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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I just wanna begin by writing that english is a second language to me, in so sorry in advance in case there are spelling mistakes and such.

I've been a "ghost reader" at this forum since I was diagnosed with DPDR 1 year ago. Before that I've been misdiagnosed several times and am therefor afraid that it might be the case again. And why suspect that it might be so, is because there is one (important) thing that I haven't read anyone else mentioning experiencing here or online in general yet. And that thing is the time-frame of my DPDR sensations.

So basically, what I am experiencing is that everyday when I wake up I begin by feeling fine - no sign of DP / DR at all. However, as soon as I come in any social contact, I get super stressed and as a defence mechanism my brain "freezes" and I end up in an apathetic mode. And while I'm in this mode, I can't feel or express any emotion (positive or negative), even physical pain feels numb and the way I perceive light is different, everything is literally darker-looking. And this can happen already after only 1-2 minutes of social interaction, which doesn't need to be dangerous in any way, however my brain still reacts that way. E.g. after 1-2 minutes of talking about how the weekend has been at work or a phone call from a friend extending for longer than 2 minutes causes this. The only social interaction I can be a part of without becoming apathetic is through a written one (even though that still makes me dissociate from stress, I don't end up apathetic).

But so, after having ended up in this emotionally and physically numb / apathetic state, this is where I feel it mainly differ from anything I've read about before. After ≈1.5h, I experience "coming back". It's hard to describe, but it feels as though my "soul" has returned and with it I can feel again! My eyes take in light normally, I can feel energy in my body and especially emotions again. It is such a relief. In contrast to before, I feel alive again. And I can "come back" even faster if I can remove myself from the stressful situation and find a safe space to recover at (e.g. alone at home). But after this, am I to put myself in another social situation, this apathetic state can come back where I feel like a zombie. So, without sounding too dramatic, everyday is like I die and come back to life several time.

Why I believe that I got diagnosed with DPDR is because of the emotional numbing and that I'm dissociating quite bad in these stressful situations before my brain just "shuts off" and I feel nothing. However the time-frame feels different to many of the stories that I have read here. I've gotten the perception that many are in a "DP/DR state" that is much more persistent, rather than trigger based. E.g. that the sensation is present 90% of the day from waking up - going to bed, for at least a couple of days.

I only experience such symptoms from socially stressful situations and then it passes ≈1.5h after the situation has passed. With my main symptom being apathy / extremely emotionally & physically numb.

Anyone here who can relate to this experience of DPDR? Or could it be possible that I have something different altogether? In a way it's similar to a panic attack, however with only a 2 min build-up and then the brain shut's off all emotions and all my mental energy completely. Also, my psychiatrist has said that it differs from any panic attack pattern he's heard of because of the apathetic after-state, how often it occurs, and the feeling of the soul returning when I'm regaining my feelings again. And I myself, can't either completely relate to it being that when I read about it online or hear about it.

Sorry if I don't have DPDR and am taking up space here. It's just that, since doctors don't seem to know what I do have, I though maybe writing here could help me in figuring out if I don't have DPDR. Cause not knowing what is happening to me is quite scary to be honest and sometimes makes me lose hope at ever getting better or recovering.
 

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It sounds like when you are in stressful social situations you temporarily go into a state of dissociation as a coping mechanism. So yes, you might be experiencing dpdr but it comes and goes. Most people here have it in an almost constant state but I've heard some people just have it in certain situations like you just described. That is probably a positive sign because it's not a constant state you are in and you are more likely to get over it in the future. Dissociation is from my perspective when the mind shuts down feelings to the point where life feels very unreal because you can't feel it, just view it with your senses. But yeah, take it as a good thing that you don't have it all the time and focus on making the coping mechanism go away. One thing you can try is exposure therapy which basically means putting yourself into those uncomfortable social situations that trigger you to make yourself "used to it".

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi and thank you so much for your answer, it actually relieved me a lot. So really, thank you for taking the time to read everything and respond :) <3 It means a lot to me.

And also, thanks for the tip! I'm actually trying exposure therapy at the moment, however it only seems to make it worse :( Because in contrast to fobia, where staying in the uncomfortable state has a peak - and then it slowly decreases to teach the brain that it wasn't as scary as imagined - my state doesn't change. So the worst thing I can imagine, is ending up in this numb state. And everytime I expose myself for those triggering situations, that fear is confirmed. So I'm afraid that it only teaches my brain that the worst thing always happens, which makes my brain defend itself even more.

But maybe it's only my mindset that has to change :) My fear of this state. So I haven't given up on this yet :)

But can I ask you a random question?
happy.png
How is your blood circulation? I'm asking cause I met a very experience doctor last week and she reacted when she shook my hand. Cause it was so cold, which is typical for me, my hands are always cold. She then immediately said that to a cause to my numb state could be connected to this and my ability to transport oxygen through my body - and more importantly, my brain. Cause when I get stressed, i freeze even in my breathing, causing my brain to lose important oxygen flow.

This is only a theory, but based on this, do you think there could be a connection between the ability to transport oxygen to the brain and DPDR? Maybe this system has gotten disrupted, due to different experiences, causing this state. I could be way off here, but found this interesting since she is a very respected doctor in Sweden (where I live).
 
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