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#49 pancake

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 11:48 AM

Hi,
I am female, from Europe and in my mid twenties.

I have experienced episodic DP/DR as far back as I can remember (which is approx. age 3). Frequently I could not feel the ground underneath my feet and felt as if I were hovering a couple of inches in the air. I would not recognize myself in the mirror, although I knew intellectually that this stranger was me. I felt as if I were wearing a costume, an ill-fitting skin suit, and observed myself clearly as a seperate entity to this body. My vision was pretty bad as it was (physical causes) but I would often experience the world around me as if seen through a narrow visor, which reinforced my impression of seperateness to my body. Occasionally I would view scenes I was a part of from the outside, standing behind myself or looking on from above like an observer. My internal voice has always been very distinct and at times unnaturally loud, frequently admonishing myself for any and all mistakes I made. In bed at night I would think in circles, pondering my own existance and the vastness of space. After coming across the doppelgaenger mythos I harboured fears that I was an imposter, a parasite who had ripped my parents' true daughter right out of her body and took her place. I knew this explanation was as silly as thinking my teddy was alive would have been, but it left me fearful and guilty nonetheless.

Just as puberty set in, at 12 or 13 I began to slowly sink into more pronounced DP/DR and becoming depressed, gradually worsening until I was 15, at which point I had little social contact outside of necesssity (school and parents) anymore. Frequency of DP/DR increased and more and more often I would spend hours or days just going through the motions. I saw these times as a relief at first. Devoid of personal thoughts my energy was expended only on controlling my facial expression and movements. I felt like a puppeteer pulling muscles like strings to animate my body and create a semblance of normalcy for my parents. Colours were muted and flat giving the appearance of a black and white world. I could no longer taste food and my attention span was diminished to the point where I could no longer read. Self-harm became a way of aleviating symptoms for short periods. I was certain I was losing control, losing my mind. I felt incomplete, as if I had lost myself but could not remember who I had been in the first place.

I went into therapy, took the prescriptions for a couple of years. In the end I decided I'd rather not. I have experienced DP/DR periodically over the past ten years but it never quite returned to the levels I experienced as a teen. Usually it is most pronounced when the days get shorter, with sensory overload leading into a dissociative winter. Completing long-term projects invariably leads into a void for me and brings on a few weeks or months of cotton-wool clad unreality. Other than the above DP/DR has always been quite a benign conditions for me, only rarely disrupting my life overly or at least not for very long periods at a time.

#50 voidvoid

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:48 PM

Wow. Just...wow. Your story is gripping and fascinating and familiar and sad (in no particular order) to the point that I felt I was reading a well-written book. I dont know when, if ever, Ive read someones writing that made me feel like I knew that person like this. Its funny because earlier I was reading your post in the "favorite movies" thread and I was thinking "thats like most of my favorite movies aswell". I can only wish to one day be able to write like you.

Welcome to the forum, I sincerely hope you stick around.

#51 pancake

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:35 AM

Thanks Inzom.
I was being a terrible employee and playing with the post at work on and off throughout the day before submitting it. :-)

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 02:12 AM

We are in the process of restoring our story section. It includes personal accounts of how our dp symptoms started, a little personal history of the journey towards recovery.


Some stories are tales in process - recovery not reached yet...


Others such as my own, are tales of total recovery.


Please tell us your own.


And check back here later in the week for some others!


Peace,

Janine


I cannot figure out how to work the introducing myself page or anything else on this forum for that matter. Maybe I am too old.. haha. I have been living with dp now for 35 years. It started when I was 19 and I had an abortion. I feel as if I am living outside of my body. It is living hell. I am on medication; zoloft and have been for years. I have also tried cymbalta and pristique. Pristique is working pretty well for me, actually, in combination with the zoloft. I have a daughter but she doesn't live with me. She is twenty four and lives with my parents. I have also seen many therapists but they never really help. I just live with it day in and day out. I didn't realize that there were other people with this disorder.

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 02:30 AM

Hi: I finally figured how to post my story. My name is Candi and I have a very long story to tell. At the age of 19, after an abortion, I started to feel "displaced" and having "out of body experiences" in the morning, middle of the day, then in the evening. The whole out of body experience continued to take over me within a month or so until I felt like I was in a fog all of the time, and I also feel like the walls are moving around me. It is a terrible, terrible feeling. Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't care if I died. I even lost all of my appetite. No one ever believes that, though. I just eat because I have to and food tastes good. Also, I just want to act and seem normal like everyone else.

