This is a long post and I do apologize but I really believe some of the information may be of use to some of you. I am new to this site but not new to DP. I have 30 yrs under my belt.
I have read thru a lot of the material here and I'm super glad there's a site devoted to helping people reconnect when they are so very disconnected. I wish I had a place like this available to me when I was 14. I assure you my experience was made tremendously more difficult because I didn't have something like this as a support...
Many people with DP are incredibly intelligent. A lot of that is not by accident but by necessity. I hate to generalize but if you listen to the experiences shared here on this site, so many of us sound similar. Again, that's not an accident. Part of the problem with this illness is it disconnects you from contact with your emotional self and forces you to manage your now "weird" world from an almost an analytical perspective. It's what they mean when we are described to "ruminate" or "philosphize." "It's as if..I'm looking thru glass ..." Or..."as if I am automation" are common ways we tend to focus on the peceptional changes in the way we experience ourselves. That said, I read so many stories here from people who want a quick "cure" for the just the symptoms but maybe unware (and outright unwilling in some instances) to believe (or even understand) that what has happened to you may be psychological in origin. Now I said psychological and not pyschotic LOL! If you have DP (and just DP) it's highly unlikely you're going crazy. I know it may feel like you are. But not everyone here suffers from DP exclusively. In fact, people with just DP and nothing else, is incredibly rare. It maybe a subset of some other personality disorder. For some it may be border line, bi-polar or schizod.However, many (and I'm willing to bet most) have been diagnoised with anxiety or panic disorder. The reason I make these distinctions is because "cures" - least of all quick ones, won't apply to all of those individuals. So what I am going to imply going forward may only be applicable to people with Panic/Anxety disorders because that's all I know based on my experience, study and history with this.
If you have been diagnoised with panic or anxiety disorder then here would be my 30 years of advice:
Accept that chronic depersonalization is a dissociative disorder. Let me repeat: IT IS PART OF A DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER. So what do most people think of when they think "dissociation?" Personally, I think of the movie "Sybil" (or am I dating myself now? LOL) or multiple personality disorder or amenesia. Those things happen when an event(s) are more than a person can handle or more than they are able to process. So when I think of DP I think of it as an emotional kind of amnesia. That's just a term I've coined but feel free to steal that bad boy...(i'm trend setter what can I say? lol). Now you won't know that because DP keeps ya fairly occupied doesn't it? Similar to the amnesiac trying to remember who he or she is...You're more concerned with what happened to your perception and I agree it's a hard thing to ignore but what if I told you that your DP is part of a solution and your symptoms may be a consequence of the solution?
Its a difficult sell huh? Hear me out. So many of us are so focused on what happened to our perception. "Why do I feel distant?" "removed" "in a fog?" One of the most telling is "why do I feel like a stranger in the mirror?" Why? because you've created an impersonal relationship with yourself. Again, you don't know that you have done so but you have.DP keeps you in the dark for a reason. You feel lost. But you've lost contact with the emotional details (not the knowledge) about you and your life that is necessary to make you feel connected to yourself. Now why would you do such a thing? (cuz DP sucks right?). That's what you need to figure out. I am certain that when you face whatever it is that you're disowing you will understand why you needed to do this to maintain equilibrium. Think of it like an emotional auxiliary power. It's so telling if you pay attention to the how people describe this..."It's as if I am on automation." In a real sense you are. Emotionally you've shut down because some set of circumstances became more than you can handle. Now is this one event? Maybe. But it's far more likely this is an accumulated trauma. And DP is a defense against acknowledging and feeling that trauma. DP is a protection against emotional pain.
Now obviously that's the short answer and couldn't be a comprehensive description or rationale behind your specific issue. This is complex. BUT if panic and anxiety are what you have been diagnosed with, it's highly likely this is psychological in origin.
My advice: get yourself a therapist that specializes in complex trauma. don't discount medication but don't depend on it either and take the time to understand why you (YES YOU) may have chosen this specific coping mechanism. When I say "chosen" that implies you consciously choose to do this..and I completely understand if you wanna punch me in the face LOL But it's not conscious. Some maybe but most of this is done without you being aware. Understanding your development will help you understand how you learned to do this.
My point is while many of us are so invested in talking about the symptoms of DP you literally lose site of what the real issue may be (and you can waste a hell of a lot of time doing it...trust me on this). This isn't an intellectual problem or a problem that outside of you. The problem is the way you relate to yourself, your life story and how you feel about that emotionally.
So while i know people with DP love to speculate about the external causes...and I've heard them all...it's was cannabis, mercy poising, brain tumor, you were in a crowd on the second sundary on the last month of the year or because you ate lead paint chips...or any other far reaching idea that may seem somewhat plausible lol -Sorry, I'm not poking fun...those were just a few of my own...
Chronic DP is a solution people use when they are or have been traumatized. The problem is it's not good solution..
Some of you won't believe me and for some this may not be true. My advice though, keep this post handy. Because those of you DP'ers who are sitting there saying "What you talkin bout Willys? I ain't gots no stinkin trauma." But you've been depersonalized from a year or more (SOME FOR DECADES), then i would refer you to the analogy of the amnesiac and it's a closer analogy than you may think. They don't know what they forgot either. But they know they lost something don't they? So do you. You've lost it because this solution (and again, I didn't say it's a good one) requires that you emotionally forget parts of yourself. It is the difference between knowing information and knowing & feeling information. Your change in the way you experience yourself and your perspection is the consequence of that of that loss. It's not the cause.
So it's up to you to find what that is. I know there were times that i just wanted it gone and the solutions I just mentioned provided a quick answer but then I learned why it was there to begin with. And ultimately, to make an ever longer story shorter...it simply sucked to be me. There is a more to it of course but ulitmately it sucked like a vortex of sucking! LOL I make light of now but it really wasn't a laughing matter at the time.
Now a word on Harris Harrington. Ya know the kid that provides us with "cure" for DP? I hate to say it but the kid's dead on with the information. Really. It's not snake oil. Childhood interpersonal trauma, disorganized attachment, grounding techniques. He honestly has provided a relative short cut to understanding what took me 30 years to grasp.That kid has got one hell of a good trauma therapist and he's done a lot of work himself. I say kudos to him for putting the information together in a way that will save a lot of people time in figuring this out. But I will say I think it's despicable that he profits from it. And I'm not sure it's responsible to expose people who have DP to something that may ultimately may not be ready to admit without professional support.
But the selling of it, is what really grinds my gears. Don't profit off my pain or anyone else's. HE knows what DP is like and if you have a means to help people just freakin help them! Long & short: he's helpful. He will put you on the right path. But he's no replacement for a good trauma therapist and whole heck of alot of interpersonal work. But it's unlikely that he will provide you with a "cure" per se. I'm sorry.
Guys, i'm sorry if I sound preacy! that is totally not my intent, But this is a process that will take courage and hard work. In those moments when you learn to own and feel whatever parts of yourself you have pushed away, you WILL understand with great clarity just what I mean by that.
There is no quick fix but there is a fix. It's not an easy one.
My sincere best to you all.