Okay so last week I took about an hour and a half writing this post explaining in full detail my situations but then I got a server error and it deleted the whole thing and for some reason I couldn't retrieve where it was auto saving LOL. So I thought I'd just summarize instead of giving the most minuscule details. I hope it helps.
I'm going to list my main symptoms, light and severe in no particular order before I get into the story just so you all know what I was experiencing when I was feeling derealization:
-A feeling of disconnection from reality
-Feeling like the people around me were foreign
-Feeling like I was in a dream I couldn't wake up from
-Feeling like my past memories weren't my own
-Feeling like I was going insane
-Feelings of nostalgia would make me uncomfortable because it felt like I was living in those moments of my past
There's more that I cant particularly think of because I've experienced so many in the course of 3 years.
I developed derealization disorder back in Summer 2017 after having a panic attack at a concert from dehydration. My systems eventually got worse and when I was going to the doctor for it we both just boiled it down to a panic disorder. Which it was, I just had know idea what dissociation even was at the time, I thought it was just very severe anxiety that would trigger my panic attacks. It progressively got worse to the point I lose my job that was turning into a very promising career, I lost my girlfriend because I just wasn't the person she fell in love with anymore, I had to move back home after finally getting out of my parents place. I stayed cooped up in my room until the summer of the next year, for a few months it seemed to have subsided, I still had moments of anxiety but for the most part I felt okay, until I started excessively drinking with my friends because, yknow, Im in my mid 20s we pretty much all do that. The dissociative episodes came back and I stayed cooped in my house once again because of that fear. I still didnt know what derealization or dissociation was. Then around winter 2018 I told my friend about what was happening and he told me it sounded like I had derealization disorder. He suffers from depersonalization so he explained to me everything and it ALL MADE SENSE. I thought knowing it would be half the battle so I looked up medications that would help and went to my doctor once again. He decided to put me on Zoloft. The Zoloft was working while I was in my safe spaces but I didnt leave my house for 8 months, not even to go to the mailbox because I didnt want to risk the dissociation or panic attacks again. I pretty much just wasted away playing Final Fantasy 14 the entire year. Then I decided in September of 2019 that I was gonna go out again. So I did, for about 2 weeks it felt like my anxiety and derealization was gone once again, I felt very hopeful. But not even 2 weeks after getting out of the house again the derealization crept back and I began having attacks again. I was completely homebound once again in November, I had stopped taking the medication I was on because I thought I didn't need it anymore. 3 days after stopping I woke up after only being asleep for a few hours because my mom needed groceries carried in. I had never felt a more primal fear panic attack hit me in my entire life, having had panic disorder for 2 years before this happened and having a panic attack at this scale was saying something, I felt like I was trapped and the only way out was if I were to die, it was terrifying. I popped an ativan and it numbed me enough to where I could fall back asleep within the hour, everything changed after that day. I was having more and more panic attacks in my safe spaces, I felt trapped, I couldnt get out of my bed because everything felt so unreal and dreamlike, I had had this dissociative episodes before but no to this scale, something was very off, I hoped it would eventually just go away. Fast forward into March 2020 and its still just as bad, theres nothing I can do against it either. COVID-19 was becoming a huge problem so any hope of leaving the house then was just not gonna happen, thats when I started going to these forums to try and get help. For the next couple of months I was on here studying what helped people and how they recovered, I started using those coping exercises in hopes that it would make me feel better. Some did, some didnt. So in late June I decided to call my doctor once again. The Zoloft worked for months last year so who's to say it won't work again. We decided to start me off on the lowest dose and work from there, I was hopeful it would work again. Day 4 of the medicine I woke up with the worst suicidal thoughts I had ever had in my life. I felt like I was going to lose control, it was terrifying. I called my doctor immediately. He told me to stop taking the Zoloft right then and there and we schedule a phone appointment. During this appointment he diagnosed me as Bipolar 2 that had seemed to develop within the course of this last year, which made a lot of sense to me because of the depressive states I was falling in and out of(apparently it's a big no no to start taking an SSRI with no mood stabilizer and thats what could have possibly triggered the suicidal thoughts)so I told him about a medicine I had seen mentioned on this site and other DP/DR forums countless times called Lamictal. He decided since it does treat bipolar and PTSD, we could give it a try, he told me it's success rate was very high and we discussed possible side effects. That day I started taking lamictal and was going to titrate up slowly. It was almost instantly that I began to feel better. I've been on my therapeutic dose for around a month now, it completely changed my life, and has been like a miracle drug to me. It hasn't cured me 100% but it's made it possible for me to take other steps in my recovery without feeling too uncomfortable. This last month I've started going out again(Safely of course because we're in a pandemic) I went and saw friends I haven't seen since last year. I can go grocery shopping and drive to the park without feeling scared. I know soon enough when things settle down just a bit I will be able to start working again. My life is slowly returning to what it was, and in a way I have a newfound respect for the little things in life because of what I went through with derealization. I'm getting my life back, and I know you can too. Now just because lamictal worked for me does NOT mean it will work for everybody. But that doesn't mean you are hopeless, there are countless medications and mood stabilizer you can try. I just got unlucky and developed bipolar disorder but that doesn't mean you will, everybody is different. DO NOT give up, there's always hope and I'll try to answer any questions you guys might have. I say try very loosely because I know once you're recovering you should stay off sites like these but I genuinely will give it a shot. And a final note, just because I suffered for 3 years DOES NOT MEAN you are going to if this disorder is new to you. I wasn't actively seeking help for a large portion of the time I was dealing with this just because I thought it would just go away on it's own. Trust me once you start trying to recover, you're already halfway there, it may take some time but you will eventually get out of this. I believe in you, we all do.