As usual, this post is probably going to be very long. I wasn’t too sure how I should title it, but I settled on what I did because it’s essentially the overarching issue of what i'm dealing with. I feel nothing towards the idea of recovery. This is not coming from a source of depression or any negative emotion. It’s sort of a result of the DPDR itself. The very way in which DPDR manipulates my perception makes me feel like recovery is nonsensical. Essentially, it is because my dissociation has lead me to form the following opinion on existence: True reality is an illusion, there is no proper mode of perception, there is no old life to go back to, there is no me, ergo; recovery isn’t possible because there is nothing to recover from, and there is no true reality to go back to. Now, I know intellectually that I am suffering from a mental disorder, but I swear I am so far removed from reality, my awareness has been expanded so drastically, and my introspection has increased so tremendously that it feels more so that I have experienced some form of conscious transcendence. Recover feels impossible because I feel as if as soon as one enters this altered state of consciousness, the brain simply can’t relearn how to go back to “normal”. I am well aware that feeling as if recovery is possible and the perception of reality is permanent is a common symptom of this disorder. Nonetheless, this is an issue that I am dealing with. Now I say that loosely because I’ve started to realize that I no longer feel as if im even suffering from this disorder. Rather, I feel as though I am merely in a different state of awareness, and I can’t wholeheartedly say that it is negatively affecting me. But intellectually, I know that it is. But this isn’t a consequence of emotional anhedonia, I certainly still feel emotions, even positive ones. I will have to elaborate on that later. The following text is likely going to be highly disorganized. My goal is essentially to try to explain exactly why I feel nothing towards recovery, and I will do so by explaining the very nature of how my DPDR distorts my perception precisely in that way. And I am also attempting to see if I can even articulate how I am feeling. My disorder is getting increasingly more abstract as time goes on. The words to describe my symptoms continue to fall shorter and shorter. But I find a degree of solace if I am able to actually explain my condition. It allows me to understand it better and experience it as information. I feel that anyone reading this could probably just stop at this paragraph and add their thoughts if they wish to, as I am only going to be hyper specific about my disorder within the next paragraphs. But to anyone who cares to read further, I appreciate it.
(Existential trigger warning lol)
First let me dive into my fleeting, abstract, and vague sense of self that is certainly the most terrifying aspect of my disorder. My symptoms on the surface level are quite usual: physical detachment from my body, feel like I am watching myself behave, feel like my thoughts aren’t mine, feel like my voice is delayed when I speak, can’t associate with my identity and thus can’t associate with my personality, desires, interests, and even friends and family. All pretty basic stuff. But how exactly this all “feels” at its core is weird. I feel as if the “self” is distilled. It is no longer unified but rather it is fragmented within my mind. My DP is essentially the prism that has broken up and refracted my sense of self that is the ray of light that permeates through it. I feel as if I am constantly cycling through identities, but really I think this can be more accurately described by constantly undergoing various degrees of depersonalization. So no, it isn’t split personality disorder. I feel like I am constantly viewing myself from different angles, some make me feel more depersonalized, some less so. So essentially I feel like there is no localized “me” that exists within my mind. I feel everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I feel all over the place mentally.
An unsettling thought is the idea of an ego death. People experience ego deaths in high enough doses of psychedelics. Essentially it is a complete loss of the sense of self, there is no boundary that divides the self from everything else. There is no longer a sense of agency, a sense will, within the consciousness. I have very little knowledge on the neurochemistry of psychedelics. If I remember the ego death has something to do with how seratonin is regulated within brain during the trip. I wonder if DPDR can cause an ego death in a great enough severity. I can’t tell if I merely experience a disconnection from myself or if the self is actually deteriorating. There may not even be a difference.
This distilled sense of self I believe affects my DR. I feel like I perceive reality on multiple levels at once. To attempt to describe this is so goddamn difficult. It’s like whenever I change perceptions, I am remembering that, “oh yeah, I have been this person my whole life, I am living life, I am alive, My past actually did happen, All these weird ass perceptions are a part of a mental illness, not reality itself” I become aware of how I actually exist but it contrasts to how I actually feel, thus it further emphasizes my dissociation.
Heres just some specific symptoms I have
I have seemed to realize that faces are representations. Its like I can’t believe none of us have realized this before. When we look at someone, where do we look? Their eyes, right? It seems that the human soul is most concentrated at the eyes, and a close second is the rest of the face. I have become extremely aware that we are not looking at a person when we look at them, we are looking at a REPRESENTATION of them. I look at someone smiling and that’s not what I see, I see the facial muscles being contorted in such a way so that it physically represents the inner emotional processes going on within the soul that is operating that body. I visualize a strange and germane disconnect when I look at a persons face and where their soul actually exists. I can’t exactly say this symptom is unsettling, but it sure is weird. A person is not their face, their face is a physical representation of how they feel. I don’t really feel an essence when I look at faces. Normally they would pop out at me, each facial expression has a different vibe in my mind, but now faces seem stale, and arbitrary.
