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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I am seeking information, advice, anecdotes or medication knowledge specifically related to emotions and how i may be able to reconnect with them.

The ability to connect in meaningful relationships and feel oxytocin with loved ones. Or feeling pleasure like excitement or familiar pleasurable feelings through my senses.

More specifically, do emotions return naturally, if so when and how do they return? Is meditation/mindfulness the only way to reconnect with them or is the
lamotrigine/SSRI combo effective on the emotional numbing symptom?

I've been reading this forum pretty much constantly since I discovered that I was experiencing DPDR a whole 14 months after it was triggered - which has been both a good and bad thing.

I'll start my story by saying that I'm a 35 year old man who has had transient episodes of DPDR throughout my twenties but had no idea of the condition.

I just assumed it was severe anxiety related to drug and alcohol hangovers and was always plagued by this fear of insanity and that one day I would lose all control and end up in an institute or dead etc.

Not knowing what these weird feelings were and just labelling it under the big umbrella of anxiety, these symptoms and obsessive thinking would usually subside and my love of socialising and a stable relationship would always get me through these tough periods of feelings of unreality etc.

Fast forward to August 2020 when these fears were all perpetuated to great height when a friend passed a (unbeknown to me at the time) 90% THC vape pen to me when we were drunk at his house.

It wasn't immediate that the impact had hit me as the alcohol mixed with it just gave me a sense of fun and laughter. It wasn't until I laid in bed alongside my wife that my thoughts went a racing and I started to experience what felt like my mind folding in on itself, as in physically I could feel my brain was shutting down. This was in response to me thinking that by having this super strong vape may have just confirmed my worst fears throughout my twenties that I had triggered developing psychosis.

I remember just thinking to myself to go to sleep and everything will be OK in the morning if I can just sleep it off.

I did manage to pass out thankfully but when I woke up my perception of the world had fundamentally changed. All of the typical symptoms of DPDR were there except I had no idea what I had done to myself as this feeling was chronic to fleeting moments I had experience before.

Anyway the next 6 weeks were progressively worse. I had started a new job just 2 weeks before the incident. I was expecting our first child in just 6 months time from then and I had all this pressure on me that the incident just massively overwhelmed all of it.

I somehow managed to keep this unnoticeable to everyone I know including my wife and new colleagues, until I had to give a presentation at work and talk in front of 20 of my new colleagues. As soon as I started talking I had the biggest sensation of blank mind you could imagine. I had no idea what or how I was supposed to give this update. So I had to excuse myself and walked out of the room - to my sheer shock, embarrassment and horror. I had no idea what was happening to me.

I went home from work and just told colleagues I suddenly felt sick and they suspected it was a panic attack - which I assumed too.

I went back to work the next day and still managed to endure the surrealness of my surroundings and my colleagues feeling so alien to me.

I couldn't continue to hide these feelings any longer so I went to the doctor and tried to explain what I was experiencing but knew how crazy I sounded. My fear was early only schizophrenia or psychosis etc but my doctor assured me she thought it was Generalised Anxiety Disorder and prescribed me 20mg of Fluoextine (prozac) at my request as I couldn't continue to feel the level of anxiety I was facing.

I didn't take the medication immediately in fear of them and any bad side effects they may have, until a week later when I was standing next to my pregnant wife in the kitchen at home and my surroundings just felt so alien to me including her. This scared the living daylights out of me and I knew I couldn't burden her with my mental struggles as she was pregnant etc - despite knowing she would have wanted me to tell her.

The next morning I decided to start taking the pills and I must admit the anxiety was almost instantaneously more bearable.

I told my wife 2 weeks after taking them about the pills and to how I was feeling to some extent - but only a limited extent as to not overly worry her.

The Fluoextine helped me at least get through the next few months without the overwhelming anxiety.

Fast forward to February and the birth of our beautiful baby girl. The whole process or labour is very surreal regardless of DPDR but I do remember feeling detached or not as emotionally connected to the experience as I thought I ought to be or what I would have naturally have felt prior to the vape incident.

