Depersonalization Support Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is going to be a bit long, but my intention is to provide some hope for those who are recent sufferers and more longtime sufferers. If you want to skip ahead to other sections, please refer to the table of contents.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Words of Hope
My Symptoms
Summary of Events (Acute Phase)
Early Coping Strategies
Early Healing Plan
Advice on Fastest Way to Heal
Commitment to Health

WORDS OF HOPE
DP/DR is recoverable. I have done it, others have done it, you can do it too. No one escapes life without painful challenges. For some it's cancer, for others it's severe injury…for you and I - it is/was DP/DR. Be grateful that you do not have anything terminal and that there are things that you can do to begin the process of healing. You are not psychotic and will not become psychotic. This scared me for some time, I was sure I was done for. Someone who is psychotic is not aware of their own psychosis. Your awareness of your condition is itself a recognition that your sanity is quite intact! Your process of healing is a process! Much like a watched pot never boils, so too a constant awareness of your symptoms will inhibit the speed of your recovery. Your symptoms are not you! What you are experiencing is the mind/body in shock - when you begin to heal, you realize that nothing you thought about yourself during this time was true (I am depersonalized, I don't exist, etc. etc.). It's not true, it only feels true, but those feelings can and will go away! You never lost touch with reality. Yes, it feels that way, everything feels fucked up, but you never stepped outside reality. You are still there, suffering very uncomfortable perceptual changes that are resulting from a shocked system. Heal the system and the perceptions return to normal - don't look for reality to 'snap back.' Your senses and perceptions will feel normal/real when you begin to do healthy things for your mind and body. Start making very small steps towards 'normalcy'. Go out to movies with friends (I remember seeing inception following my episode and being freaked out, anxious, dissociative, and emotionless - I went anyway….and it wasn't easy). Do other things that you would normally do; the pain and discomfort will persist in spite of your actions in the beginning, but it is setting the stage for your recovery. Start implementing lifestyle adjustments (see Advice on Fastest Way to Heal) that will move you towards health and away from suffering. You need to help give your body and mind the conditions that are conducive to health and healing. Stay the course - continue to do 'normal' things and reengage in your life, while becoming healthier and healthier using some of the methods I discuss below. Very slowly, but steadily you will start forgetting the symptoms and pains as they go away. Join me in making 2014 about health and recovery. I will commit to lifestyle changes in my own life and we can walk the path together.

SYMPTOMS (Immediately after use and during acute phase ~ 6 months - 1 year):

Diagnosis (self) - DP/DR, extreme anxiety, PTSD
Diagnosis (psychiatrist) - extreme anxiety (refused to validate dp/dr as a separate disorder)
Cause - Discontinuation Syndrome (coming off anxiety meds too quickly)

I won't go into too much detail about the ups and down of my most acute tales of suffering, but I will break down my symptoms for you so you can relate this story to your own. Reading symptoms on the web used to scare me shitless, because I thought I would never be normal. Don't fret, because all of these symptoms have been 100% cured =), so stay put.

  • Visual distortions, ghosting/trailing, floaters, 'blurred vision'
  • pane of glass phenomenon in vision (like I was separated from everything)
  • sensation of loss of self, could not find it, normal self-sense was not there, existential paranoia
  • Extreeeeeeeeme anxiety, paranoia, fear of going insane or losing mind
  • Frame by frame sensation, as if the world were existing in cut-frames and not fluid
  • Forgetting names, normal things, difficulty conceptualizing/abstract or critical thinking
  • This was so frightening, I thought I would never be smart or normal again
  • Tendency to stare at things, knowing I should know what it was, but unable to 'feel' it normally, or think of what it was called
  • This happened with people, places, and things (even people I loved, this was very hard)
  • Extreme sense of sensory detachment from world, self, feelings
  • ZERO short term memory (literally forgetting things seconds after they occurred)
  • No sense of time continuity
  • Constantly becoming aware of symptoms and reacting to them with anxiety/paranoia
  • Constantly fearing I would never be the same again
  • Hating God/Life for making me suffer so extremely
  • Difficulty with coordination and speech
  • Weight loss - I weigh 160 lbs normally, I was down to 120 during the worst...
  • No positive emotions, only anxiety, fear and paranoia
  • Fluorescent Lights felt terrible!
  • Couldn't drive a car (for some time) because my perception was $%^&*'ed
  • Probably a thousand more….

