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#597966 The depersonalized brain

Posted by morph on 11 March 2019 - 09:29 AM

Full Length Article
The depersonalized brain: New evidence supporting a distinction between depersonalization and derealization from discrete patterns of autonomic suppression observed in a non-clinical sample
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HayleyDeweaDerrick G.WatsonbKlausKesslercJason J.Braithwaited
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New body-specific paradigm reveals novel findings in Self-Other processing.

Aberrant autonomic activity to aversive body-threats in a non-clinical group.

Trait-based depersonalization is related to autonomic suppression for Self threats.

Trait-based derealization is related to autonomic suppression for Other threats.

Findings have implications for theories of self-consciousness and awareness.

Depersonalization and Derealization are characterised by feelings of detachment from one’s bodily self/surroundings and a general emotional numbness. We explored predisposition to trait-based experiences of depersonalization/derealization-type experiences and autonomic arousal toward simulated body-threats, which were delivered to the participant’s own body (i.e. Self) and when observed being delivered to another individual (i.e. Other). Ninety participants took part in an “Implied Body-Threat Illusion” task (Dewe, Watson, & Braithwaite, 2016) and autonomic arousal was recorded via standardised skin conductance responses and finger temperature. Autonomic suppression in response to threats delivered to the Self correlated with increases in trait-based depersonalization-type experiences. In contrast, autonomic suppression for threats delivered to Others correlated with trait-based derealization-like experiences. Body-temperature and anticipatory arousal did not correlate reliably with predisposition to depersonalization- or derealization-type experiences. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed in terms of a fronto-limbic autonomic suppression mechanism.

#589610 No feelings connected to my memories

Posted by morph on 31 August 2018 - 08:07 AM

It's dissociative, but not necessarily another dissociative disorder.

It was one of my main issues with emotional blunting, recalling traumatic memories with just a calm detachment and no emotional reactivity. Over the years, if I spoke of the events to other people, they would become visibly upset on my behalf. Their emotional reactivity came as a surprise because my care givers and social workers didn't display emotional reactivity. Cognitively I understood the events were traumatic but never felt any emotional connection to them.

Now, without emotional blunting, I can feel the pain, cry and no longer feel the need to keep recalling the events. Without the need to recall them, the memories are fading.

It does improve. Just need to find something to halt and reverse the blunting process. I'm sorry I can't advise how to do that. Each case is unique and needs to be dealt with on an individual basis.

#563553 Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Posted by morph on 18 March 2018 - 07:48 AM

Care needs to be taken if anyone is considering stimulating the vagus nerve. Seek medical advice first - bradycardia can be a serious problem.

It's also probably worth reading about Polyvagal Theory, to gain more understanding of the dorsal and ventral branches of the vagus nerve.

#518042 caused by anxiety?

Posted by morph on 05 November 2017 - 09:37 AM

Of course the pull your socks up brigade jump straight in....

Ask anyone on here suffering with chronic depersonalization what self help books have done for them??????

If youve been lucky enough to recover from this condition whilst continuing to go to work day in day out, paying your bills, raising children, partcitpating in your regular hobbies and social life etc etc etc im afraid youve not experienced depersonalization to the extent that alot of us on here have.....

Chronic depersonalization incapacitates people....It leaves them squirming in their beds in total mental agony unable to sleep, concentrate, communicate, eat, focus, read, walk, talk..............(shall i go on)......................

Please dont patronise me when ive dealt with this condition for nearly 30 years and NOTHING has made it go away....

I've suffered from chronic depersonalization,for a long time. It has not incapacitated me, I'm not in a catatonic state, nor am I squirming in agony. For many years I felt very little physical or emotional pain. You choose to negate my experiences, with what appears to be a strongly held belief, rather that something that is based in evidence. What would motivate you to attempt to negate the experiences of other people? It is a concern, that by continually negating the experiences of others, you will cause unintentional harm, that is why I feel obliged to intervene.

My own process of improvement, has very little to do with "luck". It is based on trawling through research, gaining understanding of my condition and remaining open to new ideas. It has been unfortunate that I don't have access to formal treatment methods that are available to the majority of people.

There is also a danger that symtoms that might be due to other factors are being attributed to dp and dissociation. Depression, anxiety, illicit drug use etc need to be considered and perhaps attributed to some symptoms. Some research leans towards this view, unfortunately we don't all have access to the latest research.

