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Hi everyone!

I'm writing to ask for help regarding my boyfriend (who's now my ex). I'll try to make the story short.

He's 32 and he had a really rough time last year with big life changes that have left him on the edge, including having to move to his distressing mother's house, then coming to a new country, getting a new and more demanding job... We've spent half of the year living a long-distance relationship (he'd come and go every three months) and I have seen him gradually enter what it seemed to be a mild depression, alongside with a really strong anxiety state.

He would always say that I was his safety ground, the surest thing he had in life and the person who he loved the most. We were planning to get married, we got along really well and we had no significant issues disturbing the relationship.

When he came to be with me, last October, he was already in a very distressed state due to his mother's provocations and the pressure to keep the new job. Then, he told me he "almost had a panic attack" in the plane, during the flight...

When he got here, some other things happened that left him really disturbed and then one day we went out with some friends and, PUFF, it's like he was completely lost inside himself. He almost didn't interact with us at all.

At home, he almost wouldn't talk to me and every single minute he had of free-time would be spent watching Netflix. Before we would really connect and he would be more relaxed and comfortable, play his guitar (that now he doesn't even touch), walk around, I don't know... there was really something different. He kept saying that he didn't feel at home and by then I wasn't really worried about any psychological problem because I was just thinking that he had fallen out of love with me, or that it was the new apartment or the overall stress...

But in November he had another panic attack. And then another one in December. And one day he called me when I was nowhere near home to say that he "saw me" outside the building and that he was wondering why I still hadn't entered the house. I said that I was miles away, but by this point I was really worried about his mental health.

Our sex life was close to none.

He started saying that he didn't feel the way he used to about me anymore and he didn't understand why. He couldn't answer absolutely any question regarding our future, but at the same time he didn't want to break up with me nor go back to his parents' home earlier (he was supposed to go back to his parents' house for Christmas). He was really confused about everything and he kept saying that he didn't know who he was or what he wanted in life. This was all really strange to see because the man I know was very sure of himself, of his actions and normally didn't overthink this kind of stuff... So to see him making philosophical questions like "who am I?" felt really wrong and strange.

He would get pessimistic about life, he'd say he wasn't happy and that he thought he'd never be happy at all.

When we would talk about our future together, he simply couldn't talk or decide anything (he said he didn't know anything about his life or his wishes anymore) and his stomach would get upset to a point I felt I would be hurting him if I kept on trying to talk. Once, when we tried to talk, he started crying convulsively, then he ran to scream with his face to a pillow and then he simply just let himself fall down on the floor.

All of this was alternated with good moments when he seemed to be himself and to love me as well.

By monday or sometimes even sunday, he couldn't remember what we did during the weekend.

He would complain that in general he didn't know what he was feeling...

To finish the story, the time came for him to go back to our home country. On our last week together I felt him closer to me than before, he was really loving, we said we'd be together and find a way to sort everything out and I could really feel he loved me and that he was sad to get away from me, with everything we had gone through. We really believed that once he was back to his comfort zone his mind would function better...

Well, he traveled and the first week he got there he called me to say that his feeling for me was "cloudy", that he couldn't feel he loved me anymore and that he really needed to be alone to sort his mind. He would tell me things like: "I don't know if I never loved you at all, which is nonsense because I know that I loved you... or if I loved you and stopped loving you at the speed of light, what's just plain crazy".

A couple of weeks later I found out that he cheated on me the day after he got there with a friend of his (he says he likes her as a friend, that at the moment he felt confused about her, but that he's not emotionally connected with her) and that he felt really bad about it the first two weeks, but now he doesn't seem to feel shit. It seems that he has absolutely no empathy for my pain right now and I KNOW he is not this kind of guy. He is really caring towards others and he couldn't do something like this and don't feel bad about it, especially to me.