I was like this for 1.5 years with EXTREME symptoms. I used to read people's posts on dpselfhelp and freak out because mine sounded way worse. My attempt is not to diminish others, but to help you realize that my symptoms seemed more severe than most by description and as of now I typing this from a place of peace, happiness, and increasing wisdom. Additionally, the period of severe diffulty in my life has given me tremendous sympathy for other people facing difficulties in their life and I have a new understanding for the importance of compassion and non-judgement towards people suffering and in pain.

SUMMARY OF EVENTS (ACUTE PHASE):
Extreme psychological fallout. I could not pull myself from rock bottom. Every day was the most excruciating physical and mental pain I could have never imagined. I did not know it was possible to feel that bad. Difficult time staying functional in my job working for a big company in New York City. Decided after a week or two to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist started treating me with a variety of different medications (paxil, zoloft). None of them worked and only made my symptoms worse and I refused to stay on them. I felt that this psychiatrist did not have enough experience with these symptoms so I decided to see someone who had seen these symptoms before. The new psychiatrist decided to put me on Bupropion and Xanax to start. Xanax took some edge off, but was nowhere close to being sufficient enough for any sort of normal existence. Bupropion helped me sleep a bit better and brought back some appetite, which was good because I was losing so much weight. I didn't want to take these medications, but my doctor and family said that I had to ride it out to get them to therapeutic levels before making any decisions. He also began to taper me onto Effexor XR. My symptoms got worse at first with Effexor, however, they went back to normal levels after being on it for a few weeks (that was a very difficult time). The cocktail of Effexor/Xanax was not a CURE, and I knew that it would never be, but it was something that I hope would bridge me out of the most difficult phases and give me some breathing room where I could start to implement other healing modalities.

I finally convinced my family that I needed to come home because my symptoms were so severe I could not hope to recover in my current environment. I went on short term (paid) leave (provided by my place of work) and when that was exhausted, I went on long term disability for some time (unpaid). I spent that time with my parents, which helped to instill some hope for me, knowing that home was the best place for me to heal.

EARLY COPING STRATEGIES:
During the early stages, there was very little (read: nothing) I felt I could do to feel better. Additionally there was tremendous amounts of fear triggered by uncomfortable thoughts and perceptions. My self-awareness of my anxieties and symptoms was so high that it was a feedback loop of symptom recognition, and anxiety/freakout. I read on the web that distraction was an important part of healing from these symptoms, so I decided to lose myself in something. I chose video games (Starcraft II) because they were very absorbing for me. The pain was intense, but I could play for hours and it helped me feel more normal. I also ate so much ice-cream for the eating pleasure and got so constipated I didn't poop for weeks! - I don't recommend the ice-cream strategy =).

THE EARLY HEALING PLAN:
After some time feeling like there was nothing I could do and wanted to do, I decided to implement a healing plan using a variety of sources. I inundated myself with information, knowing that the more I knew, the better off I would be. Here a few things that I did in the beginning:

  • Ordered ~ 10 books off amazon dealing with nutrition, diet, PTSD, DP, recovery, miracle recoveries/mindfulness meditation, spirituality (ill get to mindfulness later)
  • Searched web for positive healing stories across a variety of illnesses
    • Crazy, Sexy Cancer (one of my favs)
  • Searched dpselfhelp for positive posts and recommendations (made lists)
  • IGNORED posts that were negative and fatalistic
  • Refrained (not outright stopped) from reading dpselfhelp. If I did read, they were only in the recovery sections
  • Physical activity (very light at first, knowing how weak I was)
  • Maintained relationship with psychiatrist, eventually came off xanax (knowing that it's incredibly addictive and unhealthy to be on for long periods of time). Eventually only was on (and still am) Effexor XR. I am currently on a slow taper down program.
  • Note: Just because my recovery was concomitant with my use of effexor, I cannot say that it did or did not help. Simply stated, as I recovered, I was on effexor, so it may have contributed, but I'm certain most of my recovery came from other things mentioned herein.
  • At this point, I am almost off an Effexor XR taper that I extended for 6-8 months with a very slow taper. I have had no discontinuation symptoms because of how slow I have been doing it
  • Absorption - involving myself in activities that did not allow me to DWELL on my symptoms.
    • Note: this was not perfect, I would still get stuck in my symptoms again, but in my life I was engaging in new activities and friendships. Eventually, as I started feeling better, my focus would increasingly go to normal things and away from my symptoms
  • Spiritual/Religious guidance - books/personal reflection

