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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Addiction is a dependence, on a behavior or substance, that a person is powerless to stop."

(source for quote) http://www.chclibrary.org/micromed/00036220.html

...where did this start for me? I think it started with OCD and magical thinking. I was SO SICK of bad things happening, ie things not going my way, or life being boring, or someone not liking me, or not getting a material item i wanted ( material items were a big deal- i desparately wanted approval and from certain crowds, so i needed the material goods. I didn't understand real friendship; i craved power, so I didn't just make friends...I had to re-invent myself to make the RIGHT friends)...I was also so afraid of losing something, such as losing the house to a fire, or one of my parents dying (I literally was scared to death my mom would die for- get this- the reason that at age 12 I didn't want to go buy my own "feminine products"...yeah I guess you can say I have a hard time in the love and quality time department, more concerned about getting my needs met and using people for those needs; trying to be self sufficient.)

lack of faith in things working out, lack of faith and trust in others to get what they needed for me (like being randomly locked out of the house because no one was there to unlock the door, at ages 8 to 10 or so), getting yelled at for random reasons, etc. Man life was unpleasant. So I had two objectives.

A) do everything by myself if possible
B) make no mistakes the first time because if something bad happens no one will be there to back me up. They weren't there before, not at home, not in summer camp, not in school. Assholes everywhere, scared little kid.

So.

How the hell do I prevent anything bad from ever happening in the future? I started obsessing. If I left the door opened at a 45 degree angle rather than 30 degrees, if I entered a room with my right foot, if I didn't think a certain thought...then nothing bad would happen.

Sounds a lot like ocd. Addiction to the ocd behavior, which would later help pique my interest in marijuana use, as I heard it alleviated OCD symptoms. (didn't work TOO well i guess...)

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but it made me think about addiction.

addiction is, in my eyes, a way of CONTROLLING how you feel and when you will feel it. You do a ritual or have a behavior or take a drug or develop a habit that will a) provide release and sometimes pleasure b) alleviate anxiety, and c) most importantly, change reality for you when you can't change reality.

Alcoholics and drug users and overeaters and the OCD kid all have the same thing with different symptoms.

Why am I posting this in the main DP board then?

Because we are addicted to FEELINGS. We are addicted to controlling and directing WHEN to feel WHAT emotion or WHEN to have WHAT element of reality go OUR way. We may be emotionally numb now (at least some of us), but it's not because we're incapable of feeling. It's that we've spent so long trying to control which feelings to have instead of letting things take their course in life, that, as Janine pointed out in her little boy post (hehe...) we are actually still trying to control and force feelings and it's not working for us anymore. We've been doing this a long time, addicted to this practice, that like alcohol, the substance has a different effect after a while.

We are addicted to the placement and timing of feelings and events and emotions not JUST to feel good (that's only a tiny part ), but to avoid feeling BAD at the wrong time. Sometimes we wanted to feel bad. But on our own terms. We wanted to feel bad in a way we could indulge in and control. We basically wanted to get something for ourselves out of every emotion. To compensate for feeling bad, since we believe we are OWED a life of not feeling bad, we try to get something good from it.

Or when we want to feel good, we control when that comes. Keep it in measured doses.

I'm starting to understand, at least intellectually, what Janine meant by surviving one's own feelings. The addict rations out his day of this behavior or that substance to alter his moods, that way he knows what is going to come up and not get any more unpleasant surprises.

(My addictive personality is so bad that sometimes I would rather feel BAD on hydrocodones than NOT SO BAD sober, because I can engineer the downward spiral on the hydros and it's more FUN.)

I won't get too preachy about this but going to AA meetings has really been an amazing help for me, although i'm not FEELING great now I am starting to understand a lot of things. AA is not really about getting one sober to me, it's a program like any other 12 step program that will help someone when they're willing to admit that their own plans aren't working and that they are ready to surrender and change.

