The side effects were straight from real psychic spies' recollection of what it felt like to perform these missions or witness others doing them. Sleep-walking through the day seems to be a very common thread, as spies feel like they have one foot in one dimension and other foot barely in the physical present.
Here is an excerpt from Vicki's Key after her CIA boss, Sam, and a coworker drop her off a few blocks from her house after a mission to Afghanistan:
The van stopped at the corner of 13th and Walnut Streets as Sam slid the door open.
“You okay?” he asked as he stared at her intently.
“Of course I am,” Vicki replied, though she felt far from okay. As she climbed out of the van, she was almost angry with them for leaving her on the street like this. She knew, and they knew, that it was a common side effect for remote viewers to feel drugged after a session. Today was no exception. It felt intensified, she thought foggily, and she wondered if she was so out of practice that her sessions were throwing her body into a major turmoil. It was similar to awakening in the middle of a particularly vivid dream and feeling as if the dream was reality and her physical world was not. But when awakening, there was still the realization that she had been dreaming, whereas at the moment she felt as though she was still in the Hindu Kush. The little girl’s image was emblazoned in her mind, making her more tangible than Sam, who continued to stare at her or Julia, who, with a push of a button, was rolling down the passenger side window.
Regardless of Sam’s opinion, Vicki knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the little girl had seen her. It didn’t make sense; even as dazed as she felt, she knew it was completely illogical. And yet she knew it was real.
Julia reached across the front seat and handed her a package through the open window. “You got this at Johnny’s hot dog stand,” she said. “The band playing in the Plaza at lunchtime was Black Pearl. They played Love Will Keep Us Alive and Blues is My Business and Business is Good. You sat next to the fountain on a brick wall and listened to them.”
Vicki nodded silently. The information was emblazoned on her mind as if she’d truly spent the afternoon next to the fountain’s mist. She could even hear the songs as they might have been played.
“Elm Street is two blocks over,” Julia continued. “That way.” She pointed to the west.
“Got it,” Vicki answered.
After what felt like a long pause but in reality might have been mere seconds, Sam slid the back door closed. She heard it latch as Julia returned to the driver’s side and the window was rolled up as if she was being dismissed. Vicki stood with her arms hanging limply by her side, watching in a stupor while the van pulled away from the curb and turned north on Walnut Street.
She remained there for a moment longer like a sleepwalker awakening, trying to get her bearings. Her lungs felt strained with the thick, humid air. As she struggled to return to the present, she wondered if the tightness in her chest was due to the coastal humidity of North Carolina or the rapid change from the thin air of the Hindu Kush. Then she shook her head in disbelief. She hadn’t really been there, she reminded herself. It was a dream. It was all a dream.
She strolled down Walnut Street. Her eyes began to focus on her surroundings and yet, even as she faced her reality, she knew it hadn’t really been a dream. It was as real as the beautiful yellow house with the hanging ferns on the front porch. In contrast to the starkness of the Hindu Kush, Lumberton was alive in a medley of colors. She felt like Dorothy closing her eyes in the black and white imagery of Kansas only to open them to the kaleidoscope of Oz. And yet, it didn’t mean that Kansas—or Afghanistan—had been a dream.
Other side effects that psychics have reported include:
the inability to focus on a conversation afterward;
not realizing that they've "zoned out";
not remembering where they were or what they did directly after a mission;
missing an important appointment or commitment, such as a school event for a child or a commitment with a spouse;
bumping into things, tripping over sidewalk curbs, stumbling or seeming to move as if drunk;
absent-mindedly putting something in the wrong place--one instance reported a psychic tossing his car keys into a dumpster (fortunately for him, coworkers witnessed it and fished them out), or putting something in the freezer that didn't belong there;
exhibiting physical ailments that are related to the body's struggle to reunite with the psyche, such as headaches, stomach upsets, muscle aches and pains;
or overlooking serious symptoms because the psychic self-diagnoses that the symptoms are part of their psychic mission.
Because of these side effects, each psychic mission also involves a handler; someone who not only witnesses the mission and makes certain it is audio-recorded, visually taped, or notes are taken, but someone who can keep an eye on the psychic until they have their bearings once again.