In the beginning it was very difficult to implement the appropriate steps because the overwhelming pain was incredibly difficult to move through, over time, however, things became easier and easier, although at a painfully slow pace. knowing I eventually needed to re-engage the world, I decided to get a job working outside to kill some time, keep my mind off things, and socialize. This was SO HARD in the beginning because I felt so awful, but I kept pushing myself knowing that wasting away in my own suffering was not going to heal me. Our environments and the normalcy of that environment is a critical healing factor. While we feel far from normal it is important to strive towards normalcy - it builds hope and helps you heal. During this phase, I was working (despite feeling terrible and detached) and met a new group of friends. Through one of them I was introduced to my current girlfriend. We have been dating for 2.5 years and she has helped me tremendously regain a sense of normalcy. She helped me take my mind away from the symptoms and onto every day things. After about of a year of suffering, I decided that I needed a plan to get back on my feet or something to work towards. I ended up applying to graduate school, but at the same time was extremely anxious about whether I was psychologically ready for something like that (Keep in mind, I was nowhere close to feeling better at this point) Moreover, I though that my intelligence had been permanently damaged and that I would feel normal again. Since that point, I got into a top 5 engineering graduate school and with some hard work, finished with close to a 4.0!

ADVICE ON FASTEST WAY TO HEAL:
There is no magic bullet CURE for DP/DR/Anxiety. The mechanisms in the body/mind/psyche are far too complex. From my experience I believe STRONGLY that DP/DR is the product to EXTREME shock to the brain, body, and mind (psyche, personality, worldview) and this shock has a chemical and biological component that throws the health of your organism way off balance. The BEST way to alleviate these symptoms is to STOP searching for a magic bullet cure and to start making choices in your life to energize and heal your body and mind. I believe that our Mind/Body will heal given the right conditions. To do this, you have to start thinking of healing over the long term and not expecting to eat some magical chocolate bar or take some pill that will cause you to 'wake up' one day. The way towards alleviating these symptoms is to give your body the best chance as possible to heal by being as healthy as possible.

Here are the cornerstones of what I found to be the most powerful healing modalities for recovering completely from DP/DR. If you are to continue to do what you have been doing you will continue to get what you have been getting. You must change these aspects of your life.

Nutrition/Diet:

  • Eliminate junk foods from your diet. You are preventing your body from healing by providing limited nutrients and probably compromising it by ingesting synthetic chemicals the body was not intended to metabolize.
  • Eliminate heavy consumption of red/meat. I am not saying you need to be vegetarian, but drastically reduce your read meat consumption.
  • Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables - seriously, there is no better medicine
  • Start Juicing (mostly vegetables, some fruits) *SO IMPORTANT*
    • (See "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead")
    • (See "Raw for thirty Days")
  • Eliminate heavy caffeine use
  • No drugs/Alcohol - it will set you back, perhaps completely.
  • Resources
    • Book: Chris Carr - "Crazy Sexy Cancer" (Great Health Tips)
    • CDs: Tony Robbins - "Living Health

Exercise/Physical:

  • Cardio
  • Yoga

Cardio: In the beginning I was too weak to do this a lot, but I started in small increments and over the long term I definitely felt better. As I increased my energy, I felt like things began to heal faster. This doesn't happen overnight. The idea is to get the body back into a state of better health and keep it there. As you maintain this higher level of health, things begin to heal faster.

Yoga: I took up Yoga after about a year or so of suffering. I felt the yoga helped ground me and clear my mind. Again, this was not overnight! I stuck with it and slowly things got better. I think this helped me further feel grounded and present (i.e. I exist!)

Note: I didn't get into weights, but I cannot imagine that would hurt. I do think some form of cardio is one of the best things you can do for yourself though.

Mental/Emotional:

  • Mindfulness Meditation (Breath Mindfulness)
  • Forgiveness
  • Eliminate Toxic Relationships
  • Do Normal Things! (i.e. what others refer to as distraction)

Mindfulness Meditation: This was a MAJOR factor in helping me recover. In the very beginning I was so distraught that I could not sleep. Literally, the suffering and pain (mental and physical) was so INTENSE I couldn't relax enough to fall asleep at night. I knew that I had to somehow relax, even if it was just a little bit more, to get me to fall asleep. I bought a meditation pillow and would try to sit for 20-30 minutes and focus on my breath (Book: Mindfulness in Plain English). This form of concentration helps to create peace, but for me all it could do was take the edge off my pain. I had no other choice but to do this before bed each night if I had any hopes of getting 'rest'. Moreover, the mindfulness meditation made me feel more 'present' in my body. This helped me feel less like I was just floating eyeballs and made me feel again like I had a body!

Forgiveness: If there are aspects of your past or present that you are holding anger and resentment towards, you must find a way to forgive to create some space for your own recovery. Know that any suffering that you experienced from others (friends, family, etc.) is at some level caused by their own suffering. Recognize that we all want happiness and that when others do mean things it is because they are unhappy or suffering at some level. Forgive them. This will help them heal as well.

