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Does DP/DR matter?

6938 Views 45 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dalailama15
Let's assume you have the symptoms association with DP/DR. Most of us here are quite aware of what they are so let's not delve into the definition. Now apart from fear and anxiety, what is exactly wrong with the reality-altered-like symptoms of DP/DR? It seems to me the debilitating factors are not the symptoms of DP/DR, but rather anxiety and fear.
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Well in my case maybe DP/DR has become ingrained in my personality or my perception of self. Not sure why. Maybe it has to do with going undiagnosed for so long. I definitely do have the symptoms, and was diagnosed one year ago by a psychiatrist who specializes in depersonalization disorder (there aren't many of those!).

I'm definitely not terrified of my DP. However I absolutely WAS terrified by the symptoms for about the first six years, so I am COMPLETELY aware what you guys are talking about when you talk about the horror of DP. I definitely don't doubt for a second you are terrified.

I've had the symptoms now for 24 years 24/7. I was so happy to find my so-called "disorder" had a name and that I'm not alone. But one difference I have noticed between a lot of you and myself is that I don't really fluctuate in and out of DP/DR. I have been DP/DR'd since it first started and it does not really go away (as far as I'm aware).

When I started my internet research I was not necessarily looking for a cure for the way I felt, because I had given up on such ideas. Instead I was looking for someone who understood how I felt from first hand experience. I was only looking for people who experienced life like me so I wouldn't feel so unique and alone. I never actually thought I'd find so many people with the symptoms nor find people talking about cures!

The most difficult time I've had with DP/DR, following the first six horrible years, has been accepting the fact that I experience the world so differently than so-called "normal" people.
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sc, fearing it is a horrible thing. I do understand the fear of it, because I use to be so afraid.

My DP/DR began exactly like this:

I had never been a heavy marijuana smoker. However, on one occasion I was smoking pot with friends. I was 15 at the time. During the toking session I became "high". It was one of those everything-is-hilarious highs. I began laughing hysterically. Suddenly in a split second I felt suddenly different. Not scared at first at all. Just completely different, and then confused, lost. I had the sensation my very "self" had disappeared. The sensation then turned to horror; the thought that my self had disappeared. I panicked.

Now that's how I describe the beginning of my DP/DR. Note that prior to the depersonalization I was laughing. In fact I would say that I had never laughed so hard. This seems to contradict the idea that anxiety is the basis for DP/DR. However, after noticing the depersonalization I was horrified, which even then, without ever having heard of DP/DR, I thought my own fear would perpetuate it.

Still terrified a day later, I began obsessing about "what if the sensation never leaves". I was even somewhat conscious of the fact that I might actually scare myself into DP/DR, and that scared me even more. It was like I had an obsession about losing control of my own thoughts.

So, yes I think DP/DR is a symptom, and in some cases a disorder, which affects people with chronic anxiety. But, in my case I'm not so sure anxiety is perpetuating it. I think it is probably just part of being me.

So that said, I think people with DP/DR should not spend too much time trying to get rid of the reality-based symptoms. That's futile. However, if you have chronic anxiety, and subsequently DP/DR then treat the anxiety, because fear is the problem.

I insist there is at least one person in the world who has DP/DR and lives with it, with or without anxiety. Me. I don't believe I'm living in a chronic state of fight or flight. Maybe in some cases, such as mine, you can have DP/DR on its own. How rare my sort of DP/DR is remains to be seen. Because if you don't have a problem with DP/DR then you're not going to seek counseling.
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Edit by Dreamer: double post by JAG.
But DP/DR symptoms may occur more easily in some people than in others. So for one person maybe it hardly requires any anxiety at all whereas another person needs a much greater level of anxiety for DP/DR to kick in. If DP/DR kicks in more easily in some people than in others, then you are in fact getting into the area of a specific problem removed from simple anxiety itself. Afterall, everyone has at least SOME anxiety in their lives, and if their DP/DR symptoms appear from very low anxiety levels, then to me it should be classified as a separate phenomenon. In other words, however rare or unlikely, someone could potentially DP or DR from simply living.
dakotajo said:
A doctor once told me that you can become accustomed to anxiety states and not even realize your in one.

Yeah Joe, I've thought about that before. And I haven't ruled it out as a possibility in my case.

But don't forget the possibility that DP/DR can occur at very low levels of anxiety. And maybe at levels which are considered normal. Depending on the individual, of course.

nice post
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