I married at the age of 25 to a black man but then he left me for another woman and I was hospitalized. Actually, I had seen therapists when I was younger for anxiety.
When my husband cheated on me, I felt like crap so I immediately started another relationship with another man. I had my daughter with him and he also left me. My daughter and I left him and moved in with my parents.

When I moved in with my parents I met another man, whom I thought I loved. I married him and he became abusive; I guess that I was always looking to get "punished" so sometimes I didn't care that I was being abused.

I also stopped eating for awhile because I was in this abusive relationship and did get real thin and gross looking. I did have a child whom I love dearly and dragged her into the abusive relationship. One day, though, I took my stuff and her and left the guy. That was the smartest thing I ever did besides having her. She is twenty-four now. I met another guy who helped me a lot by sort of looking out for me and helping me with stuff. He is now my husband. We decided we were done with New York and moved to San Diego. It tore me apart to leave my daughter but the sunshine and mountains in San Diego helped. My husband lost his job so we moved to Tennessee. It is better because we live closer to my family. Thank-God for my family because they are always there for me. I have a job here as a special education assistant to a child with autism. It makes me feel good to work with kids with special needs. I have a masters degree in physical education and I did teach p.e. for about six years so I guess I am not doing too bad. There are days when I feel elated, I have no symptoms of dp and those are my good days. I can get into a good mood and joke around with people. I exercise alot and I hang out with friends like normal people so I do try to have a life instead of feeling sorry for myself. I also have a dog whom I love like a child. The sunshine helps me: decent amount of sleep, not smoking anything, (and caffiene always helps).

I have seen many therapists and psychiatrists but they usually don't help. I take zoloft to keep me from going off the deep end. I have been taking it for about fifteen years now. I have also started taking pristique. It seems to help a little.

I am very surprised that there are other people with this disorder. It didn't seem like it was a common disorder. There is always talk about bi polar depression and schizophrenia but not too much about this disorder. I have read alot about it and the books say that it happens after a trauma so I am pretty sure that the abortion was it. I enjoyed reading the story by pancake and have also read the book, Feeling Unreal. It was wierd to read about what was happening to me so I basically stopped reading about it. Also, my mother was a real pushy person who always made me play in sports. She meant well and that kept me off drugs, but she was kind of mean. I always wonder if she has anything to do with my disorder.

Well, that is my story. I am very glad that there is a support group for me. Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments.

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 03:43 AM

Hi, I'm not really sure how to write on these forums, but I'm going to give it a try. I'm fifteen years old, I got peer-pressured into smoking weed one time, and the experience made me never want to do it again. I felt like I left my entire body and it was a horrible feeling. I began feeling like I was in a dream constantly. I went to a doctor, and she was certain my depersonalization was from "stress" caused from my parents divorce. She put me on some pills called "SAMe" pills, they seem to be helping me a little bit with not feeling so depressed, and actually becoming motivated for every day. My depersonalization really took a toll on me..I became home schooled because I felt like people could see something was wrong with me. I became very paranoid, always feeling like something bad was going to happen, and like nothing was real. I am trying very hard to overcome depersonalization disorder, but at the same time it's extremely hard trying to live a normal teenage life. I don't like to tell my friends what is wrong with me, because unless you actually have the disorder, it is hard to understand what it's like for other people. I have been depersonalized for about three months now, sometimes worse than others, but I am hoping to get rid of that numbness feeling in my hands, and get my normal state of mind back soon.

#55 Bradd

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:42 PM

Hi, I'm not really sure how to write on these forums, but I'm going to give it a try. I'm fifteen years old, I got peer-pressured into smoking weed one time, and the experience made me never want to do it again. I felt like I left my entire body and it was a horrible feeling. I began feeling like I was in a dream constantly. I went to a doctor, and she was certain my depersonalization was from "stress" caused from my parents divorce. She put me on some pills called "SAMe" pills, they seem to be helping me a little bit with not feeling so depressed, and actually becoming motivated for every day. My depersonalization really took a toll on me..I became home schooled because I felt like people could see something was wrong with me. I became very paranoid, always feeling like something bad was going to happen, and like nothing was real. I am trying very hard to overcome depersonalization disorder, but at the same time it's extremely hard trying to live a normal teenage life. I don't like to tell my friends what is wrong with me, because unless you actually have the disorder, it is hard to understand what it's like for other people. I have been depersonalized for about three months now, sometimes worse than others, but I am hoping to get rid of that numbness feeling in my hands, and get my normal state of mind back soon.




