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Can't accept this is anxiety

1405 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  manarasmith
I'm really struggling to accept what is happening to me, I think the biggest part is that it doesn't make sense. I know the forum is very quite these days but just reaching out to say if anyone can find something I have missed.

I will try to make this as brief as possible;

- childhood didn't feel safe a home due to my step father ( low level emotional abuse ) but no massive trauma

- early teens first experience with weed I instantly felt as if I was falling in and out on consciousness, like my brain was resetting every few seconds. Slept it of, didn't think about it again

- mid teens kept having small experiences of this strange feeling, like daja vu but I felt out of it, it would cause me intense fear but would pass. The feelings seems to happen if I stared at a small electronic device for long periods.

Late teens / early 20s the feelings happened more and more, found out about DP and this forum, seemed that the feelings for closer and closer until they where there all the time. Tried to get medical advice, took some SSRIs and realised I would have to accept this is my life now.

Late 20s to 30s I lived my life, kids, marriage, jobs, holidays I would still get then 'feeling' mostly of I woke up from a nap or again staring at screens for too long.

Now - 8 weeks ago I caught COVID and the feelings again became closer and closer, each time casting me sheer panic and terror, having no control over what was happening. Untill 3 weeks ago it was permanent. I don't even know what existence is right now, I just seem to exist moment to moment.

8 weeks ago I was living a life, and now I'm basically house bound.

How can this just be anxiety, why would I have so many years with nothing then it soo intense now, in those years I had lots of stress but no Dr.

Nothing makes sense. I have scoured the forums and can't find anyone with a story that matches.

Any links or glimmers of hope would be really helpful right now

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I am under the impression that for a lot of people who have it for a short time they have very strong anxiety or panic attacks that trigger it. There are several stories of people who get rid of their DPDR by getting fed up with their anxiety and trying to live again despite it. A lot of people can't get out of their houses any more because of anxiety, and daring to go out again helps them to slowly get rid of it. But I have the impression that people who have DPDR on the long term have milder anxiety than that. I have never been afraid of getting out of my house, ever, I have never been afraid of fainting in public or this kind of thing. I have much milder anxiety than that and my DPDR doesn't even vary with my anxiety episodes. It seems that every people who have DPDR have some level of anxiety but we are not equal.
A colleague of mine has episodes with a lot of anxiety, but he only has DPDR when he is absolutely paralysed by fear and can't leave his home, which is not the case for many of us. I feel like for the people who have it for many years there is something more that perpetuates it and that is not simply related to anxiety. So even if it plays a role in this I don't think it is the only ingredient or even the main ingredient in some cases.
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Yes it is different for different people i was not trying to sell some one size fits all cure, just trying to share my experience even though i somewhat disagree with some of your points. My first episode of dpdr lasted over 5 years and it was anxiety induced, i was not anxious the whole five years and i still experienced symptoms but i was still monitoring them and a lot of people i spoke with and know had similar experiences, when i stopped caring about the symptoms they slowly started to lessen and eventually disappeared. But with that said, there are many things that can cause these symptoms and its not the same for everyone but i still think anxiety/stress/trauma are the most common causes and are the first approaches one should try to explore as a contributor to ones condition. Just my two cents.
Yes, sure. My comment was not really intended to be in contradiction with yours although I do disagree just a little. Even if i feel like, and don't even know for sure, that there must be other factors than stress, i don't know what they are and I don't know what else one can do than treat anxiety.
In my case I had some years when my symptoms were frightening me and my DPDR was definitely worse. But then I have been bored with them for years and my DPDR is lower but still constant and not disappearing at all. Sometimes I did ask people about some symptom in order to answer a specific question, but in general I am bored with symptoms and I don't try to check if mine are "normal" anymore. I know I have them and I know I am stable and have been for years, so I am not so afraid to "go crazy" or that it might get worse.
Among the other things that I think could be related to DPDR, I thought maybe the fact that I don't feel in charge of my own life could play a role, in the sense that I feel I lack a kind of "agency" in my daily life, and living for others rather than for myself in some aspects of my life. Another factor could be over-thinking, which is not necessarily connected with stress. I know I am able to over-think about really not stressful things. I have been diagnosed with mild autism and possible ADD recently. I don't trust these diagnoses 100%, but they could be connected also with obsessive thinking. There is also the fact that I often want to be somewhere else than where I am, like thinking about how to cure DPDR can be a way to project myself and refuse my present situation. I have memory problems and I also often think about this problem and what I can do or can't do about it, and I often project myself in the future. It is not really stressful but it is obsessive thinking and i am not really "in the present" when i think about it. But I don't know if these things could be caused by DPDR rather than cause DPDR, and therapists don't know either.
What I don't like with the anxiety approach is that I have had much stronger anxiety in the past and yet my DPDR was the same. When a therapist tells me I should work on anxiety, my reaction is that my anxiety has already decreased a lot in the past 10 years of analysis and therapy without my DPDR being affected. And I wonder how much more it should reduce before I start to see positive effects on my DPDR or before we can tell this approach has been explored enough and my problem probably lies somewhere else. I feel like I will always have some level of anxiety, just like everybody without DPDR has some level of anxiety in different situations, so someone could always say I still have to work on it. Or people can say that my anxiety is hidden by DPDR or something else, or I don't see it because I am used to it. But this implies that if it is true I can't know about it because it is supposed to be hidden from me, and if it is false there is no way to check it. As a matter of fact it's something one could say to absolutely anybody.
Also a lot of therapists have told me that I look anxious just because of the way I hold my body (often leaning forward, very static, few gestures, kind of forced eye contact, also a monotonic voice apparently) and the fact that I tend to be very analytical, but these things are present even if I don't feel anxious at all, and I understand now that they could very well be connected with a form of mild autism. So I don't know if I can trust therapists about these things, and I feel reluctant to give them control if they don't even know what they are doing, I feel reluctant to tell them "ok, I should not trust my feelings about my own emotions because they are biased and I should trust you on your first impression and do what you ask of me for an undefined amount of time that might never end because you don't offer any method to find out if you are wrong".
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