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I've always been a nervous person, I've always felt different from other people, and I've always thought that other people think I'm weird. I've always wondered if the world was real, or if I was real, but I always had a firm grip on what I saw and it always appeard real to me.

I'd had a couple of strange experiences before I started getting full-time DR, but they were just temporary, and I can't really describe them, but they didn't lead to any harm for me.

My life was going ok, I'd never been a popular person, not had many girls, but I'd spent a lot of my teenage years indoors playing around with music, learning to DJ, and writing my own dance music. I got a record-by-record deal with a label, started DJing in clubs and my life was getting better.

I started smoking weed when I was 22, and it didn't have any bad effects on me most of the time, but when I was about 24 I started drinking more heavily after a really bad relationship break-up, and somewhere along the line it started making me feel paranoid. I had a couple of bad greenout experiences with weed, and the second one seemed to make my tolerance to it less for a long time, and the morning after I felt a little spaced out still and I don't think I came back from that totally. Then a couple of years on, I decided not to smoke too much weed, as it really seemed to be making me feel wrong. I had a bad day at a festival when I was really stoned and some people tried to mug me, and beat me up for no reason, and I didnt touch weed for 6 months.

Around this time, I was also having more girl strife and I'd got alopecia (where your hair falls out in a random spot or 2, then grows back and falls out in another spot instead), which is apparently stress triggerd.

I went to Brazil for a week, and was stressed about money for the whole trip. I was DJing there, but wasn't getting paid as it was for charity, and the promoter was messing everybody about. I didn't take to the anti-maleria pills very well, and I had a similar experience to DR whilst on them.

Somebody who I didn't know very well invited me round for a smoke, and I thought OK, it can't hurt. There was a room full of strangers, with only my best mate and another guy I knew there, and I somehow got absolutely batterd on about 1 spliffs worth and a couple of cans of lager. I started to feel like people were ignoring me, and putting me down just because I said I was too far gone and I didn't feel very safe. I felt like my hoody kept twisting around and choking me bit, but when I checked it was fine. I got really into the music, sat on the floor swinging my head about in time and closing my eyes, blacking out and comming too now and then to realise where I was, and that I was really stoned. Somebody got stuck in the bathroom, and I had to help sort it out, but it was really hard to do anything.

Somehow, having left really early, I got home. I was paranoid as I didn't want my parents to see how smashed I was, and I couldn't get myself to go through the front door. I had to walk round the block a couple of times. In the end, I went in, avoided everybody and went straight to my room. At this point, I'm pretty sure I had the DR that I have now. I stayed up to 2am watching TV, feeling para, and trying to calm down. When I woke up, I felt really bad. I thought I was still stoned, and I was really shaky, couldn't eat or concentrate. I couldn't make a cup of tea without wandering off and forgetting what I'd done and what I was doing.

The DR got worse as the days went on, and I realised that somthing was wrong, I wasn't just stoned. I stayed indoors for 2 weeks, and I couldn't do much at all, I couldn't write music as just listening to the raw beats made my ears hurt. When I did go out, it was worse, I was very anxious about it too. Eventually I went out to the pub for a couple of hours, and it wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it was still strange. I tried to go to clubs and drink again too, but I felt so bad the morning after, even if I didn't drink. In general, I had been feeling very tired since the DR came on, and couldn't wake up easily, with blurry shaky vision for a couple of hours after I woke up. I got flu which made things worse.

I carried on trying to DJ, but I was loosing my connection between myself and the crowd and the music - it's an emotional thing, a feeling driven thing, and I really did feel like my emotions had numbed. I went out to a club one night, and all the music came across as the same bland level, rather than some records sounding great and some bad. I stopped DJing, and I now had no income, regular or otherwise.

By the summer (this had started in Janurary), I'd got a laptop and was spending 90% of my time on the net and playing around with Flash animation, instead of writing music which is why I bought it in the first place. I think I must've spent almost 8 months solid indoors, bar a few nights in the pub which were really scarey.

Then, the next summer was on it's way, and I was determined not to stay in again, so I started to go out once a week regularly, and worked it up over the next year to at least 2 times a week. I was in therapy now, and although mostly we just talked about other stuff besides the DR, it was highlighting to me that I needed to get out, because I had not got a lot to actually talk about, and wasn't having anything to challenge me indoors.

Now, things are a little better. I can usually calm down and forget about the DR for a bit, once I get to the pub to see mates, but I still need to get a lift home again as I can't handle standing on bus stops at night. I can also just about handle playing CDs to the pub crowd (although performance DJing is still a long way off). I feel a lot more comfortable walking around outside than I did.

Other things have come in to replace what I've got rid of though, and they are usually physical symptoms. I've also been suffering with really bad eczema since late 2003, and that contributes to the depression caused by feeling so odd.

Lately I've been feeling really uninterested in my hobbies and the hotter weather is causing problems too. I think I've got better with the anxiety side of things, but I feel more confused and less focused on things. Before it was like I was constantly monitoring myself and aware of what I was feeling all the time. Now I just feel like I'm floating along more than before.

I don't really know what to say here to be honest, I've tried to include important stuff from before the DR that might've contributed to it eventually happening, and I've included the incident that sparked it full-time. I don't know what to believe, whether it was caused by the weed, or by my nervous personality. I certainly am not that far along the road to recovery, although I feel better on the anxiety side.

I'm just amazed that I've found people who feel the same, can describe the same things as I can, and don't just blow things off as me just being silly. My therapist is ok, he says he feels sorry for me and he's possibly beginning to realise how terrified I am and have been all this time, but it's not quite as good as finding that I'm not alone in the world.

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