My story/What my DPDR is like
In 2014 I came out, lost my family and church community, experienced some discrimination, and bull shit in life. About four months later I started to develop PTSD like symptoms, nightmares, reoccurring intrusive thoughts, sensitivity to loud noises. A few months later I would have my first panic attack, it triggered my DPDR. At first I only experienced DPDR when I had panic attacks which were frequent. I'm still convinced that the DPDR triggered the panic attacks, and not the other way around. My theory is that the DPDR symptoms became frequent enough, but they weren't scary enough to trigger a panic attack. My panic attacks went away but the DPDR came in more frequent waves. About a year after my first panic attack, I was living with DPDR 100% of the time.
A sampling of some of my worst symptoms included. . .
- Brain fog (it was so bad that sometimes, someone would ask me a question, and I was unable to respond. I had a couple coworkers asked if I was high while at work, which God . . . sucks)
- I was convinced that the "person who was born into this body" had died from my trauma, and I had taken their place. I had a lot of survivors guilt over this. My memories felt like they belong to someone else, and I honestly had a very hard time even remembering things from my past.
- My memory was shit, and I occasionally had amnesic episodes where I wouldn't know where I was, or what had happened in the last couple hours.
- I felt "like aliens had abducted me, and put me in virtual reality" all the time.
- I was not able to work full-time. I would show up to work every day on time, but at some point my symptoms would get really bad, I would suddenly get intensely emotional, and I would be sent home from work 2-3 times a week. I missed so much work that I should have been fired many times over, but my boss took pity on me because she could see it was trying.
What my treatment is like
I just want to set an expectation of what treatment is actually like. It's basically exactly like any other medication treating any other condition. It didn't cure me, but it does work. I still have the condition, and I still have to do things like keep a fairly strict sleep schedule, exercise, and socialize, and avoid specific triggers like too much screen time, or too much driving (does anyone else have too much driving as a trigger?). I have to take my dose three times a day, and depending on my stress level,increase or decrease the dose periodically. It can be really frustrating to say, my symptoms are cropping up again, but I'm not sure if that means I need to increase or decrease by dose, I just have to experiment.
It wasn't a miracle cure, but it was a miracle. The first time it took several hours for the medication to kick in, but once it did I cried with joy. I suddenly felt 100% normal, and like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders. I went from barely being able to maintain a shit Job, to never missing a day of work for mental health again. Two weeks after I started treatment, I got a new Job in tech support (what I wanted to do) because I knew I could trust my brain to solve problems suddenly free of the brain fog. The more time I spend in the real world, the more resilient my mind becomes too having episodes. In the last year I haven't had an episode that wasn't triggered by sleep deprivation or a road trip.