Same thing with me kayla, I'm 16 and also feel people know that there is something wrong with me but just wont tell me. But once in my art class my friend said, ' Brad knows he's retarded you don't need to tell him that' and everything went quiet lol. I didn't know if he was joking or not but I wanted to kick the shit out of him for saying that lol. I do have tons of friends though who don't ever say stuff like that or treat me like a retard. It's mainly the people I don't know. Because before this DP i was popular and outgoing. But yeah i feel your pain :(. Don't really know what caused mine, really don't know anything that was stressful when i got it. Besides smoking weed lol. If you read this, add me on aim - Bradgetzdown or Msn - [email protected] if you have it :P
Bye.

#56 jnsx

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:05 AM

We are in the process of restoring our story section. It includes personal accounts of how our dp symptoms started, a little personal history of the journey towards recovery.


Some stories are tales in process - recovery not reached yet...


Others such as my own, are tales of total recovery.


Please tell us your own.


And check back here later in the week for some others!


Peace,

Janine



#57 WANTTOBEBETTER

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:18 PM

Hi,
I am female, from Europe and in my mid twenties.

I have experienced transient DP/DR as far back as I can remember (which is approx. age 3). Frequently I could not feel the ground underneath my feet and felt as if I were hovering a couple of inches in the air. I would not recognize myself in the mirror, although I knew intellectually that this stranger was me. I felt as if I were wearing a costume, an ill-fitting skin suit, and observed myself clearly as a seperate entity to this body. My vision was pretty bad as it was (short-sighted, astigmatism, lazy-eye) but I would often experience the world around me as if seen through a narrow visor, which reinforced my impression of seperateness to my body. Occasionally I would view scenes I was a part of from the outside, standing behind myself or looking on from above like an observer. My internal voice has always been very distinct and at times unnaturally loud, frequently admonishing myself for any and all mistakes I made. In bed at night I would think in circles, pondering my own existance and the vastness of space. After coming across the doppelgaenger mythos I harboured fears that I was an imposter, a parasite who had ripped my parents' true daughter right out of her body and took her place. I knew this explanation was as silly as thinking my teddy was alive would have been, but it left me fearful and guilty nonetheless.

Just as puberty set in, at 12 or 13 I began to slowly sink into more pronounced DP/DR and becoming depressed, gradually worsening until I was 15, at which point I had little social contact outside of necesssity (school and parents) anymore. Frequency of DP/DR increased and more and more often I would spend hours or days just going through the motions. I saw these times as a relief at first. Devoid of personal thoughts my energy was expended only on controlling my facial expression and movements. I felt like a puppeteer pulling muscles like strings to animate my body and create a semblance of normalcy for my parents. Colours were muted and flat giving the appearance of a black and white world. I could no longer taste food and my attention span was diminished to the point where I could no longer read. Self-harm became a way of aleviating symptoms for short periods. I was certain I was losing control, losing my mind, desperate for help but reluctant to open up to my parents. I finally told them about my depression when I was 16. I don't think I ever mentioned any of the DP/DR to them, feeling that I was putting them through enough just being depressed.

After a visit to the family GP my thyroid was examined, I was prescribed Xanor for anxiety and I was referred to a therapist. I went twice a week, the best two days in each week by far. My therapist suggest I also start a course of anti-depressants and referred me to a psychiatrist. I found her to be a horrible woman, who whenever I wasn't feeling as if I were dead already actually made me long for that state. She put me on Paroxetine (SSRI) and Olanzapine (atypical antipsychotic) as well as Buspirone (anxiotic). I was diagnosed with moderate-severe neurotic depression by my therapist and with severe neurotic depression by the psychiatrist at lightning speed. Like my Mother the psychiatrist felt I should be hospitalized. Thankfully, my therapist was opposed to this course of action and eventually won that particular argument.

