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Hello!

My daughter suffers from anxiety and now, derealization/depersonalization. It will come on randomly...but I do notice that it happens more often in places with a lot going on visually. Target, restaurants with bright lights and tvs on. I'm getting concerned because she doesn't seem to be in a state of overt anxiety when it happens. Is that common? Like it's not in the midst of a panic attack or anything.

She's also starting puberty and getting some headaches. Her therapist hasn't mentioned getting an MRI or ruling out physical causes. He's pretty sure of what it is.

what are some good tips for helping her through these episodes..they last from 2-20 minutes.

thanks!
 

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It is quite likely that anxiety is the trigger for her symptoms. Does she get any panic attacks? It is relevant, even if she gets depersonalization even when she is in a normal mental state. Depersonalization used to follow my panic attacks and last for days.
Also, given how young she is, I wonder how she describes her mental state. Is she using typical key words like "detached", "as if in a dream" or is her description more vague? If the latter is the case then maybe it is not really depersonalization but something else.

If she does get panic attacks, they must stop before she can recover. They are a major symptom trigger, along with general anxiety. Does she have any other symptoms? How frequent are her depersonalization episodes? Do they precede/follow other symptoms? You mentioned some headaches. What is the pattern of these? Do they resemble migraine headaches by any chance?
 

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I had DP when i was 13 years old, it happened when i use to walk into town to meeting 400/500 people from the 5 local schools who use to all meet in town on a friday, i explained this to my doctor and he had no idea... it wasn't constant, just when events like this would happen, but being young i just ended up thinking and being told there was nothing wrong with me and there wasn't. (yes i have it again at 27 but that's a different story). It's normal, I think this is just a bit of anxiety, especially at 11, all i would do is comfort her, pretend it happened to you, make her not fear the feeling and it should fade. Mine was triggered again by the bad stuff, but took me a year or so to realise and GP visits to understand I had this before. Learning more about it, being more involved at this age is the worse thing, comfort her, tell her this will pass, she will grow out of it, maybe use techniques to lower anxiety and make her forget about it.

As said, when i had this in younger years, i just thought it was me, it went away before i was even 16, i just don't know when as i had forgot to care, this i believe right now is the best thing you can do. Comfort, distract and make it feel normal growing phase
 
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