Eliminate Toxic Relationships: The best environment for healing is one where their is support and understanding. If you have relationships that are hindering your ability to recover, forgive them, but then consider saying goodbye!

Do Normal Things: This will be hard at first, much like it was for me, but over time this sense of normalcy helps to make you feel stronger and healthier. This is a critical component of your recovery. If you do not start to engage in normal activities (even if they are painful/uncomfortable) your sense of doubt and hopelessness will increase. When you start re-engaging your normal life, you will slowly loose focus on your symptoms as you feel better from the other lifestyle choices you have put in place (physical, mental, diet, etc.)

COMMITMENT TO HEALTH:
I want to feel vital. While I have recovered from my symptoms, I still would like to feel as good as I can. I know you do too. If you are interested, let's create a plan together to commit to certain lifestyle changes that will increase our health in 2014. I will do this with you. In fact, we can all do this together. Reply in the forum if you are interested in creating a health goals together and creating some mutual accountability. If this sounds like something people are interested in, we can decide about the best way for us to work on our health goals together.

Thank you to others in this forum that have helped me by sharing their stories.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Thank you for this.

I got my DP definitely from a shock to my mind, reading philosophies that tell me that people are stuck in their egos and self-image (personalities), and that the ego and mind isn't real and we need to get rid of it, get rid of who we are and whatever... So it was a contradictory world view that shocked my perception and got me obsessed in becoming "ego-free" and in losing myself and old beliefs.

I quit my job in marketing at redbull a couple of months ago because I couldn't handle feeling so stupid, slow, and not able to know what can or can't I do. It was like I forgot all my previous work experience and how I handled my job and dealt with others. I quit my job to get myself back with no pressures, and get out of the DPed personality that my colleagues at work know of me. Like the more I stayed there the more I felt I was building into that stupid, careless, low self-esteem identity, because that's how others knew me.

My question for you, should I have stayed in that job? I'm applying for jobs and I want to know what to do when I feel like that. Do I keep pushing forward and trying my best; I always stayed 5 hours overtime to finish my job, but that even wasn't my real problem, my real problem was communicating with others and knowing what to do, when to take the blame and when not, when to feel angry and when not. I hated people so much.

Right now all what I'm doing is trying to get back exactly to my old thinking patterns, resisting and fighting DP. But the 1.5 years experiences in DP keep pushing me back into it, it's like controlling I can't get out of this weak personality. Sometimes I feel it's no longer DP, I just became a stupid person with low self-esteem.. Could it be?

Thanks again, I would appreciate any advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In regards to your job:

You made your decision about leaving. Mulling over whether it was a good or bad idea doesn't get you anywhere, so it is best to begin to look forward about your recovery and your life. However, as I mentioned, I too made a decision to leave my place of work because I wasn't functioning and my symptoms were so severe that I was losing weight rapidly, so I used some of my downtime to try to stage my recovery. Moreover, in a way starting fresh may give you the opportunity to start in a new environment where you can establish relationships based on a new way of operating in regards to your symptoms.

Regarding your feelings (when you feel dissociated, shitty, cut-off etc.), they best way to act is to try your best to act in-spite of them. This is not easy! But you must continue onwards - and I know you can!. Work hard and try your best in spite of your pain to be kind to others. I felt for myself that harboring anger was toxic to how I felt. I remember for me, the idea of continuing on and fighting against the symptoms day after day was exhausting, especially when I felt (at that point) like there wasn't any hope (which isn't true). I realized that the only way I could find the internal willpower to continue trying to create a normal life for myself was by simultaneously implementing lifestyle changes that I felt would make a difference in my symptoms (see my original post) - for me this was a combination or diet, exercise, and meditation (mindfullness/concentration), not deep contemplation. Also, for me this mindfulness breath meditation helped a lot to inhibit some of the thoughts that come along with DP.

You are not weak! The symptoms are extremely exhausting and difficult to deal with. I remember thinking I had permanently damaged my cognitive abilities, but its simply not the case. As you start making healthier choices and healing, and the symptoms will fade, you will once again feel strong and capable. IT IS THE SYMPTOMS, NOT YOU!! Make a plan to introduce new lifestyle changes that will help you heal and over time you will recover.

