Let me introduce myself. I've been diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses in the past, and about three to four months ago, I started developing symptoms of DP. Over the months, it got worse but I am determined to get my life back onto track, as we all know; DP can truly ruin someone's life.
Now, I know that people in this community suffer from different things, the main ones being DP, DR, and anxiety.
Before I say anything, I'd like to mention that if you don't agree with what I'm about to say, it's complete fine. In the end, YOU are the only one who truly knows yourself, and I don't think that you should let anybody else tell you what to do, if you believe that it's not the best thing for YOU. Also know, that I want this to be a safe place for everybody's opinions, so if you don't relate to what I'm about to say, don't be scared to suggest other opinions, or other alternatives, as this should be a community for everyone who's suffering from DP, no matter what the issue or the opinion might be.
MINDFULNESS AND WHY IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HELP
Now, I'm going to talk about one of the main problems. (In my case anyway.) Mindfulness. It doesn't help everybody.
Here's why: DP often comes along with hyperawareness. The problem with mindfulness is that it forces you to be extra aware of your surroundings. This being said, since hyperawareness makes us TOO aware of our surroundings, mindfulness will only make you even MORE aware of your surroundings and that might, in some cases, make the DP symptoms worse. Of course, if you have found that mindfulness helps you, I do not encourage you to stop practicing it. However, for those who are going through the same thing as I am, remember this: If your therapist encourages you to practice mindfulness, or if someone is trying to make you keep practicing mindfulness but that you find it doesn't help; don't be scared to stop. There are plenty of other alternatives out there, and ultimately, it's important to understand that even though you might think that "you're going crazy", you are STILL the boss of yourself. Don't let other people make decisions for you, even if you think that you can't trust yourself. The thing is, you can. You KNOW yourself better than anybody ever will, and you need to keep remembering that.
Before you read this part, I want you to remember that you are YOU and that you can pick and chose what is best for you. This being said, if you're careful, meditation CAN help. The problem with meditation in my case, is that most meditation is based on mindfulness. Most meditation once again, makes you be aware of things that you are already TOO aware of. HOWEVER, if you're a fan of meditation, don't loose hope: there are plenty of meditation programs out there. You can find some videos everywhere; youtube, google, apple apps, etc.
Here are the types of meditations that help me most:
- Gratitude meditation
- Happiness meditation
- Self-kindness meditation
- Sometimes, body scans can help, but once again, body-scans are a type of mindfulness so if you feel that body-scans would make you TOO self-aware, be free to stay away from them. The point is, not ALL meditation is about being extra aware of everything.
TALK TO YOURSELF, TALK TO YOURSELF AND TALK TO YOURSELF
I know that this might seem like weird advice but let me explain. Right now, you're probably telling yourself "There's jello in my brain, how am I supposed to talk to myself?" or "I'm probably already overthinking too much, so it might not be a good idea for me to talk to myself." Here's the thing. Most of your thoughts are subconscious. One of the main problems in DP is that we seem to be LOOKING at our thoughts and emotions rather than IN them. Now, if you consciously MAKE YOURSELF think something, this will help you realize that you're the one in control, and that you are capable controlling your thoughts. It will then help you feel like your thoughts are more connected to your body than you thought they were.
Here are some affirmations that help:
"I might see the world differently, but the world is the same."
"I am me."
"I will not die. I might feel dead inside, but the fact that I'm even THINKING proves that I'm alive."
"I am not crazy and I will NOT go crazy even if it feels like it."
"Love does exist and emotions do exist. I might have trouble feeling them, but my (pick yours: dad, mom, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, sister, brother..) loves me and there's a reason for it."
In cases of crisis:
*Pinch yourself and say*: "I chose to pinch myself. My mind is what made me pinch myself and I felt the pinch. This proves that my mind is connected to my body."
This is one of the hardest ones. But remember this: The more you FORCE yourself to distract yourself, the more you will enjoy what you're doing.
For example, do something you love. Or something you used to love. You might think that you don't love doing what used to make you happy anymore and for this reason, you gave up on whatever made you feel good. FORCE yourself to do it. Even if you don't want too. Eventually, the more you do it, the more you'll want to do it and the more you'll feel better.
The same goes the other way: The more you stay in your bed, the more you do nothing, the more you think about DP, the more you'll feel comfortable in your misery. This being said, once you're stuck in that misery, it's hard to get out of it because it became your point of comfort. That's why it's important to remember that the OPPOSITE of what you're doing is also possible.
THE BATTLE BETWEEN POSITIVITY AND NEGATIVITY
The reason why it's so hard to get better is because as I said before, once you're stuck in misery, it's the hardest thing to get out of it. Why do you think so many people are negative? Because negativity is our go too. It's so much easier to be negative than to be positive.
Think about it this way:
You want to start a diet. You start your diet but after a couple weeks, you give up. It doesn't seem worth it: eating chocolate is so much better anyway. On the other hand, you're friend gives you a cigarette. A week after, you take another one. Eventually, you develop the habit of smoking.
Here's the thing: Developing and KEEPING bad habits is sooooooo easier than developing and keeping good habits.
Wanna know why? Unfortunately, it's because in this world, negativity seems to overpower positivity. But once again, remember this: YOU are the boss. It's not because everybody in your entourage smokes that you need to smoke. The same goes with the world. It's not because the world is a negative place that you need to be negative too.
I'm not saying that it's easy, but it's possible. I'm not going to say that I'm an expert at it either, but I know that it's possible and it's important for everybody to remember this.
That negativity that's everywhere is the reason that's stopping you from getting better. It's the reason why it's so hard to meditate, to talk to yourself and to distract yourself. Meditation, talking to yourself and distracting yourself in this case, are some positive tools that can help you with your DP. Since they're positive tools, you want to make those tools a habit, but it's hard because like I said, it's easier to keep your bad habits rather than develop and keep good ones.
OK, I'M DONE RANTING NOW
All of this being said, remember this: You have the power over your mind. I'm not saying that these things are easy to do because to be completely honest, I don't do them half of the time. I'm not saying that DPD is an easy disorder to deal with, I'm not saying that it's easier than you think, I'm simply trying to give you some tools that might help you get better. And if you're like me, in order for me to use any tools at all, I need to know the "why". (Hence why this post is so stupidly long)
I'm still suffering and I still have DPD but on the days that I follow all of these concepts, I can truly admit that my day is better.
REMEMBER, if there's things here that you don't agree with or that you can't relate too: don't force yourself to follow my advice. You are the King of your castle. You know yourself better than anyone. So ultimately, even if you DO have DP, you're the only one who will know what's best for you. If you're having trouble knowing what's best for you, do a trial and error. Try different things. Then, toss the things that don't help you away, and keep in mind the things that do.
For those who would like to hear a bit more about someone else's journey and what helped him, here's an interesting video:
BEST OF LUCK