The reason why I wanted to mention addiction, AA, etc, is that I really found a lot of benefit by viewing my DP from the stance of an addiction disorder rather than an anxiety disorder. It made me realize that I wasn't the victim of some random flying saucers of panic. It made me see my own devious part in it...oh no, I wans't a victim at all, I was ENGINEERING it. Because it was addiction. The addiction itself I could be a victim of, but my giving into it and going down that path was my own work.

I think that a lot of us, somewhere in the backs of our brains, secretly (even secret from ourselves), WANT the anxiety and panic. Why? Because then we can say "oh, look, this is anxiety and panic, it must be subdued by (this) or (that)", AND because if we blame it on anxiety and panic we don't have to admit to ourselves that we have a problem with SOME form of addiction. (when I say addiction, I mean ANY kind of behavior that helps one deviate from reality, from one's own feelings, from the truths in one's life, etc. from accepting reality as it is. this doesn't have to be the use of chemicals. It can be the use of psychological defenses like denial.)

Yes, part of our "OH MY GOD I'M SO SCARED WHAT IS HAPPENING" is something we WANT! As long as we are swimming in fear, we don't have to face CHANGING our addictive patterns/mindsets/behaviors. it keeps us BUSY to stay in panic.

Oh of course you don't want to FEEL that way, no, not on the surface. But you would probably rather feel that way than surrender all your manipulations, addictions, denials, half-truths, ideals. You would rather feel this craziness than stop doing what you are doing in life.

So I really think we should start looking at this as an addiction-based disorder, an addiction to molding reality to our needs. I think that some research on addiction and recovery from addiction would be helpful in making sense of some of our behaviors. I think that a lot of beleifs that a typical drug/alcoholic mindset has are EXACTLY like ours.

It was so funny...I was so angry and in my own head during one of the AA meetings, that I couldn't concentrate on what was going on. And then I realized that half the people that had spoken during the meeting had said something about being too much in their own head. It made me realize that I was just like them with different symptoms. Or, another time I was beating myself up over something, obsessing over it, and ruminating over it. And someone said to me "that is an alcoholic trait." and it clicked and disappeared. A ha, I thought. That makes total sense. The soloution I was trying to find in my head would have never come...the thing I was upset over didn't matter, it was the FACT that I was obsessing over it, was creating a need for me to somehow escape reality...an addiction mindset!

anyway just some thoughts.
 

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Person3,

This is terrific. I think you are really on to something significant. A few lights went on for me reading this.

Thanks for writing and posting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
you're welcome! glad to see it's helping you make some connections. :)
 

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It's a interesting point Person3, my pearl, my flower.

There is some truth in that, I think, as long as we don't stretch analogies too far. Chronic DP and OCD is, in a way, an addiction because of the nature of the beast, or rather nature's intention for DP - to protect us from unbearable anxiety or whatever. A tonic for the brain, and perhaps chronic DP is an addiction, or rather - a cycle of learned behaviour like any other addiction.
 

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Yeah, I agree with most of that, Person3.

The main difference as I see it is just that with a condition like DP, as opposed to a more straightforward addiction like alcoholism, the sufferer very often has no conscious idea what they're doing. They are "addicted", they probably are yielding some returns off their obsessions - perhaps avoiding real issues, blocking out harmful emotions, whatever - but it's not as obvious that they're doing it as with alcoholism. It's not "before their eyes". They can't see what they're doing. That's why in many ways it's hard for them to see that they're doing anything wrong at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
oh yeah, it definitely takes a while to "see" what you're doing to yourself.

however, in a way, I KNEW exactly what I was doing to myself from the very beginning, at least parts of it. There were things I knew but refused to see, or refused to tell anybody so I could keep THEM the same (certain behaviors and rituals) while changing everything else, just a little something to hold on to.

