I am going to keep this post as short and factual as possible. First cause I haven't opened a DP forum in many years now, and I don't want to. Leaving all those online resources behind is what started my journey to recovery. I will not come back on this forum to reply to any question. I said goodbye to DP & DR and don't want to get back to them.
I am simply sharing this post today, because this is the post I wish I had read when I was at my worse, and I just realized how grateful I am to be able to enjoy life now.
Kepp in mind that 99% of the people who recovered from DP and DR never come back on forums.
NO MATTER HOW BAD YOU THINK YOU ARE MESSED UP, YOU CAN AND WILL RECOVER. PERIOD ! How I know? Cause I FULLY (100%, not 99%... 100% !) RECOVERED from multiple bouts with DP and DR, and have been COMPLETELY free from them for years now.
Important: The following information is ONLY my opinion, based on my personal experience. I am not recommending nor advising anything here, just sharing what worked and didn’t work for me.
And sorry for my english, it’s not my native language.
I always had been a VERY anxious child (OCD, Generalized anxiety, etc.) But I never really showed it to anyone so I never had any counseling or treatment or whatever.
At 18, I was very depressed because of stuff happening in High School for months. Got very drunk one night with friends and woke up feeling super High and "not in touch" with my surroundings. Was super hard to explain that sensation. I still can't really.
During the following weeks, I did ALL medical exams you could imagine. Everything came back good. But I knew this wasn't my normal state of perceptions (I would watch my hands be "what the F* is this, I feel high but I have been sober for weeks! I must have fried something in my brain. It must be a brain degenerative disease, etc."). I freaked out for weeks.
What saved me? I had exams to enter a University in Europe. At the time I was 100% sure I would never be able to study, I had zero focus and I felt High all the time. But guess what, I started studying for the exams, I met a girl and little by little, I FORGOT about my condition. Studying and falling in love took my attention away from the DR and DP. Then after I pass my exams successfully, I realized "Damn, I'm back to normal".
I was free of DP & DR for 4 years, thought about it once in a while but it didn't have any effect on me. And I repeat, I had NO MORE SYMPTOMS. It was GONE.
At 22, my girlfriend broke up with me. She was the most important person in my life. I started to spiral down hard into depression and anxiety, restarting partying and drinking in a non-healthy way. I felt the anxiety building up in my body. And one day BOOM, I wake up with full blown DP & DR gain. Keep in mind that at this point I still didn't know what DP or DR were. So here we go again, medical tests, etc. Same thing, everything came back clean.
Problem is this time, I had no goals or no one to take my focus away from my ANXIETY.
I started searching like crazy online to try to understand what the F* was happening to me again. Then I found out about DP & DR. At first I thought "Bullsh*t, stress can't do that. I have been stressed since I'm born and I've always been fine." Then little by little I started to accept the idea that stress (cortisol + adrenaline) can indeed ACCUMULATE in the body, until one day it's too much to handle and BOOM you got DR and DP.
I spent THOUSANDS of hours researching (DO NOT DO THAT!) and I started to OBSESS about my symptoms. I got freaked out by the people who were saying "I have been like this for 10 years, etc.". It only added more anxiety to the mix. I would feel relieved by some stories then the next one threw me into full panic mode.... DO NOT get freaked out by story of 10 years sufferer... These people have been and are still on forums, which means they never took the first step to get better which is never search about DP & DR angain and go live your life. How can they heal if they remain in this negative anxiety loop???
I spent almost a year being DP & DR during this bout until one day I though "F*ck it, there's no point living like this. Two solutions : I end myself, or I stop thinking about it and live my life even if it's a diminished life". I also thought "so many people are in wheelchairs, etc and they live their lifes. So why couldn't I live mine? Even if my brain is crippled. Plus, since I'm crippled now, then let's do some awesome stuff that I would have been scared to do before. If I die doing them, then so what. Better to go down having fun!".
