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Episodic becomes chronic - bad sign?


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#1 gormatrax

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 07:11 AM

Hey everybody, 

 

I've been dealing with dpdr induced by a bad weed trip for almost 3 months now. 

 

This started exactly 1 month before I was about to leave to study at Oxford.

 

In the beginning month it was episodic - it would almost always go away during the night for some reason, or when I would hang out with only one person. Being around more than one person would usually make it worse (due to anxiety I suspect). However the episodes started getting longer and longer as I was getting more stressed about going to Oxford with this condition, leaving home, leaving my girlfriend etc. The last moment i felt connected was in the airport, when I arrived in the UK. I was completely free of anxiety and felt confident that I would be able to do well and get rid of this condition.

 

Fast forward 2 months, I'm nearing the end of my first term. School actually went great (I can still do maths and study without any problems which is great, my main problem is derealization anyways and not that much depersonalization). However during my time here I haven't had any moments of clarity. My anxiety clearly wasn't helped by two weeks of quarantine and after that being thrown in a completely new environment while everything looks weird. 

 

The fact that it was episodic and now chronic concerns me. I opened up to my tutors yesterday and they were very supportive. They are willing to help me attend the second trimester from home, hopes being that being back into a familiar environment with my girlfriend and my family could help me overcome this.

 

Anyways - guess I just wanted to share how things have been going lately with a community that understands how shit this is. I'm still in early days but the fact that it's now chronic doesn't give me hope (and really scares me tbh). I clearly am not as affected as many people here since I can still function pretty well but it's been the worst time of my life and I've been crying daily for the last two months. 

 

I'm still hopeful but my hope is dwindling since I haven't had moments of clarity in a while. But I still believe that I can beat this disorder. I'm just afraid of coming back in one year being in the same position mentally, looking at this hopeful post and realising that not much has changed. Let's hope that won't be the case.



#2 Broken

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 06:27 PM

Hi there. I know how daunting it can be when things become chronic with this condition. Firstly, stay clear of the weed as it clearly doesn't do you any good. A big regret of mine is not stopping at the first signs of trouble 

 

It sounds pretty clear your DP is triggered by anxiety, which then triggers stress and all the neurochemical/hormonal changes that come with that. This affects sleep which I think is the main contributing factor to DPD. I am thinking of doing my daily run again soon, 1mile a day in the evening to burn off those stress hormones and sleep better. Perhaps more exercise would be a good place to start?

I also am coming to believe that this condition could be more affected by what you DO than what you take ie medication/diet. As hard as it is you need to try and push yourself TOWARDS your fears and anxieties so you build up a resistance to it. But this is very hard to balance with not getting over stressed. I've also been doing the Wim Hof method recently, which involves cold showers and hyperventilating. Again, these are natural stressors that are uncomfortable but supposedly make you more resilient. I havent had a break through yet lol but who knows

 

My current plan is to balance the two and know HOW to relax ie meditation, yoga, sleep, as well as push myself ie exercise, wim hof method. It is good that you have moved home though, that should help you relax more. Let me know what you think and what you have been trying to combat it



#3 gormatrax

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 07:41 PM

Dear broken,

 

Nice to hear your response. Having this thing chronically definitely is absolutely horrible but I've been coping okay so far. It's still early days from what I've seen in the recovery stories but oh well. You can imagine I've been avoiding weed like the devil after this (I wasn't a regular smoker or anything, this was the 6th time I ever smoked). For some context, I'm an 18 year guy from Romania. 

 

Some things which help me cope right now:

 

- My girlfriend. She is honestly the best human being I have ever met. She is very reassuring and is really good at pointing out my negative thought patterns about this. I've been trying to only discuss this with her when I'm having a breakdown or a particularly bad day. The thoughts of me ending up being damaging to her are definitely the worst thoughts I've had in this period but I'm trying hard to not let this burden the relationship (on top of us being long distance for the past two months.)

 

- Doing maths. I am in my first year of a maths degree here in Oxford. The workload is intense and it helps me distract myself from the dp while feeling productive and satisfied so it's great. Really hope I won't lose my ability to do maths though...

 

- Meditation (the basic kind in which you focus on your breath and body scans) help me when I'm particularly anxious. I've had a hard time relaxing but  right now I love meditating because I really feel at peace and helps me with accepting, especially when I start feeling trapped in my derealisation (which is an awful feeling). These don't really help the dpdr but they help my overall mental health I guess.

 

- Trying to correct my thought patterns. I haven't really had any thoughts about reality / existence since I found really early about this disorder and I just see myself as a real human with a mental health problem I guess. However I tended to catastrophize a lot and I've been doing ok with getting that under control. It's hard since the thoughts of being like this for a couple of years / decades / forever are very scary (and there aren't that many good arguments for combating them) but I keep reminding myself that it's only been almost 3 months and that there's no point right now in worrying about having this for 10 years. And after all, even if it lasts 5 years, I would be fine at 23, which is still pretty young so that's good.