Do you mind if I ask how you were going about becoming 'ego-free' (prayer, meditation (what kind), contemplation)? I ask because I have a deep interest in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, which touch upon the philosophies regarding the nature of the self that you were describing. I think there are more holistic spiritual practices you can undergo to both assist your healing process and address your spiritual inquiry. If you'd like to PM me, please do so!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
I love how people uses words like you can struggle/fight for it, it wont come easy, really-_-?? concretize, please make it more concrete

what you are saying its not a easy thing to grasp like someone would say "this week you are going to write this many pages and you will only be able to do it if you struggle, do research on the subject you are writting on and write the pages effectively"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
In regards to your job:

You made your decision about leaving. Mulling over whether it was a good or bad idea doesn't get you anywhere, so it is best to begin to look forward about your recovery and your life. However, as I mentioned, I too made a decision to leave my place of work because I wasn't functioning and my symptoms were so severe that I was losing weight rapidly, so I used some of my downtime to try to stage my recovery. Moreover, in a way starting fresh may give you the opportunity to start in a new environment where you can establish relationships based on a new way of operating in regards to your symptoms.

Regarding your feelings (when you feel dissociated, shitty, cut-off etc.), they best way to act is to try your best to act in-spite of them. This is not easy! But you must continue onwards - and I know you can!. Work hard and try your best in spite of your pain to be kind to others. I felt for myself that harboring anger was toxic to how I felt. I remember for me, the idea of continuing on and fighting against the symptoms day after day was exhausting, especially when I felt (at that point) like there wasn't any hope (which isn't true). I realized that the only way I could find the internal willpower to continue trying to create a normal life for myself was by simultaneously implementing lifestyle changes that I felt would make a difference in my symptoms (see my original post) - for me this was a combination or diet, exercise, and meditation (mindfullness/concentration), not deep contemplation. Also, for me this mindfulness breath meditation helped a lot to inhibit some of the thoughts that come along with DP.

You are not weak! The symptoms are extremely exhausting and difficult to deal with. I remember thinking I had permanently damaged my cognitive abilities, but its simply not the case. As you start making healthier choices and healing, and the symptoms will fade, you will once again feel strong and capable. IT IS THE SYMPTOMS, NOT YOU!! Make a plan to introduce new lifestyle changes that will help you heal and over time you will recover.

Do you mind if I ask how you were going about becoming 'ego-free' (prayer, meditation (what kind), contemplation)? I ask because I have a deep interest in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, which touch upon the philosophies regarding the nature of the self that you were describing. I think there are more holistic spiritual practices you can undergo to both assist your healing process and address your spiritual inquiry. If you'd like to PM me, please do so!
I wouldn't advise you to go in this road. Becoming ego free is withdrawing yourself from life and going back to DP. I suggest you check this article offering a different point of view with knowledge of the "spiritual enlightenment" (BS in my experience) they talk about http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2010/01/how-to-build-a-stronger-ego/.

Anyway, I followed philosophies similar to the ones advocated by eckart tolle, and I meditated daily for 6 months (TM). I went out to pubs in my PJs and didn't shave or cut my hair for a long period, I talked to girls all the times and approached hot stranger girls (It was included in my goal).

Here are some threads I wrote during the "change", you can see the relation to DP and the delusional being I reached. The threads are in order.

http://www.rsdnation.com/node/353888

http://www.rsdnation.com/node/421106/forum

http://www.rsdnation.com/node/477483/forum

In my opinion and experience, praying and being spiritual is PART of your ego. For example, you can be a soccer player, a business man, a father, AND a religious person. It helps you build a stronger identity for who you are, instead of letting your identity (ego) go.

And most spiritual teachers are so delusional, they advocate being ego free and they have the biggest egos of being spiritual teachers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@ Bill:

The feeling of low self-esteem is a product of the stressed conditions of your mind and body, as are the feelings that you don't know what to say and do. I felt absolutely catatonic at times where I couldn't do ANYTHING normal - socialize, think, feel, etc. But when the underlying stress is treated, by making healthy changes to your lifestyle (over a long enough time), these symptoms will begin to fade away. Everything that feels off right now has nothing to do with 'you.' You are not weak, nor lacking in confidence. You are just in such a state of anxiety and stress that there is no room and energy to express your natural confidence and esteem. The moment you take your symptoms for yourself you are in dangerous trap because you will have incorrectly convinced yourself that something has irreversibly happened to you (simply not true). You must remind yourself that everything you are experiencing that is uncomfortable and strange is a product of a stressed environment (mind & body).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
@ Bill:

The feeling of low self-esteem is a product of the stressed conditions of your mind and body, as are the feelings that you don't know what to say and do. I felt absolutely catatonic at times where I couldn't do ANYTHING normal - socialize, think, feel, etc. But when the underlying stress is treated, by making healthy changes to your lifestyle (over a long enough time), these symptoms will begin to fade away. Everything that feels off right now has nothing to do with 'you.' You are not weak, nor lacking in confidence. You are just in such a state of anxiety and stress that there is no room and energy to express your natural confidence and esteem. The moment you take your symptoms for yourself you are in dangerous trap because you will have incorrectly convinced yourself that something has irreversibly happened to you (simply not true). You must remind yourself that everything you are experiencing that is uncomfortable and strange is a product of a stressed environment (mind & body).
So you're saying that we don't accept this as our new reality and try to move on with life?
I keep forgetting the conclusion I got to. Can you like summarize the healing process with a sentence or two? I know you talked about holding a healthier lifestyle. I remember that I wasn't stressed at all for 6 months and I loved not using my mind anymore in vacation mode when I was trying to become mind and ego free. The stress started when I realized what I have done to my mind and that I needed to be myself again to get on with my life. So how do I move towards healing without accepting where I reached and developing my mind all over again...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Great post. I first experienced EXTREME depersonalization/derealization caused by marijuana back in October. First time smoking, and I smoked way too much at once. It was such a quick, thoughtless action. I never would've thought something so horrible could happen from smoking weed.

For a week, I was basically paralyzed. The anxiety, the fear, the complete loss of self...these feelings were so intense that I could barely move. I didn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I was so afraid that I was insane, mentally damaged, retarded. I felt like I would be stuck like this forever. I was invisible...a ghost. Nothing was real, life was a dream. A nightmare.

After a week, things began to change. I started to feel normal again. I still don't know why, but day by day, it all just started to vanish. I became myself again. It was an extremely emotional thing, coming out of it, and being able to do the things I normally do, to be interested in the things that I am interested in, to feel the world as a real place, and a place in which I exist. I thought this terrifying, dreadful experience was behind me. It was gone, and I was fine.

I was fine for two weeks, until I looked at a drawing. It was simply something I drew in class one day, during my 'release' phase when I was coming out of it...it was this contorted, demon-like figure. I thought nothing of it when I drew it. For some reason, when I saw it again, my heart started pounding uncontrollably. Anxiety began to swell within me, growing increasingly intense. I feared the drawing, I feared that somehow, Satan could reach me through this demon drawing. I don't even believe in the biblical God, or devil...but at that point in time, I couldn't control the fear. I tried laying down to sleep immediately after seeing the drawing (it was 6 in the morning, and I had stayed up all night watching NASA/space documentaries) - and that's when a very strange sleeping experience began - I was in between sleep and wakefulness...I was having dreams, although when I opened my eyes, I felt that I hadn't slept at all. "Dreams" felt more like "experiences in my head" that I had while awake with my eyes shut. Anyway...I woke up, 3 hours later, incredibly anxious still. The cycle began again. I was slipping, and I slipped.

This period of dp/dr lasted for two weeks, even worse than before. I can't even describe the sheer anguish of it all. Language cannot capture it.

I still don't know what to contribute to the second time I "came out" of it...I was prescribed Xanax, which I think helped me feel more normal, although I don't feel I can contribute it to the Xanax entirely. Here is what ails me now...I don't feel like I've come out of it entirely. I don't like myself this time...I feel like a pair of floating eyeballs. Like you mentioned in your post, I don't feel my own presence. I don't feel like I have a body. It's still strange to look at my hands and think that they are mine. I don't feel alive, or even human. I'm not in the extreme place I was, although I fear that place constantly. I fear another trigger...another trip to the unreal hell. Right now, it's like I'm in limbo. Floating on with no purpose...keeping anxiety in check with pills. It took some time for me to realize that I'm still depersonalized. My perception of depersonalization was only that of the extreme, so this limbo place has been very confusing. Floating in limbo, terrified of hell. I still 'dream while awake' sometimes. Some nights, my brain just refuses to let me sleep by not reaching REM stage...my thought process is so random when I close my eyes, and I'm entirely aware of it. I try not to fear this, still, it is unpleasant, and sometimes keeps me from sleep. This past week, I've been able to sleep nearly every night. When I have dreams, however, they're dreadful and sickening. I'm dead in all my dreams. A walking dead man. I wake up almost sick to my stomach, wondering how close these dreams are to reality.

Sorry if my words have been confusing or contrived...this is my first time speaking about any of this since the beginning of December. I'm hoping for some advice from someone who can relate, maybe specifically to 'floating eyeballs' thing or 'dreaming while awake'. I've considered suicide...I don't want to die, but I need an escape route. Lately all I do is play video games, which serves as a good distraction, especially when I'm playing with someone else.