I booked a ticket for a fitness camp, left everything behind, then started skydiving, motorbike riding, Kitesurfing, etc. My parents told me that I was doing a mistake, that I should remain home and get treatment. I basically told them to F*ck off. I've been trying their way for a year and it didn't help me at all. Plus, it's MY life!
I closed all my browser tabs, deleted all my bookmarks, etc. and never came back on any forum. I restarted living, having fun, etc. It was EXTREMELY hard at first, cause the thoughts of DP & DR were with me ALL the time, every second of the day. But little by little, as I was engaging in more activities that required my full attention (sky diving, etc.) the thoughts started to disappear a little bit.
Until one day, they were just gone, and I was back to normal again.
I was FREE again from DP & DR for 3 years.
Then 3 years, later: bad break up (again...!), had no more fun in my life, had to work in a job that I didn' like, family issues, etc. And... BOOM again. Woke up with DP & DR. Only this time, I knew what to do : restart having fun and do not care about my condition. Took 3 weeks to get rid of all the symptoms.
I have now been COMPLETELY free from any sort of DP & DR for 4 years +. Sometimes I think about it "what if DP & DR come back? How am I feeling today?", but it happens very rarely (maybe once every 6 weeks) and the thoughts have literally ZERO power over me, so they can't engage me and take me down in the loop anymore... I know treat them like any stupid thought that any human have on a daily basis but disregard immediately cause they don't make sense.
DP & DR can come back BUT they will only come back as long as you are scared by them. The day you genuinely don't give a F*ck anymore, the thoughts will pas through your mind and no stick in there.
IMPORTANT POINTS THAT I WANT TO MENTION:
DP & DR are ANXIETY SYMPTOMS. If you have been medically & mentally checked and cleared, meaning doctors told you you only have anxiety, then be confident that you only have Anxiety, nothing more. It was very hard to accept for me but once I accepted it, my journey to recovery started. Reduce your anxiety level and those symptoms will disappear.
IF YOU ARE ASKING YOURSELF IF I HAD THE SYMPTOMS AS YOU ARE HEAVING... OH YES! I had every and any symptom you can imagine! Hell, I even started having symptoms just by reading them on some forums!
So stop asking yourself if you're different, if your case is worse than others, if someone else has the same symptoms... you simply have ANXIETY and when you are in a SENSITIZED state like that, every fearful thought that can pass by your mind will start to OBSESS YOU. You’re like a giant magnet for negative thoughts and emotions right now. So STOP looking for reassurance, stop looking for anwsers, the answer is simply to LIVE.
DP & DR are the symptoms of an OVER SENSITZED STATE. When we are stressed, stress hormones start flowing our bodies. Normally, as we calm down, these hormones are eliminated from our organism little by little. DP & DR appear when we got so stressed that these hormones got overproduced and physical DP/DR symptoms suddenly appear. If we cooled down, those symptoms would leave as the hormones would level down with time. Problem is DP/DR symptoms are so scary that we freak out and keep on adding new stress hormones in a body that is already over-saturated. And here the VICIOUS cycle auto fuels itself. Know that to stop these DP/DR symptoms, the only thing we have to do is to… RELAX so the stress hormones go back to normal level.
How to you reduce your Anxiety level:
STOP RESEARCHING ABOUT Anxiety or DP or DR. Get the F*ck off your computer, never open a website or a forum about DP or DR ever again and go do something that requires some focus. RESTART LIVING, that's the key. If you feel you can't live because of all the symptoms, then FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!
By pushing yourself to live even if you don't enjoy it, you're telling your brain to restart a normal and more healthy functioning process. As long as you are searching for Info, for a cure, for people to relate to, etc. you are FUELLING your anxiety and therefore your DP & DR.
DO NOT EVER read another DP/DR story or even google it. Leave this forum and never come back!
TELL YOUR THOUGHTS TO F*CK OFF. Everytime you are having a thought "I feel weird, I still got DR or DP right? tell your mind to sh*t up and take your attention back to what you were doing". It will be VERY hard at the begining but trust me, little by little it will become much easier.
