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Margot's History and Symptoms

Hx: In the summer of 2015, Margot was 15 years old, with a history of intact social -emotional functioning and peer relationships, an A student in her high school, playing cello in the all-city orchestra, when she smoked MJ (for the first time) with friends on 5 occasions, 2 of them accompanied by a panic attack. Shortly afterward, she flew back to the East Coast to stay with her friend and family, and despite their past closeness, felt uncomfortable there. While out watching a movie with them, she had a large panic attack. On returning home M. experienced:

  • Distractibility: mind wandering while talking with friends, feeling disconnected from them, adrift, leading to social avoidance.
  • Intrusive, racing thoughts, though without other symptoms of mania
  • Anxiety - mainly social anxiety & fear, initially sometimes tiredness and depressed or sad mood, and occasional eye movement and R ear sensations.

By October, she recognized symptoms of depersonalization/derealization disorder. "When I think of past memories with friends and family," she wrote in her journal, "they seem like dreams." "Life is being stuck looking through my eyes, dreaming through my eyes, life is a nightmare that doesn't end. Multiple times in the last couple of days I've asked myself, 'was I really seeing that? Or is it imaginary?'… I don't know if my vision is distorted or if I'm hearing normally. It's like I'm always drugged." "Life isn't life anymore."

Over the 3 years since onset, Margot has continued to experience increasing social avoidance and continued racing thoughts, but reports no longer experiencing tiredness or happy, sad or depressed moods. Moods still seem to worsen at times, but only to an irritable, angry mood. She reports having no sense of self, or memories of how she used to be. She appears to sleep through the night, but reports her sleep is unrestorative.

Although the racing thoughts, anger and social avoidance have persisted, some new symptom clusters have appeared in the past year or so. She has developed misophonia, an intolerance of light and ambient sounds (like train horns in the distance, the beeping of the car's seatbelt warning). She has developed anorexia, and lost weight down to a BMI under 17. She has spent hours daily obsessively searching online into her illness.

She has had no auditory or visual hallucinations, no overt manic symptoms (other than reported racking thoughts and anger episodes) and an unremarkable sleep study, lab tests, and Lyme serology. She has seen several psychiatrists and has tried at least minimal doses of Zoloft, Lithium, Abilify, Tegretol, clonazepam, hydroxyzine, Latuda, a birth control pill, Luvox, Lamictal, Adderall (1 day), and Zyprexa, She received a course of ECT, without benefit.

She has seen numerous mainstream and holistic therapists, and has tried breathing exercises, an anxiety workbook, various teas, fish oil, theanine, nutritional counseling, individual psychotherapy, neurofeedback,

We are asking whether others with DP/DR may have experience Margot's symptoms, and 2) for those that have, has anything been helpful? Thank you!
 

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I'm sorry for your daughter ,im dealing with alot of memory issues and no sense of self with alot of other weird neuro symptoms ,it feels like there is a heavy dark cloud over my brain that doesn't allow me to look back into my past (not even recalling my yesterday ) it's an everyday struggle ,I understand her suffering and it's frustrating ,as a mother and a sufferer the best thing I can give you is advice and it's not to give up and keep searching ,this is a nightmare ,I wish you good luck and God bless
 

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I hope so much your daughter feel better now.

My child live exactly the same thing.

Nothing work she have already take many kind of medication.

we try our best to help.

I speak french so maybe I make mistake.

If your daughter is better, please let me Know.

I do research to find what would help her.

Just the rivotril ( clonazepam ) give her little bit of release.
 

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I kinda hate to say it, but it's a battle that...seems to be fought in the psyche, but it shouldn't be fought there. The things I've found helps the most, although uncomfortable at the time of doing it: Going out, being social, being healthy, distraction and prayer. Distraction is VERY important, cause sitting there thinkin about it just makes it worse.

My best advice for her is whenever she gets the racing and intrusive thoughts, to yell "stop" in her mind, try to relax her body, and then distract herself. One form of distraction that I use is games such as chess and sudoku. It's very hard to have racing thoughts if you focus on that. It takes some practice, but I believe she can do it. Best wishes.
 

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I had an instance of racing thoughts which led to a nervous breakdown. I had been severely depressed for a few months and suffering from anxiety and insomnia when I experienced this symptom. It was as if my mind began playing a game similar to word association, only it was thought association. I wasn't really a participant, but more of an observer. The game began slowly, but progressed in speed as one thought segued to another, then another and faster and faster until the thoughts were coming at the speed of light. Then poof! I couldn't remember any of the thoughts I had processed. This was a very exhausting experience and it took me to a complete mental meltdown. I only experienced this particular symptom once over 40 years of mental illness. From my experience, racing thoughts is not something you want to experience and is more associated with psychosis and schizophrenia than more typical depressive illness. I remember trying to formulate an explanation for how I felt after my trauma at 17, and feeling like "I lost my sense of self" described my feelings most accurately. It was only at age 57 that I was able to identify the trauma I had at age 17, after reading neurological journals in a British medical library. I had experienced an epigastric aura followed by a temporal lobe seizure during my 1st cannabis intoxication, which I hadn't planned for. The journal said I was a worst case scenario as my post ictal psychosis had segued into an affective disorder of recurrent major depression. I had an EEG which verified my epileptic history and the pathology in my temporal lobe, which I credit for my emotional instability and dissociative symptoms. I took SSRIs and anti psychotics which never helped a whole lot. I had horrible insomnia which responded to Seroquel. Klonopin helped with anxiety. I did find ECT very helpful as it seemed to reset my firmware to factory defaults. Lexapro was the best SSRI as it gave me zero side effects. I had a depressive episode every 8 years or so, and they were epic struggles for survival. I couldn't bathe or really care for myself very well during those episodes. I would lose 30 lbs because of anxiety so bad it gave me nausea. Each episode took 2 years out of my life. I worked extremely hard at life during the periods in between my depressions. I excelled at sports and academics. It's crazy, but I owe any success in life to my illness. I never planned to work this hard at life. I was given no choice.
 
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