Any response to this would be cherished...thanks for taking the time to read.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
i think you really hit the nail on the head with your short descriptions of some of the symptoms, its nice to hear some encouraging words too!

for quite a while i had a complete dirth of positive emotions, but lately id say i have all the 'emotions', i smile and even laugh quite a lot but i don't identify with them at all, it's almost as if they aren't my emotions. can anyone else relate to this? do you think it's possible to reconnect again
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Thanks for your post. It gave me a lot of hope. I have had this for 7 mos due to panic attacks. I mostly feel DP, loss of self, loss of emotions especially toward loved ones, existential paranoia, no recognition of self in mirror. I'm willing to try anything to make this go away. I feel like a prisoner in my own mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@ JJ123D - I am preparing a longer response to your question, so will answer shortly.

@ terrances:

Yes, I can relate to what you are saying as i experienced that feeling as well. I would tell my parents that I still didn't feel well at certain points during my recovery and they would say something to the effect of "But I saw you earlier and you were smiling and laughing." I would reply that yes, I feel that I was doing those things, but somehow the emotional vibrancy of those actions was watered down. The reconnection that you speak does not mean that you have actually severed your 'self' from your 'actions/emotions/thoughts.' Truly, I believe as a result of my own recovery experience that this sense of dissociation is a function of the overwhelming stress and anxiety of our mind and body. As I worked towards being healthier and healthier, and my anxiety levels dropped, and my adrenals had time to recover, these symptoms began to fade away and I felt more 'embodied.'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@ Jb3083:

I am sorry for what you are experiencing. I can relate to every word of it. I felt both a prisoner to my mind and body and battled with severe hopelessness. At a certain point I made it a commitment to start reading recovery stories on this forum and distill some of the common elements to put into my recovery plan. I suggest using others recovery stories to further your sense of hope of recovery. Hope begins the process of recovery because without it is difficult to summon the willpower and energy to try to make changes that will assist our recovery. Also, hope isn't a light switch that suddenly turns on...you must exercise hope through others recovery stories (dp/dr or other unrelated health challenges people face) or through other vehicles such as faith/prayer etc.

Regarding, "I am willing to try anything to make this go away." Excellent! But, I must warn you from my own experience that it is 'dangerous' to look for fast cures. I don't think they exist. I believe that whatever caused the severe anxiety/panic/fear etc. that triggered the dp/dr has caused systematic stress to the mind and body. There is no cure for that. Treat the whole system. You must make a plan to put the mind and body back into a state of health so that the healing process can naturally occur. I wish you the best during your recovery process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So you're saying that we don't accept this as our new reality and try to move on with life?
I keep forgetting the conclusion I got to. Can you like summarize the healing process with a sentence or two? I know you talked about holding a healthier lifestyle. I remember that I wasn't stressed at all for 6 months and I loved not using my mind anymore in vacation mode when I was trying to become mind and ego free. The stress started when I realized what I have done to my mind and that I needed to be myself again to get on with my life. So how do I move towards healing without accepting where I reached and developing my mind all over again...
  • One of the traps I fell into was believing that my new perceptual change from dp/dr was actually seeing into a new reality, i.e. I have seen that there is no self and I have to accept this new realization. Again, this is not true. You are not seeing reality as it is, but you are experiencing what perception is like under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. Your thoughts/perceptions are not 'reality.' Acknowledge they are occurring from stressed conditions and don't give them existential credence. These thoughts lie.
  • Do normal things. Push yourself to do activities and others things that you would normally do, but are shying away from because of your discomfort. Try to immerse yourself back in things that interested you before and set new goals for yourself.
  • For the time being, considering giving up your spiritual inquiry into the nature of the ego/self. You will try to seek reality in what you are experiencing from dp/dr, which will prevent you from acknowledging that the dp/dr symptoms are just products of a stressed system. I too have very spiritual/philosophical interests and the existential nature of dp/dr was excruciating. Ultimately, prior to my episode, I deeply wanted to know the nature of the self/ego and to some extent my practices were removing me from the process of life...trying to escape its stresses and responsibilities. After DP/DR, I realized I wanted to EXPERIENCE life, I didn't want to remove myself from it, b/c as DP/DR teaches us, feeling disconnected with life is misery. I wanted to deeply touch life through its ups and downs. Instead of trying to rid the ego/mind, consider moving your spirituality towards a more mindfulness based approach (which has been shown to help with a number of conditions like anxiety/depression etc.) I recommend reading the book 'mindfulness in plain english' and establish a practice of mindfully watching the breath. It calmed my mind and reduced extraneous thoughts associated with DP/DR.
  • Put together a plan to heal your mind and body through nutrition and exercise. This is probably the most important of all my suggestions and was the most important for me
  • Consider seeing someone who has treated dp/dr from a more allopathic standpoint. Medication does help some people get their head above water, but from my experience you still need these other approaches to fully recover.