He can't explain why he doesn't love me anymore, he says there wasn't any problem in our relationship... When I asked him if this is only with me, if he can feel love towards his family, his parents, brothers and nieces, he said "no" and started crying really hard, wondering if he'll ever be able to feel again!

He said his mind is foggy and that his concentration and his memory are really bad, but he thought it was because of the weed he smoked in 2016, which makes absolutely no sense because he can recall not being like this before he came to meet me in France. He says all he feels is "transition" and he doesn't feel like he's home anywhere.

I know he had a childhood trauma and that because of this he would dissociate sometimes during stressful moments, but I don't think he ever had a depersonalization episode...

He's been seeing a therapist for a month now and I hope they can figure out wtf is happening to him... He said that so far they have been treating the situation as if he has "suppressed" his love for me due to all the stress he has been going through.

I'm hurting and I think the pain I'm feeling right now is so big it compensates for both of us. Even though he cheated on me and had no compromise whatsoever, I still love him and I know he's not the man I'm seeing right now. It has been a month and a half since we broke up and we've been speaking once a week ever since (mostly I'm the one who reaches out). He doesn't want to be in touch with me anymore because he doesn't want to hurt me anymore, so I can't really know how everything is progressing or what other symptoms he's been having, but it kills me to see this happen with his life without understanding what's going on.

Please help me out guys, does this seem like depersonalization to you?? Being just a symptom of anxiety or depression, can this go away faster than it does when it's DP disorder?

When he's able to feel again, will he still feel love for me, will he be able to look back and see what he did, what he lost?

The first time you had this, did you understand right away what was happening to you? Can anyone relate to my story?
 

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Hey,

I am gonna have to go through this line by line as I see it, it's all IMO of course and this will probably take me some time, hope I can help. Some of it might seem a bit basic to get through it all.

Rough time = Stress, big life changes = Anxiety

Moving house, moving job = Stress = More Anxiety also = Depression

All pretty natural for many there.

Seems obviously all that added up, had a panic attack or almost which is usually a sign of really really high anxiety, many are here from one panic attack.

I'd slightly question what happened on that night out, as it's sounding familiar but i'd hate to jump to conclusions, but the story above was mine and many and then something triggers it, drugs, panic attack or just overwhelmed stress, even one night just drinking, enough to just hit that DP switch. I wouldn't press him on this, not worth it, if it's any, all or neither, it really doesn't matter, most believe here that DP most often is when Anxiety (and depression which runs for a long time without you realising from my experience) just hits that wall. So trigger isn't even important.

Co decency is also seen in anxiety and DP so often it's talked about on all the self help forums/articles. So the fact he felt relaxed around you kinda suggests this.

So ALL the signs were there, no one knows till it happens, anxiety is a bitch as they say.

So by all accounts he now has DP (doesn't mean forever) but the fact he isn't playing guitar or anything, isn't shocking, he is numb, music is emotional, what's the point when playing guitar goes from an emotional experience to a piece of wood that you have in your hand. (For me unless i am on Mirtazapine I don't want to play drums or anything musical and i am a full time or was musician... adds up)

I don't think he has fallen out of love, i think you might have (if you are willing to fight for him and the relationship) to understand how DP feels, in a nutshell it's total disconnect from the world around you, no emotions ( i mean fucking none ), anxiety and crippling depression, all into one disorder, hard to believe until you live it. On a side note, there are medications that can boost emotions and depression, also help anxiety, even before DP is under control / fades / whatever. This really makes coping with it a totally different game, emotional disconnect is the hardest thing I think out of them all. Imagine ANYTHING you love meaning nothing, you get nothing positive from ANYTHING.. so without this who cares.. life becomes meaningless TBH. Unfortunately right now this is you and anything else going on... don't take it personally.

I am not sure how or why he thought he seen you, maybe just high anxiety, maybe something his physiatrist should deal with.

