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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I guess I'll get down to it and say I'm not looking for a direct match of my condition as it seems to be very rare, but I am looking to find people who've experienced extreme and chronic existential ruminations, DPDR and come out the other end.

About a year ago I experienced a mental meltdown which lead to two weeks of DPDR. By the time this left me my thought processes devolved into a constant state of existential rumination to do with time. My mind began to think 'how is time possible?', and I became absolutely terrified of time for no reason, and I could not stop this descent into madness. The way this has manifested is I feel like I'm trapped between past and future, I'm constantly thinking things 'I was just at the shops, now I'm not. that's just a memory that no longer exists', I freak out after speaking to someone, as thats now ended and is in the past, I get wierded out during conversation as well as I'm not really focussing on what is being said rather where the time is disappearing too. Even doing simple tasks like going to make a coffee requires force of will... I cannot look forward to anything or be in the flow. When I look at a clock I cannot comprehend what I see, I have to look at it with extra effort to internalise 'what the time is'. In short, my mind sees past and future as a terrifying abyss, it has destroyed my 'present moment' and I'm completely unable to break free from this thought loop. It is like my brain is rebelling against nature and reality itself, and is happy with nothing anymore. I feel oppressed by the laws of reality, not free to use it and act at will. I have additional existential fears:

I somehow developed a fear of being a different person in the evening compared to who I am in the morning, not sure why this stuck, but it did and wont let go.

constant intrusive thoughts of molecules and synapses, things like that doing the 'sciencey' stuff

fear of time moving forward marked by anything. I can be lying in the dark completely still and still be reminded of this anxiety by my heartbeat and shallow breathing.

A big problem for me is that I'm not wrong. Time is arbitrary, it is disappearing before our eyes and the past and future do not exist outside of being a mental concept. We are indeed also subtly different in the evening compared to what we were in the morning. All my stuff is true, and so I find it hard to express the degree of horror I feel every morning as I wake up feeling completely spun out by something real that my mind can no longer accept, and I do not have good days, bad days, or periods of normality. This is life for me, this is 24/7. Sleep feels like an eye blink between horror.

Last summer this got so bad that I developed psychotic and clinical depressive symptoms... I could not look at someone moving as the sight of this irritated my perceptions, but this seems to have gone. My only victory against this condition has been in reducing the physical feeling of rampaging anxiety through use of mirtazapine and Valium. I'm now able to do stuff like drive, exercise, act normal in public, but the 24/7 existential terror remains.

This is all very hard to explain, the mental torture, very hard to explain. A healthy person, or those with another mental state would look at what I described and think that's crazy there's no problem with time, but my logical mind already knows that. This has been, and is, very real for me, and has cost me a career, a relationship, but more importantly my sense of self, peace of mind, self respect. It's been so long since I felt anything like normal, the old me, that I don't even know what I'm looking to get back to anymore. All I know is that I was once a person with some great, some dubious qualities, who knew how to enjoy the small things and enjoyed what he did. I'm only kept going by a fantastic mother who tells me daily that today is a day closer to being well, I would not be alive without her.

Can anyone relate? I feel as though my psyche has been so warped by these thoughts and ruminations that I don't believe in my own recovery any more. Has anyone ever felt the same? I'm desperate for some light at the end of the tunnel but at the moment all is dark.

Alex
 

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Hey, you are definitely not a lone in this particular obsession. I had these EXACT same thoughts and experiences with time about a year ago. The revelation just appeared in my mind out of nowhere that the present moment is always fleeting and everything is just becoming the past. Ironically, what helped me with this obsession was time itself. After a couple months, I stopped letting it have power over my mind and life and stopped dwelling on it pretty much entirely. Because realistically, what can I really do about it? It's true the present moment doesn't last very long, but that should give us more reason to appreciate the present moment for what it is. I know it seems difficult right now, I thought it was going to last forever and for my perception of time to be completely warped for the rest of my life, but to put it bluntly I just got over it. Time may feel like your worst enemy right now, but in reality it'll be your best friend. Don't worry, you'll get through this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, thank you for your reply. It's comforting you described your experiences as warped as that's exactly how I feel. I've been trying so hard to not let it dominate me, to reclaim as much of my life as I can. I guess I'm getting worried as it's been a year and for whatever reason the whole time anxiety machinery is still running at 70%, which still feels really pretty awful. despite all the therapies, tactics and approaches I've tried it's like I know in my heart that all thats required is to get over it like you say. But for some reason my mind has become weak and this stuff is stuck like glue and applied to so many aspects of my life. Thank you for the words, I am waiting for the moment I'm strong enough to be at peace with this, and, of course, it's great to know someone got out of this
 

