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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I am new to this website but think I have finally found some comfort and self-help.

Brief description of my history....suffered panic attacks off and on for about 20 years (brought on by the thought of dying....and consequently given me a fear of it). Have managed to control these pre-disposed attacks because I could mamange the physical symptoms.

However, a year ago I began to go through an extremely difficult period which brought on bouts of severe anxiety. Over the past two months these anxieties have lead to panic attacks but without hardly any physical symptoms such as hyperventilating, sweating etc etc and have ALWAYS had an episode of depersonalisation with these attacks.

Anyway, the anxiety got worse, I felt it first thing in the morning in the pit of stomach and would wake up shaking. The anxiety would get worse and then on the way to work (driving), I would end up having a panic attack but it always started with the depersonalisation feeling which would then evolve into the panic. It would happen at work and soon I really felt like I was "losing it" and "completely out of control".
I visited my GP, told him everything and he told me I had an anxiety/panic disorder and put me on valium (3 x daily).
These really began to help because they kept the anxiety away but after I had finished my first course of valium I suffered an extreme anxiety attack and couldnt even drive to work because I thought I would panic on the way.
Back to the GP's I went who gave me another pack of valium but cautioned me how addictive they were and who promptly then referred me to see a psychiatrist (which I happily agreed to).

To make matters worse I have also been referred to a Neurologist for an CT on my brain because lately I have suffering from extreme migraines where the pain has been so unbearable I thought I would die.
Added now to the complication of anxiety and panics about dying, have managed to convinvce myself that I now have a brain tumour....God...things go from bad to worse dont they!....not an ideal situation for a person with a fear of dying and who also has an anxiety/panic disorder to be requested a brain scan (just incase something needs to be investigated!)

Back to the real problem....the depersonalisation/derealisation subject. These are the feeling that are now causing the anxiety and panic. They happen for no apparent reason and can happen anywhere (mostly when I am at work). One minute I am there...the next...somewhere else, although I still know exactly what I am doing and where I am its the feeling of the depersonalisation that makes me panic and the depersonalisation seems to express itself further then. It may only last a couple of minutes but it makes me feel like I am really losing control of everything and its happening almost everyday.

After reading many websites about this condition I didnt actually realise it was a disorder in itself and I now thik that i have a depersonalisation disorder rather than an anxiety disorder from which it has manifested.
I have tried positive thinking, cognitive behaviour therapy (learnt from myself) but it still happens and I cant control it.

Please can anyone help??????????????? I feel as if it is now taking over my life, I am scared of going out incase it happens, scared of it happening at work (my GP wanted to sign me off sick for a month but knew that wouldnt help)....have I got a brain tumour? i blowing things way out of proportion???
Oh yea, my GP has also offered to change the valium (because of dependance to anti-depressants) but i feel that these will have no proper effect or help...can anyone tell me if they are on anti-depressants for this disorder and if they do help....and if there is anything I can do for myself in the meantime.

I apologise for the length of this new topic but feel that the only people who will understand what I am going people who are dealing with the disorder themselves.

Please help...I feel like I am going mad!

· Registered
323 Posts
The waiting is the hardest part....

You sound like you are going through what everyone here is or has gone through. Once you get the MRI out of the way, and when that comes back Negative, you will feel better about not having a brain tumor.

Now as for the rest , the best advice I can give from my experience is to keep on truckin' .

Don't quit going to work,keep on going. You won't go crazy, and when you start questioning if you are real, or feeling unreal, or things don't look right, try not to focus on the thought or the feeling , try to refocus on your work, or make a phone call, or do anything you can but dwell on that thought or feeling. Obsessive thoughts keep going round and round and you can't argue with an obsession. Just try and distract , or focus on something entirely different.

It sucks I know we all know.. but you will get through this with time .


Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx for replying to my post, I was really chuffed when I saw it.....

Thanx for the positive thinking and turning the negatives around...its really comforting to know that there are others out there who understand where I am coming from.

I was wondering whether I should go back to my Gp and actually confront him with the Depersonalisation Disorder and agrue that this is the condition I have and not actually an anxiety disorder.

Do you think any meds would help as I have just been reading that some meds given for anxiety/panic disorders have actually brought on the depersonalisation disorder.

Once again...thankyou so much!!! :D

· Registered
323 Posts
Glad to respond, stick around I am sure there will be more people responding...

As far as meds, they do help people get to a place where they can work on their issues... I tried several different ones, unfortunately for me and this doesn't happen to all.. but for me, I can't seem to tolerate an SSRI very well and the other non-SSRI's seemed to cause other problems.. So for me I have given up on meds.. but that is just me.. I know people who do very well on them and it has helped them get back to a normal life.

But even with meds there are issues to work on , and I recommend you check and see if you can find therapist in your area that are trained to work with Anxiety disorders. I started with a therapist that really knew the text book but not the person if you know what i mean. Then a friend refered me to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute Of Maryland . I found a Therapist there who I feel comfortable with and things are slowly progressing.