When you have DP you literally have no Dopamine rush, what's the point having sex when you can't get it up to get interested and if you do no pleasure, remember the numb thing? well imagine having anything positive taken away, nothing gives reward. Look up anhedonia, it may shock you, it's often part of DP, it's the inability to feel any pleasure, i have it, without medication, nothing. BUT with it, huge difference.

Right now he doesn't feel the same about anything, without emotions, what you've invested in are numb, doesn't mean he doesn't still feel for you, on the medication that works for me, after a few months all the emotional disconnect fixes itself majorly and i realise what's important and I enjoy simple things like trees that just look like nothing interesting, even conversations that without it just are words. I am trying to get across this to you the best way I can but before I had this, no amount of explaining could explain feeling nothing even if you try.

Philosophical questions are totally normal in anxiety. Existential Crisis is the name

https://www.quora.com/I-am-having-an-existential-crisis-The-realization-of-my-mortality-insignificance-and-imminent-death-has-me-paralyzed-I-am-in-graduate-school-What-do-I-do

Depression means you can't be positive, you'd be surprised at what an anti depressant can do for you, i've seen it in friends and myself, 1/3 in the UK have depression or anxiety every year, a lot take medication to help. PRE DP i needed anti depressants and even with DP, Anti Depressants are a god send, something i should have gone for sooner. You will be surprised the shift they can have and the difference between being sad and depressed, very different.

Memory does get foggy with DP, but maybe there is more going on, or maybe he is feeling very spaced out, which in that state, you can't remember anything.

The feelings = Numb

Cloudy (Brain fog) = Depression or / and Anxiety (normal)

Now is the point i stop kinda sticking up for him and feel for you.

I feel so sorry for you, you love this guy dearly, enough to find answers, and seems to me you are prepared to put in the work, which any relationship will take if you are gonna make it, there is gonna be up's and downs, nothing is perfect in this life.

Why he cheated? he wanted to see what he felt, he feels nothing. Logic should have told him not to, but he is in a bit of a desperate state of trying to feel anything at all, not feeling for your family is hard as hell, i know it all too well, been to funerals without feeling emotion of a person i lived with, fuck, you know should be hurting, you are logically but you can't feel. God in a way you've no idea. Many depressed people with anhedonia feel the same way, there is treatments, there is a way out. Mirtazapine helps me, but as you will see this site shows there is no one answer, you got to keep trying.

Trauma is in nearly everyones past i've seen here, so seems likely a factor, for this therapy is a great healer. A month is nothing unfortunately.

I bet you are hurting right now, i bet it kills, being cheated on hurts even more. I think you need to take some time to yourself to be honest, but put some work into this, no one you meet is going to have a smooth ride to the end, people get ill, life changes, it gets hard, be good if he had kept up his side of the bargain though, so I i wouldn't blame you for walking away. He defiantly needs good steps forward and time, it's like a cat, when they are ready they return, i know that's shit analogy but i guess if you really love him, just a once a week message saying "you don't have to go through this alone", i'd love that text myself every so often, don't push him into anything, let him come but let him know he is welcome and you are learning (when he brings it up, surprise him this way)... like when he says say "i can't feel", reply, yeah, i've been reading how numb this can make you feel (then add in something reassuring).. this will get him back but more importantly will be important for him if you truly just care about him and not yourself. Deep, but i've spent an hour writing this, so, sometimes in relationships it's about giving, sometimes you won't get out what you put in. I am sorry there is no way of knowing like any relationship, but if you can support someone to their feet and use to the space to work on you.

When this isn't all you think of, work on yourself, take time out, breathe, things pan out how they are designed.

As for your last question on time and how long it goes away, i think that's my theme of this, you either want to help him out as a person with limited expectations or you just want to rewind.. i'd advice what i said, be there if you want to, with selfless expectations.. who knows, i'd love to sell you a story tail, but DP is complex, some recover fast, some not so fast, if he wasn't treating you so bad right now that would matter a lot less, which I totally get.

Anyway I am out of inspiration, sending good vibes.

Feel free to chat here or PM.
 
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