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butcheniho

Member Since 26 Nov 2014
Offline Last Active Sep 25 2020 12:52 PM
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Topics I've Started

Recovered after 6 years!

03 September 2020 - 07:06 AM

 

So I spent an hour writing out my whole history of DP/DR from years before it actually happened. I realised it was dull, so I'm writing a more succinct, to the point version. If you want to hear more or chat to me please comment below or send me a DM on here, happy to chat on Facebook Messenger too if you'd like! (Actually this post ended up being super long anyway, hopefully you find it useful though).

 

I know how horrible this can be but please understand that it's totally reversible, I am proof! Also please understand that it's all anxiety (sorry to sound like a broken record but it's true), you're stuck in the fight or flight response. For the entirety of my suffering my body was always low level tense and I didn't even realise it, becoming aware of this was key to my recovery and inevitably put the brakes on the negative feedback loop that kept me stuck in DP/DR. All DP/DR is the same, no matter how you got it it's completely reversible, your case isn't any different to anyone else's, please take this to heart.

 

How I got it

 

So I experienced DP/DR for 6 years now I'm totally recovered apart from 0.001% of the time when I'm super super stressed and tense. But this doesn’t bother me.

 

To cut a long story short I spent most of my early 20's experimenting with drugs. LSD, Mushrooms, MDMA, Cocaine, Mephedrone, Alcohol and Weed. Weed was my biggest vice and I smoked it almost daily for around 5 years, strong skunk, the type that probably a lot of you are familiar with. I already had a slightly anxious/shy disposition and the more weed I smoked, the more amplified these traits became, starting with heightened anxiety which lead to paranoia and hypochondria. The LSD and Mushrooms especially gave me new perspectives on my own mind which were amplified through the lens of fear by the chronic anxiety and paranoia. The MDMA and Cocaine left me with frequent bouts of a rapid beating heart and dry mouth which my hypochondria amplified even more. During this time I definitely experienced episodes of DR but thought it was because I was stoned over all the time and they didn't last long...

 

One evening I smoked a super strong joint after a 2 week hiatus, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks, sent me into the first panic attack of my life (leading to many many more). The morning after I woke up and felt "stoned over" but a little more than usual, it was a strong joint so nothing too worrying there. I decided to stop smoking weed, of course I didn't want another panic attack...

 

After a week, that "stoned over" feeling hadn't gotten any better at all, I started to worry. At this point things started to look a little strange but I couldn't really put my finger on exactly how. My hypochondria started to kick in and things began to look even weirder, this started a negative feedback loop. I'm not going to list all of the possible ailments my mind decided I had in case they trigger anyone, but from everyone I've spoken to with DP/DR everyone settles on the same ones. So if you think your DP/DR is caused by anything other than anxiety almost definitely wrong, here's a list of symptoms related to DP/DR and anxiety that people freak out about (I've experienced all of these):

 

  • Trembling

  • Headaches

  • Vomiting/Nausea

  • Brain Fog/Feeling slow minded

  • Head Tension

  • Dizziness

  • Increased heart rate

  • Heart palpitations

  • Tight throat

  • Feeling lethargic/sleepy

  • Pins and Needles

  • Memory problems

  • Being more sensitive to sound/light

  • Dry mouth/feeling the need to drink more

  • Shortness of breath

  • Stomach Ache

  • Diarrhoea

  • Muscle aches

  • Nasal congestion

  • Dry eyes 

So the hypochondria and panic attacks started, DP/DR got worse etc etc. you know the script. I’ll list my DP/DR symptoms for anyone who needs to hear them but I’m sure you’re all pretty familiar now:

 

My DP/DR Symptoms

 

  • Feeling like the world isn’t real/dreamlike

  • Feeling like I’m not real

  • Feeling like my memories aren’t my own

  • Visual disturbances (floaters, after images, visual snow, seeing movement in still images)

  • Terrified of existence and existential questions

  • Seeing people like emotionless robots

  • Not being able to comprehend objects

  • Distortion of object sizes

  • Feeling overwhelmed by complex scenes

  • Nightly panic attacks

 

READ THIS If you’re suffering from panic attacks

 

I suffered from panic attacks, my last one was probably around 4 years ago… Here’s how I stopped them:

 

Ok so it might help to copy and paste this next bit, print it out if you need or put it in your notes in your phone so when you have a panic attack next it’ll be on hand. But if you think you can remember it, all good, do it like that!

 

You’re feeling the panic rise. Go into your minds eye and imagine yourself stood on a lush, green hillside. In the distance you can see a gigantic army coming towards you, this is your panic. Spread out your arms and invite the army to hit you with everything it’s got, really mean it, shout it in your mind!! Allow it to hit you with everything it’s got.

 

Actually doing this will mean that it certainly won’t hit you with everything it’s got and you’ll quickly de-escalate your panic attack. It might take some practice if you get particularly bad panic attacks, but there’ll be a point where you’ll never have a panic attack again. Simple but it works.

