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888 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  AllieCat123

This all started about 7 months ago with what I call my downward spiral. It started with health anxiety, convinced I was dying of cancer, ALS, sepsis from the flu, etc. Then all of a sudden I had images in my mind of me harming my cat. This stressed me out so much that I believe I first started to feel the symptoms of DPDR. It kind of started with looking in the mirror and feeling like I didn't recognize myself.

I kind of got over the harm thoughts, but then had the thought that I might be developing schizophrenia. Since I've had that thought several months ago that's all I can think about every moment of every day. I'll admit that it started off as a silly thought without much evidence to support it, but as time goes on, I've become utterly convinced. I know it's a common fear among DPDR sufferers but can't help but think that my case is different. I've taken those psychosis screening quizzes online, and I get low risk, but it still shocks me how many questions I answer with yes. What confuses me is that many symptoms of DPDR seem to be the early symptoms of schizophrenia, so how do medical professionals distinguish the two? For example feelings of unreality or feeling like you don't exist, common symptoms of DPDR are also symptoms listed for early psychosis.
So anyways my most distressing symptoms are:
1. Closed eye visuals. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I see the weirdest images and visuals. Not even on the verge of sleep or anything. Weird random objects and faces. Doesn't happen every time I close my eyes, but when it does, it freaks me out. My therapist says it's not a cause for concern unless it happens with your eyes open, but I've never had this happen before.
2. Hypnagogic sounds. Hearing random noises/voices when falling asleep. Maybe this has happened all my life but just started noticing now? I've experienced hypnagogic jerks all my life, but I don't remember ever hearing sounds.
3. Dreams feel real. I'll wake up and go about my day and remember a dream as if it's a real memory. Then I'll be like, "Wait that was just a dream."
4. Vision problems. Visual snow, things look off and weird. Even my own room sometimes looks unfamiliar. Sometimes things look really dim. Other times I'll look at things, and it looks too bright.
5. Occasional loud bursts of tinnitus. This hasn't happened as much since I had a big piece of wax removed from my right ear, so it may have been due to that haha.
6. Not feeling like myself. Like sometimes I have to rack my brain to even remember who I am or what it's like to be "normal."
7. My eyes move when I close them. I made the mistake of googling this, and someone said this is a schizophrenia thing. Something to do with REM spilling over into waking life. I brought this up to my psych. She said it's just anxiety.

So anyways I've seen my doctor, a psychiatrist, and a therapist. None of them think I'm developing schizophrenia. My therapist used to work with people experiencing first episode psychosis, and she said in the early stages people could often tell something was wrong with them, but she said they never really had as good of a handle on it as I do. But for some reason I can't believe her. The only thing that reassures me is that my functioning hasn't declined at all. I've heard that in prodromal schizophrenia one of the first things to go is functioning. And no one in my life has noticed that I'm acting different or odd or anything. I just feel so wrong and weird and feel like I'm getting worse. Also I'm right at the age for developing it for women (27), and there's a chance that my great grandma had it? I'm not sure on that though. She was definitely out there, she believed everyone was out to get her and stuff, but she was a college professor and functioned fine so I don't know.

Anyways, long I know. Does anyone else experience these symptoms? Especially the CEVs I think those freak me out the most. I feel like I'm just waiting for the day I go crazy. Which I'm not sure I even necessarily care if I do, but since I've had the harm thoughts I'm afraid I'll hurt someone, which sounds ridiculous as I feel guilty when I kill a bug! I'm going to see a new therapist who specializes in OCD, so we'll see how that goes. I'm afraid to take meds cuz of side effects so I feel kinda trapped....
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Hi Hopeful85 thanks for the reply! I’ve actually been feeling a lot better lately because I’ve been super busy in my personal life. My dpdr is definitely induced by anxiety, and my OCD keeps it alive, so I’ve found distraction is key. Usually if I go out and act like everything is normal, even thought it’s not, I start to feel it. It’s definitely still there at times, so I hope one day my brain catches up and realizes it doesn’t need to put me through this anymore haha. But like your username, I am feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks for asking.
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stepbystep yeah sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back. You start to feel better then something happens that triggers the anxiety which triggers the dpdr. I panicked the first time I experienced the cevs to the point where I barely slept that first night. Idk I’ve learned to ignore them and have been actually experiencing them a lot less. It seems to be a pretty normal phenomenon, and from what I’ve read, those kinds of hypnagogic experiences intensify with stress. But yes, it’s a little disconcerting. When you feel like you’re about to tip over into insanity at any moment, those kinds of experiences certainly don’t help. I’ve found that acceptance and distraction have been the best help for me. When I start to feel those intense dpdr symptoms, just accepting them for what they are and moving on. I think it’s been helping. Fingers crossed! Thanks for the reply!
So far I have tried buspar (no noticeable side effects but wasn’t really working on controlling my symptoms), lexapro (made me nauseous so I stopped taking it), and Prozac (gave me horrible chest pains and palpitations). I have klonopin but I’m afraid to take it. My OCD and health anxiety makes me freak out when I get the slightest side effect, so I’m trying to go without meds. I do take vitamins and fish oil in the morning. I try to drink 72 Oz of water a day. I do Yoga a few times a week as well as meditation. I’m sure if I made an effort to eat better that would help too. I think meds are definitely the answer for some people. You just have to find what works for you. But I also hear things when I fall asleep, which jolts me awake. I’ve gotten better at ignoring it. All the best to you!
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