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Hey all, I've just discovered this message board and thought I would join in on your conversations. If you don't mind I'll introduce myself and give you a bit of a personal story.

My name is Ben and I live in the midwest. Ever since I was very little I remember having "strange" feelings - feelings of unreality (little being elementary school, even). I would try to describe them to my parents as being very "aware" of the world, or "that feeling" where the world seemed "bizarre". I would continue having them into my high school days, but nothing very intense.

I was a daydreamer - often living inside of my own mind and inventing fantasy worlds when I was younger. When I grew older (high school), it turned into a self-defense mechanism of sorts (I feel). I would pretend the world was a movie and I was an actor, or something far-fetched. I never really believed it - it wasn't a delusion - but it became a way for me to live and protect myself. I would engross myself in this fantasy and live it out.

When I was in college, I started to actually fall apart, though. It was about this time that I started having panic attacks and "that feeling" started becoming more and more vivid. It was a very dissociated-from-the-world feeling and it freaked me out very, very much. I was unable to exist in my classes and was failing one after the other (I couldn't stand being in a room - everything seemed so dreamy, distant and bizarre).

I started to convince myself I was getting schizophrenia (that seems to be a common thread with DP people). I never heard voices, and I never had hallucinations or delusions of any kind - but I incessently probed myself for the "final moment" where I would lose all sense of reality. It was about this time that I started seeing a counselor on the campus - and it was the first step towards a temporary recovery.

He assured me that I was not schizophrenic and that I wasn't going crazy - but that I was suffering from a severe anxiety disorder. College, life, and the stressors were getting to me, and that the DP was a side-effect. We experimented with different medications and found that Paxil helped the panic attacks a lot - and the DP kind of subsided as the attacks did.

It was shortly after this that I meant that woman that would later become my wife - and the anxieties started decreasing dramatically. Eventually I would reach a point where I was no longer depersonalizing, but, I was falling back into the daydreaming bit (almost like it was either that or DP).

Today, unfortunately, this marriage has ended due to many different factors and I am finding myself raging against the depersonalization and anxiety again. I truly hope I can find a much more effective mindset this time around, one where I can no longer find myself questioning everything again.

Anyway, I hope to become fairly active in this group and talk to people and learn and actively pursue a better life - I'm not one that WANTS to whine, I just want to get better (and help others get better along the way).

To get the ball rolling, here is a little short rant I wrote on my DP experience - if you wish to comment, I would love to hear feedback.

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