Feeling Like You’re Falling & 8 Other Sensations That Can Be Signs Of A Bigger Health Issue

Hannah Burton/Bustle

The mysterious sensation of being watched, inexplicable shivers, strange voices — if you're experiencing a very creepy feeling, you may be inclined to blame it on your intuition, the supernatural, or maybe just on watching too many bad horror movies. But if déjà vu wasn't weird enough on its own, some creepy feelings can actually be a sign of a health issue. I'm not saying it's not ghosts, but I'm also saying it's, well, probably not ghosts.

Many horror classics have their origins in actual health conditions; for instance, clinical lycanthropy is a rare psychological delusion in which somebody genuinely believes they can turn into an animal, and that's part of the history of the werewolf myth, according to Live Science. If you're experiencing a repeated strange feeling that you can't explain, don't dismiss it as simply your imagination. Signals from your body and brain can be confusing or scary, but that doesn't mean they're not very real for you. Furthermore, social stigma against mental or physical health concerns can make it more difficult to get help, especially if your symptoms include an eerie feeling. Document your symptoms closely and try to be calm while they're happening, and find a medical professional who takes your complaint seriously. Here are nine feelings we typically dismiss as creepy that can be signs of a greater health issue.

Déjà Vu

"Has this happened before?" Many of us have experienced déjà vu at some point in our lives, as it's a very common and harmless phenomenon. However, persistent feelings of déjà vu may indicate a medical issue. Fatigue and stress can induce more severe déjà vu as can temporal lobe epilepsy, according to the Cleveland Clinic, particularly if it's accompanied by dream-like feelings or out-of-place symptoms like a racing heart.


Disassociation can be acutely disturbing if you happen to experience it. It means feeling disconnected from yourself — your body, your identity, your past and your current experiences. People who've gone through it say it's extremely concerning. It can come on without warning, and will typically go away on its own. Chronic feelings of dissociation or amnesia, however, may be a reaction to childhood trauma, but they can be treated effectively with therapy.

Sleep Paralysis

Waking up in the night to discover that you can't move is a pretty creepy scenario. Sleep paralysis is an interesting condition that isn't deemed to be harmful, but if it also comes with massive sleepiness and uncontrolled napping during the day, it may be a signal that you have the sleep condition narcolepsy.

Experiencing Size Distortions

If you find that things in your vision start to seem distorted or shifting, and that you feel much smaller or larger than you actually are, you're likely experiencing an unusual period of electrical activity in your brain, and it may also be tied to experiencing severe migraine. This rare psychological condition is known as "Alice In Wonderland syndrome" because of its similarity to the events of the Lewis Carroll classic.

Temporary Amnesia

Temporary amnesia is far rarer than it seems from the movies. Transient global amnesia, as it's called, is a symptom of serious shock or trauma, like being immersed in cold water, receiving terrible news, or surviving a disaster. It may also be related to the blood flow to the brain, but either way it needs to be checked out by a GP.


Feelings of paranoia that are persistent and intrusive aren't a signal that you're actually being spied upon. They're more likely a sign that you're experiencing a health condition tied to lack of sleep, psychosis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, or a range of other physical conditions that affect the body's interpretation of outside stimuli.


Do you shiver when you're not cold? You can also shiver in response to low blood sugar, fear, a tremor condition that affects your bodily control, an adrenalin spike, or fighting off an infection or fever. A shiver when you're all alone in a room and something strange happens next door is in fact a legitimately creepy feeling, but it's the body's normal and rational response to a potential threat, getting you ready to fight or flee if you need to.

Hearing Voices

Voices are relatively common, and are linked to many physical conditions. Lack of sleep is one, as is trauma, bipolar disorder, depression, or being the survivor of trauma. They all produce reactions in your brain that create the illusion of auditory hallucinations and voices talking to you, whether they're specific or just a general jumble.

Feeling Like You're Falling

Many of us have experienced the feeling of falling while asleep, but if you experience it while you're awake, it's known to be a signal of anxiety. It's likely going to be tied to other symptoms of anxiety, like a panicked sensation, accelerated heart rate, and the sudden desire to flee.


Creepiness is in the eye of the beholder. What looks seriously inexplicable to you may seem like a pretty normal symptom to a medical professional. But if your condition is scaring you or causing you difficulty, or just making you curious, it's always worth getting it checked out.