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Member Since 04 Feb 2020
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#618254 My own reflection exhausts me?

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 30 May 2020 - 02:57 AM

Hey Rei, I am not DPd atm, but I still have a problem with my is almost triggering for me, if I look too long at the mirror, I can feel the DP hovering over me, but then I do not get DPd...I have the same problem with photographs, so it is not just a reflection thing...perhaps it has more to do with identifying with oneself, than with DP? Idk, this is just some wild guess, I didn't put much thought into it, but I was intrigued by your account...

#618248 How do you find the cause?

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 30 May 2020 - 02:37 AM

Have you recovered?

I am not DPd for almost two months now, and I resolved a lot (if not all) of my issues regarding my primary family (I fit very neatly into the model that Saschasascha described above, basically to the word), so my anxiety also subsided.


I need to say, however, that although I was anxious my whole life, most of it DPd or dissociated (which I didn't realize until I was diagnosed with DPDR 3,5 years ago, because that was the only reality that I knew), and struggled a lot, I had a number of coping mechanisms that allowed me to be academically and professionally successful, to achieve basically everything that I set my mind to, and to be quite good at it. It would be all just more enjoyable and more fully lived and appreciated if I were able to tackle those issues earlier, and if it wasn't motivated by my attempts to cover up for my irrational sense of inadequacy, and live up to the roles I designed for myself.


I don't know if I will be DPd again, but it is possible, because that switch is so easily turned on in me, especially around stressful moments in life. But now that I know more about myself, and the way that mechanism functions in me - and I need to emphasize "in me", because you will see that people here have it for all different reasons, and it also manifests differently in different people - I am able to have more compassion for myself, to treat myself with more self-love and understanding, and not to be too judgemental about myself and constantly try to "fix" myself so that I fit some imagined ideal of who I thought I should be.

#618232 How do you find the cause?

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 29 May 2020 - 03:54 PM

Well, what I found helpful about communities such as this one, is that you have to explain yourself to a bunch of strangers, who never met you, and probably never will; in order to do that, you need to think hard of how to articulate everything that is going on with you, and in this process of looking for help, you are actually helping yourself. This is what I can read from your last sentence, as you have already given yourself the best advice possible, lol: express yourself, and resolve the issues that cause you stress.


I can identify with a lot that you have said, especially the anxiety part. I always had it, and it made my life really difficult, trying all the time to behave and look as if I were fine, while in reality I was constantly hyper-alert to everything around me. It was freaking exhausting, doing that all my life, and I was really good in covering it all up...and I am twice your age, so look at it from the bright side - it is better to resolve it in your 20s than your 40s, lol...It sucks, but hey, that's life...


I was also deeply convinced that anxiety is not the (only) cause of my DPDR, but that these are related in some other way. It turned out that I was right, but that is another story - I did have some unresolved issues underneath all that anxiety and DP, and I had to go really way back to unearth them and face them.

#618228 How do you find the cause?

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 29 May 2020 - 01:19 PM

Hey dontgiveafuck,


Do you feel there are some things in your life that you do not remember?

From what you are saying, at this moment some therapy could bring you some relief, did you try any?




#618212 Memes? Or jokes?

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 29 May 2020 - 11:44 AM

Whos there?

I have no idea, lol

#618198 Limbo Phase

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 29 May 2020 - 03:58 AM

your comment touches me, as I see quite some similarities to myself. I was successful in professional life and only saw this life. It is pretty sad to realise this, especially as this gave me at least some security. You are very brave. 


I always relied on my mental capabilities. Since my brain and my memories are still quite blocked I feel really helpless. I felt helpless before, but the lost really kicked me over the edge. My mind was always running on high gear and I never felt any real emotion. The emotions were only mentalised, as I disconnected from myself in really early years. This is quite painful to realise and the way back seems impossible with all its symptoms and emotions. 


It is a huge win that you emerged from DP, but I can imagine, how hard it is to face more and more reality. I slowly get in touch more with reality and it is really hard to see how life really can be. It seems so far away. 


