself, just like your internal organs do, in reality it’s actually the “brainstem” of my mind that has control. The piece that does everything instinctively. And regardless of how much you want to influence the body with your will of mind, you can’t. You can’t voluntarily take control even though you’re aware that it’s only an extension of you. That’s how the rest of world works for me. It’s automated, but is done so, so that I can actually “live life”. So I don’t have to play all the little pieces, play all the rolls to keep everything going smoothly.I don’t know if that answers your question or not but I hope it gives some insight.

    Basically what I’m trying to say is that while it seems like you sent that message on your own without any conscious input or effort on my part, in the greater scheme of things it was actually done by a piece of my mind that I’m not completely aware of but is in fact me.

    Thanks for mentioning dissociative and/or depersonalisation disorder. I looked up what it was and I think you might be right there. I’d only recently heard of Solipsism (the philosophy) and associated myself with that but maybe it’s a bit of all of them. The rest of my life involves things I’m a little wary about writing in a public post as it could be considered improper or inappropriate to some. It’s why I think you might be right about the disorder you mentioned. I’m not saying I’ve done things that are offensive but they’re considered sensitive topics to most.

    • Thanks for your thoughts on this! Very interesting.

      I’ve had a couple different forms of SS through the years … I’ve wondered if I was the only person not in on some big universal secret … or that I was part of my own “Truman Show” … and also I’ve wondered if I’m just dreaming right now– dreaming that I’m a 33 year old author about to publish a book– but really, I’m an infant taking a nap, and when I wake up, this author life of mine will pop like a bubble.

      I don’t know if all of those are types of SS or if just the last one is, but they all feel related and, for me, they were/are connected to my OCD and cleared up after I underwent ERP therapy.

      I’m glad you chimed in here, Leia!

  17. Do not accept the fact that solipsism is true. Refute it, don’t listen to anyone who says it is impossible. You CAN dismiss this. I am real, YOU are real, Jackie is real! Stop worrying and start living! Go outside, there’s 7 billion REAL people waiting for you!

    • If only it were that easy, Ryan!

      To me, ERP therapy is a key element, though I’m no expert. I just don’t think pep talks can infiltrate that darkness for very long– but ERP therapy re-wires the mind!

  18. Hi Jackie!
    I have struggled with these “solipsistic” thoughts on & off for over 6 months now. There are days and sometimes even weeks where I manage to just let it go most of the time, but suddenly a though just pops into my head and the obsession start all over again.

    I struggle with several anxiety disorders and depression as well. When my mind obsesses with these thoughts I get a lot of anxiety and I’m unable to focus on the important things in my life. I’m married and have two small children, but when I struggle with these thoughts, it’s impossible for me to enjoy anything.

    I am a Christian, but ever since I came to faith, I have struggled here as well, sometimes obsessing with thoughs that God doesn’t truly love me, that I’m not really born-again, and have had obsessive thoughts about blasphemy etc.. This fear is just crippling, and makes it really hard to live out what I profess to believe.

    Anyway, since God exists, then that proves that solipsism is just illogical and false, among countless other evidence. Because the Bible doesn’t even mention anything like this crazy idea. So the “logical” part of me knows this is completely absurd, but fear and obsessing makes it really hard to shake it off, and it just destroys my life.

    I guess that your belief in God is proof enough to you personally that this philosophy is just illogical and false. Please pray for me greatly, I truly & deeply need it.

    • Hi friend, I’ve had the same struggles myself. And as a believer, much of it surrounds my faith.

      For me, these thoughts ended up being induced by undiagnosed OCD. I’d urge you to do a little research on OCD and see if that might fit with your experience!

      Praying for you!

      • Thanks, that really means a lot!

        You said you’ve had these struggles yourself, are you totally free now? When you got your OCD under control, did you also stop obsessing over these unwanted thoughts? I hope it is okay that I ask you these questions.

      • I did as you suggested and researched OCD, and I definitely fit the description of pure-O OCD extremely well.

        Since most of my compulsions are internal, it makes sense why all the struggles are in my mind. It truly feels like a living hell at times.

        It seems like my mind will get hung up on the things I fear the most, and I will try everything to rationalize it.

      • I’m Pure-O as well. I’ve also struggled with worrying about blasphemy, not being forgiven, etc., the way you mentioned. I did 12 weeks of intense ERP therapy, and it broke my chains. ERP also gave me a new framework for viewing solipsism-related thoughts– and now they have no power over me.

