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Hi everyone

I have learnt recently that one of the biggest frustrations for me was not being able to explain to my family, my friends and my doctors and therapists the symptoms of DPD.

Unfortunately, when I was about 12 I really struggled to explain what I was going through and was therefore mis-diagnosed with schizophrenia which was very difficult to deal with as it didn't feel right.

Now that I have been able to explain them in Laymen's terms, so to speak, not just to others but myself, I feel a lot less frustrated.

Some of you out there may feel the same. So I have put together a list of simple explanations in easy terms which may help when explaining to others what you are going through. Please do not read this if looking at other peoples symptoms triggers your own panic attacks or DPD as this can be quite detailed symptoms below.

  • Seeing your own thoughts from a far - You hear your own thoughts but they do not feel like yours. You can 'see' your own mind working.
  • Being in the background of your own thoughts and perceptions - When talking to others or thinking about people's voices you feel like you are in the background of your own mind, body and vision. What you see seems far away or not immediately in front of you. (Tunnel vision)
  • Certain rooms bring on certain feelings - Bright rooms like bathrooms and toilets and showers seem to bring on panic and confusion.
  • Mind separates from brain for while - Parts of the mind feel like they have left you for a while and can be frightened of them not returning.
  • Confused and really scared - (bringing on panic attacks) Knowing where and who you are physically but don't feel 'right' with who or where you are.
  • 'Fear' or confusion of yourself - Hearing your own name or seeing yourself in the mirror can be very scary as you can't identify with or understand the one you see.
  • Lots of constant jaw tension, shoulders and back tension - Because of the constant fear and anxiety the face and neck and back are tense.
  • Scared of hands and feet - Your limbs do not feel like yours. You can see them moving but you can't connect your mind to your actions or movements. You can't 'remember' telling your hands or feet to do certain things. It doesn't feel like you are causing you to walk or type.
  • Talking feels "numb" - The mouth or tongue may feel "numb" or not like it belongs to you when you talk. Dry mouth also from anxiety.
  • Overthinking - Your mind is constantly overactive and analyses everything and constantly thinks so much you think your going to pass out.
  • Mind feels separated somehow but can't ground yourself - You feel you just want to ground yourself or reconnect your mind to your surroundings and body.
  • Empty mind - Your mind can go blank and the thought oh having no thoughts can be very scary.
  • Exhausted - You are always tired from thinking, panicking and anxiety and adrenaline and lack of sleep......Insomnia!!! Aghhhhhhhhhhhh!!
  • Too scared to sleep - The fear of DPD and panic can keep you awake for a long time.
  • Nighttime is worse - For some reason nighttime and the dark makes everything worse and feels like the night is closing in on you.
  • Loads of anxiety and adrenaline - Feelings of impending doom and constant adrenaline rushes. Anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Existential thinking - Thoughts about life, the universe and everything. Questioning your existence and understandings of how the universe is still working.
  • Obsessive and intrusive thoughts - Your mind obsesses over really small and unnecessary things. Your mind receives unwanted thoughts.
  • Feeling robotic or like an automaton - Life just feels like a chore and robotic or plastic and unnecessary.
  • Feeling like your life is a dream - Life doesn't feel real but instead like a dream or hazy and sometimes get scared you are not awake.
  • Wondering are others real (Like the Truman show) - You may feel your the only person that actually exists or is alive.
  • Being an outside observer of ones own mental processes - You constantly observe or think about every thing you think. You constantly hear your thoughts and analyze them.
  • Scared of losing control - Your thoughts, especially intrusive ones, scare you into thinking you are going to lose control and do something crazy.
  • Feel the world around you is not real somehow - You cant quite put your finger on it but things you look at and touch don't seem 'real.'
  • A constant fear something really bad is going to happen - You are always scared something is going to happen to you. Something bad.
  • Not being able to relax - You are too afraid to relax because there is no point, or you don't deserve it, or if you do something bad will occur.
  • Fears and thoughts of insanity - You are scared you are going to go crazy or insane and have to be sectioned.
  • Fear that nobody else has the same as you - I went years thinking I was the only person in the world with these bizarre thoughts and feelings.
  • Scared your brain is going to fry to death - Being worried your brain is going to stop of explode or implode because of overthinking or constant fear of brain damage.
  • Massive fear of death - I cant die because I think too much. I can't die because my mind won't be in existence.
  • How come everyone else can just enjoy life when I think so much? Not being able to understand how others enjoy life so much as there is so much to think and worry about.
  • Scared the mind is not going to remember who I am? - When panicking or having DPD sensations it can be so scary you don't think your mind will ever recognize who you are ever again!
  • Stomach tense - The stomach is constantly in knots because you are so tense and on edge and waiting for something to happen.
  • Talking to myself in my head scares me. Like the film 'Castaway' I am scared if I am left alone with my thoughts I will end up going insane.
  • Constant thoughts of 'whats the point?' Life just seems pointless and unnecessary.

I think the best way to explain DPD is "a dislocation from reality." This is because its not a complete "break from reality" as you KNOW you are WHO you are and WHERE you are but it doesn't feel quite right. Kind of like a dislocation, its not permanent and its still attached but doesn't feel "in place."

Hope this helps as it certainly has helped me.

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