It doesn't happen to me very often anymore and it went away in a moment. I was thinking about it and it occurred to me that the feeling was a lot like when I really noticed eyebrows.
I was watching TV the other night, just killing time until Bob, who was playing his WWII submarine game and had to sink one more freighter, would come to bed. They were talking about fashion and they mentioned the fashion sin of over-plucked eyebrows. They showed Pamela Anderson, who apparently is the poster child for over-plucking and then went on to mention that Whoopi Goldberg has no eyebrows. Which I admit, I never noticed.
I, of course, went for a number of months with no eyebrows or eyelashes or body hair. I learned to draw in eyebrows pretty well. The idea being that when you glanced at me I didn't have that boiled egg look, that perpetually surprised look I had without eyebrows. To draw in my eyebrows, which I admit I had not paid huge amounts of attention to before, I looked at other people's eyebrows. And eyebrows are weird.
First of all, human hair distribution is weird. Non-aquatic mammals tend to have hair. The ones that don't we think are weird. Like Chinese Crested dogs. And eyebrows are these two patches of fur (okay, one long patch of fur for some people) that are stuck between our eyes and our hairline. I know what they do. They act as gestural punctuation. They go up, they go down, they come together. When someone's face is a rest and the eyebrow rides on the edge of the orbit, the bone depression where the eye goes, they look okay. Raised they ride in the middle of the forehead and they are more clearly just these weird bars of hair stuck on our face. Sit at lunch with a group of friends when you are noticing eyebrows, and watching them go up and down, and thinking how hairless we are in general and how weird our distribution of body hair is (I mean, are they supposed to keep our brows warm and insulated?) and if you are like me, you'll find it very hard to concentrate on what people were saying.
Sitting at lunch one day with friends, watching eyebrows, the world was briefly very strange. People looked odd. They didn't look like people I knew but like these animals with weird fur. There are a lot of ways to invoke this feeling of the strangeness of ourselves. Bob once pointed out to Adam (who was a kid at the time) that your tongue is really a little too wide to sit between your teeth. Adam said, yeah, it is. And then was self-consciously aware of his tongue for some time. Which is the whole point of the observation, of course. They laughed and kidded and then we rode in silence (we were on a car trip) and Adam had the annoying experience of really noticing his tongue.
Lying in bed last night, this sudden feeling that the world was awful, that everything was filled with malevolence, went away in just a moment or two. When I was younger, it sometimes used to persist for weeks. I never told anyone about it. I didn't know how. It never occurred to me that other people probably had the same experience. It took a long time for me to learn how to relax and let go of the feeling and I suspect that anti-depression medication played a part in that. It goes away. And my feeling that eyebrows were weird went away.