I am sorry to hear about the history of trauma and of meds withdrawal consequences that you suffered.
I hope you will find the support that you need here.
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Posted by AnnaGiulia on 20 August 2020 - 02:42 AM
Would you perhaps like to share as to why this particular video killed your hope?
I am suffering from depersonalization-derealization disorder, and I am diagnosed with it, as a disorder on the spectrum of dissociative disorders. I haven't got it from drugs or (for most part) anxiety, but from a prolonged childhood abuse that I suffered, and in my case it is completely trauma-related. It means that I cannot just solve it by relieving my anxiety, even though relieving my anxiety helps, but that I have some other background issues to tackle. It does not mean that I am doomed with this disorder, it just means that my path to recovery is somewhat more complicated - but not impossible!
I have to say that I see nothing wrong with what this guy is saying. He allows for other possible causes of depersonalization to exist, but he is pointing out to what he suffers from, and that is what he is mostly talking about through his channel, from what I understood, based on this one video. It does not have to refer to you. Also, you should only rely on a good therapist to tell you what you suffer from, and by no means assume on your own what kind of DP do you have.
Posted by AnnaGiulia on 14 August 2020 - 07:39 AM
Yes, you are right when you say to yourself that it is now safe to feel, no matter how awful it is. It is only a feeling, and now as a grown-up you are finally able to process that feeling, to put it into words and to place it in a particular context. It is by no means easy, but it can be done - at least that is what I say to myself, and truly believe.
I would have definitely tried group therapy, or a survivors support group if I had the opportunity. Unfortunately, there were no such options where I live, and I found a lot of support online instead. For me it was the most important to articulate my experience and to put it into words somewhere where I felt safe and understood. My favourite phrase is: if it is mentionable, it is manageable
Wish you well,
Posted by AnnaGiulia on 13 August 2020 - 10:04 AM
Tnx for the comment, and also for the suggestion, I read your other post, too.
Since we both have relational trauma, I will go a bit more in depth here about its consequences on me, with hope that it may have some meaning to you too. I have another dx, besides DPDR, which is dissociative amnesia. You probably know about it, but both these disorders belong to the dissociation spectrum. I like the idea of the spectrum in this case, because it allows for the possibility to be more or less dissociated, or dissociated in different ways, but it is quite clear that the mechanism behind it is the same. Experientially, for me they are just different manifestations of the same thing.
My dx of dissociative amnesia is established based on the lack of childhood memories roughly before the age of ten, and not even all the memories, but those that have even remote connection to the abuse that was inflicted on me. I basically could not remember my life before the age of ten, except for some time spent in school (it was safe space for me, but I never heard a word during classes, because I was completely dissociated), and some time spent away from home, such as during long summer holidays when I was away from the abuser.
I cannot tell you exactly where DPDR ends and where the dissociative amnesia starts, because I think that there is one and the same mechanism behind them, as I said. But, what I managed to determine with dissociative amnesia, while struggling to come to terms with memories of the abuse is this ... bear with me, lol, this is a bit difficult to put to words...like: I remember something, but there is one part of it missing, and that is emotional aspect of this memory. It is not even that I see it from the third person perspective, even though it happens sometimes, it is more that a whole emotional aspect that memories otherwise have for us is missing. Some part of my mind, removed the unbearable weight of the emotional aspect of that memory, so that I can go on with my life.
It continued to shield me even when it was no longer necessary, into my adulthood. After I was not longer able to spend incredible amounts of energy just on keeping that emotional weight away from my daily functioning, I basically crashed under it, because the emotional aspect of these memories carried their real meaning: that is where all the trauma began. That is where all the fear and horror reside. (I got DPDR, in its debilitating, acute sense in the winter of 2016, and it subsided a few times, but in the winter of 2018 my battle with core trauma and its legacy began, and that is when my dissociative amnesia was dx, and I recovered my first emotionally charged memories at that time.)
I realized two things during this process of recovering the emotional aspect of traumatic memories.
One: that I have an internal avoidance of these memories. That I am so scared of them, not only because of the violence itself, but also because I was scared to death not to betray what was going on in my early life. When I managed to find courage to look that way, I realized that I have been scared to death by the perpetrator, and then shamed to death, so much that in my mind, any thought of revealing the truth would mean the death of me or someone close to me.
Two: that I have something that I would call amnesia for amnesia. Every time I would remember some bits of these emotionally horrific experiences, there was a mechanism in me erasing them immediately. If I weren't an absolute nerd, writing down everything that was going on with me, I would not believe myself. I would literally wake up one day without that memory, or emotional part of that memory, and go back to what I was writing, and I was like...holly cannoli...wtf...
