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Member Since 20 Jun 2014
Offline Last Active Jul 24 2014 08:51 AM

Topics I've Started

The DPDRometer: a way to measure your symptoms.

20 July 2014 - 04:03 AM

The DPDR-ometer



dpdr ometer

(click for larger image)


How to use:

You can measure your own dpdr symptoms on a scale from -10 to +10.


This should help you manage your symptoms and give you a sense of control. Whenever you are aware of your symptoms, you can say to yourself, for example, ', everything looks behind glass, and anxious about it, I'm at about -4 - now -3, -5...(changing)' or, 'that's not me in the mirror, I'm at about -8.'


Below I have suggested some values for different symptoms, but these will unique to each person and can change in intensity, so you may want to adapt them to you.  The scale should really represent the intensity of your own symptoms, so if for you numbness is intense, then have that in the negative scores.

10 Feel strongly alive, real, integrated, connected, complete.

5 Feel very positive about self in the world, good sense of reality and one's place in it.

2 General feeling of well-being and stability.

0 Neutral. Not thinking about sense of reality/self. No particular concerns one way or other. No issue. Involved in other things.

-1 eyes seem not quite settled, out of line

-2 some minor 'buzzy' sense of unreality around the edges, small colour/detail enhancements to vision. Annoyance/some anxiety but can't put finger on it.

-5 world as real/unreal feel equally likely. Some visuals surreal, behind a glass screen. Unpleasant, disorientated, can't help but question 'reality'. Feel sense of loss of orientation in the world.

-8 eg, 'floating eyeballs', arms don't feel your own, don't recognise you as yourself in mirror. Not really here, but somewhere else seeing here.

-10 complete sense of unreality, no link with the world or place in it, extremely distressed.

The main advantage of using a scale like this is it doesn't look for a '100%' perfection state of mind (which is impossible!).


Also, a lot of time, you won't be thinking about dp/dr: with this scale you can put that on the scale at 0.

Try using it for a few days and see what difference it makes to your ability to manage your dp/dr.


Any questions or comments, please say.

DP/DR never stopped anyone climbing a mountain.

11 July 2014 - 02:54 AM

Go climb a mountain.


Take a photo when you're up there.



Repersonalisation/Rerealisation: a Recovery Guide to dp/dr.

08 July 2014 - 01:42 PM

There are many threads on this site that will help and encourage you to make a good recovery. Some of them are really good and offer sound advice and the writers get my respect. I don't claim this thread to be any better. But I think I can claim it is different.  Perhaps not - I haven't read every thread.

The difference is because the advice given in many of the posts relate to your attitude, the way you see the world, your approach to others, and suggest you should 'be positive' , 'learn to accept', 'don't think too much,' for example. Fair enough, it's good stuff for anyone, let alone a DP/DR sufferer.

But let's be honest: if you went to a doctor with a broken leg and he looked you up and down, prodded you about a bit, then declared, 'ah, yes, what you need to do is to 'accept yourself' or 'let your past go,' or 'learn to face reality', or the worst: 'pull yourself together!'  ..!

Well, would you accept that? Would that really help you?  You've got a broken leg, you're in terrible pain, can hardly function, and the doctor is trying to tell you to look at life differently! Would you take him seriously for a second? What would happen to that doctor? Well, I hope such a doctor would be struck off and forbidden from practising again.

So why do we talk about DP/DR with less seriousness than a broken leg? It's just as serious, and it is just as real. The fact that the medical establishment has not put enough research in to finding a medical answer does not mean it is any less serious than a broken leg. Just because others can't see it or understand it or even imagine it, doesn't mean it is any less important than any other disease or injury . I believe it is more serious than most. I hope you can agree with this. There's nothing wrong with you 'as a person'. You don't have to 'change' who you are. You need to heal.

I'm not going to waste your time. I believe you, as a dp/dr sufferer deserve better than that. You have an awful affliction that one day will be properly recognised rather than pigeon-holed as 'anxiety' or some other vague term. Let's face it, you're battling mostly on your own with practically no useful help at all. The fact that you're reading this means you are trying to get yourself better from this thing. And you're not even a doctor (probably!) . You deserve anyone's respect and you deserve the best because of the difficulties you face. I really believe that.

I'm going to describe to you some 'cognitive exercises' – some 'brain training' if you like, which I believe will give you a fighting chance against this awful disease. Just like recovering from a broken limb will require physio-therapy, these exercises are equivalent to that.

The aim of doing these is to considerably speed up your recovery and help you to help yourself by beginning to understand what's going on and doing something about it.