The last days I tried a new thing and it completly overwhelmed me. So much sadness and anxiety. I have some moments where I feel little more in connection with nature and my surroundings, but I lose it quite quickly again. I accept that I need my shield as long as it is there. And yes we know how to survice, but I have acually no idea how to live:-(


My therapy is pretty intense. I went there on Monday and after that I could neither think nor move for 6 hours. So tired mentally and physically. I realise that over time I can stay longer in this state after therapy without actively activating my brain with its survival mode again. 


Hey Till, I am still very far from being able to cope successfully even for one day, without feeling a deep desperation at some point. I have a very hard time identifying with the reality around me, but not in the DPDR way, more like being woken up from a coma, and not recognizing my life - because I am basically a changed person after this experience.

However, there are some things that I did recently to help me out of that state of desperation. And so far, they worked for me.

- One is the thought that it is not fair to be hurt so badly in life, only to continue to suffer later. I just won't accept it. I cannot accept that we are sentenced to a life of pain, only because the pain has been inflicted on us when we were not in the position to help ourselves. It sounds so unfair, that I will just not let it happen.

- Therefore I try to isolate that pain in me, to address it, and to make a deal with it: I understand the reasons why it exists, and I will let it exist as long as it is necessary, but I will not let it take over me completely and destroy me.

- I am trying to express my emotions, and it often seems unbearable, but then I just go on and do it. When I manage to say things out loud, nothing is spared from my honesty, and perhaps that is the way it has to be, at least at the beginning. Some fine tuning may come later.

- I feel I am completely alone, even when I am with other people, but there is some familiar feeling to it, as that is how I always felt. All the codependency stuff came later, like one more coping mechanism difficult to stop doing over and over again. I now want to embrace that feeling of being is not a necessarily bad thing. I think, if I could feel comfortable in my own skin, and not look for other things or people to complete me, I will be a much better partner and a friend, but in all honesty, now I just want to be good for myself.

#618040 Limbo Phase

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 24 May 2020 - 02:45 AM

oh yeah I feel you. I was really successful in my professional life, but actually never connected to myself. Basically on auto-pilot, but I was "fine" as I did not know anything different. 


In the last weeks I have the first moments in my life, where I feel safe enough to really experience the beauty of nature. In these moments, I feel so much exhaustion in my body and my brain. And so much pain in my body. This stays for some time and then slowly I build up my guard again and detach from my surrounding. I start to realise that I am actually afraid of people and it is not yet possible to stay connected outside. I feel then, how I slowly lose the connection and my brain starts to produce anxious thoughts again and anxiety rushes in my body. I always feel I am losing something really precious again. I lose myself again....


I was have the same topic with loss and I actually lost someone really close which overwhelmed me. When this gets triggered it is an unpleasant spiral and it overwhelmes emotionally. 

I also had my "professional" persona, to rely on for a very long time. Basically, I was using some socially acceptable obsessions (workaholism, losing myself in a particular field of work, or a topic, or a relationship etc.), so that I would not deal with me. I was often quite successful professionally, because I would throw all of my capacities into it, to an extent that most people find unattainable.


I find that it is wonderful that you can connect to the nature, even for a while. I understand that there must be a passage that opens for your emotions to come out, but as they overwhelm you, you detach again in order to protect yourself from the pain. Re-connecting with emotions must be like learning a new language or a skill for us who were emotionally detached for most of our lives. I firmly believe in learning, as you can see, lol...Letting ourselves feel and learning how to articulate the feeling may be our biggest achievement yet.


I am very sorry for the loss you experienced in your life. I never ever let myself experience the loss before, even though I had it, just as everyone else. For as long as I am aware, I would just erase everything that was too painful for me to bear, or to put it more accurately - I would compartmentalize my memories, and push a lot of stuff behind amnesiac barrier. The fear of the emotional pain is so basic in me, that I go lengths to negate either myself or the reality, hence - depersonalization and derealization. When there is no DP to protect me from the pain, my mind starts playing with suicide ideation, because it is still easier for me to imagine that I am gone, than to feel the unbearable feeling.


However, that really robbed me of a lot in life, such as experiencing life to the fullest, and most of all - just as you say - it denied me feeling as myself for most of my life. No matter how horrifying it is, I want to go into that emotion, and I want to feel it without shielding myself with all the coping mechanisms that I have in abundance. As I have often encountered being said before: the child had already survived the trauma, now the adult has to face it/feel the emotion behind it. If it didn't kill us then, it really should not end us now, I guess...

