Hey guys, I really feel like I need to share some positivity and hopefully inspire some of you going through what is probably the darkest time of your life. I am not 100% cured yet, but I'm the closest I've ever been and I know that a full recovery is not far away. I won't go to deep into my full story, I want to save that for when I can confidently say that I've overcome this total and utter mind fuck (sorry for the cursing lol) for good.
I've suffered with DPDR for about 12 months now, and what a roller coaster ride it has been. It started after I had experienced a MASSIVE panic attack one night. I had never had a panic attack before. I went to sleep that night and when I awoke in the morning... I was greeted with the most indescribable and horrible feeling in the world- DPDR. This feeling would manifest as my anxiety increased, and as my anxiety increased so did the DPDR. It's an absolute viscous cycle, however believe me when I say this, it's a cycle that can be broken.
At the worse stages of my DPDR, my symptoms included and where not limited to:
- Feeling as if i was living in a dream
- Feeling of being high/ tripping all the time
-Physical sensations of cold shivers throughout my body and especially in my head
- Having disturbing and horrific thoughts eg. what if I hurt myself/ others
- Massive amounts of existential fears
- The concept of time didn't make sense to me, events that happened in the past didn't seem real (this one really bothered me)
- Lost touch with my body and emotions
- Visual disturbances, the world looking fake, the world was over saturated with colour, light sensitivity, people looking like robots (the visual disturbances also bothered me quite a bit)
The list goes on.... I know for a fact that there was more symptoms that I experienced but I've come that far into my recovery that I have forgotten many of the things that used to bother me.
So what things did I do and still continue to do that are helping me with my recovery?
- I think the most important thing is acceptance. I know from experience that when I was at my worst, people telling me to accept these feelings made me so angry. How could I accept these alien feelings that are literally ruining my life!? How the hell am I supposed to accept the fact that my life has just been turned upside down!? And how in the living hell am I supposed to accept that I have to live with such a horrible condition that I didn't even knew existed until I was so unfortunate enough to experience such a traumatic and distressing situation such as this?! But as time went on, I knew that the anger and hatred towards the DPDR wasn't helping me. Instead of trying to fight the feelings and constantly checking how badly I was dissociating, I was able to accept the fact that yes- I was experiencing a lot of uncomfortable feelings but no- I'm not going to let it take control of me. I think it's really important to try and accept that this is how things will be- for now! Thinking this way is hard at the beginning, but it helps so much. Because the less you get stressed about your symptoms, the less anxiety you experience, and with the lower amounts of anxiety you're experiencing, the DPDR will begin to fade.
- Get a good nights sleep (really important this one). Look up how to have a healthy sleep hygiene if you struggle with sleep
-Keep busy! Find a hobby, get that brain of yours working, play sport, watch movies, complete puzzles! Literally do anything you enjoy and that you can get fully absorbed into, this helps so much with keeping your mind from constantly ruminating about DPDR. I personally chose to start skateboarding and my god do I love it, it has helped me so much with my recovery
- Try meditation, personally I struggle with it, but I know it has worked wonders for people.
- Try things like supplements, I take fish oil, magnesium and zinc, and NAC. Whether these actually help I'm not too sure, but taking them definitely isn't hurting.
- Medication- you can try an SSRI. I currently take 100mg Zoloft and along with trying to live a more positive lifestyle, it has helped me over come a lot of anxiety issues.
Pretty much all I'm saying is try to be as healthy as you can. Create good habits and try and get rid of your bad ones. I don't think there's a straightforward answer for recovery from DPDR, but I believe a good general rule is- reducing your anxiety will reduce your DPDR. So do whatever you can to try and manage your anxiety and get it to a healthy level, which will ultimately cure you from your DPDR.
The recovery process won't happen overnight. It takes time. Giving yourself time to recover is so important. If it's been a week, or even a few months and you haven't noticed a decrease in DPDR, don't let it dishearten you! Keep going! Because I promise you that things will start to get better, you just gotta give it some time. I probably went about 6 months with no change. My DPDR was so chronic and it was always present, 24/7. But I kept going and now I'm at the 12 month mark and I'm so happy I didn't give up! The only symptoms I have currently is really just the visual disturbances. My emotions are back, I feel back in my body, life doesn't feel like a weird dream or bad acid trip, I can go outside and socialise without the world looking so foreign! I love my family, my girlfriend, my friends, my doggos, and most importantly myself I think it's very important to give yourself some credit and to love yourself, not everyone is battling a battle as hard as yours, but just know that one day, you'll be on the other side of DPDR and you will be so proud of yourself, because not many people can say that they've crawled their way through literal hell and made it out the other side!
I hope this helps, and that it can instil some hope into your hearts. I know how depressing DPDR can be, but please never lose hope. Please be optimistic for the future and for your recovery. Because that tiny shard of optimism in my heart has helped me push through the darkest of times, and I hope it can for you too
I know this has been long and thank you if you've made it this far. I think getting this off of my chest is just as good for me as it will be for you. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'll try and get back to you! Much love <3
*EDIT: One thing I forgot to mention was try to limit how often you spend on these types of forums and sites, a lot of people who have recovered/ are recovering will tell you not to sit on the computer all day researching every feeling and symptom you have. However in saying that, never be scared to come on and read the positive stories. I think they're a great source of hope and inspiration and have really helped me through my recovery journey.