They are not about changing your attitude and such like. They are real 'brain' exercises that you can work with in a solid concrete way. And they leave your personality, belief and way of life alone – that's your own business. Not mine.

They will not directly help you with your difficulties you have in your life other than DP/DR. Of course, by getting rid of DP/DR you will be able to function better and deal with other problems more easily.

Be gentle on yourself. If it was a broken leg you were recovering from, you wouldn't start running as soon as you put your feet on the ground. You know what I'm saying.

If you are going to try these series of 6 cognitive exercises then do them seriously. Half-hearted will get nothing – you will just waste your own time. I welcome feedback. Feedback is also useful for others to read. Please, don't bother feedback if you aren't interested in actually trying the exercises, but just want to air your opinion about.

[One final thing. The only condition. If you are doing marijuana or similar then DON'T while you're following these exercises. Seriously. Tell your mates you're going to 'de-tox your brain' for a while and put away the weed. If you can't give up the weed for a few weeks, then don't start the exercises yet. Wait for a better time.]

Good luck.                                 (exercise 1 in comment below)

A cartoon view of my experience.

03 July 2014 - 07:08 AM

My reflection is more real than me!


So it's not just me, then...

20 June 2014 - 06:22 AM

Yesterday, after writing down my 'symptoms', I wondered casually if they might actually be recognised as a 'condition'.  After thirty years, I now know others feel the same way I do.  I was gobsmacked to find people talking of 'two-dimensional view' and 'being only a pair of eyes' and so many other descriptions that underpin my general disassociation with reality.  So here I am, a part of me laughing with relief, another part of me crying at having to suffer this alone, believing it was 'just me' since I was a teenager.  I am now nearly 50. 

To give you a bit of background, as a teenager, although brought up in a pretty secure and supportive family, I rejected normal society.  I had gained a scholarship to a private school - but didn't share the middle-class values of my peers and was pretty disruptive.  I left school and decided I would become a famous musician (despite lack of talent) and went off to the capital, lived with prostitutes and druggies, had LSD for breakfast and marijuana for dinner.  I believed that this was good for me, and would 'enlighten' me.  

After months of good trips and 'expanding my mind' (to be fair this was not bad for a while),  I had a bad trip and my confidence and belief in self vanished.  I awoke the next morning a different person.  Depersonalisation flowed in to me and left me thinking of myself a floating pair of eyes, invisible, other people were cartoon-like, but inside I was still sort of 'normal'.  I felt normal inside a mad person's mind.  I cried to the doctor, but he just dismissed me as suffering the effects of living on 'the wrong side' of life for a while.  I took to alcohol for a few months, without a job, then started to try to mend myself.

After a year or two, the condition became more bearable,  I learned to cope with it rather than not having it, and found in certain conditions I was more comfortable.  I also realised it hadn't affected my cognitive abilities, so went back to college and got myself a good degree in psychology.  When I completed it, they asked me back for a semester to teach it to the first years.  So I taught pyschology while at the same time experiencing terrifying unreal experiences when, for example, crossing a car park.  


I moved on from psychology to graphic design and did a lot of work in television, even on an international level, and, to be fair, built a strong reputation.  My drinking became very, very heavy in the evenings (10-12 pints every night).  Because of my drinking and depersonalisation, I found it hard to assert myself in this field, and relied on others to 'recognise' me, rather than push myself.  I eventually walked out, at the height of my career and went back to square one.  I went back to college again and retrained as a maths teacher.  Which I now have been, successfully, for several years.


All this time, I was often cursed with unreality.  I faked it.  I acted 'as if' I was real and got away with it.  I found being a student the least stressful and I felt I did have an identity. 


About three years ago I came across Gestalt Therapy by Perls et al - a book written in the 1950s.  I have read many psychology 'techniques' over the years in hope of finding a 'door' out of this glass-like existence but never had any luck beyond an initial 'placebo' belief.  The techniques really worked for me, at a fundamental level.  


I still remember I took a walk outside and...oh, my god...things were in 3D!  This was such an achievement for me, more than anything else.  And I couldn't share it with anyone!  I had popped out of 2D world.  It was amazing.


I've continued to work on that - and Gestalt works for me.  I'm not saying it would work for others, we are all different and have different issues.  I'm also not always completely 100%.  I still am not completely identified with the reflection in the mirror, and I still have problems being aware I have a face.  That's about it, though, most of the time.  The outside is now real.   And I'm several times more real than I was even three years ago.


And, yesterday, as I said, I found out there are others like me.  And you're real.  Hello.