Just a lot of weird meta awareness about our perception. I have become aware that I don’t actually know “where” my consciousness exists. When I say this Im not sure if I mean where it exists in time and space, but I have no clue. Where is all my stimuli being localized and processed? Where am I experiencing the world. Thinking while walking is so strange now. Its like, are my thoughts moving with me? But they’re not, they don’t exist in time and space, so why do i feel like they do, or they should? Also vision is weird. It seems that we exist mainly where our eyes do. I feel like I am this tiny little homonculus that is peering through the two anthropogenic windows that are my eyes. Also holy shit isn’t it so weird that eyes are seemingly opaque balls of flesh, like how can we see through them? This also leads me to understand that what we see isn;t reality, it is a representation of it. Pure reality doesn’t have any essence. This is a philosophical idea called the phaneron. We don’t experience the world, we live and interact within a tiny little bubble of perception that is bounded by our somatic and mental systems. I actually had a rudimentary realization of this before I experienced DPDR. I realized that vision is only possible because we have senses designed to process photons as visual information. Photons are literally just packets of electromagnetic energy emitted by atoms. Thus I realized that vision is an extremely complex illusion. We are literally just staring at a constant stream of hundreds of quintillions of photons at once, we aren’t actually looking at objects. When I realized this, I actually felt a very mild form of derealization. It was like their was a thin screen between my eyes and objects. I touched my desk, and I felt as if I was looking at an invisibly thin film between my fingers and the desk that was the photons being emitted by the atoms in it. This was all before I realized the complex cognitive and neural processes that are involved with constructing the illusive perception of vision. I feel like everything I perceive from external reality is being experienced in my brain, and I mean it technically is, I am just SUPER aware of that. That’s why I think in a lot of ways this disorder isn’t a distortion of reality at all. Rather we have become so disturbingly aware of the processes that construct how we experience the world. We have been awoken to the illusion of consciousness and the reality it projects. Of course, this could very well be a component of the disorder, but Its very hard for me to believe. Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t believe reality exists. I know for a fact that reality exists OUTSIDE of our perception of it. However, I have realized that the way in which we experienced it is fundamentally arbitrary.
I feel like I am viewing the world at the very front of my perception. My awareness isn’t focused on the things happening inside my reality, rather I am constantly aware of the very processes that are percieving it. I feel “behind” everything. I walk around and it doesn’t look like I am navigating the world, I feel like everything is moving around me. It all feels like a giant illusion.
I wanna talk about my bizarre emotional state. I really barely feel like I am suffering anymore. I don’t actually even feel like I have a disorder. I am so dissociated I have dissociated from the disorder itself, or something. Of course I always know intellectually that I do have a mental disorder. I feel like my emotional centres are very independent from my dissociation at this point. Despite feeling like the entirety of existence is a paradox, I still actively seek out and experience emotions and pleasure. I feel as if my emotions are all that I have left of me. When I am not doing anythig stimulating I feel effectively dead. The unification of my disassembled sense of self becomes temporarily strengthened when I am experiencing emotion. Lately I’ve been living off of nicotine. To anyone that is reading this don’t tell my mom please thanks lol. I own a vape, but I haven’t used it in over a year, it just sits hidden away in my desk drawer. Last weekend I was surprised when I found I had a full bottle of vape juice sitting at the bottom of my old school backpack. I said fuck it and filled it up and started again. My tolerance was basically reset so damn it was a nice buzz. I literally feel like I am addicted right now. I have been in my room for hours in a day just sucking on my vape like a juice box straw. I feel like this constant stream of dopamine is not helping my DPDR at all, but I can’t afford to care.
So I dont have anhedonia, yet I don’t feel anything towards my disorder. This is why I feel like my sense of self is so extinguished that their is no “me” that is even suffering. But perhaps I am just used to it? I can’t tell if I even exist anymore.
I’ve been checking the DP forums. But its like I do it impulsively, the same way I mindlessly check instagram or snapchat. I read these amazing recovery stories, but I weirdly feel like they don’t apply to me. My DPDR must be to the degree that a part of me can’t actually affectively process the fact that I am suffering from a disorder, despite me knowing that I am.
So, given all this, I wonder If I can recover, despite feeling like that is impossible on every level. I feel like I am in a completely different reality. I feel like I woud have to be put in a coma and have my brain reset in order to go back to normal. I wonder If I can ever go back to the dream of human experience.
So thats that. I know there is so much more I wanna say. But my memory is royally fucked. So thats it for now.