Just for once, are you able to provide evidence to support your generalized claims?

#508322 Complex PTSD and DP-DR

Posted by morph on 09 October 2017 - 04:28 PM

what are the effective methods of treating C-PTSD then? even that guy harrington talks about it...

Phase-oriented treatment is usually recommended:



#476473 Trauma: the Shutdown Dissociation Scale (Shut-D)

Posted by morph on 12 July 2017 - 05:14 PM

Would you be able to go in some detail on how to get out of the shutdown mode of functioning? I feel that tradition "rest, relaxation" type techniques often make me feel worse.

There's some research on dissociative shutdown that suggests caution should taken when using techniques such as mindfulness with traumatized individuals. However there are certain simple precautions that can be taken if someone is keen to use these techniques,

I've also experienced a worsening of my dissociation with "relaxation" techniques. I didn't considered it a problem in childhood ( but it was) as I had already been consciously entering dissociative states ( I can explain the reasons for this- but it's a private matter). It's only as I've read more about dissociaiton and depersonalization that I've come to realize the implications of what was occurring. I'm not totally adverse to using certain techniques before sleep, but being aware of the risks, it's just something I don't feel qualified to recommend.

At its worst I've no idea how I've "woken" from initial traumatic shutdowns. It just feels the same as when waking from a sleep to me, it just happens when it happens. That's what I found most disturbing about spontaneous shutdowns, which seemed to have no trigger.

The process of improvement has been long but that's most likely because I was never diagnosed with any particular disorder, not even PTSD, I was just told by social workers that I'd had a difficult childhood and would have a new family if I behaved well. Being a ward of court I did receive the obligatory physical medicals but not psychiatric treatment, until I was no longer a ward of court, so a natural route to improvement took place.i guess from outward appearances this appeared successful, the mask worked very well.

Socializing has been a very important way to pull me out of shutdown, although it's sometimes the exact opposite of what I actually feel like doing . Walking, dance, music art and play have also been therapeutic. Some of this ties in with Polyvagal theory, although I suspect not all.

Having been separated permanently from my family at a young age, it's always been advantageous for me to socialize anyway, although traumas affected my speech and impacted of conversational socializing. My main difficulty in socializing was learning to trust adults. I sought out people who were very kind, calm / not anxious and with a certain intonation to their voice that was soothing. Even now I still have a preference for certain accents.

Over the years I've spent a lot of my spare time doing voluntary activities, spending time with people from all walks of life. It was important to learn about their life histories, paying careful attention to listening, without interruption, and monitoring body language. This level of attention was of benefit in several ways, preventing a drift to dissociation during conversations and improving my cognitive empathy. My affective empathy was lacking due to severe emotional detachment. Now, I'm able to feel emotions and affective empathy, but the trade-off has been feeling intense physical pains and emotions such as disgust ( for me disgust is the worst because of the nausea), hopefully it will ease as I become more accustomed to it.

Not all social actives were beneficial, I've had significant problems coping in large groups of people where there is too much noise, especially if it was indoors. I've always felt safer socializing outdoors.

Walking is also beneficial, I try not to remain sedentary for long as that usually triggers episodes of dissociaiton. I've experienced vasovagal responses with both relaxation and strenuous exercise, so for myself, walking and cycling are good forms of exercise.

Music was also helpful both as a form of expression and for training the inner ear muscles, as discussed in the Polyvagal theory. I learned to play several instruments (ones that sound ok when learning). The discipline of repeating scales and arpeggios was most likely a good thing and prevents drifting into a flow state. Singing was also good, for some reason I found it easier to sing than to speak. Being in a group of musicians or singers also utilizes social engagement. Some music does have the potential to increase dissociation, so a little caution is necessary.

None of this is a quick fix, rather a slow, arduous route to a more stable state. Each additional traumatic event, requiring me to start over- two steps forward, one step back. When I tried to speed up the process too soon, I suffered a long bout of reactive depression and insomnia, something I was not totally prepared for and have not experienced before. I prefer not to use the word recovery, as for me, there is no return to a previous better state, dissociation has been with me for as long as I can recall, it's just improvements until I'm content with the outcome, I'd like to emulate the people who have good control over dissociaiton.

Sorry, this reply is way longer than intended,

There's one question I'd like to ask, if that's ok? Have you noticed any difference in memory formation since you started experiencing dp?

