Use constructions like these sparingly: “She found herself shouting at him”; “Suddenly I found myself shopping in an X-rated video store.”We’ve all had the sense of “coming to” without having passed out, and we’ve all said or done something so out of character that we could watch from outside—literally beside ourselves—as we did it.
But “I found myself…,” “They found themselves…” and so on can force the writer to use participles, which are best avoided. Even more important, the careful reader, who knows that volition plays a pivotal role in the best stories, will be annoyed if such a passage appears too often—more than once in a short piece, for example.
Some editors would disagree with us. Here’s the opening paragraph of a good article on “colony-collapse disorder” among honeybees:
Not long ago, I found myself sitting at the edge of a field with a bear and thirty or forty thousand very angry bees. The bear was there because of the bees. The bees were there because of me, and why I was there was a question I found myself unable to answer precisely.
—from “Stung” by Elizabeth Kolbert, newyorker.com, August 6, 2007 (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/06/070806fa_fact_kolbert)
So there ya go.