Hello! My names Hena, I'm a 17 year old female and I've had depersonalization and derealization since I was 12 (almost 5 years nonstop).
Just recently have I been officially diagnosed with dp/dr disorder caused by childhood trauma, as well as depression, and anxiety. Dealing with this alone has been really lonely and I hope to feel more understood here by sharing my story and finding similarities in each others experiences.
If anyones interested, heres my story:
What I've concluded is that my dp/dr was caused by an extreme case of repressing my emotions after traumatic events and emotional neglect from my family.
At the age of 8 my father was involved in a gruesome car accident and was in a coma for 7 weeks, I was in the hospital for all of those 7 weeks awaiting his recovery with my mother. No like actually... we only went home to sleep and ate nothing but saltines, graham crackers, packaged jelly, coffee, and the occasional milk nurses would sneak in for us. My dad was in the ICU as well as Hospice and little 8 year old me saw some really hard stuff; my dad was hooked up to multiple tubes and was just unrecognizable.. so my brain basically said "nope we aren't here right now and everything is fine", and that became my main coping mechanism. After his death my mom became more depressed, everyone kept telling me "stay strong, don't cry", and thats exactly what I did, I did not cry once in the span of 5 years let alone feel an emotion, but I was still in touch with reality, I still felt like the world was real back then.
FIRST EXPERIENCE/ THE BEGINNING:
At 12 I fell into a severe depression that I somehow got out of after a few months? Still don't know how, but I was feeling quite content at the time I first became derealized. I was at an outdoor restaurant with my family admiring the scenery when all of a sudden it did not look right and I couldn't really hear. I tried hard to get it back to the way it was, to make it look real again.. I couldn't and i still cant! My depersonalization developed a year after my derealization. At the beginning I really did not know what was happening and was completely convinced I was going crazy/ the world was fake/ i was dreaming. I got extremely close to "finding out" if you know what I mean..
Some days are better than others. Some days I feel so close to reality, so filled with hope and it's the best thing ever! At the same time some days I'm painfully numb and disoriented.
- I am in a constant state of ~zoned out~ which never ceases and only gets worse based on stress levels and lack of sleep.
- Something thats new is walking up stairs being difficult. I see my foot, I see the step, but as I put my foot down my heart drops as if I were about to fall. Weirdly the same does not happen for going down the stairs.
- I forget where I'm going. Walking to class I just find myself in some random hallway, like I'm on autopilot. Its concerning to say the least, but honestly makes sense considering the amount of stress I'm in currently.
- My dreams and reality get mixed up every once in a while.
- Its hard to make friends but I've found that people with ADHD and ADD are really understanding because they experience uncontrollable dissociation as well.
- Alice and Wonderland syndrome: hands look really small and sometimes really big. Also its hard to cook because I'll think I've made enough of something but its either too much or too little.
- I stayed up for 3 days in a row last month, and let me tell you..it is the scariest thing I've ever done. I started hearing things, seeing patterns, and fully believed I was doing other activities even though I was sitting in the same spot. My dp/dr got insanely worse for the weeks following that, things looked ridiculously small/large and the walls began "breathing". I've recovered from that but dang, never again.
- Getting through school has been the toughest thing in the world, not only can I not concentrate in class normally, but due to school being online I now have an even weaker sense of time. You'd think I'd know a thing or two after being in this state for 5 years... haha.
I don't know how I've gotten through it so far but I'm still here and I'm still hopeful I'll wake up one day and see the world with clear eyes and recognize my body as my own.