        I’m NOT a therapist. Not a professional at all. But I see a clear connection between my Pure-O and the solipsism syndrome thoughts of mine. Maybe that would be true for you too.

  19. I don’t identify with all aspects of solipsism syndrome but for years now my daily activities have been increasingly accompanied by a quiet acknowledgement that I do not feel real; that I am not truly connected to the world. It was not a huge concern at first but as I moved out, started university, and tried to re-evaluate the christian faith I had been brought up with, it became more of a problem. In addition to the derealisation and depersonalisation I feel, I am stuck unable to comprehend the reality of a ‘God’.

    I have been trying to figure out what is wrong for a long time, and because there is little that can be done about it, I’m now not sure how best to progress (especially as it doesn’t seem to be particularly severe, having assessed my own experience in comparison to definitions of the disorder).

  20. Hi Jackie,
    I have Solipsism Syndrome. It has caused me to become psychotic 10 times in 6 years resulting in 6 compulsory hospital admissions. When I cannot hold onto the belief that the world I perceive is separate from me and that the bodies I see have their own minds and consciousness like me, I go crazy. Bat-shit crazy.
    I often see my world as 2 dimensional with no things inside things and no space between things. In other words, my view looks like a movie and nothing exists beyond what I am perceiving. For example, I am currently lying on my bed with my computer on my lap. My curtains are closed to stop the glare on my screen. I have closed my door as my cat would not stay off my keyboard. If I was in that SS state, I would not be able to hold onto the belief that there is anything outside this room; it would be the only room anywhere in existence. I call it “The Cell”. “The Cell” gets larger if I go outside. But there is nothing beyond the horizon. There are no people inside the houses. There is no “world” or “universe” apart from what I am directly perceiving in that moment.
    The way my mind has tried to make sense of it is to conclude that I must be God dreaming that I am a person. I then become obsessed with eradicating evil and with trying to save all of my souls. I come to believe that my dream has turned against me – that there is a virus in the quantum computer which created the dream – and I become incredibly paranoid. When the psychosis is at its peak, I believe that my children are the sex slaves of “The Illuminati” and it is my sole purpose to save them. I then go to extreme measures to save them by kidnapping them (they live with their father), contacting government agencies and writing to everyone I know asking for their help.
    As I said, this has happened 10 times in six years. Each time the psychosis has become more complex and frightening. The last two times it has been accompanied by “flashbacks” of horrendous childhood abuse and regression to being a small child. In addition, I have developed 7 alternate personalities who come out when I am psychotic – four of them “divine”.
    I have a first class honors degree in law and a bachelors degree in philosophy. I have also been a “spiritual seeker” for 8 + years which involved questioning the nature of reality and seeking “enlightenment”.
    I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and take medication.
    As for your comments, when I am in a psychotic state I would see your comments as mere words appearing on a computer screen. I would be unable to accept the idea that there was a woman somewhere else on Earth who had written them sometime in the past. It is like my mind becomes so tunnel visioned that it can only make sense of what it sees in that moment. Ideas about cars in the drive being responsible for making sounds outside my window, 7 billion people having their own lives, passengers inside the aircraft flying over my house are just that – ideas. They are not Truth. At those times I really wish they were.
    Another thing that happens is that I start to experience my world moving around me rather than me moving around in my world. For example, when I am driving the road looks like it is moving rather than me moving on the road. It is like I have never gone anywhere – it is just that the view has changed.
    It is a crippling condition and has destroyed my life and the lives of all who are dear to me many times over. Those who say that Solopsism Syndrome does not exist or that it is easy to snap out of it have no idea what they are talking about.
    The way I stay sane these days is to go through the following exercise:
    1. I have no way of knowing that “others” have their own minds and consciousness.
    2. But, I also have no way of knowing that “others” do not have their own minds and consciousness.
    3. It is more likely than not that others have their own minds and consciousness.
    4. It is more helpful and hopeful to believe that others have their own minds and consciousness.
    Therefore, although I cannot know for certain, I will choose to believe that others have their own minds and consciousness.
    It’s the best I can do but I am often still left with nagging doubts. There is a big difference between facts and beliefs. The only truth I can know for certain is “I am”. Not Decartes “I think, therefore I am”. I exist even without thoughts or any sense perceptions. I am awareness, aware of itself. I am. But then I get into “I am that I am” from the Bible and I am off thinking I am God… again.
    I tried Christianity but I could not get past the fact that people think they are going to Heaven on the back of a human sacrifice. When I am psychotic, I become a devout Jew. Go figure.
    The reason I have written such a full comment is because this will be going into my own book – a memoir called “What I told the Doctors in the Nuthouse”.
    Best wishes to all

