I'm 2 months recovered from DP, and let me tell you: life is still there and well. Actually you may even be better off than you were before DP. That is my experience anyway.
While I had DP I didn't really know...what to do. I'm sure all of you can relate, you don't know what your life is, just getting through a day is enough work as it is. A lot of people who've recovered suggest to move on with your life, well for me...I couldn't even see a life there so how could I move onto it right?
Instead I would just try to make sense of the DP, constantly, thinking and that's what you will do, naturally when you have DP. But that's what held me back from recovering...yes you know what's coming....thinking about it. Wait until you recover, you'll have LOTS of normal things to think about but for now what you need to do is create structure in your life.
Now that I look back, and knowing the mechanics of the disorder itself, here are some things that I could have done in order to recover much faster and helped me move back into my life!
The key here is consistency, you can't just do these things once and think it will cure you. You have to do these over and over. Just like your mind is reacting over and over. This will help you switch gears.
And you're not going to want to do these things, I remember reading these threads and was scared out of my mind! I was just frozen in place, I didn't want to get a job, I quit my job because of my DP and I didn't want to do anything. But I wish some one would have just whooped my butt and just made me do these things.
So here they are:
1. Get a job - any job will do, it doesn't need to be something that you like it just needs to be a low stress dutiful job with tact. Working at a counter in a cafe or grocery store would be good. Stocking shelves. Washing cars. Data Entry would be good too because it's so focused, ya see? Choose a job that is fast moving, that's important. Stay away from restaurant kitchens and even waiting tables, they tend to be too high stress.
Don't feel pressured to take on full time shifts start with a few shifts a week and go from there.
2. Exercise - I know it's so typical but yes exercise is good for anxiety therefore good for DP. Stay away from yoga, pilates, anything with a meditative element. Do an exercise that focuses on consistency and routine. Jump rope, aerobics, lifting weights, kick boxing. If you're comfortable doing a class that's a good option too. BUT the key here is to exercise regularly, don't over do it, 15 solid minutes of cardio every second day is well enough.
3. Watch TV - Yes! that's right watching TV can help you recover from DP. If you have netflix or a series box set, get comfy and start watching! Go for light comedies something quick and if you like, witty (shows that come to mind: The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec.) there should also be lots of story lines running through so you can follow it. Stay away from shows involving hospitals, CSI, any darker subject matter. If you find yourself not interested in a certain season, doesn't matter, commit to it, you started watching it you have to finish the whole season. It may even start to feel like a job doing normal things eventually you'll start enjoying it.
I also found I was most comfortable watching animated shows because I couldn't look at people's eyes.
(seriously - watch My Little Pony - guys and girls, it'll make you feel happy).
3. Make a List - this can be super effective!
No matter how you feel, if you feel phony or scared it doesn't matter:
First write down:
What your hobbies and interests are/used to be (everything no matter how you feel about it now)
What your goals and dreams are/used to be (I don't put "are" to be cheeky, it's just a fact that they still exist within you right now)
What are/were the most important things in your life (i.e. values, morals, family, friends)
What were/are 4 of your best assets (personality traits) (mine were for example: funny, caring, thoughtful, determined)
You have to read this list every day in the morning and at night if you need to. It's just there to remind you who you actually are and that's what your life will contain when you recover so you may as well get used to that fact.
After reading the list think about what the old you would do today. Just choose one or two things. For example if you used to dance around the house when no one's home, do it! Even if you're terrified and you feel like you're faking and you can't feel anything. Just doing it will make you feel connected to yourself and your interests and hobbies again. You don't have to enjoy what you're doing just do it.
Ok, if there was one thing that would have helped immensely was committing to activities. EVEN if you don't feel like you're committing. Just doing small things like this each day will add up and show you there's nothing to be afraid of.
Here are some examples:
- Go to the library, pick out a book and read!
- Start knitting/crochet (oh man seriously this is probably one of the best things you can do, it's the epitome of a continuous task and it gives you a product at the end, how great is that!)
- Clean your room (it'll make you feel better and you will feel more organized)
- Candy Crush...yes, start playing ADDICTIVE video games. This will keep your mind busy like no other! Play games all day if you have to (My sister and I used to play The Sims like all day when we were younger) well that's what you have to do now. (Along with proper exercising).
I used to cook all of my meals and when I got DP I stopped, I went to the grocery store but I just wanted to grab something quick and leave. A good thing to do, if you like cooking or you've always want to get into it. Use it to help your DP recovery!
What you have to do is find a recipe online that is simple enough to make.
Make a list of what you need and gather your ingredients
and Start cooking!
It's a fun activity to do with someone, working as a team is always better!
I baked a lot (cookies!) while I had DP and I found it really helped -
(completing a task from beginning to end and watching the oven made me feel grounded time-wise, for me, when I had DP, time didn't make sense to me and I always freaked out about it, I thought time was going too fast or too slow, I'd look at the clock and a minute seemed like 5 minutes, I'm sure you all can relate).
6. The most important thing - Keep to a schedule
Oh mama, this is the BIG one. Above all else, if you're able to wake up at the same time every morning, just please, do it. Because you're basically planting a structure seed in your life. No matter how disorderly your life may look, you are taking control of it by the simplest action, choosing when you wake up. Even if you have a job still wake up at the same time (if you have scattered shifts this is especially important). You won't believe what kind of magic this does.
For me, the earlier the better I currently follow this practice currently (the odd sleep in does happen but I never dreamed of doing this while I had DP and if I did, it would probably have cut my recovery in half.
It helps if you have a task that you need to get done the next day, but haha! it's up to YOU what time you do it. Have laundry to do? Set your alarm and do it when you wake up. That way you'll be up and "at 'em" as people say...
You can schedule your exercise to be in the morning too, there ya go!
Bonus: Said yes to medication
So I know a lot of people out there are anti-meds but I have to say: sometimes it's exactly what you need. I've never been on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants before but they helped me a ton. I'm on them now but I wish I started them when I had DP. I recovered because of my own will power and because I was just dang sick of it. But if I realized this was an anxiety disorder and I took anti-anxiety medication I would have saved myself a lot of struggle.
So those are all the things I wish I did while I had DP, I challenge you to commit to one of these things for a week. I know DP drains a lot of your energy but if you can do one you'll be well on your way!
Remember: Be CONSISTENT and COMMIT, you have to do these over and over. Have courage you can do this!
Here a bit of my history/recovery details: http://www.dpselfhel...ed-in-two-days/
Message me if you have any questions!! Or if you need some support!
Life is intact, the world is still intact everything is what you've always known it to be!