 

- Distraction: playing minecraft and watching a lot of tv shows recently to try to stop obsessing (which is my main problem right now definitely). I put a blocker on this site for the past week and that's been going okay but I decided to return for some constructive conversations I guess (but I don't plan staying too long since I don't want to make myself start looking for symptoms I don't already have and then start having them...)

 

One thing I have observed is that I keep beating myself up for not getting my anxiety under control in the first month when it was still very episodic. However instead of doing that, I started thinking about what I would beat myself up in the next months for not doing right now in order to speed the process. That really motivates me to keep my thoughts under control.

 

It hasn't been all bad during this time. I figured that I had some problems in the past that I did not really adress. This gives me confidence that when this hell is over I will be much more honest to myself and a much better person overall. Thinking that I took for granted something as seemingly trivial as my perception of reality is incredibly fucking humbling.

 

Don't mind if I ask, how has your dpdr been progressing? Mine definitely hasn't stabilised although the feelings themselves are much less varied (in the first month it would feel different almost each day which was very confusing). However I feel that it's been getting a bit worse which definitely isn't a nice thing to notice but I try not to think about that too much because there's a high possibility my anxiety is just tricking me into thinking that.

 

All in all, it's been pretty hellish. I don't think I had a day in which I didn't cry in the past two months. My emotions are very messy right now since most of the time I feel much more emotional than I did before (even though I have always been a bit of a crybaby). Music especially tends to suck because I either don't feel anything from songs I listened to in the past (which is freaky) or I start being very sad because I remember I was not dealing with this shit when I was listening to those songs. However certain songs have this weird effect in which I start getting goosebumps and waves of heat in my body, almost like there's something deep inside me trying to awaken, trying to break free from the chains of this disorder, but not quite succeeding... I've never had that before and it's a pretty powerful feeling which makes me feel very hopeful.



#4 Broken

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:12 PM

I dont mind sharing that my DP has been pretty chronic but I have had it quite a while. I wont say how long as I wouldnt want to scare you lol. I would just focus on yourself for now and see that the symptoms fluctuate which is a GOOD thing. It is probably anxiety, and the symptoms are linked to that. Focus on tackling the anxiety

 

I would keep doing your meditation and try to focus on relaxing. For me I feel my attention itself is focused, like there is a tension in the front of my forehead and eyes. Even as I read and listen to people I am OVER focusing and trying to hard.. which is part of the anxiety mechanism as I dont want to miss anything.. but that precisely, and ironically is part of the problem perhaps. I need to learn to relax and put the minimal effort into the simple things to give the mind a rest.

 

Have hope, this is early days for you and more often than not, people recover and never come back. Like I say learn to relax and notice when you are focusing on the negative thought loops and see if you can drop that thought, and if that doesnt work distract yourself



#5 leminaseri

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:38 PM

I dont mind sharing that my DP has been pretty chronic but I have had it quite a while. I wont say how long as I wouldnt want to scare you lol. I would just focus on yourself for now and see that the symptoms fluctuate which is a GOOD thing. It is probably anxiety, and the symptoms are linked to that. Focus on tackling the anxiety

I would keep doing your meditation and try to focus on relaxing. For me I feel my attention itself is focused, like there is a tension in the front of my forehead and eyes. Even as I read and listen to people I am OVER focusing and trying to hard.. which is part of the anxiety mechanism as I dont want to miss anything.. but that precisely, and ironically is part of the problem perhaps. I need to learn to relax and put the minimal effort into the simple things to give the mind a rest.

Have hope, this is early days for you and more often than not, people recover and never come back. Like I say learn to relax and notice when you are focusing on the negative thought loops and see if you can drop that thought, and if that doesnt work distract yourself


it will be off topic but you are a real dp-warrior. always motivated to recover and never readed anything from you like „i hate my life“. credits!

#6 Broken

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 04:47 AM

it will be off topic but you are a real dp-warrior. always motivated to recover and never readed anything from you like „i hate my life“. credits!


Thank you :) that's made my day

#7 gormatrax

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 06:28 AM

Very true, from what I've seen Broken is one of the most nice and optimistic people around here. It is so sad that such nice people have to go through this horrible disorder, but what can you do... I wish you guys the best and I will keep you posted occasionally with my progress.

#8 Aridity

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 02:36 PM

Have to agree with Broken, this disorder is really a hell on earth. And even when we dont feel anything as it seems, this disorder is highly sensitive at what we do in our lives. So the normal healthy stuff, as just staying active etc. Not ruminating and questioning and all those things should lessen it. This disorder is more a stress affected disorder rather than a anxiety one. It's a thin line though. Take care






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