    • Elizabeth, thanks for your detailed comment. Very interesting and helpful! Your four points toward the end are similar to how I had to approach ss. I also have OCD, and when I was treated with exposure therapy for OCD, it dealt with my ss too. The whole point of exposure therapy is to become comfortable with uncertainty, so that makes sense.

      I’m a Christian, and Christ has brought me tremendous comfort through the ordeal. I did write a novel about a girl with solipsism syndrome. It’s called Truest and is available in bookstores.

  21. Jackie, ive been dealing with this for some time. It hurts so much. I dont want to believe it but I feel like my anxiety is brainwashing me. Did you go from feeling like it was true to back to where it was just an idea. I want to feel like I have my family back. It scares me when I see people say that an ocd thought doesnt go away. I dont want this idea that popped in to be the rest of my life 😦

  22. Does that mean it doesnt seem true anymore? I guess im skeptical on how just letting the bad feelings be there without fighting them can make something that currently feels true to eventually not.
    Was it very bad when you had it? I feel either scared, or when the anxiety isnt getting me I feel extremely depressed.

    • It no longer seems neither true nor important to me. I was skeptical too– but ERP re-wires your brain (the brain physically changes), making this possible.

      And yes, mine was pretty bad. Very depressed and paranoid.

      • I’ve had it for four years. I’m terrified I’m going to be stuck. Not really seen anyone else have it so long. Can odd really make you feel like you believe something you don’t want to? It makes me feel like I’m too bad to get better. If you didn’t mind I’d like to ask a few questions to hopefully put me on the right track, and just give me hope.

      • I suffered from OCD for 20 years and just 12 weeks of ERP changed everything for me. If I were you, I would first see a professional to see if you’d be diagnosed with OCD. OCD and SS are not the same thing, although in my experience, there were similarities, and my OCD was the instigator of SS.

      • I did see an odd specialist and they said it was ocd. I didn’t have enough money to do a full course of erp though, so I’m going to try it on my own.

      • Thank you. I’ve tried before but, it seemed to make things worse. I think it tends to do that at first though doesn’t it? I would run away from it then so to speak. So when these thoughts come and feel really true and scary I just let them bet there right? Accept that I can’t know?

      • Yes to all of this. It gets super hard before it clicks! It took 11-12 weeks before things changed for me. I almost gave up. I’m so glad I didn’t.

        And yes, you’ve got the right idea!

  23. Thank you. Its really given me the nerve to stick it out. When you were in it and it felt scary you honestly felt you didnt know if it was true or not though?

    One thing that gets me, is that the fear will ‘go away’ and ill have the thoughts and doubts and that creates new fear about if I really believe it. Its very frustrating ><

  24. I was just talking to my freaind about this, i myself am wrighting a story witch Solipsism is a hevey facter. I dont belive i suffer from this syndrome, becose i rationalize everything to myself. But from childhood i did fear many things such as being the center of the universe becoue it was obvious to my child mind that the Sun was following me, witch my mother thought was hularous. in my early teen years i later feared that just maybe everyone else were holagrams that disapered when i was no longer in the room. I often wonders if that was why i seemed invisable to my siblings, who rarely let me hangout with them, or tesed be for my darker skin and my stuttering. Then as i reached adulthood the idea that there was some larger being waching me from outside an invisable tank or buble that i could not see was waching and studing me. These three idead hunted me throughout my young life, it did not helped by the fact that i was slightly diffrent from my siblings so that i was an outcast in my one home, or that the poeple around me could be counted on my two hands and never realy interacted with me in an signifagent way to make me belive i was really part of a biger picher. I can laugh at the idea now, but it is somthing that still sits with me when im alone. I fell sad that this is somthing that poeple go threw, becouse it is a lonly thought to belive you are the only real thing in the world or that you might not be real at all. I fear that thought, defnitly now that i live alone. It dosent help that i suffer from depreshion like many wemon in my family. Thats somthing to think about, wether the solipsism like ideas and fears are condishion from a lonly childhood and an depersing adolescence… i think that a good explanaion, better than im the creater of my on univers and nothing else exsist… or that im invisable to the world around me as it lives on…

