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Member Since 23 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Oct 27 2012 02:23 AM

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Is depersonalization the same as depression?

26 October 2012 - 12:14 PM

Okay hear me out here - could it be that depersonalization is the same as depression but just with a different label?

"Diagnostic criteria for Depersonalization disorder include, among others, persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from one's mental processes or body" (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders)

"Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, world view and physical well-being" (People's Medical Society)

Now purely from a definitive stance, there are clearly some differences. The depersonalization definition does not mention "low mood" and the depression definition does not mention "feeling detached from mental processes". However, as we all know, the feelings associated with both these disorders invariably overlap. It could be the case, that one does not cause the other, in fact they could be the same thing?

Talking from personal experience, I find similarities in the feelings associated with both depression and "DP". So for example, in the majority of cases, DP and depression are caused by a traumatic event, be it a bad drug or alcohol experience, the loss of a loved one, losing employment and so on. In the majority of cases, the effect of feeling disconnected from one's mental processes is sincerely negative. If you can't feel excitement or joy and you lose interest in things, undoubtedly this will get you down. If you lose connection with yourself, it is often a technique utilised by your mind unconsciously to ease the suffering of depression. Why would anyone deliberately want to feel depressed after all? If you feel disconnected, life becomes very pointless which again is a classic product of feeling depressed. Our "world view" becomes very distorted with both disorders, with depression and DP it's as if we're looking at life from a completely different perspective to what we would want.

To me, I think depersonalization is just a less stigmatic label for depression since they share so much in common. I would like to hear from someone who has DP and isn't depressed? Can you honestly say that you feel happy when you have DP? Perhas if you saw it as some kind of spiritual quest then possibly I could understand.

Any thoughts or comments are welcome :)

Persistent feeling of emptiness/meaningless

23 October 2012 - 03:34 PM

Hi guys,

I hope you can take a moment to read my story and offer me some feedback as to what I'm experiencing. From what I've read so far, I seem to be suffering from "DP", see what you think....

Before I start I'd like to say that I've never had any mental health issues in the past. I have always had a very stable and positive outlook on life, so much so that I plan to join the military. Hence this whole experience is completely alien to me, I feel like this life I'm living isn't even mine anymore.

So this whole thing started in October 2011. I had just come back to University for my second year of study and I had chosen to go back into halls of residence rather than private housing which most students do in their second year. The reason behind this was because all the student houses looked so grotty and horrible and I just couldn't envisage myself living there with my mates.

The first week back at Uni brings with it plenty of partying, socialising and more often than not...sex with strangers. I had been drinking and partying for about 2-3 days in a row when I suddenly had what can best be described as a 'Dark Night of the Soul'. I had strong suspicions that my drink had been spiked the night before as the whole evening was a blackout and when I went back to a girl's house, I couldn't get an erection during sex. Also, during the daytime I had horrendous stomach pains. I have never reacted to alcohol in this way before.

So when I went to bed that evening (the night after the possible drink spiking) I felt very vulnerable and scared especially in my lonely rooms in halls. I just remember waking up in the middle of the night with racing dark thoughts. I was banging my fist on the wall begging not to go crazy. I felt like finding the fire exit to the roof so I could end it all. Now what the hell happened here?! For someone with no previous mental issues AT ALL to suddenly breakdown like this, can only be credited to either alchohol poisoining or drink spiking. It felt like I was living a nightmare, I completely lost the plot. The following morning I was up at 7am to ring my parents. I explaining to them that I had just had the weirdest evening (not going into as much detail as I didn't want to scare them). My dad just brushed it off as a bad nightmare, it would turn out to be so much more. This whole night would prove to shake my entire perception of the world.

For the next few weeks after that I felt incredibly strange. The best way to describe it is a persistent feeling of emptiness. It was if something had just sucked out all the joy, optimism and general sanity from my very being. I went to see the University counsellor which was personally very humiliating. It was like I'd lost faith in my own ability to deal with problems, which I have always done in the past. I explained to her in full how I was feeling and what happened during that first week. I saw here roughly once a week and each time I saw her I ended up breaking down in tears. I just couldn't understand what was happening to me, and this frustration was really getting me down. The next 3-4 months sent me spiralling into a depression. I had racing negative thoughts, couldn't concentrate, couldn't spend time by myself and generally hit rock bottom. I was also having terrible night sweats and I'd wake up in the middle of the night soaking wet. It was like my body was struggling to deal with this whole mental experience as much as my soul was!

After Christmas I gradually recovered from my bout of depression and felt slightly more stable. Since then however I have still been left with the exact same feelings of those first few weeks. As I'm writing this and I describe to you how I feel it would be summed up by 'emptiness'. Everything in life seems so pointless. I have no excitement over the future. Everything seems so bleak and meaningless. I feel like a zombie, just going through the motions of life with no attachment or joy. I've lost my libido, motivation to succeed in life and even the love for my family and friends. I've lost my witty personality and can't banter with the lads. It's like I'm just driftwood.

My attemps at treating this issue have been counselling (as previously mentioned), shamanic healing (desperation), hypnotherapy (with one of the best hypnotherapists in London), a spiritual walk known as the Camino de Santiago, fish oils, Vitamin D3 supplement, and I've recently starting taking the SAMe supplement, just to try and give me a bit of "oomph".

I literally see no light at the end of the tunnel. None of the above treatments have worked. This is the first ever post I've put on a forum like this, I wanted to see if anyone out there can relate to my experience or these feelings that I have? I just want my old self back so badly. The zest, passion, motivation and positive outlook that I used to have, I want to retrieve desperately. I just want to feel connected!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I understand it's a long post but I think you need the full picture. Any feedback or comments would be great.

Lost Soul2