#475793 Injection that can reduce anxiety and depersonalization

Posted by morph on 10 July 2017 - 02:44 PM

Sorry mayer-gross, when you say para sympatric do you actually mean para sympathetic??
Also in my experience this seems very sympathetic in nature.. if your parasympathetic system was overactive you would be falling asleep and super relaxed. I feel super tense, can't relax, and struggle with sleep. Any tiny sound wakes me up. I'm open minded to us all having different things wrong with our nervous system causing our symptoms.. but I think the majority would have an overactive stress response (sympathetic)

Not keen to hijack this thread but there appear to a few misconceptions surrounding the parasympathetic response during certain forms of trauma. leading to dissociative shutdown.

Posting a link to a thread I started a while back- It was only posted because I've experienced dissociative shutdown repeatedly (unfortunately) and am familiar with the parasympathetic dominance involved and the states it may lead to.

It all makes for interesting reading:


#456914 The vestibular body: Vestibular contributions to bodily representations.

Posted by morph on 07 May 2017 - 11:09 AM

It is interesting, and it appears to be an area of research that is often overlooked.

Anomalous vestibular sensations and research into the unsusual sleep experiences associated with daytime dissociation are of particular interest to me, as I've always experienced vestibular-motor hallucinations and out-of body experiences during the hypnagogic/ hypnopompic states.

#434002 Reconnected!!!!

Posted by morph on 26 February 2017 - 02:50 PM

that's great!

#425202 The voice of PTSD diagnosis

Posted by morph on 06 February 2017 - 07:11 AM

Seemed interesting, worth a listen for anyone interested in diagnostic tools for psychiatric disorders.


#423642 its like it wasn't meant to be.

Posted by morph on 02 February 2017 - 09:37 AM

stop trolling or get help for your trolling addiction

Why do you assume that babybowrain is trolling? Perhaps I'm missing something, (feel free to set me straight), but I've met other people who communicate in a similar way ( they've usually experienced severe trauma), people who require support and love, not vilification.

Before calling someone out as a troll, it's worth learning more about severe dissociative symptoms. Tonic immobility and dissociative shutdown may sometimes be similar to near death experiences and can be triggered a long time after traumatic incidents. It is one possible explanation.

Anyway, on the bright side, things must be improving for me regarding emotional numbing because I actually felt slightly angered by your comment.

#421753 Synesthesia and Ideasthesia

Posted by morph on 29 January 2017 - 08:41 AM

old thread but interesting

I've been using hypnosis to gain some control over my dissociation and have a better practical understanding of trance states, as a result it seems to have induced a form of synesthesia.

#389745 Looking for advice and support

Posted by morph on 12 November 2016 - 09:59 AM

LostSoul, you ok for me to pm you?
Morph, I've been reading up on it and it seems certainly possible this could be the cause. I tend to have adrenaline release right before it happens, I get nauseous, the black spots in my vision, sweaty and tunnel vision.
I'm going to book an appointment with my GP today (means they'll see me in 6 weeks -.-) and get a physical anyway, will talk to them about DP then, hopefully they'll be able to help me this time.
Thank you for your help again :-)

It's disappointing that you have to wait six weeks for an appointment, that's such a long time to be waiting.

I'm going to add a couple of points that were omitted from my previous posts. The first is that mndfulness is contraindicated for some people who have experienced trauma ( breath work has the potential to trigger the fight, flight, freeze response). Secondly, with the TRE exercises I experience visual snow for a short time afterwards, it doesn't cause me concern but some people might find this distressing, and it's probably best that I mention this.

#385473 Trauma: the Shutdown Dissociation Scale (Shut-D)

Posted by morph on 03 November 2016 - 09:12 AM

For anyone with an interest in trauma, tonic immobility, adverse childhood experiences and dissociative symptoms: The first link is for the Shutdown DIssociaiton Scale, the second is the defence cascade model of trauma, with an explanation of the five steps in the cascade and the role of both sympathetic and parasympathic nervous systems. The third link provides some useful pamphlets.



#378103 looking for dr advice

Posted by morph on 31 August 2016 - 07:49 AM


Have you read anything about hypnagogia? From what you describe, it's likely you're experiencing a prolonged hypnagogic state, it's not necessarily something to be concerned about, some people work with this state to boost creativity and encourage lucid dreaming.