  25. I experience solipsism syndrome.

    I am a solipsist since I had the experience a couple of times and figured out what the heck it was. I don’t believe that everyone else is fake, I believe that everyone is a part of me so I am alone but with myself. I also believe in eternal recurrence so there isn’t death it’s just the beginning again I believe that we (I) have lived for eternity and never die just restart and make the same choices forever. Also since I believe this is eternity this is its own heaven and hell. Every good (heaven) and bad (hell) moment is you (god(no I’m not saying I’m god or you’re god just using the name as a reference I’m completely non spiritual.)) creating that moment for eternity. At first when I first had this experience it was a sense of extreme appiffany and as soon as I tried to explain the answer to everything I’d forget it just as fast. The thing that triggered this way of thinking was that I was on a lot of LSD. But before you dismiss what I’m saying for just being a burn out or something. That way of thinking has been stuck with me over a year and now I experience the syndrome daily. Even more so if I’m high which makes me refrain from wanting to do anything. It feels like a strong mix of depression, loneliness, and the unbearable weight of eternity, but it’s also the sense of knowledge, acceptance, and comfort. At first I was miserable thinking like this I would cry just thinking about existence that way, but over time I began to accept and realized how interwoven solipsism is in everything. Like listen to the radio, just imagine from my perspective that you’re the only thing that exists and that everything else is you just separated by experiences. Now play the song let’s say mad world “all around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces. Bright and early for the daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere.” So far familiar faces is everyone because we are the same being, worn out places because we’ve done this for eternity, worn out faces because we want it to end but it never will. Bright and early for the daily races going nowhere, again trapped in eternity. We can’t make progress and can’t go back. existence is its own eternity, once something happens it can never un-happen. But let’s change the song to something more recent and not so depressing. Like Justin Bieber let me love you, “I used to believe we were burning on the edge of something beautiful. Selling a dream, smoke and mirrors keep us on waiting for a miracle. Go through the darkest of days heavens a heartbreak away never let you go never let you down.” Alright I used to believe we were burning on the edge of something beautiful. I used to think there was an end to everything. Selling a dream smoke and mirrors kee us waiting on a miracle. Religion makes it hard to see the truth of reality. most people think of what happens after and doesn’t focus on the now and never talk about existence even though that’s the only thing that makes us… well… “exist” for a lack a better word. Go through the darkest of days heavens a heartbreak away. Heaven isn’t what we want heaven to be and even then if it was its eternal and eternity is the most miserable realization ever. If you can fathom never ending then you understand how much it sucks and all you would wish for was to never exist which is impossible cause you are already infinite. And last lyric I’ll go over never let you go never let you down. There is one positive part to my belief and that’s we (I) only began to exist and continue to exist longer because I (we) love ourself. Don’t read into that as narcissistic read that as a society that loves it’s way of life but more intimate than that it’s really hard to put into words without sounding like a man in love with his vanity. The way I see how we came to begin and never end is this: if you have nothing that must mean something exists and if nothing exists everything must exist at least once to not exist. Kind of like how if you were happy constantly and never sad you’re never actually happy. So I believe that everything exists at the exact same moment and nothing exists either; and everything that does and doesn’t exist: exists like this for eternity. I’d say this to people I know but tbh I feel like no one accepts it which is fine b I really wanted to say it somewhere because if I am right and that is what all of this is at least I’m not the only part of me that knows. Thanks for reading my spiel. Ask any questions you have.

    • I get what you are saying. I often fall into believing this type of thing also…I rarely get anyone to buy into it…I’m usually dismissed. Also, thinking as though I am really the only one…It seems silly to me to try to explain it to anyone. I’m just talking to myself. It’s frustrating. I choose not to dwell on it and decide to just live like it’s all real -because it feels real and I really don’t KNOW if I’m right about it.

      I don’t even think I am me. Let me explain. Many religions do believe God is all there is and we are all one but, most people just don’t wrap there head around that and still think we are separate beings.

