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.