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What you have to understand is dp/dr warps our minds and makes us literally feel like we don’t exist or our surroundings don’t exist so of course the OCD tendencies take over and wants to ruminate about anything dealing existence. Your mind is trying to find an explanation as to why you feel the way u do. The thing is with the mind being warped the average thought that would have never bothered you before bothers you. When do/dr dissociates you it dissociate you from everything including thoughts, memories etc. If your mind was healthy and it wasn’t backed up by anxiety and the depression that has set in...on top of the irrational fears that you have labeled to be terrifying....then these things wouldn’t bother you. Just like before dp/dr set in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Speedy69. From all my reading that is the conclusion I came too, that because I was feeling uncontrolled anxiety my mind searched for a excuse and latched on to time being the issue when it's not really an issue and I didn't really have any true anxieties, so my mind became confused as to why I was feeling like this. I labelled it as terrifying because the anxiety has latched on to literally all thought processes, so even simple memory recall, recollection of a specific thought is painful and anxiety provoking, no rationalisation has helped me through this. I haven't felt emotion attached to a thought for a long, long time so I am still disassociated. A problem I do have though is that the acute DPDR feeling has gone. I'm essentially 'normal' and 'down to earth' now, but the 24/7 time stuff remains. I know this means that I am still in some kind of phase and my brain isn't yet healthy but it is really worrying me. and I feel that I've fallen so far that my mind can't get back. I know I'm not a special snowflake and not even unique in this but I have dealt with serious anxiety, chronic DPDR and depression in the past, but nothing could have prepared me for this
 

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Oh yea I can relate. I’ve dealt with anxiety, panic, depression and of course dp/dr. Mostly anxiety and panic. Depression tagged along when dp/dr set in. I went through it for months two times in the past and came out of them each time with no medication no therapy. Each time was sooooo hard. What I’ve noticed is each time I latch on to something new. Which tells me it’s the anxiety ocd side that keeps this going. Like you the dp/dr is in a way kind of gone but not much. Why keeps me in the place is existential thoughts but I have yet to take the appropriate steps to get out of this like I did in the past. I had blood work done and wanting to get candida test done just to eliminate certain things but once that is done then I will make the necessary steps to get better which is number one getting off forums. I learned this last times. U have to do it. A big problem is reading other ppls problems and their thoughts etc become yours and then u start obsessing about there ideas and thoughts. It’s very strange but that’s how it works. Everyone seems to have the same sort of ideas and thoughts. Most existential because everything is feeling unreal. I bet a lot of ppl here on the forum are tormented by thoughts that they read from other people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well done for recovering medication free, that takes some stones. When I recovered from DPDR in 2015 I was still working, I had gotten a new girlfriend and did all the normal life stuff and then there was a moment down the line when I realised I was back to normal. I didn't have time for forums back then. However at that time my reality perception (time) was completely in tact, the intrusive thoughts then were violent and sexual in nature, and I suffered from solipsism but it didn't seem to rock me to the core like this episode. I was able to take a back seat and be just luck huh that's wierd. It took about a year. I get bloodwork done too but I think everyone with anxiety knows that thats not the issue when they get it done
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I get you when you say you need to be off forums, but I've found my current thought process is so all consuming that I'm not susceptible to other people's thoughts and issues. I'm completely in my own torture chamber, and I find it has helped me when I've reached out and found other people suffering the same. Although there was one time it brought back a theme I'd been struggling with. I'll get off at some point. What other stuff do you do to alleviate the existential thoughts?
 