 

How I started to recover

 

After weeks of furiously googling I discovered the term Depersonalization/Derealization and the symptoms described were a perfect match. I wasn’t alone, this gave me some hope and a frame work to do some more research on. Here’s what helped, all of these things contributed in very different ways. It was a long road with set backs and nuances so just be patient with yourself and be aware that every single day you’re getting closer to recovery, towards the end the transition was barely noticeable, it just happened:

 

  • Distraction – This really isn’t a cure, you need to be comfortable with being with yourself and in your own mind. It did however help massively when things got too overwhelming, I found video games to be the best. Please note that just solely playing video games will do nothing to directly aid your recovery!

     

  • Eating healthily – This is contentious on this forum but around 2 and a half years ago I switched from eating pretty much only processed foods to completely cutting out sugar and eating a plant based, whole foods diet with fish and eggs thrown in for good measure. 90% of the serotonin your body makes is produced by the gut and it can’t produce this properly if it’s not healthy. Low serotonin causes depression, anxiety, irritability, etc etc. Part of the aim with recovery should be to do everything you can to get yourself in a positive frame of mind to help ease yourself out of this disorder. Switching my diet gave me so much more energy, focus and drive. It helped my mind feel sharper and everything became easier as a result, it’s one of the most powerful changes I made to my lifestyle. I found eating healthily really confusing to begin with so please just ask if you need help.

     

  • Supplements – As long as you’re eating a balanced diet I wouldn’t bother with nutritional supplements (perhaps with the exception of magnesium) but I found some to have a positive effect on my anxiety:

    • CBD – Oh man, the oil is great, I took it mainly before bed to help with getting to sleep (would usually wear off in the night and I’d wake up anxious so would need to take more). It can get really expensive so when I came across CBD flower I went for that instead, a much cheaper way of getting the same effects, I like to smoke it in a pipe. I still buy it from here https://hemphash.co....emp-flower-hash, they also sell the oil.

    • L-Theanine – I took this a lot at the start of my recovery, definitely had some benefit but diminishing returns over time. It’s the amino acid you get in all types of tea but has the highest concentration in green tea. It’s the reason why you don’t feel jittery and anxious like when you drink coffee. It has a synergistic effect with caffeine but when taken by itself it has a calming effect. This is the stuff I used to take https://amzn.to/3hUR8IP it’s a cheap alternative to CBD.

    • Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder – This didn’t directly help my anxiety but 100% helped with my memory and cognitive agility, which perhaps helped me rationalise certain anxieties more easily. There are various scientific studies done into how it improves memory. It basically strengthens the myelin which is the insulative coating around neurons, this allows electrical signals travel more easily and quickly in your brain. It seemed to “revive” certain memories that I hadn’t thought about for years and made remembering things and manipulating information in my mind easier, I guess it helped with brain fog. Fascinating interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast with mycologist Paul Stamets who talks about it more in depth https://www.youtube....h?v=mPqWstVnRjQ. The stuff I still take daily I get from here https://bit.ly/31Tp1UB. I think this company deliver worldwide but if not just make sure you find one that’s a “hot water extract”, this is the most potent form. I just mix ½ a teaspoon in a cup of boiling water every morning.

 

  • Muscle Relaxation – So important! Along with eating healthily I think this was my most important lifestyle change. I learned about this from Jordan Hardgrave, you probably know his YouTube channel; if not, he’s a therapist and ex DP/DR sufferer. He has a course which I took the plunge and bought towards the end of May this year. He talks about the fight or flight response and how a massive component of that is muscle tension. I didn’t even realise I was tense most of the time until I bought the course, I’d hazard a guess that you’re tense too. Essentially if you’re tense you’re keeping yourself in the fight or flight response and perpetuating your anxiety. He goes through explaining the causes and reasons you’re DP/DR’d in the first place and gives loads of exercises to do to help you get into the habit of relaxation, some are really involved, others you can literally do whenever and wherever without anyone noticing. I reckon this is what helped tip me over the edge back into reality. https://bit.ly/3gU9b0k

 

  • Baths – In relation to the last bullet point… My girlfriend was going on at me for ages to try Dead Sea Salt Baths. I shunned it for ages, thinking it wouldn’t do anything. I finally tried it and was amazed. I’ve tried loads of different brands and they all do the exact same thing, some are scented, some aren’t. They’re basically full of micronutrients like magnesium (great for anxiety) and just sitting in a bath with a few handfuls for 20 minutes has been working wonders for keeping my anxiety at bay. This is one of the kinds I've used https://amzn.to/3jIPqLa but you can really get it from any supermarket or health shop. I found Dead Sea Salts to be more effective than Epsom Salts

     

  • Meditation – Something that I started practising around a year into my DP. I used to do Transcendental Meditation which feels like a cult but now I just do breath meditation. It helps you stay focused and present with the external world, rather than being insular and focusing on yourself, which really is the catalyst for anxiety. It takes practice and I recommend trying to turn it into a daily habit, 5 minutes is absolutely fine but I aim for 20 minutes. Here’s a guide https://www.lionsroa...ategory/how-to/

 

 

I hope this has been useful to you, if you have any questions please just ask! You will get through this, it’s not as scary as it first seems, it’s all just your mind playing tricks on you!