Me, Wishing I Were the Times Magazine’s “Diagnosis” Column

A Strange Nap

The 26-year-old student, at the beginning of the nap, awoke to a very strange sensation.  She described it as “a very loud, sharp, very short buzzing noise that sounded like it was coming from inside my head, followed by a surge through my body, like of adrenaline or electricity.”  She could recall this happening to her once before, though after the first time, she hadn’t made much notice of it.

A Confused Awakening

When the student got out of bed, she decided that in lieu of asking for a real medical opinion, she would instead Google her symptoms and see if she could find something.  After some clever Internet maneuvering, she found the Wikipedia page for the hilariously-dubbed “Exploding Head Syndrome.”  Exploding Head Syndrome is “a form of hypnagogic auditory hallucination in which the sufferer sometimes experiences a sudden loud noise coming from within their own head. The noise is brief and is usually likened to an explosion, roar, gunshot, door slamming, loud voices or screams, a ringing noise, or the sound of electrical arcing (buzzing).”  The student was intrigued.

A Reaching Out

Now knowing there was no known treatment for Exploding Head Syndrome, nor any real side effects, the student decided to reach out to her morbid roommate because she was a wee bit excited about her rare condition and her roommate “seemed like the most appropriate person [with whom to share.]”

An Interrogation

The roommate did take this as a compliment, and decided to do some follow up, including asking the student the following, based on what she, the roommate, had learned from Wikipedia:

Do you recall dreaming at the time?  (Sometimes, but not always, there is a correlation)

Did you feel “a sense of fear and anxiety” after the attack? (Another possible symptom)

Have you had any attacks since?  (They can occur in clusters)

Up until the point of the attack, had you been experiencing “stress or extreme fatigue”? (A possible cause)

Were you undergoing a rapid withdrawal from any prescription drugs at the time? (Another possible cause)

The Answers

The student, perhaps less than enthusiastic with her morbid roommate’s pointless inquiries, nevertheless answered as follows:

 

Do you recall dreaming at the time?

no, i was in the state where i was just slipping into sleep. you know when you feel “suspended”?

 

Did you feel “a sense of fear and anxiety” after the attack?

i felt a surge of adrenaline in my body which made my heart race. I suppose it could be described as fear/anxiety. it certainly made me cease and desist from my nap attempt.

 

Have you had any attacks since?  

negative

 

Up until the point of the attack, had you been experiencing “stress or extreme fatigue”?

fatigue. not extreme fatigue. somewhat stressed, i wouldnt say “extremely ” so

 

Were you undergoing a rapid withdrawal from any prescription drugs at the time?

negative.

 

And with that, the two young women decided that no further investigation into the matter was required, and that they had cracked the case as well as they could have, without the help of anyone, including the Times Magazine and its commenting trolls.

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