DO NOT CHECK your symptoms! Do not give them any attention. This is CRUCIAL, stop cheking!
Did I take any pill? [Once again, the following is ONLY my opinion, based on my personal experience. I am not recommending nor advising anything here, just sharing what worked and didn’t work for me] I went to see a psychiatrists and multiple doctors, cause I thought I was Schizo or Bipolar or something at some point. I thought "it can't be only anxiety, no way. I must be mentally ill".
They all confirmed that it was ONLY anxiety. That's the only good thing those "Professionals" did for me. They didn't not help me whatsoever except trying to push antidepressants into my throat (which I some point accepted to take and realized that it was only making things worse for me) and making my wallet lighter of 100 dollars per session. So yes, I tried pills and ditched them after few weeks. They didn't help me at all, quite the opposite. They made me feel foggy and dizzy and numbed my emotions (well, what's was left of my emotions...)
DID THERAPY HELP? In my case, It never helped at all and was in fact counterp-roductive. Why? Cause it kept me in the Anxiety loop by talking about it, analyzing it and looking for solutions to cure it instead of just trying to forget about it (which is the KEY to recovery). I repeat, if you want to CURE ANXIETY/DP/DR, then STOP LOOKING FOR CURES. The only cure is to move on and stop thinking/talking/researching about it!
Did I take any supplements? YES, I tried dozen of supplements. They did NOTHING for me. Why? Cause I had Anxiety! It's not CURED by pills. It's cured by gently bringing back the thoughts pattern of your mind to a normal and healthy way of functioning.
One exception tho : Have your Vitamin D level checked! I was very low in Vitamin D and it's linked to greater risks of depression and Anxiety. As soon as I started getting some sun, my Vitamin D level got back to a healthy level and I felt instantly better.
A good Healthy diet has also been beneficial for me. I cut sugar too. Less headaches, more energy to work out, etc. Eat well, but don't spend your money in PILLS, they are not the solution. The solution is in YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE.
My brain was LYING to me. I felt my LIFE WAS OVER but that was a LIE. Realize that your brain is on Figh-or-flight mode, it perceives everything as a threat right now. It will take every fear that you have and make you believe it's the truth. IT IS NOT! Your brain is lying to you right now. Accept it.
The concept of "FLOW". Basically, FLOW is when you are so focused onto something, that you forget all the rest, you even lose the notion of time. That's what happens when you do surfing, or boxing, or making love, or playing an instrument, even when you play video games.
Your brain is so focused on the task that all the rest disappear. You want to MAXIMISE your moments of FLOW as much as you can. The more you will be in a FLOW state, the more your anxiety will go down, the more your DP & DR thoughts will quite down. So go find something that you used to love doing, or any challenging activity that you would like to do and DO IT. I repeat, even if it's nearly impossible at first, keep trying and you will improve until you are 100% CURED.
I don't recommend using computer or TV to try to enter a FLOW state. They always made me more anxious and they don't make you connect to your body. Doing a physical activity was always 100x more beneficial for me.
STOP LOOKING FOR CURES!! The cure is to forget about DP/DR ad Anxiety in general. I know it feels impossible right now cause you think about it every second of your day. But trust me, over time, you’ll start thinking about it for only 1 every other second, then you’ll stop thinking about for few seconds, then few minutes per day, then sometimes for hours… Until someday, you don’t care anymore about it.
That's it. YOU WILL RECOVER if you get off from your computer and force yourself to live. It will take time, it won't happen overnight. It took me months during my first bouts. But much less during my last one, cause I knew what to do then. Now you know what to do too!
You will get there, I promise. Remember, FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE it! Now go living and NEVER COME BACK looking for more info, for a cure or for some reassurance. Everytime you will fall for that reassurance compulsion, you will fuel your ANXIETY again and delay your progress. So be strong, and never come back EVER AGAIN!