The depression began to lift soon after I started Paroxetine but feelings of unreality became more noticeable to me, probably due to the lack of other symptoms. I felt incomplete, as if I had lost myself but could not remember who I had been in the first place. I eventually confided in my therapist, who showed me a few exercises to help with these feelings of dissociation (some form of touching exercises to help feel more contained within my body). I broke off therapy eventually, especially as even DP/DR slowly lessened in severity and rather than being continuous it returned to being only episodic.

While we never reached any particular conclusion my therapist like myself felt that our meetings were no longer necessary. Over the course of the following year all drugs prescribed for the depression and anxiety were discontinued. I left the country the next year and have been living in England eversince.

I have experienced DP/DR periodically over the past ten years. Usually it is most pronounced when the days get shorter, with sensory overload leading into a dissociative winter. Completing long-term projects invariably leads into a void for me and brings on a few weeks or months of cotton-wool clad unreality. As a result I try to break goals into small, manageable chunks and avoid large or longer-term projects of any kind. Other than the above DP/DR has always been quite a benign conditions for me, only rarely disrupting my life overly or at least not for very long periods at a time.

Experiencing DP/DR has coloured my photographic style more than any other aspect of my life ever did. While I do have a day-job I am a photographer first and foremost. I finally read "Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self " by Daphne Simeon & Jeffrey Abugel yesterday (I was too chicken to buy a book on DP up until then) and quite apart from my surprise at how acurately the case studies described the various aspects of my own experience it made me smile to see that all my photographic interests were also discussed within the book. So I guess it was my urge to find visual descriptions for my DP that brought me to photography. As soon as I have ended up at the subject of photography I'll finish this up with one of my favourite quotes, by photographer Barbara Ess:
�I AM NOT THIS BODY. But I am. Aching and full of longing. Take a picture of this meat, this husk. You don't have me. I am something that cannot be photographed, cannot be named, defined, translated. [..] I am not this body, but this is where I live.�


Hi Pancake, I would like to see examples of your photography that has been influenced by your DP/DR. Do you have any on your computer to share?
Thanks,
Greg

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:15 AM

iam a 32 year old male that not only suffers from DP but bi polar and pstd also.im here to say there is relief from the fear from the emptyness;there are effective treatment ,therapys,ect.. from my experience and what ive learned from therapy sessions is: dont over think the feeling is only situational. i feel like the world around me isnt real qiute often but ialso know im not crazy that it is just another affliction such as arthritis,migranes, ect. and can be treated so for all of you people out there be patient take the meds subscribed,do the therapy and pay attention to what you are told after all they know their stuff thats why the went to school for is to give you relief.

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 04:44 PM

We are in the process of restoring our story section. It includes personal accounts of how our dp symptoms started, a little personal history of the journey towards recovery.


Some stories are tales in process - recovery not reached yet...


Others such as my own, are tales of total recovery.


Please tell us your own.


And check back here later in the week for some others!


Peace,

Janine



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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:12 PM

Hi, my name is Brian, and I think I also have this.
To make a long story short, I experienced a terrifying feeling that I didnt know who I was anymore. I was at a drive-in in 1983. The terror of that, overtook and froze me in such fear, and that fear took me to all kinds of places that you all talk about on here. I experienced panic attacks from that time on, feeling like Im not in control. Just reading all of your posts, scares me again. After I couldnt take any of it a second longer, I went and got help, and I was put on Resperdol, and Zoloft. Slowly, I began to get better, and stopped the Resperdol. Recently, I stopped taking my Zoloft, I thought I was cured, I was doing good there for awhile. But, recently, I separated from my wife, and I have my girls with me. I thought I needed to make more money, as I wasnt getting by financaly. So, I started a new job, even at the beginnig, I felt as though I wasnt trained enough, and I didnt feel good about myself at all. I have always lacked self esteem. When I got there, I wasnt given a very good reception- its a construction site- and I felt as though nobody even saw me, or cared about me, and again, the thought of nobody loving me or caring about me, made me feel so alone, I was frozen with fear. After I get that scared, I go to such awfull places, like everything you all talked about. I am afraid it is all real, a paranoia sets in. And then I fail to exist. All of the "what if" thinking sets in, and I get so scared its all true. After I have a terrorizing experience, all of the dp stuff sets in. It is all so scary. I got so relieved that I wasnt alone....... Please tell me its all not true. I could sure use some help, if at all possible. The scarest part is my mind races out of control, and I cant stop it. If you can help, I would love it. Thank You.



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