#618028 Limbo Phase

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 23 May 2020 - 05:00 AM

Well, that is a good question...

I never felt safe to feel any feeling, as my reality and the sense of self (including my capacity to feel) were compromised when I was very little. I could not rely on my perception of reality, due to gaslighting, and I was very cautious not to show my real emotions in any situation, as they were constantly used against me, to manipulate me. The safest way not to show them was to actually anesthetize myself regarding emotions, so that I would just not feel them.

The result of this survival-oriented emotional self-mutilation is my inability to feel the emotion at the moment it is "happening" in my body, as I always have a delayed perception of an emotion, which can be measured in minutes, days, months, or it may never happen at all. So, basically everything is first stored in my body, and only afterwards, if I am lucky, released as an emotion.

The other problem that I have is to actually articulate the emotion verbally. I just know that my emotions are very strong, but I often don't know what they are, or even to which spectrum they belong (happy, sad, angry....) - I don't think that I am completely illiterate in emotions, but there is some kind of denial going on about their nature and quality.

I had a complete auto-censorship regarding emotions of anger, rage, hatred and hurt...until I placed the responsibility for my hurt and anger where it belongs. Now I feel I can tolerate these feelings a bit better, and even express them (rarely), but I still have a long way to go.

What I still cannot tolerate is the feeling of grief over loss, as it throws me right into suicidal thoughts spiral. However, loss is something every person has to face in a lifetime, and when I think that the feelings of anger, rage and hatred used to throw me on the same suicidal ideation path before, I would say that I am improving.

Many times, since I am no longer DPd, I wished for DP to come back, as I could not cope with what I feel. Still, that is just another panicky way of my mind to try to get some (temporary) relief. When I was little, I heard a story about the river vortex, saying that you cannot fight it once it gets you, but can only let yourself being sucked in, in order to get out of it. Every time I think about the emotions that I cannot bear, I imagine being sucked in, letting go, and hoping to get catapulted to the other side

#618020 Limbo Phase

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 22 May 2020 - 09:41 AM

I can relate so much to everything you are saying...I came to the same conclusions, as the moment I allow myself the actually feel the feeling, to go through the feeling, instead of avoiding it, the pain goes away.

I experience the similar cycles where I first have the pain, then I resolve it by attributing the adequate emotion to a particular triggering situation/traumatic memory, feel the emotion and obtain the sense of relief, until the pain starts building up again, "telling" me where to look next.

#617988 Limbo Phase

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 21 May 2020 - 04:11 PM


I am currently reading the book that you mentioned, Van der Kolk, Bessel A., The body keeps the score : brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma, Viking/Penguin Group, New York, 2014.

I am reading it for the third time in a year, actually, as I was not able to retain the information or to grasp it entirely while I was very DPd, but now it makes a lot more sense (lol)

A great book, anyway, and I completely agree with what you said about the body and emotions, as I am also working on it rn.

#617874 DP DR existential thoughts. Help me

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 16 May 2020 - 03:56 PM

Hey Himjyoti Dutta,


It is admirable that you have been able to deal with depression and anxiety so far.

I think that a lot of people here can identify with what you are saying about your symptoms.

I hope that you will find the support that you are looking for here...sometimes even reaching out or sharing some of the things that you are dealing with helps.


