Like many of you, I entered a derealized state after smoking weed. I can remember the date like it was yesterday, February 24, 1978. I had spent the entire day getting high. In those days, nobody knew what DP/DR was (I only have Derealization and once in a while the Depersonalization clicks on, but it is rare) I went to a handful of doctors and none of them knew what to do with me. One actually said, "Hey, it's not really that bad being buzzed all the time." Idiot. For years, I just called it the "buzzed feeling." My mom knew about it but nobody else.
I've managed to make something of my life. Even though I got it at the age of 16 and am now 56, I managed to get a MA degree in Education, taught special education for 30 years and am not retired. I have made some good investments and never will have to work again as long as I live. Thank God.
I have tried everything that exists as it pertains to lessening or curing what I have. I have found that the best thing is to just accept what I have, rather than fighting it. I found when I was younger that the more you fight it, the worst it is. But, when you embrace it, it almost seems to embrace you back. The symptoms are there, but they tend to stay on the back burner most of the time.
I have been taking Effexor for almost 5 years. It does not help my derealizaiton, but it does help me with my anxiety. Probably due to my negative experience when I was a kid, whenever I feel "trapped." i.e. I can't move my body, I'm lost, I have to go to the restroom and can't find one, anything where I am...stuck in some way....makes my derealization worst.
Relationships are the hardest thing for me. I have a long suffering girlfriend who has put up with my inability to emotionally connect for a long time. I don't know how to miss people. My thoughts go misty as soon as I leave a particular social situation; as if it happened months or years ago. I have a lot of friends, but left to my own devices, I wouldn't contact any of them because I don't feel the need to. I'm perfectly happy by myself. At funerals and weddings I have to watch other people for social cues because sometimes I'm not sure how to act. Since I don't have any significant emotional connection to anybody, I have to mimic their mannerisms so I don't come across as being cold or indifferent. I honestly want to feel something, but I just don't.
Trying to maintain a relationship is the hardest because I don't need to be in one. There isn't any need per my derealization, but deep inside I know I need to make the effort, so I do. However, oftentimes I feel like I'm play acting. I don't really want to do what I'm doing, even if it is a fun activity. It feels like I'm just going through the motions. That makes me feel anxious because I feel like I'm faking my life and it's the worst feeling. I feel like I love my girlfriend, but I don't know what my feelings are most of the time. I know when I'm pissed, but other than that, it's hard to pinpoint what it is I'm feeling. We can be walking around holding hands and it just seems like I'm holding onto a hand. I can't connect to the feelings that are supposed to be generated by that act of physical touch. It can be quite disheartening. I sometimes ask myself why I'm even with anybody, but I guess that if I don't fight against the emotional emptiness. This lack of empathy, love and care, I'll just wind up a hermit. That generates the feeling of being trapped, so I make myself do more. I push myself to be normal, even though it seems like I'm play acting.
As I stated earlier, I've tried everything that exists as it pertains to making my derealization go away. In the past forty years, I have had perhaps five periods of lucidity that lasted from a few seconds to maybe half a minute. They have been beautiful to behold. The last time was about three years ago after I did a marathon EFT session with a Master Level therapist who does EFT. I remember walking through the parking lot of y work and suddenly I could feel the veil lifting. I tried not to get too excited, but it soon after closed again. There is no doubt in my mind that this isn't permanent. However, it's like finding the right combination of things, the right circumstances, that make the feeling disappear.
The only thing I do now is travel and try to enjoy myself. Weekends are my Opiate Days. Saturday and Sunday I use opiates to get out of my head. I started doing this about five years ago. I only do them on weekends so as not to get addicted. It's kind of like my treat for getting through the week and doing a good job with dealing with my issues. Making good choices. Not succumbing to despair.
During the week, I try to exercise, interact with people and plan trips. I travel a lot. I find it relaxing. Being by myself is always more relaxing, more fun, than being with other people. I don't know how to change that. I wish I could experience fun with my girlfriend. Being blunted emotionally really sucks sometimes. I can feel it inside me....feelings....way deep down inside.....but I can never grasp them. But I know they exist.
My parents are on their way out. They are in their 80's. I worry about them, as much as I know how to care. My mom in particular, whom I'm very close with. When she has been sick, I have gotten super anxious and my DR really kicks up. I don't know what is going to happen to me when she dies. I don't know if even my DR can keep my safe from falling completely apart. Knowing that I have to deal with her eventual passing makes me feel trapped as well. I can't get away from it. I almost wish I would die before she did, so I wouldn't have to go through the pain, of what I'm able to feel/express, of her dying.
I have a script for Xanax that I only use two or three times per week. It's a low dose 2.5. I also smoke high strain CBD flower. People talk about the oil, but it does not do much for me. However, the CBD flower always does. It does not make my DR worst or better. It just helps me feel relaxed and on top of things more. Two big hits off a pipe is all I need to feel head to toe relaxed. I personally use the CBD strain of Jellyfish. It's 18.5 CBD and 0.4 TCH. It has no psycho-affective effect. The first time I used CBD oil last year, I flipped out again, like I did when I was 16. A complete and total anxiety attack. I was able to bring myself back with Xanax and self talk. I knew intellectually that the bud I was smoking had no TCH. Therefore, it could not be affecting me that way. I think what happened is that the memory of what transpired that day back when I was 16 relived itself. It connected my smoking with the smoking I did way back then and my body reacted the way my brain was telling it to.
Now, even though I get a little nervous, I tell myself that I'm going to be OK. That I'm not going to flip out or become psychotic or anything else. Maybe some day I"ll add a dose of THC as a way to train my mind and body that I'm going to be OK. Perhaps the memory of that day, which was extremely traumatic, is like an echo that has stayed in my body for all these years. I don't know.
Anyway, pardon my long post. I really just needed to vomit this stuff up. I have nobody to talk to about it in real life. I've tried and I get the same response, "Really, you look and act totally normal."
If they only knew.