You're right though, it can be trickier, because we're not TAKING IN any substances (at least some of us aren't, others are). But substance use is not our primary problem. Our primary problem is the way we try to control reality and other people through manipulation, magical thinking, ritualistic behavior, resentments, people-pleasing, guilt, hatred, lying, etc. We have to undergo a personality change. dont' worry, so does the alcoholic! as a matter of fact, he has to undergo very similar changes, which is why addiction approach resonated so well with me. we DPers hold the same TYPE of resentments and angers and manipulations that substance abusers do, except our way of handling it is mental, not chemical. That's why I can learn so much from a meeting for addicts...

And you know what? The exact THING that we're doing (dissociating) doesn't matter so much as WHY we're doing it. It helps to KNOW we're doing it to ourselves in a weird way, but knowing where our anger and resentments and, as they say in 12 steps, "defects of character" lie, we can help remove the need to dissociate.

Speaking of defects of character, that's the worst one for us DPers, as well as the addicts. We're all in the same boat with that one. We're so much BETTER at explaining what happened to us but man, when we hear that maybe we had a part in it by how we reacted or perceived the situation, god that makes us mad. ITS NOT OUR FAULT, we cry! That's what makes it so hard to overcome this disorder...is that we're unwilling to look at another side of things...that maybe we DO do something to piss the people off at work, maybe we ARE wrong with our boyfriend sometimes, maybe we ARE too selfish and in our head, maybe we're not THAT smart and need to do everything like everybody else, etc. That stuff is hard for the addict who has it "all figured out."
 

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Yeah, that's very true. We often know what we're doing all along, we just refuse to acknowledge it.

I've often noticed a few of these things you talk about in myself. It was never like "oh my God, I actually do that?!?". It was more the case that I'd known all along but had been in denial. It's very much the alcoholic mentality, I suppose.

I totally agree on the point that tackling these "addictions" is more effective than trying to defeat DP head-on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think when we try to master, control, or challenge the DP it's kind of like an alcoholic, after having been sober for a while, picking up a beer to show that he is OVER that.
 

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I agree with your posts, Person3. DP is quite like an addiction to some mental processes that we have going on. In fact, it may be so alike to this that we have to go seek professional help in a non-judgemental environment to try and cure ourselves. I'm planning on doing some psychotherapy myself over the next few months to try to alleviate the constant self-monitoring, dissassociation and other symptoms that plague me and other DP sufferers. It's kinda like having an intertwined ball of yarn that we keep entangled because we don't want to feel what we're feeling and think the negative thoughts that are constantly popping out in our heads. Denial is a big part of this DP/DR monster. I'm glad you can bring new points of view to this illness rather than rummage over the old anxiety-disorder view. In my opinion when people have true insights of their problems, the problems disapear. It's like having a ghost of christmas's past that floating around in your subconscious that you must face and subdue. And when you do face it, it's as if things "click" and you step out of your problem for a while. It's like we're holding on to wanting to figure things out, rather than taking a step back and focusing on the answers, the solutions to our problems.
 

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Hey ya person3;
You know I'm in recovery and sometimes people have asked over the years why do I still go to mtgs after 21 years--my answer is why do you still go to church? LOL.It is because I forget what the solutions are VERY easily when I run the show and am self sufficiently isolating myself.

I need to be at the places where I can hear what other people are doing to get thru things SOBER. That word doesn't just apply to alcohol-it's addressing my way of thinking, feeling, reacting, believing my (mis)perceptions, tendency to getting further away from the world and more back into my own head. Living sober is way more than not drinking. If all we had was a drinking problem we'd be GREAT at living life once we put down our substance. The reverse is true. Our problems start at that very point.

Yes Alcoholism is a disease recognized for a long time as such by the AMA etc..But there's a lot more to be done than facing that part and putting down the substance. It is the part that will kill us physically; however I have seen people not drink but not change and they have either gone back to drinking and drugs, died inside or completely-- or sadly killed themselves SOBER! They could not stand the "commitee meetings" in their head, who constantly voted them DOWM.

