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Hi chaps and chapesses,

I came across this forum today and it's overwhelming even having clicked on only a few topics. It's going to take me some time to work out how to get the best out of it, but this is my intro...

I first heard about DP on a BBC News article/video about 6 months ago - Most of it seemed to really chime with my experience so I did a bit of investigation but didn't get as far as here. I've been aware of my mental health issues for 10 years since what was probably the onset of them. This was a sudden period of regular very strong panic attacks at University, initially as a (partial?) result of smoking marijuana regularly for a year. When the first one happened the night of my 20th birthday I thought I was having a heart attack and called an ambulance. I didn't have any idea what panic attacks were and this was absolutely terrifying - I was convinced I had lost my mind and stayed in my room for about a week pretty much. After that I carried on with university without seeking help or looking anything up online, still convinced I'd gone mental (I mean, I suppose I had but my knowledge of mental health issues was practically none, and carried stigma with it). The anxiety must have improved slightly but was still pretty bad for an entire year and there seemed to be no escape.

Then one day (no idea why) I came across a description of panic attacks online. MY panic attacks. Not the ones you see in films or that I suppose other people had. This was a huge relief and very quickly I began to feel a lot better. The panic attacks were so much easier to deal with and eventually passed altogether (bar cinema and planes which I still tend to avoid to this day... but I'm going to work on them eventually). I realised I'd actually had a couple of panic attacks in my childhood too.

Anyway, I was still living with anxiety but at a very low level, and after university I carried on with my life. I'm turning 30 next month, and now find myself doing pretty well in life. I'm a freelance composer working in UK TV, and though there are tons of stresses associated with that such as the ups and downs with work, the unsettledness of it, and also the creative process, I feel most of the time I'm doing OK for myself.

Until I realised in November I was depressed, and had been for a couple of years. I decided to properly do something about it and got referred for a course of CBT for depression. This helped me to break out of the negative cycle I was in, and having seen the article about depersonalisation I was keen to explore this more too. I've had a hard time getting the mental health services here to 'get' depersonalisation, as it seems like many had never heard of it. I've now settled on setting up some psychodynamic counselling out of my own pocket (though I'm skint...) to explore my history and see if that helps.

Anyway.... the depersonalisation itself:

I've slowly realised this past few months that I've been living with it for almost a decade. It seems to be the case that I'm a bit afraid of losing it, which could suggest it was the result of trauma, possibly about the anxiety. I've started Headspace mediation for the last couple of months, which I now know can be counter-productive to DP. It's seemed to help a lot with the depression, and has provided a sometimes scary new angle on my DP. I suppose I realise I have a fear of my emotions, my internal monologue, of suicide and of going crazy - It makes sense that I may have depersonalised to avoid these.

I'll probably leave it there for now as it comes across to me like a rambling unordered mess of a story which I suppose it is. I'm still in the middle of the story, but I do feel the steps I've taken recently mean it may be the beginning of sorting it out (I'm not going to say the beginning of the end of my DP as yet). I'm enjoying the clarity on my own story I've got from meditation, from thinking about it more, and from reading others' stories. I also feel like in many ways I was cut out for this issue as it's hard to separate it from my personality - That sounds bad and hopeless, but in some ways it is always going to be hard to make that distinction. I may be a very logical and unemotional thinker anyway (despite having a creative profession).

Other factors I feel like mentioning are that I'm a mild asthmatic (and I reckon there may be a link between this and anxiety) and also that I grew up in a religious family but lost (or never had) faith early in life. On some level it must have had a significant impact that I don't believe in life after death and my family do, though I don't remember going through those thoughts and asking existential questions at the time.

Right.... well that feels good to write down! I'm off to make some lunch. Thanks for this forum and I look forward to helping, asking for help, and reading more.
 

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I honestly didnt read all but it is very sad, i could say tragic to read someone has this for 10 years.. I had this, i was in this hell wasted bunch of money on doctors, tried everything, was completely DEVASTATED by this.. Its disorder.. for me it was very chronic, but the way out is pretty simple but VERY hard when u are in this situation. Why people get this disorder? Pretty simple , living the wrong way.. For some it is weed/drugs, for some anxiety, for some long term stress/ depression , traumas ocds ...Once i went back to my old hobbies which already helped me of many things back in time (martial arts, lifting, workouts at home..) it started dissapearing very quick. Intense and continuous training is remedy for this. I read people get cured by driving bike long road every day, being involved in sports, etc. Also taking vitamins is important (specially D3 and B complex).. There are bunch of people who had this, not even knowing what it is, but they cured it.. Living sedentary life is terrible for this, staying at home doing nothing wont cure it. Alchohol/drugs will make u stay in that same state... People need to stop being on forums complaining, and start with new lifestyle.. Beggining is very hard you need something big to motivate you
 

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I thought I had myself diagnosed in 1989, when panic attacks were first recognized by the medical community. 2 decades later, I had EEGs which strongly suggested I had a history of epileptic seizures. I researched temporal lobe seizures

and abdominal aura and, sure enough, I saw that my panic attacks were in fact mild epileptic seizures. Get an EEG to find out where you stand. Don't expect a psychiatrist to refer you. They are content to prescribe psych meds for as long as you

are willing to take them.
 
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