Really struggling with DP/DR
Posted 18 September 2020 - 08:27 AM
I'm so glad I found this site as I've really been struggling with DP/DR lately. I've had it on and off for years mainly during and after bad panic attacks and it would fade away over hours or days. It was horrible but bearable. The last 6 weeks have been full of stress and the worst panic attacks I've ever had. They've made every other panic attack I've had feel like a walk in the park. I also lost a loved one suddenly last Christmas and I'm still trying to come to terms with that.
In the last week especially, things have been tough. I've been at hospital for a bad urine infection, been to see my GP 3 times, been told I'm either pre diabetic or diabetic and then to top it all off, I was contacted by NHS tracing saying I've been near a close contact with covid19 so I have to self isolate for 14 days.
My DP/DR has lasted almost constantly since my last big panic attack a few days ago. It's so hard to explain how I feel. I look at myself in the mirror or photos I take of myself and I recognise the person but it doesn't feel/look like me. Outside looks so strange even though I know nothing has changed. The worst of all is that I feel no love or connection to my husband or cats, it's like there's a wall or something between us and they can't break through. It breaks my heart because I love them all more than absolutely anything in the world. It always worries me when I get this bad mentally because they are always what bring me out of bad times but not right now. I feel weak physically and mentally. I take pics constantly of things I do to 'prove' to myself that I done it if that makes sense? We took my family out for a drive the other day and I was constantly taking pics of the trip because I felt so out of it and that it wasn't actually happening.
I can barely feel anything atm. Even my anxiety has been dampened which would sound like a good thing but because I'm so used to feeling things so strongly, this just feels more scary and unnatural to me. I keep getting spasms of fear that I am going crazy and I need to be sectioned or that I'm dying. The worst feeling though is the feeling of utter hopelessness that I'll never get better. I'll never feel love or joy again. I feel so much guilt over all of this and sometimes wonder if it would be better if I stayed in a hotel or something until this passes. I feel dread being around loved ones when I feel like this because I'm not the person I used to be. Not the person they need me to be.
My GP has offered me sertraline but I am trying to get through this on my own. Can beating DP/DR and panic attacks be done without meds? I've done it before in the past but this is the worst I've ever been or at the very least the worst I've been in about 7 years. I take propranolol every day for anxiety.
Sorry for the novel, I just don't know where else to turn. Any advice you could give would be most appreciated. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this
Posted 18 September 2020 - 10:06 AM
I am sorry that you are in such an acute state of DPDR. I have been there, and I can identify with everything that you said. And I can tell you that I got better, a lot better, but I had some painful trauma processing to do before I recovered. Well, I still am recovering, but I am miles away from where I've been almost four years ago...Hopefully, it does not have to last that long, and sure, I had ups and downs, not being constantly DPd, or at least not to the same extent...sometimes it would get better, and then I would have another layer of trauma processing to do, then would get better, then encounter another one, and so on...I only mention trauma processing, because grief processing is also a complicated and hard thing to do.
What caught my eye in particular in your post is the guilt that you feel for not being the person you think you should, or that people around you need you to be. I had a lot of that too. However, I soon realized that I need to do whatever necessary for me to recover, and in order to recover, we cannot feel irrational guilt for things that are out of our control. And we need support of our close people, and we need to feel secure in those close relations, and also not to be ashamed to ask for help, because the state you are in is not your whim, it is a state of a deep hurt, and it is as real as any other health issue.
I cannot give you advice on how to handle your recovery. I had some CBT, and meds, to stabilize me when I felt the worst, but also a lot of support irl, then I found support in self-help groups online, and in general I looked for help wherever I could, and also I wrote a lot, every day for myself, and from time to time I posted about things that bothered me, or about some breakthroughs that I had. I don't think it is ever one thing that will get you out, but rather a network of things, in particular those things that don't let you isolate yourself even more. Meds come in when person is in such an acute state of panic that she has to be stabilized first in order to get somewhere. In this respect, meds helped me when I was a mess, but then again, I don't know what the outcome would be without them...
Take care, and know that it can get better.
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