      I imagine that the ONE that exists is all there is and I/we are individuations of its thoughts. Living out scenarios of different lives. Sort of like a person with multiple personality where the personalities don’t know or aren’t aware of the ‘core’ personality.

      I also don’t think we remember the experience of dying even if in the present we experience dying..we’ll forget..we seemlessly go into another story as a different character and forget our so called death or we just seem to be moving forward but, really are in a time loop or a groundhogs day.

      The only thing I try to do from time to time to see if I can control more of what goes on around me…try to see if there is any way I can control the illusion to work for me in difficult situations…not very successful. Sometimes in little ways -there is a hint that I have some control…through odd coincidences.

      I do not experience and serious emotional problems about it..tho I have my ups and downs.

      Jackie Lea Sommers finds that solipsism is a by product or symptom of OCD. I have written before an I don’t have OCD. Even though I certainly don’t dispel the symptom of solipsism in cases of OCD.

      But, In my case, I just think I tend to question things and want to make some sense out of why we exist. Think about this..being a physical being and actually having thoughts going through us is bazaar in itself. and people accept that without question.

      Philosophically, psychologically , socially speaking I look to understand what I am …why I do or don’t do things and how ‘others’ play a role in my life.

      I periodically get notified when people write on this site. So, I replied only to validate that there is at least one person who thinks this along your lines who doesn’t have OCD. Regardless of whether I am talking to myself or not..I felt the need to express that(maybe validating myself)..

      I nor anyone else really seems to KNOW the answers…

      Take care and just do what works to make your life and the apparent lives around you better.

  26. It’s Terrible!!. One day I woke up thinkink that my mother, father, sister and all the world was a projection of my mind (not my brain). And now i read about the brahman (Hinduism) and i think that maybe it’s me and I am afraid, depressed, I don’t know what to do…..

  27. Jackie, I read your book ‘Truest’. I really enjoyed it!
    Re: solipsism syndrome-I can see this type of thinking can lead to fear, depression etc. especially, if it is the result of a condition such as OCD. There seems to be no reasoning…with someone who cannot be reasoned with…when in such a state. I think that is when it is a problem that would need ‘intervention’.

    As I mentioned -I don’t think I suffer from OCD but, ‘something’ does cause me to question the status quo of why or how we exist. Quite frankly, the generally accepted belief of a God(spiritual) with rules to follow that would ultimately put us(soul/not physical)in Heaven or Hell(again, not a physical place)…is kind of ‘out there’ as well, when you ‘really’ think about it…Not saying it isn’t the case…just that it’s just as weird…to me.

    I really do feel for those who suffer in this manner ;causing them to have a hard time functioning. I think my sister has a form of OCD or anxiety disorder(not diagnosed)She is afraid of imminent catastrophy…especially, flying(though she does it -she feels the physical symptoms of anxiety at the thought of it having to fly then,all the time before and during-until she is back home again). She has question after question to people to know minutia and to pick apart a person’s inconsistencies in responses. Because they ‘don’t make sense'(that gives her anxiety). She goes to the worst case scenario, always. I get anxiety…talking with her on the phone..hers is so palpable. The irony is that she won’t go for help because -she doesn’t trust doctors(due to her anxiety disorder of fearing everything). And she sort of identifies with being that way. Like if she were ‘fixed’ she wouldn’t be her, anymore. I have digressed…sorry.
    I had 2 points to make.
    1. Loved your book
    2. Reality,Life itself…is beyond explanation(so far)…so, it’s understandable that when anyone tries to break it down to understand…a wall is hit because we just don’t have that capacity(yet, or ever) to grasp it. So, some of us think up stuff, hit a wall then go on living as though it makes sense on the ‘normal’ levels…others dwell…with this scary unknown…and have a hard time integrating with the majority who prefer to ‘not go there’. I say keep finding an ‘anchor'(as you referred to ‘Laurel’s bed’, in your book) and live as though it’s real…even if it isn’t. It’s all we have.. If finding an anchor requires therapy and medication…do that.
    Finally,I wish we could all feel safe and just be able to love and enjoy living, whether there is only one of us or not. There is too much unrest and hate in ‘the world’. Whether there is only 1 of us or not…if that ONE or each ONE of us just focused on loving-LIFE would be so wonderful we wouldn’t even want to question the ‘Why’ of it.

