I know that you feel like that, you are not faking it and the suffering is real. But I would like to say that even though you feel like that it doesn't mean you have dementia, or schizophrenia, or brain damage.
- Almost all your symptoms can be checked to what people with DPDR experience even if you have them to an unbearable level:
- It doesn't feel real, yes
- blank mind, yes
- not feeling like it's you doing things, yes
- your mind is not telling you what to do, yes
- reality doesn't look real, yes
- absolutely, feeling like you are losing yourself, yes
- can't have a shower or feed yourself, strong anxiety has definitely done this to me
- things feel like they are "spaced away", yes
- feeling like nobody's home, yes
- blank silent mind, yes
- no thoughts, yes
- feeling like you are being controlled, maybe. I had the same in the sense that things didn't feel like mine, or my actions didn't feel like they originated from my intentions. But I wouldn't say I felt controlled, like by someone else, I mean I didn't recognize myself, but I also didn't feel the presence of someone else controlling me, I don't know if this is what you mean. Maybe it's just a choice of words.
- body feels numb, yes, but not in the sense that you literally can't feel pain if you pinch yourself, for example, but more in the sense that you feel totally disconnected from the sensation, or lack of awareness of body position.
- can't visualize images, yes
- no sense of identity, absolutely, that's the core of DP
- can't relive memories, a lot of people say this about blank mind
- everybody looks strange and unfamiliar, absolutely classical DP
- feeling like you are going to become brain dead, yes. Some people also feel like they are about to disappear. It all is pretty frightening.
- feeling like you have dementia. Yes, I do have that right now and I am 38.
- can't plan ahead, yes
- obsessing over blank mind, yes
- feeling like your personality has changed, definitely
- can't be alone out of fear of not taking care of yourself, that doesn't sound surprising to me, it sounds similar to the fear of disappearing. And as a matter of fact, I actually have problems taking care of myself when I am alone. Last week I ate almost nothing except for when I was at work with colleagues.
- feeling like it's not you saying what you are saying, yes absolutely
- feeling like you are going insane, absolutely, very frequent
- can't visualize places, yes
- seeing blurry from one eye for 5 minutes, not really, but anxiety can make us focus on things that we would not care about usually. And as I said before, I know someone who temporarily completely lost her eyesight from depression and lost some sensations in her finger tips, so I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe.
- feeling paralized, if you mean you were trying to move muscles and they felt totally numb, and if it happened when falling asleep or waking up it can be sleep paralysis which happens to a lot of people, sometimes during disturbed sleep patterns but not necessarily. So maybe. But if you mean that it is difficult to actually make the decision to get up, I definitely have that a lot personally.
- not taking information in, anxiety did that to me
So I count 26 yes to DPDR and anxiety and 3 maybes. This seems to really point to DPDR.
- You thought it could be a stroke and you got tested and they didn't find any sign of stroke. It points toward it not being caused by brain damage.
- You have had DPDR before and according to the forum DPDR does come back for some people and very often it is different the second time. I have never heard of brain damage causing DPDR-like symptoms but stronger. Nobody on the forum complained of strong DPDR symptoms and were eventually diagnosed with brain damage.
- Weed doesn't cause brain damage as far as I know. People have taken ridiculous amounts of weed to the point they were unconscious and unresponsive and they didn't have brain damage as a result. But people constantly get DPDR from it. Again it is really pointing towards DPDR.
- I don't know about an infection causing it, I have never heard that, but you have to admit that it would be a coincidence to get brain damage from an infection and get very DPDR-looking symptoms right after smoking a large amount of weed that notoriously causes DPDR.
Nobody here is a doctor and it would actually be illegal in a lot of places to pretend to give you a diagnosis, only a doctor can. But you have to admit that from our place we would think it really looks like DPDR and it seems that this is what actual doctors told you. But you say you don't think it is because it is much stronger than the first time, and you feel it is much stronger than what people on the forum have experienced, and this seems to be your biggest reason. Not the detail of each symptoms, because they all seem compatible with DPDR, but their intensity.
So technically, DPDR can have different intensities, and if you had the same symptoms but with a lower intensity, you would say that they are caused by DPDR, right? And now if we consider the same symptoms but slightly stronger, and yet stronger, at some point you would say "no, now it can't be DPDR because DPDR can't be that strong". So there is a limit of symptom intensity over which it can't be DPDR according to you. You are over that limit, so you conclude it can't just be DPDR. But how did you decide of that limit? (actual question) What if you are wrong about that limit?
Because I would argue that there are other people on the forum who have had it pretty badly too like you. Maybe not in current posts, but there were people not so long ago who were even talking about ending their lives because of how strong their symptoms were. So it seems to me like others have had pretty serious symptoms too. It's not a walk in the park. DPDR can really be terrible.
And by saying it looks like DPDR it is really not my intention to downplay it. But if indeed it is strong DPDR it is best that you find help for that without losing time. There is often something wrong with psychiatrists, in my experience, where if you come to them with one theory about what you have, very often they think it is enough to just prove you wrong and then let you go home. They would say "your symptoms are caused by anxiety" and let you go home as if you knew what to do with that. I think it is important to tell them that your symptoms are unbearable and that you can't keep going like that. Don't make them spend energy proving you wrong, make them spend energy helping you. Because it is obvious your situation is unbearable. Anxiety and/or DPDR if this is what you have as they say, are definitely not nothing. NoDevils is right, you can go and ask to be taken to a mental institution for a few weeks. I have a sibling who was at the end of their life because their symptoms (not DPDR) were absolutely unbearable. They went there and it was the beginning of a new life for them. You just tell them what you feel, they give you pills, you let go. The worst that can happen is that you feel high and give yourself some vacation from trying to solve this or extrapolate about your future. And if you start to have clear symptoms of a stroke, you will have professional doctors all around you instead of being at home. My point is not that you should not feel bad about it, because you do and anybody in your shoes would, but I hope you can get the proper amount of help for your situation.
(By the way, even if you did have schizophrenia, which only a doctor could say and so far they didn't, your life would definitely not be over. There are many treatments that work. I have a close friend with schizophrenia and he is absolutely normal thanks to his treatment. I have been just like you but about the fear of having schizophrenia, like many. But interestingly I didn't have DPDR to that intensity before, and I have never had schizophrenia, so how could I compare the two if I have no experience of each? How could I know which one I had, especially when I didn't have any of the most classical symptoms of schizophrenia? And yet I was really afraid of it, just like so many people report it on the forum)