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890 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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YES, I get CEVs too-didn't know there was a name for it and until I spotted your post I was feeling utterly insane and getting convinced that there was something uniquely, terribly, irrevocably wrong with me. Often when I'm trying to fall asleep I'll start to see strange and seemingly random images, or just having really bizarre thoughts? and it freaks the shit out of me and I start having an anxiety attack. It's gotten to the point where I expect it every night and I'm almost scared to go to sleep, and I'm terrified it will start happening in the middle of the day with my eyes open. It's really disheartening because I feel like my actual DP/DR symptoms (sense of unreality, feeling disconnected from memories, etc) have gone down since I first got into my own "downward spiral" about a year ago, and I really thought I was making progress, but then this started happening, so like you I got scared that this was a separate issue and that somehow I'm losing my mind or something. It's like I'm literally afraid of my own thoughts.

I think it must be part of the DP/DR, though, because when I manage to distract myself, I feel fine. If I manage to get fully absorbed in something else, none of this stuff crosses my mind. It's only when I'm alone with nothing but my thoughts that I start to have these weird things happen and then panic about it. Same as you, though, nobody in my life notices anything wrong with me, so it's gotta be in our heads, right? I know that the less attention you pay to all this stuff, the better, but it's so incredibly hard to not pay it any attention when you're scared you're going to just lose it.
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