I put this largely down to the Fluoextine as I read antidepressants can have numbing side effects emotionally.

Lockdown hit 6 weeks later and the Fluoextine had reached a therapeutic level and spring time at home with new baby and wife was a nice time. I felt my anxiety getting better each day I felt like I was returning to my former self.

Except the emotional numbing aspect of the Fluoextine still lingered.

So once I felt strong enough that I no longer needed the medication, I tapered off them in July after being on them for 9 months.

I was fully expecting that all my emotional capacity would return as I came off the Fluoextine.

So although I was watchful that my anxiety didn't come back once no longer on the pills, I also was waiting for emotions to return fully.

It wasn't until November that it hit home that I wasn't feeling emotions like I should be and that it wasn't the antidepressants to blame.

That's when I started looking online about my symptoms and then it led me DPDR and subsequently this forum.

As much as I'm relieved to hear that I wasn't going crazy all those years back, I'm now coming to terms with the fact that what I thought was just some anxiety that would be solved with prozac, I am in fact left with the reality that I'm actually suffering with DPDR that I have no idea how long with last.

All of my derealisation symptoms have gone and I would say the same for a lot of Depersonalisation symptoms - possibly owing to the prozac which gave me space and freedom to not ruminate on those symptoms which I just put down to anxiety, nothing more.

I am seeking information, advice, anecdotes or medication knowledge specifically related to emotions and how i may be able to reconnect with them.

As a first time dad it is devastating to me to know I'm not consciously able to feel every bit of love and enjoyment that I should be and would be if it wasn't for that fateful and regretful night with the vape pen.

If anyone can offer any assistance I would be so grateful or even just anecdotal info would be a big help specifically related to the emotional numbness element of this god awful condition that i sympathise with everyone who is on this form both past and present.
 

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There is no formal pharmacological treatment for depersonalization. There are some who sees some benefits form a combination of a anti-depressent and lamotrigine in a dose of 200-300.mg. All somatic interventions done in depersonalization have been very small in size and it makes highly exposed to problems with replication. In normal medical research there is a replication "crisis" of 50% and in depersonalization it might be around the same or slightly higher. Your age speaks in your favor as depersonalization as a disorder typically comes around the age of 15 to 25. There is likely a strong anxiety component that fuels your state and your can work with that and assume that your depersonalization symptoms will subside with the anxiety.

There are some selfhelp books based on that it is a anxiety condition with some obsessive elements in it.

This site and two books has been very used by many and is primarily for panic anxiety and general anxiety. You could look into that.

https://anxietynomore.co.uk/depersonalisation_and_derealisation/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. I really hope I can reactivate the parts of my brain that regulate emotion as I literally feel as though there is a blockage or some sorts from allowing me to experience the world as I once knew it.

I have seen your posts about your own struggles with emotional numbness. Is this the only symptom you still endure or do you still experience many of the other typical symptoms of DPDR?
 

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I have all symptoms except out of body experiences -had those when I had high levels of anxiety. So, it is both depersonalization and derealisation. There is a subgroup of people who almost only have derealisation and no depersonalization. So, most of their emotional life is intact.
 

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Hey guys. How are you feeling now?
I've had mostly DP symptoms since 2019. Had panic attacks, intrusive thoughts and all that for months, but started to recover to some extent as time went by (memories and emotions almost fully returned).
I fell ill a couple of months ago and had to go on strong antibiotics treatment which somehow brought back the debilitating feelings, emotional numbness the major one. I simply just don't feel anything. Physically, emotionally and I get brain fog a lot. It's hard for me to focus on anything or interact with people cause I basically lost all interest and motivation to do anything.
I'm in my mid 20s. I should be doing better things with my life instead I'm stuck in my head 24/7 dealing with DPDR. I used to be so proud of how my mind works, now it's like I have a mental block in my head that's made me dumb.
Sorry if this is dark or intense, I'm just really frustrated.
Please tell me you've found light at the end of the tunnel, I need something hopeful to hold on to
 
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