See you around,


#617658 DP-free for a month

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 07 May 2020 - 03:10 AM

Today is exactly one month that I am DP-free. DP was never my main problem, but it was the most acute. I felt as if I was not able to work on anything else while DPd, as I had no capacity to process things as I usually do. The other day my knowledge of another foreign language came back, only because I was able once again to put individual words into coherent narrative, as I was not losing my energy on just trying to cope and survive another day.
I read over and over the posts of people stating that they are staying away from the Forum, once they get better, or when they feel exhausted with reading about DP, and I honestly understand that. However, for me this Forum has only been beneficial, as it was a logical step in my recovery. I see it now as I saw it when I first logged in, as just one option in a multitude of options: embrace whatever works for you.
I did not come here first. I had three years before that, with DP on and off, to figure out what is wrong with me, to take therapy and meds, to go through stages of healing of at least some consequences of the trauma that made me this way. Not many people talk of trauma here, but I came to realize that most people I interacted with actually had some early attachment trauma in their life, that made them prone to perhaps dissociate more easily than other people.
The tone of this forum is set in a very rational way. It attracted me at once, as I ran scared from chats at other forums that I frequent, as I could not cope with the amount of trauma triggers. It does not mean that people with DPDR are not suffering. They do. Immensely. Just the nature of this state makes us detached from emotions, and it makes expressions of our suffering seem a bit detached, as well. I felt safe and at a precisely right distance here.
I had DP before, and I will have it again, I am almost certain about that. It does not scare me, though. Other times in life I got out of it on my own. This time I needed more support.
For people I know in rl, some close people, it means nothing when I say I am DP-free now. For a whole month. They absolutely cannot understand how precious it is and what does it mean to wake up one day and not feel completely out of one’s own mind, thoughts, body. Because they do not know what it means to be disconnected from life. So, the only people I can share that with are you.
I have a massive load of other stuff to deal with, so I cannot say, hey, wow, now I am DP-free and everything will be great now. My work on so many other issues has only just begun. But it is ok. I never expected to just miraculously step out of DP, and find everything else just where I left it. Basically, it subsided in me because now I am able to deal with other stuff.
Anyway, if you are struggling right now, know that DP can come and go. The experience of people with DP differs, and your recovery will probably be different than mine. If your DP has been with you for years, then you are a real-life hero, but no one will ever know the amount of will power and courage it takes for you to go through your days. I absolutely sympathize with you, and wish I could express my admiration for you in a better way than this. But you know what I mean.
I do not intend to stay away from this Forum, not only because I am certain I will be DPd again some time; I think it is a well needed self-help tool. To be able to say things knowing the others would understand without too much explanation, to vent, to get some feedback, was already huge for me.
Take care and see your around,

#616890 The life-changing power of words : Kristin Rivas at TedxRainier

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 09 April 2020 - 09:14 AM

Hey Phantasm, I was trying to believe this since I first saw it. But I couldn't. My mind was always treating memories as real as reality, even more real, in particular since my DPDR became more prominent three years ago.


It was such an important trait of how my mind worked - treating memories in non-linear way, but rather as nodes within a mesh, playing them simultaneously over and over again - that I even did my PhD with that premise in mind. It is extraordinary, even hilarious now that I think about all that theoretical work that I did, not being aware all along that what I have been basically creating was a model of how my mind works . It is mind-blowing, tbh.


I do not feel DPd for the last three days. And only now I can actually truly appreciate and believe what Kristin is saying in this TED talk. Only now I can see that I could not let go of my memories - probably because that would mean finally dealing with them, finding a resolution, or storing them away, all of which I found too painful to do. And that was stealing from me the feeling of reality in the present.


Yeah, just wanted to say that...thank you for posting this.


#616860 I've finally started relaxing, I think I'm getting better.

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 08 April 2020 - 09:14 AM

I feel so happy for you! Thanks for sharing.
I had a period of returning back to feeling and experiencing things as "normal" people do. It brought about joy but also mixed feelings of sadness and regret over time and a life lost. But I don't let these thoughts take over the joy of actually feeling things again.
Right now I am in the place of recovery, and dealing with flashbacks from the time of me being completely "gone", living in an " outer surface", on the autopilot.
But it is way better, not even close to how it was during dpdr.
I wish you to continue your steady recovery.

Hey Liz, thank you for your support, you accurately described how I feel right now...:) I am also glad for you being in that place from which you can work actively on your recovery, and wish you all the best! We can do this :)



#616810 I've finally started relaxing, I think I'm getting better.

Posted by AnnaGiulia on 08 April 2020 - 01:01 AM

Hey, I am so glad you are feeling better. I am feeling better too, and it happened gradually over the past few weeks. And then yesterday, I woke up as me completely, feeling my body and my mental state as my own. I was feeling present in the actual moment...I have almost forgotten how that feels. And it lasted all day yesterday, and today it still hasn't changed. I see objects around me, and they feel as my own, my own coffee mug, my laptop, not just random things. I have a relation towards them, as my own. Yesterday, the feeling of being present brought about some sadness as well, but it hadn't clouded the joy of feeling at home in my own head. Idk if this is going to last, but I will let you know...