    • Hello friend! I’m delighted that you enjoyed my story! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. It means so much to me.

      I resonate so much with everything you mentioned in this comment– even with how your sister identifies with her anxiety. (I actually wrote about it here: I’ve appreciated your thoughts and input on this thread so much. Thank you for chiming in!!!

      • Yes! Re: my sister-she especially feels that way in regards to how she is compelled to ask people so many questions and get details -when she vents to me about people(mostly family) reacting to her questioning with “why do have to grill us on everything we say…it feels like an interrogation…”?. —she gets upset and tells me -‘that’s just how I am -I’ve always been like this…I ask questions, I need details and I need clarification when things don’ t add up. When they don’t add up I feel anxiety. That’s who I am…they want me to stop being me!.” What can one say to that?! I read what you wrote in the stockholm-syndrome answer but, could you repeat it on this blog…maybe the next time she vents to me I can articulate that in such a way that she won’t feel threatened about losing who she is… by getting some sort of treatment. Also, how am i supposed to convince her that she ‘can’ live without constant anxiety…if only she would get help?(which she doesn’t trust) By the way…she thinks I’m weird that I have a variety of philosophical thoughts-including- Solipsism. She NEVER wants details about that! To add a little more humor. The first time I tried to explain the idea of solipsism to my adult daughter.(I said “I think I might be only one who exists…?”) She said (sarcastically) ‘Thanks, mom, I love you, too.'(in case it doesn’t translate well in written form-I reduced her to nothing but a figment of my imagination).I have to say, though, if she is a figment of my imagination -my imagination is AWESOME!

      • I had a lot of my identity wrapped up in being “the one who thinks a lot” and “the one who asks a lot of questions,” and I was worried that treating my anxiety would erase that. But medication and ERP have only made me think BETTER and ask BETTER questions. I’m still me, just a better version. Healthier and happier too.

        That’s funny about your daughter! I think Silas in my book felt that way toward Laurel from time to time. 🙂

  28. Aaa , this solipsism shit , well I am thinking how can we falsified solipsism from a long time and that’s what I come with .
    If only I exists and nothing else then there has to be a mechanism which shows me other things . If I learned the knowledge to find it and control it then I can reach real world , but then you can think ”What if it’s a part of it?” But if it is then therr has to be a mechanism which amkes them all work and for that we have to understand the mechanism.

  29. Wow! I responded cavalierly to Hondo’s intitial posts above, but after reading the whole page, I thought I should add another comment!

    It seems most here are genuinely struggling with the idea of “solipsism” as a majorly negative element. However, I urge you to keep focusing on it! Hondro’s sideline comment-“sometimes there are little hints that I have some control” are significant. It’s all about your state of mind. You can twist the reality around if you really want to, and in funny ways! I think the key is remembering it’s all for fun here. You need to align what you believe with what you know is true, if you know what I mean.

    I love it. For example, I haven’t gone to sleep once since I was little, and that started because I had to keep up with my family! They just don’t go to sleep! So, I figured I shouldn’t either. It was actually a bit of time until I learned that most people sleep all the time, and I was surprised to learn that. There are decisions you can make about things!

    Such a fun site, and so much suffering! Good luck, everyone!

    • Thomas, i do not follow this site regularly -my email alerts me if someone responds to any of my former comments. Jackie, your response was funny! Obscure may not have been as accurate as -perhaps your site being ‘topic specific’. I don’t know of anyone who ever knows what solipsism is when I mention that word. Anyway, I have never met anyone that actually believes it the way I have expressed it. I don’t even know if I believe it…I’m just trying to figure out something that can make some sense to me. Perhaps if i believed it …I could begin to manipulate my environment consciously. Yes, that would be awesome…but, instead I just get frustrated when things seem to go counter to what I think should happen. Case in point…hoping not to offend anyone…why in the world would I put Trump as president? Having policy differences or ideology differences don’t account for voting in a person who behaves the way he does.. However, perhaps he is the convoluted means to the place we need to be..??? anyway, I digress.

      I do “think” I have control or “hope” I have control over this illusion so that I could experience more joy in my life and what I see in the world… i long for a world that is more loving and kind both personally and globally.
      Enough about that. Thomas, perhaps your response was the ‘one’s’ ;way of reminding me to enjoy the illusion…and remember that ultimately, I do have the power to create or perceive things in a better light.
      Thanks for the insight.