I trust my memories much more these days, and I managed to incorporate a lot of them into my life narrative. Like, I am not ashamed to tell people I know that I have been abused, and that I deal with a lot of consequences of the trauma that came out of that abuse. I see it literally as a wound on my brain and in my body, as it influenced everything, probably from my brain's functions to my hormonal and other functions. There is no end to different auto-immune reactions that I had, from a very young age, and a whole lot of other things that often go hand in hand with trauma, including anxiety, somatization, depression.
I don't know if it can be completely healed, but I can tell you that I had no other way than to face the reality of those memories, in their full scope, emotions and everything. It does not mean, however, that a person has to remember everything. There is no point in trying to remember every sad detail, but it is necessary to understand that it really happened, and in order to do that, we have to acknowledge its emotional aspect. And I can tell you that it was a real-life horror to live through, but I kept repeating to myself that what a small child managed to survive, certainly a grown-up can manage to process. For this particular step, it took me a year and a half, well, closer to 20 months actually, and I think there is more to come, that I yet have to deal with.
I just wish to tell you to be good to yourself, to be kind and patient, and give yourself as much time as you need to sort it all out. I always liked this forum, because people are compassionate, but not in that usual, "sorry it happened" way, but in a more rational way. In this fashion, I have to say I prefer to look forward, and even though I appreciate when people say "sorry it happened", it somehow does not do anything for me. I prefer to say things that have to do with the present moment, and I hope you will manage to be as present in your life as possible.
Anyway...sorry for this long post, it is possible that I repeat myself...
Wish you well,
Posted by AnnaGiulia on 13 August 2020 - 05:39 AM
I thought I should do a follow up to my previous post.
April and the first half of May were still ok, I enjoyed being out of the deep DP fog.
Soon, however, I was overwhelmed by all the feelings from trauma that DP kept at bay.
I felt desperate, suicidal, and it took a lot of effort to start processing those feelings, in particular of anger, rage, and hatred, as those were the feelings I was once denied to express. I would in consequence feel a deep self-hatred, because my learned behaviour taught me to rather destroy myself than admit to the horrible reality. Fortunately, I was now able to reason with myself where those self-destructive thoughts come from, and not to act upon them.
In August, I became aware that I still do have a lot of dissociation (being unable to concentrate on some tasks, losing parts of conversation), and probably DP to some extent, but not as deep as before. One major trait of this disorder in my case is to hide things away from me, in particular to leave me ignorant that dissociation is actually taking place. I am often unable to see it while it is happening, and it sometimes creates confusion. I seem to be ok at some point, while in reality I am using my coping mechanism presenting myself as doing ok, or actually believing that I am ok, while in reality I am not.
In retrospect, in the previous period, I would have moments of not identifying with certain aspects of my life, seeing them as remote or strange, observing them completely emotionally detached. On the other hand, I have re-connected with a lot of aspects of my professional life, and I am able to work and actually be good in what I do, just as I used to. What bothers me the most is how detached I feel from the people that I know I love. As my trauma is relational, it seems that the only way to see the perpetrators for who they are, and not to turn the hatred towards myself, was to switch off – again – some emotional response, in particular when it comes to close personal relations. So, unfortunately, it influenced all of my close relationships. I still try to deal with it...
Anyway, I want to say to whomever reads this and perhaps identifies with some of the things that I go through, that there is some sense of progress to it all, no matter how hard it is sometimes, and I think that this sense of progress is actually keeping me strong. I carried the burden of trauma my whole life. Since the end of 2016, when I was first dx with DPDR, I have gone through so many different stages. However, even when I was completely desperate I somehow clung on to the next step that will bring me closer to myself. This is not an advice, I basically try to understand how and why I go on, but if anything, I would say that I, as many people around here, have some crazily strong survival instinct, and I just won’t let go.
Posted by AnnaGiulia on 06 June 2020 - 02:12 PM
Since my motto is "whatever works", I tried to restrain from commenting on this one, but the cruelty of the people, such as those who are behind this kind of advertising, who actually abuse other people's serious condition of profound suffering this way is blatantly despicable.
Zayniii, I sincerely hope that you don't seriously buy it. Of course, you are free to believe whatever you choose to, but at least don't let people like that take advantage of you!
I don't even want to comment on expressions such as "contract" and "disease", and "life sentence". This is some serious BS.
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 reflection...it 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...
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.
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.
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 alone...it 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.
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...
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 unharmed.
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.