I've been having these "episodes" for about 3 years now, the first ones starting when I was 16 -although I vaguely remember a similar sensation when I was 12/13. They almost always come on suddenly, and pretty much always after a somewhat stressful couple weeks (i.e. uni exams, hard and long week at work, uncomfortable social situations or having to deal with alot of emotional stress). Alcohol is also a trigger for these episodes, aswell as periods of a lack of regular exercise and lack of consistent routing eating (meals at the same time each day). I've had about 15 or so of these episodes and although I'm not sure if DP is what i have, i relate immensely to the symptoms of derealization as they pretty much describe exactly how i feel.
Weirdly though, my episodes almost always last the same amount of time- between 8 to 10 days, where days 3 and 4 are my worst days and i slowly phase back into reality at day 7. I sleep alot (like 18 - 20 hours) because it's so much easier to sleep, and i can either not stop crying or i cannot feel anything at all. Only thing i feel is an intense fear that i will stay like this forever in this limbo like feeling.
During these 10 or so days, the feeling doesn't come and go, it stays with me the whole time, the only thing that changes is the ease through which i can stand the sensation (not sure if that makes sense?). Like how i react to my situation (acceptance, denial, fear).
During the worst of it, I think i'm mad, i cannot trust myself in any unknown situation and I consistently fear that i am not acting normally or I worry that i cannot control my bodily functions. I stare at myself in the mirror and i can't focus on anything, it's like i'm not really looking at myself. I speak really quietly (according to my family) and loud noises really overwhelm me. It like every sense is out of balance, i can either not hear anything that people are saying to me, or they're speaking too loudly, but mostly every sense is numbed, dulled. In low-light situations, i also find it really hard to tell objects apart or to see the sharpness that i usually can see.
The first episode was the worst as it was so incredibly scary, i kept thinking i was going to wake up, whilst knowing that i was in the real-world. Since, i've been able to distract myself with simple tasks that i enjoy and it takes some of the edge off the episodes.
My comprehension skills are also really affected, i have to reread things so many times for the information to process. I straight up couldn't figure out linear algebra problems, and even though I knew that I knew the maths, i couldn't do anything and then i'd freak out at this sudden loss of comprehension.
I could ramble on for a lot longer about all my other symptoms but that's not really the point of this post.
I've been to an emergency hospital psychiatrist and multiple psychologists just for them all to not give me an answer. I've been told that i have anxiety but that's about it. The psychiatrist mentioned that i have symptoms of derealization disorder but since i did not indicate that i had any sort of trauma (childhood trauma notably), i could not have this disorder so was not diagnosed.
I have searched and searched for other answers to these 'episodes' but i always come back to derealization.
Does anyone else have similar, chronic episodes of derealization-like symptoms?
Is there another diagnosis i should be seeking that isn't DP/DR?