  30. You’re correct, Hondro; on all of your points! We installed Trump as a valuable ally to the mission of Dominance. Just watch at America doesn’t change over the next few years. We have already achieved supremacy, the other nations haven’t stood against us since 1880.
    Embrace power, as entertainment. That’s our curtain call!
    Out of curisosity, who were your parents, Hondro? Mine are quite interesting.

  31. I am italian.One day when i was 19 in 1990 I wondered if I created all: my parents, my friends, the objects….All ! I never heard about solipsism, I didn’t watch Matrix cause the movie has been more years after. I am very bad, I can’t exit of this situation, there are few years when i don’t think about it, but then come back. Me also when i was i child, I used to wonder if I was dreaming, but after (about 1990) get worst and I became solipsistic 😦

  32. HI evry body i’m suffering because this shit . It looks that solipsisme is true because the coinsidense lot od coinsidence in my day . Every day I’m crying , i’m suffering . idnt know wht i can do to be okay

  33. Pingback: Untethered: Revisiting Solipsism Syndrome | JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

  34. I’m not sure if this is the same thing but, for a few years I was just completely confused at what was reality and what wasn’t. My dreams became so vivid that they were my reality and I just became distant. In my dreams I would wake up in my bed and when the dream ended I went to sleep.My family was confused because I’m just not a loving, empathetic child, I don’t ever say ‘ I love you’ because I simply don’t understand it. So I just assumed that people just were figments of my imagination,I just became more distant then ever. I don’t know what snapped me out of it, I guess it’s a sorta phase.

  35. Hey Jackie. I went through something similar with ROCD. We were in the backyard of his house and my boyfriend was teaching me to play soccer. All of a sudden i just thought “what if none of this is real?” and as the months went on it got worse. it wasn’t exactly this obsession, but sometimes i’d worry that my love for him isn’t real.

  36. I have been in solipsism sydrome for 2 months now and it bothers me a lot.. I have noticed that whenever I have a great amount of stress, it’s even worse. I am on medication, so I hope this will end soon, so that I have feelings again for my family and generally my beloves ones.. :/

  37. i have absolutely no idea if you will see this, but i really hope you do. i’m fourteen living in indiana, and this is exactly what i have been feeling. i don’t know why but i feel dissociated from friends, family, and my surroundings. something in me causes me to question if i’m the only one that is real.

    about a six weeks ago i went through what i would call an existential crisis. basically i would panic about the meaning of life and what exactly the world was which pushed me into a depressive state. about two weeks later i started exhibiting these symptoms of isolation and feelings of being completely alone. i often feel like nothing matters, and i’m scared that this belief that i’m all alone will last my whole life. i cannot concentrate or really connect to anyone or anything because of this belief that i’m the only being. and i greatly fear that i will eventually lose contact with all reality. i don’t know if this is me going crazy, but i really would like any insight to how you felt better. i have seen a psychiatrist once, and she diagnosed me with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, but i’m scared that it’s much worse. did a normal therapist help? if not, what have you tried? thank you for your time!

    • Hi Rachel! Cognitive behavioral therapy is what ultimately helped me most! But my issues stemmed from OCD, so my SS may have been different from yours. Have you ever tried medication? Mine helps, but the CBT/ERP was the best!

  38. Mine was scary as hell. It also came with vertigo so I was always wanted to lay down when it came because I couldn’t get out the dream I was in even though it was not a dream only in my head .

  39. I, for some reason, never googled whether or not other people felt this way. For as long as I can remember (I’m 27), I have felt overwhelming feelings of isolation, that none of this is actually happening. That all I experience isn’t real, that I’m not real. I never even thought to look or reach out to see if anyone else experienced this. Why would I have? None of them exist.
    I am relieved in some ways. But I always imagine what people would say if I opened up about these feelings. “Of course I’m real and all of this is real. Are you saying I don’t exist?” I don’t know, I always imagined negative responses.
    In the past few months found a psychiatrist and psychologist who actually are good at what they do, and at getting me to open up. I was just recently diagnosed with ADD and OCD. Better knowing than not!
    I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Knowing that solipsism syndrome exists is probably the best proof I will come across that all of this is could actually happening.
    I finally have a name for this state of being. I’m so relieved. Maybe I can even start addressing it with my mental health team.