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I’ve had a lot of existential thoughts this go around and it comes from reading other ppls stuff so if you latch on easy refrain from reading. Recovery stories only if possible but each time it’s like a drug u just want to read more and more and more and it’s one of those things at some point u gotta take the standard advice. Accept, distraction and stop searching. That really is the cure. I’ve done it twice before. As far as existential stuff goes u just have to understand that it’s the mind that’s in its protective mode. That’s hard to believe because all u want to do is obsess and u want answers and the thoughts almost persuades you. I’ve had intrusive thoughts as far as violence etc in the past also. This time it’s more existential. What ya helped me so far is actually journaling down your thought. Write out what your thoughts are and write down what kind of life you had before dp/dr. Look back at your life at the happy moments etc. understand anxiety depression dp/dr set in which makes u dissociate from everything including thoughts. Thoughts like you are having wouldn’t bother u if you wasn’t filled with anxiety. I’ve also dealt with solipsism the last time and this time but I kind of put that to rest after journaling. I like to workout and do cardio especially. Hard cardio. After take a bubble bath and relax. Once you are done you can watch tv or a movie etc. it helps to have a nice comforter to cover with. Something heavy. There’s a relaxing feeling about having one after a bubble bath. You can buy Calm magnesium. It’s a powder. You take it before bed and for a lot of ppl it legit relaxes them and helps them sleep. I find it helps somewhat. I could probably use more. It’s worth a try. Also 5htp ppl have a lot of help from that. I recently bought b complex with zinc but haven’t taken it yet until I see if my levels are off but ppl swear up and down that it works. U can read reviews on Amazon etc. try to baby yourself as much as possible with relaxing your key focus. Definitely stay away from caffeine or other stimulants. And try to get 8 hrs of sleep. Sleep deprivation makes it so much worse and for me if I wake up early it’s bestbto just get up because trying to sleep when anxiety wake u usually just stresses you out more. Drink plenty of water. This is an obsession and it’s all about distancing yourself so far away from the problem that u eventually forget about the thoughts and the feelings of dp/dr. Hang with friend etc. it’s hard. I just went to a festival where there was a lot of ppl and I felt like I was on a different planet. I felt sooooooo bad I ended up having to leave a little early but that night I felt I could have redone it and felt a lot better. Plus I came home and journaled finally and that helped a lot to sort out the thoughts instead of viewing them in my mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Speedy, that's really cool. I will say a lot of the time I do the complete opposite, I hang on forums, I'm completely unable to relax and it's one of my biggest problems that I don't have any mental 'downtime': my brain is always on the go, always alert to this thing. I find being with friends to be difficult aswell as I dont get anything out of social interaction anymore it feels like a strain on my brain. I try to do things that would make me feel better like taking a bath etc. but it just doesn't work for me anymore. I tried journalling around new year but I couldn't even think coherantly to do that. I'm in such a bad way right now.
 

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Start weaning yourself off the forums. I’m sure you have read more than enough. As we all do. From there try to eat a little better and I highly recommend cardio exercise. I don’t care if it’s running, cycling, brisk walking. Do something for close to and hour to really drain your body of extra energy and burn cortisol off. Do that in the afternoon time a few hrs before bed. Get your bubble bath in. It don’t make u feel good right away trust me. None of it does but those little steps of doing things to make u feel better in the long run does help little by little. When your in the tub relax and just breathe. Put in some music. Coffee house radio on Pandora is very relaxing. Try journaling again. Then just relax watching. Tv. As I said try magnesium calm. You could always go to the doctor and have them prescribe you Klonopin a low does of .5mg. Is usually just enough to take the edge off to help you sleep. I had my doctor give me some last time and it helped me stay asleep. When you decide to start your recovery number one thing is get off forums and googling. I promise you from someone who recover twice...one that lasted 8 months and the second 6 months...it is number one. Instead of checking it 10 times a day go down to 7 then 3. To once a day etc. however works for u but u literally have to wean off the forums they will keep u here. When I want to forum do something else. Snapchat friends, scroll through fb. If you have a hobby even tho I have no interests do it anyway. And I know your nervous very nervous, depressed no interests in anything at all, you feel like your in to deep, you feel hopeless, you have the sad depressed anxious gut feeling when you have thoughts, you want to cry etc. I suggest crying if ya i there I realized once I could actually cry again I let it out. Don’t keep it in you. I know u don’t feel like doing anything but the moments you start feeling better or have tiny tiny reliefs you will understand that taking time to workout, relax, force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, really taking time to relax, journaling and most importantly distancing yourself form the forums will make a world of difference and it’s not and over night cure but slowly it will help. You have to trust me and the many others you recommend the exact same thing. Time accept it’s just anxiety as hard as it is to believe and distraction. Do the things I recommend you. Set you a goal of spending one day away from forums, then three, then a week and so forth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the time you've taken to reply Speedy, I really appreciate it. Literally been taking notes. The only thing I can do reliably at the moment is distraction via computer games. I used to be a runner but I haven't been doing cardio lately so maybe it's time to try again. More a smoker nowadays. I haven't been able to cry for a long time, I don't know what it is just part of it but all my emotions have completely gone even the bad ones
 