WE have the steps as a design for living-- for the very purpose of changing our ways of trying to control everything---outcomes, people, places and things. I tried controlled drinking before I finally got sober and it sucked cuz I did not want to be monitoring really. I wanted the old "oblivion" back again. So I was convinced alcohol needed to be controlled, my intake, the things I did when drunk etc..But still control was not the answer. So it is a physical illness AND it's solution is so much more.

I beleive that I am clinically depressed and that anxiety is a real BAD symptom of it. I can become addicted to thinking nobody understands. That will quickly set me in self pity...you know poor me poor me POUR ME a Drink. Or the old pattern of Hurt, Angry, Drunk. I am a control freak when I am scared especially. I like dwhat you said about our sort of, LOL..immature belief that we "should" never feel bad. My reactions to feeling bad compound the original reason. I'm coming to beleive that the sooner I can accept I feel bad I'll quit fighting. Sometimes all I need is a reality check..yes jake I would feel bad too if such n such happened. I have to reach out and practice a new behavior though to get there.

I do still and maybe will always want to "Just Not Have Problems or Feelings about Them!!" Control..it's an illusion. Focus and decsion and action are my way out. Thanks for the great post.

Thankfully I don't drink today. I do though have to handle sobriety every day, and tht's what I could never handle in the first place. Life on Life's terms. I am very much an addict to anything that relieves pain or augments pleasure, but "normal" people do this too---just not to the point of becoming mentally obsessed and physically craving.
 

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Person3 someone might get the wrong idea about you with
Pour me pour me pour me a drink at the end of all your post.

I only say this because I like you and your post.

If your post were just ramblings I woulden't have said anything.

You post a lot of good info on this board and you shouldent discredit yourself on account of whoever might be reading.

Just my opinion I may be wrong :? .
 

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I think your post was great too person3. I'm gonna go back and read all the posts over and put in my two cents but I do agree that the signature may put people off a bit. It puts me off because I can't drink and it's not fair that other people can.
 
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hey person,
as well as being a severe dp sufferer im also a recovering heroin addict and ive been doing aa for a couple of months now. Ive had a lot of your same thoughts on dp as an addiction as well but you really hit the nail on the head! i really think youre onto something big. The majority of my dp/dr is drug-induced and the crazy thing about it is that after my first bad episodes with pot and mushrooms i kept doing it! I was living in such a fantasy world that even though the drugs gave me horrible panic and dp attacks i kept doing them. this has been going on for years now and now my dp is soooo crippling i can barely function. but the more i think about it the more i feel that deep down inside we are in control of all of it. i think the 12 steps might be the key to dp recovery. we'll just have to learn how to deal with all of the past trauma. if you want to discuss this with me further please email me - [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ok guys, i changed it! :p

enngirl-

I don't drink either. I don't have an alcohol problem, per se; drinking either does a) nothing or b) increases my anxiety or c) has a mild fun effect but then nothing.

so it's not really worth it to me.

There are so many people in this world that can't drink , or do other things though. It's not fair to you that you can't drink, but don't forget that everyone on this board has something that they can NOT do. That's just a fact.
 

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I have nothing to add to this thread, I just wanted to say that after reading you're post alot of things that didn't make sense, now seem clear. I also always "knew" that there were many many underlying problems that I was terrified of facing. My mentality is such that I would rather be on the verge of insanity than stare truth in the face and take stock of my life and the direction I'm heading in.

It seems as if I'm on the extreme side of the addictive personality. I use music, movies, books, and other material distractions to conciously create very precise emotions. Because I'm such a pessimistic person these emotions are often negative but I would rather be depressed on my own terms than try to make my life better. My fear is such that even now as I type this I DON'T want to let go of this emotional dynamic. The world is just too scary to face without my continual quest to alter my reality to what suits me. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get out of this cycle but I wanted to thank you for you're insights. It gives me alot more to think about, but perhaps now my own analysis will be more constructive.
 
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