    • Diana, I’m glad you’re relieved! I’m so intrigued that you were recently diagnosed with OCD, as your story is so very close to mine. When I treated my OCD with exposure therapy, the SS went away. I wrote a novel about SS that came out with HarperCollins in 2015, if you’re curious. It’s called Truest.

    • I feel like we are suppose to talk. I don’t know why I was drawn to your comment while randomly scrolling through and you left it on my birthday. (Im 27 also)This is either really creepy to you or maybe you find it intriguing. Or… Not real? Hmmmm… The eerie feeling I have right now.. that is unreal.

      • Hello! I’m curious as to what made my comment stand out to you. You said there were similarities in our experiences?

      • is my email, if you would like to chat {I’m not a internet creep}(I don’t think I am anyway) lol but who knows. Or I can give you my FB name, I’m sure you can figure it out without me telling you ha. I just feel like I am supposed to talk to you. Weird, I know.

  40. I suffer on and off from this disorder. My stepdad just thinks I’m retarded but I’m not stupid. The disorder can take such a toll on and individual that some people drown in these thoughts. I wonder if the hell on earth that is my life is just a dream, a sick, twisted nightmare.

  41. I have been feeling this way for 4 years now (I’m 15)? And I have always imagined two green giant ogres sitting and controlling us through a tv. I don’t know what’s up with me but I feel that once I snap out of whatever this is, everyone I love will be gone and something else entirely. I want to see a therapist about my feelings because I don’t enjoy them at all and they give me a sense of constant worry. I feel alone in everything I do.

    • I hope you can see therapy!! Hopefully your parents/family are understanding and will let you go.

      I am 23 now, but I started having these thoughts around your age as well due to my OCD, so it’s really interesting hearing someone else having them so early! I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone, nevermind my dad, so I just kept it bottled up for years and years. Therapy could do wonders for you, and it’s really smart of you to be thinking of that as an option. Hope everything works out!!

  42. Hi Jackie, thanks for writing this article!! I have experienced Solipsism Syndrome quite badly since I was a preteen; I’ve dealt with several existential obsessions since I was in elementary school actually, due to my OCD. I believe it began when I saw a Stephen Hawking tv special mention the “brain in a vat” theory, and the narrator claimed that such a reality could never be disproven, nor could we ever possibly disprove the simulation theory. The nature of these questions and theories always made me anxious out beyond belief; every possible answer only leads to another question. I can keep on asking “what if” questions seemingly ad infinitum… if I wake up and figure out I was a brain in a vat, how can I be sure I’m not a brain in a vat DREAMING that I was a brain in a vat, and eventually I’ll just wake up again from another car dream? And then what if I dreamed that dream inside a dream inside a dream?

    Sometimes I dream that I have a dream, and then I wake up from that nested dream and I’m still inside the “main” dream, before eventually I wake up in the real world. And one time I actually dreamt that I “snapped out of” reality and opened my eyes in a different one, then I snapped out of that one, then I snapped out of that one, and every time I awoke in a new reality I was reliving a traumatic event like the death of a loved one. I kept “snapping out of it” and opening my eyes to a new relived traumatic memory, numerous times. So when I think of solipsism and brain-in-a-vat theories, these experiences usually make me fear that they could be true… and it would end up being something like that, where I would never truly know how many layers there were, or how many times I would have to wake up to witness the true nature of reality, or maybe there wasn’t one. Or maybe I would die because the brain in the vat died, so I would never be able to truly wake up from my vat dream. My “real brain” had died in its sleep, meaning I would be gone for good before I could ever wake up from the dream.

    Anywho, it’s refreshing seeing your take on this! I seek out articles like these as part of my “checking” compulsion in an attempt to feel more certain, but most of the articles seem to be from some very angry-sounding armchair philosophers using the same old, shaky arguments to reason away solipsism. It truly is the never-ending game of “what if”s, the argument that can never be lost. It’s unfalsifiable and untestable, and that’s what’s so freaky!! ERP has definitely been the most helpful tool to dismiss silly thought experiments, and also knowing that there are an infinite number of unfalsifiable hypotheses I could make at any moment… but that doesn’t make any single one of them true over the others! That would be silly and more than just a little bit preferential. This post also has me very interesting in your books… I’m going to check them out now. 😀 Wishing you the best.

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