If you are going to do meds, you would be best served going back to the Psychiatrist and let him diagnose you..see what they recommend.. This is just my opinion, there may be others here who might have a different one, ultimately it is your body and your mind , you have to conclude what will be best for you.


· Registered
32 Posts
Well your initial post essentially seems to describe my situation, well with a few slight differences.

I used to suffer from anxiety attacks for several years but thought i was finally getting it all under control, and just when i was feeling pretty positive the DR started. I had one initial bout that lasted a weekend and for the next 2 weeks i was waking up at 6 in the morning heart racing and anxious, and with a feeling of fear/dread that was quite overwhelming. This was about 3-4 months ago now and while i do not have the feelings in the morning, they will pass, the DR is still here. Its exactly as you describe, its like you know where you are and can function but everything seems 'off' somehow, which sparks anxiety and round in a neat circle it goes.

In the early stages i was put on diazepam x3 a day for 2 weeks. I was then put on Trazodone (SSRI) which did fuck all and i had one of my worst DR attacks while on them, it may have just been a coincedence but i stopped taking them just in case. during this time i have not been working, so kudos for you with sticking with it..theres a positive right there mate.

At the moment i am in my 3rd (4th?) week of being on 50mg of Zoloft/Lustral, and to be honest i have not noticed much change, apart from i feel like i am rushing on cheap pills most the time, whether this is a side effect i dont know, but i will give it a few months to see if there is an effect for the better, but i think i may just be one of those people who SSRI's do not do anything for.

Im in the same situation as you in being refererred to a professional, but in my case its a clinical psychologist, who it took me 3 months to have a assesment which is on september 1st, so i am kinda putting on all my hopes on that.

One thing that gets me is i am unsure now as to whether i have DR as a result of my previous anxiety and the pressured situation i was in at the time it all started or whether i now just have DR full stop. If so how does one go about tackling it? Becuase as you know at least with traditional anxiety you could use tried and tested methods to combat it, but with DR..well it seems to not be an exact science.

Anyways, i have babbled on for long enough :wink:

Take care bro, and let me know how things go.

· Registered
65 Posts
Your initial post essentially seems to describe my situation aswell.

Problem that I encountered was that I did take time off work, and then things really started spiralling out of control , I had so much time on my hands and started to think abouth things too much. I'ts 8 months down the line now and I am still not back at work and am slightly Agrophobic. Problem with dp/dr is once you start thinking too much, thats it. Down hill from here.

If you are thinking of taking medication, what worked for me initially was Citalopram (Cipramil), although I would try and conquer it without them if I were you. My recent bout of Derealization has come on since discontinuing an Anti Depressant called Effexor. I've been on ad medication since I was 21 and Im now 26. Sure feels strange being off them.

My advice to you is to take a look at yourself and see if you can find out whats really causing the Anxiety.Is there anything bothering you? Stressful Job? Relationship problems maybe? or something like that. You'd be suprised what can bring it on.

Good Luck anyway!

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jamieayres said:
Well your initial post essentially seems to describe my situation, well with a few slight differences.

In the early stages i was put on diazepam x3 a day for 2 weeks. I was then put on Trazodone (SSRI) which did f--- all and i had one of my worst DR attacks while on them, it may have just been a coincedence but i stopped taking them just in case. during this time i have not been working, so kudos for you with sticking with it..theres a positive right there mate.
Thanx for taking time in replying and your info and advice is always greatly appreciated :)

I have quoted the diazepam intake......i myself, have been taking the diazepam for almost 6 weeks now (not good I know) but I initially refused to go on anti-depressants....convinced I wasnt depressed and that they wouldnt help the attacks of depersonalistion and panic!

Although having read upon anti-depressants some are actually very good at counteracting panic disorders , so went back to my GP and agreed to go on the Cipralex, only on condition that he also gave me a prescription for Diazepam so I could take during the antidepressants if an extreme attack which to my amazement, he agreed.

However, I was supposed to start the Cipralex three days ago, but instead have reached for the "good old valium" instead..reasons being:

1. I know how my body reacts to them
2. I know my anxiety levels will begin to deminish with an hour
3. They keep me stable throughout the day
4. I feel I can manage situations effectly
5. I know that if I do feel panicky and anxious that I can take one and feel better as soon as they begin to work

....but maybe the biggest reason why I take them, and I have probably been in denial here for a while is because.....I have probably become dependant and addicted to them!

I know that it takes a while for the Cipralex to get into your system and that thins may be worse before they get better.....I dont want to have to wait for these feeling and symptoms to disappear..I feel as if I have put up with them for long enough!! :(

I know that the Diazepam is just a "quick fix" but I just cannot bring myself to take the Cipralex......all I want is the Diazepam....

Any advice.......and thankyou!
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