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My story. Am i going well?

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#1 gormatrax



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Posted 22 October 2020 - 06:08 AM

Hello guys,

My name is Tudor and i'm an 18-year old from Romania. This is how I got DPDR.

As many of us here, I got mine from a panic attack on a weed trip exactly two months ago. It was a stressful time since I was about to leave my country (Romania) to go to Oxford University to study Maths and in the process I would have to leave behind my girlfriend of one year.

The preceding year was stressful (with the university admission process and the final year exams) but I would also say that it was the best year of my life. Which contrasts a lot with how I've been doing these past 2 months.

At first my dpdr was intermittent. It would be there especially when I would go out to meet people but in the first month it would almost always go away in the night for some reason, no matter if I was in my room or if I was outside. However I started getting more and more scared about the episodes and with the time of leaving nearing in it got worse and worse to the point where it became continuous. I have to say that I mainly experienced derealization and I have never had problems with not recognizing myself in the mirror / concentration etc.

On 22th of September I had to leave for Oxford. I had a very bad episode right as I left my family and my girlfriend for the airplane. However when I arrived and boarded the bus to the city I had this immense moment of clarity in which I realized that I managed to get to this great university and I felt completely in tune and in control. I however started fearing that it might start again and a couple of moments later it did.

I had to quarantine for 2 weeks because of the pandemic and during this time the stress of being away from home and the questioning of whether or not I would be able to do well in university with this condition started weighing in on me. The derealization became pretty much 24/7 and it was a big cause of distress. Not feeling connected with your environment and then being plopped into a completely new place away from your friends and family really didn't help.

I however became better and better at managing my anxiety and became less and less fearful of the sensations. I have to say that despite this condition I am still able to do well in university (i guess this means that I have a rather light form of it, since a lot of people complain that they have problems in school/concentration but I can handle the workload rather well).

Last week I had a talk with my girlfriend and I realized that me speaking so much about my fears and my condition is a big emotional burden for her and I really didn't want this to be something that would ruin my relationship. I told myself that I have to get my shit together and that I had to stop obsessing, which worked quite well.

At this point i'm in a weird state. The derealization hasn't been as obvious in the past week (in the sense that something feels off but it's hard to really put my finger on what). And even though the symptoms are fading, I still feel pretty weird. Like something is missing. It's hard to imagine myself walking carelessly down the streets thinking about random things the way I did before. But i guess that this is just anxiety. It's a really weird experience and I have had a couple of serious breakdowns. But right now things seem to be getting better, although I still have a very weird feeling that something isn't right. Am i just imagining that i still have derealisation? is it not there if it's not completely obvious that it's there or is this just a weird stage of recovery?

Here is a list of symptoms I had during the worst phase:

1) Felt like I was in a dream
2) Dolly zoom effect on objects (felt like they were much more in front of me than it made sense for them to be)
3) Feeling like people around me are robots, devoid of feelings or a soul
4) Feeling stuck in my own mind

I never felt that body parts are not mine or that my voice is not mine or that I don't recognize myself in the mirror (maybe to a very small degree but it was not distressing). I also don't think I had too much emotional blunting (in the sense that my girlfriend telling me that she misses me or seeing her sad or the thought of becoming emotionally numb towards her because of this shit really make me cry) but this past week I'm starting to feel more and more apathetic about things even though it feels like the feelings are subsiding.

This is my story. Am i doing well? Does it sound like I am heading towards recovery?

#2 lost235


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Posted 22 October 2020 - 01:50 PM

Hi! I would say you’re doing well! I’ve had all the symptoms you’re describing and lots of more, and it’s good to hear that you’re feeling better. You didn’t mention how long this all been going on for you, but I’ve been experiencing it since the beginning of July, and it’s still something that affects my everyday life. Although I feel the exact same way that you describe, that something is “off”, it’s like the dpdr is kinda there but also kind of not? I think this is something that everyone experiences during recovery when it comes to any type of anxiety based symptoms. When it’s been going on for a while it’s hard to imagine how it was before. Something that’s really helped me is to not try to feel as I used to do before this, because it won’t lead me anywhere. If I keep doing that then I’m constantly thinking about the dissociation, that won’t really help when trying to get better. I try to look forward and not in the past. I’m not saying that you won’t go back to how you were before, you most definitely will! But that won’t happen if you obsess over feeling how you used to feel. I’m not an expert in all this, just experiencing it all at the moment, but I think you’re doing great! To me it’s impressive that you’ve moved from Romania to Oxford even with dpdr, I think that’ll really help you in recovering! :) it’s normal to feel as something is off when the derealisation-feelings disappeared, I think it would be rather weird if you didn’t feel as if something is missing. When you’ve been feeling a certain way for a long time it’s obviously going to have some effect on you when it disappears. Anyways, I think you’re doing great! Keep going, you’ll be alright :)

#3 gormatrax



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Posted 22 October 2020 - 02:22 PM

Thank you so much lost325! I'm sure you'll also be alright. My experience with dpdr started on 20 August this year, so pretty much 2 months ago. I was very lucky to find about dpdr very quickly so I spared myself of the "i'm nuts/i'm losing myself/i'm going schizophrenic" thoughts but it has still been by far the most difficult time of my life. I was considering not going to Oxford after all (I was afraid I couldn't do well due to the dpdr) but I'm so glad I did, doing mathematics is the most helpful thing for taking my mind off my dissociation (and I sometimes even go a couple of minutes working on a problem and then I'm like "Hey nothing seemed wrong!"). I also saw a therapist here (the University offers free counseling) and she said that my experience fits quite well with the model of anxiety-based dpdr and that she wouldn't diagnose me with the disorder yet. I was so happy that she understood my problem and gave me a lot of hope. Life is hard away from home and the derealization on top of that really isn't making it easier, but I find that it allowed me to stop clinging onto the "old me" and to try working with the "current me" towards recovery, which is pretty helpful.

Dpdr really sucks but I am hopeful. The weird limbo state between barely dissociated / real is the weirdest phase by far because of the uncertainity it comes with but I'm trying to not give it much thought.

Have a quick recovery!!!!!

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