So in Summary:

  • Deny existential credence to your thoughts/feelings/emotions from dp/dr. Remind yourself they are symptoms of a stressed system
  • Do normal things. Re-engage yourself in things that used to interest you prior to dp/dr
  • Give up the ego/self inquiry for the time being - shift your spirituality to a more mindfulness based practice (concentrative meditation - fixating on an object of perception like the breath)
  • Make a plan to get healthy and follow it - given some of the ways I have mentioned in my post (this was the most important aspect of my recovery). Also, changes happen slowly, so make sure you stick with your health plan.
  • Consider speaking with a specialist who has treated dp/dr before with medication. You don't need to take anything if you don't want to, but you might find you want to also explore this route
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great post. I first experienced EXTREME depersonalization/derealization caused by marijuana back in October. First time smoking, and I smoked way too much at once. It was such a quick, thoughtless action. I never would've thought something so horrible could happen from smoking weed....(Truncated Post)
Glassjawx,

After reading your post I feel that I am hearing my own story. All the symptoms from the most extreme phase to the in between 'limbo' phase as you eloquently described it. There were in a way stages to my own recovery. I remember when I was going through the limbo phase as you describe it and even had the strange dream sensation and when I closed my eyes strange thoughts and perceptions seemed to 'swirl.' During this phase for me, my dreams were panic ridden. I don't think I would remember the contents, but I would wake up in the middle of the night with sheer panic. When I was having trouble with my sleep and my weight (from not sleeping/eating) I took Remeron, which can help induce appetite and make you tired. Regarding thoughts of suicide - this is hard for me to admit, but I also had those thoughts. It's not that I hated my life, I was just suffering so extremely. I felt day after day like there was no escape from the pain. It wasn't until I decided that I was going to have to do everything that I could to become healthier to help my body heal that things slowly started to change.

You have come through the worst, but are still in a place that is, as I called it - "not sustainable." i.e. I couldn't live my life forever in this 'limbo phase'; it was still too painful. Commit yourself to a plan to treat the underlying symptoms of anxiety that perpetuate the cycle of symptoms associated with dp/dr. Nutrition and exercise are KEY. Moreover, Juicing (vegetables) is probably the best thing you can do to inject your body with the nutrients that it needs to heal. Regarding nutrition and its effect on the body, I classify 3 different types of eating. 1) Degenerative (i.e. standard american diet) 2) Maintenance (eating basically what your body needs) 3) Healing - giving your body an abundance of what it needs to maintain normal functions, heal, and increase its vibrancy. You want to operate in the healing category, which should involve juicing, lots of fruits and veggies, decreasing intake of refined/synthetic foods. Start incorporating these healthy activities into your life and I believe that you will start to recover. It will take time, but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Please let me know if you have any more questions and I will try to help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Thanks nuncle. I'm definetely trying to lead a healthier life.

In summary what happening to me is this:

Feeling a deep feeling of joy inside of me (what they call the feeling of being in the NOW, free of ego - like right now Im feeling like that) - Then returning to my weak new reality that I tried to construct AFTER DP (after feeling joy for a long time then realizing that I emptied who I am) - Noticing that It's a fucked up reality, and that it's not MY REAL strong reality (It's a reality mixed with symptoms of dp/dr like you said) - Then returning to that joyful place (which I think is not the thing to do right now, but it's so tempting like forgetting about everything and feeling that deep joy "the now" again, but I know it's fucked up by now).

Every time I try to move forward, I notice that okay I'm no longer feeling DP/DR maybe, but ALSO I'm not feeling like myself, I feel like a person who barely remembers who he is, put in a new environment and learning things all over again, shaping a new memory and new experiences. Really this is the most important point or obstacle I'm facing: I feel that I'm no longer in like DP DR, but I feel that I have shaping a TOTALLY NEW PERSPECTIVE or personality, that I will be slowly stuck in, until I stop noticing that I changed or that I have any problems; dp dr will be gone but I will become this weak person (it's weak for me, but it's normal for other people, bcz a lot of people are not that confident socially and dont have a strong identity, but i wsnt like this..). I just wanted to make sure you got that point I'm facing. Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
I have a book about DP where it specifies doing mindful meditation. It does work on anxiety, and depression. It also goes into acceptance therapy. I may never "get rid" of DP but by learning not to focus on symptoms I can lead a good life. :cool:
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top