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Every time I got better I came out of it a better person. I promise you will do the same but really apply those things that I told u to do. It is key. I know for fact. Medication can help if the anxiety depression is crippling but you don’t need that. That’s up to you. Sometimes it can help u get on your feet to start working out etc. but please get off forums so that one day u can post your recovery story. I will be looking for it when I post my full recovery one. U got all the info you need. Accept it’s anxiety causing depression, thoughts, dp/dr. Then wean yourself off these forums, start working out. Drain your body at the end of the day and spend time playing games watching tv. Seeing friends etc. force yourself to go out and be uncomfortable eventually over time you will be back to normal and will be able to look back and laugh at what you went through just as I did in the past. Stay strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I like your confidence in recovery, man that is something I really lost but at least reading these replies makes me kind of hopeful. I had to take medication as the anxiety was mentally just too much. Recovery story seems very distant but as I say you've made me hopeful. It's been so hard to accept that it's just anxiety, it's all been so crazy, but i'll be doing things as you suggest. All the best to you man
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is it possible to get PTSD from DPDR symptoms? I can't believe my own brains' inability to get over it all
 

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I honesty don’t think so because once I was back to normal in the past two times I had it I never thought about it or better yet it never changed me for the worst and those two times at the time felt like it was the end for me. I felt it forever changed me I felt I would never be back to normal or anything. I felt lost and helpless etc. once I was better and it wasn’t just a switch that flicked it was very slow and it just happens once u have enough distance from it like I said that’s why it so major to leave forums etc. what it does during the time it’s happening is make you a nervous wreck and you have depression from it but when I was better I was able to do all things I use to and more it made me a better person. It’s very strange how dp/dr works it’s almost like it’s a tool to help improve your life even tho at the time it’s sooooo terrible
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know what you're saying. When I recovered in 2015 that felt like the lowest of the low but I came out feeling like it added to my abilities, overall charisma and sense of peace and yeah it took a long time but there was a moment I was working out in a park and realised it was gone, that was after like a year and a bit from it happening. This time though, it feels totally different. It is like I can't use my brain in the same logical way I did before... the old logic that I had (specifically around time), I can't use it anymore. I can't daydream, or look back to a pleasant memory, or enter a flow state. I have stabs of anxiety when I have to say "I just did xxx" or "see you later" as these are all references to frangments of time which are absolutely freaking me out. It's like dpdr destroyed my brain or something and there's been only small imrovements in a year. I've tried distancing myself but that logic doesn't work anymore, like a nightmare feeling that you just can't leave behind. I never feel the slightest bit better. I have a feeling I'm going to dissacociate again soon because the anxious strain on my brain from just existing in the space time continuum is huge. I can get around now, talk, but getting through even the most mundane day or moment is like dragging my balls through broken glass. Anyway I am at least at the gym today and planning on that all important bubble bath.
 

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I understand. For me anything dealing with existence.... like you said phrases having to do with time... tend to get me and make me feel dissociated. I know it all stemmed from dp/dr and the idea of solipsism so it’s in a way warped my brain into trying to persuade me that life isn’t real etc. which is why journaling for me at times helps sort these things out and helps me understand that dp/dr is to blame which helps lessen the anxiety etc. I just got off work and I’m about to do some weights training and then hard cardio. Mow grass then relax. Anything we can do to relax and lessen the stress will help and once anxiety and dp/dr leaves....our thinking will become rational again. Just like before dp/dr
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have no idea why the brain chooses to go down these routes but it's so common with dpdr it must be somehow protective. it sucks how much the brain really believes all the bullshit tho and getting yourself bent out of shape is like completely reforging yourself. Sounds awesome man, I had a good session lifting heavies and broke some PBs so at least my body still works
 

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That’s awsome! Keep up with gym. Everyday. Especially cardio. Try taking cold showers occasionally. I’m going to start at least every other day. Look into it. It’s very good for you
 
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