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Hello, today my doctor said that I had depersonalization disorder, and naturally I just had to find more information about it. I'm very happy to have found this site and will look forward to reading other people's experiences. I have had it for years I'm a 49-year-old male now but the first time I had it was when I was 18 years old (the same year, I had my first migraine). I don't suffer anxiety or depression, but the normal stresses of life like simple tiredness can trigger it off, but mostly it happens to me at any time happy, sad or relaxed. It comes in waves for me several times a year, each episode some thirty seconds or shorter in length but they come as often as every few minutes or even hours apart. This typically goes on for a few days, the longest it went on for was about a week. I always thought it was just a strange version of déjà vu, but last year after it becoming more frequent and having an episode while driving, I went to the doctors thinking I might have epilepsy (I don't). I have now decided to give up driving, I'll be fitter and greener, so I don't care at all.

A typical episode for me begins with a feeling of standing behind myself slightly elevated and light in weight, followed by a sinking or dipping feeling. The world around me becomes numb, distant but calm. Conversations with people are possible but concentration is easily lost because all I want to do is to explore my new world. During these moments I get a profound memory that I can't seem to unfold and am left with a deep wishing a yearning to try and understand the strange atmosphere that was far too deep for my mind to decipher. I'm left standing between a threshold of two worlds. I know where I am in real life, yet my physical body is a phantom like a ghostly piece of fluff, the new body the one that is 'out of body' feels just as much a phantom as the first. Then seconds later it's over and all I have left is a feeling of loss because I couldn't understand where or what that strange feeling or memory came from.

I understand that it can be awful for some people and I deeply hope those of you that are suffering find peace. However, I don't want a cure I enjoy it, but I would like to be able to control it, turn it on or off when I want to. I'm not sure if this is a typical case, would be interesting if other people get the same experience.

Ps, my hands feel huge sometimes too (I'd be so lucky).
 

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Due to your age and absence of anxiety, it is episodic, i would have a neurological testing. I don't think you suffer from depersonalisation disorder but symptoms of depersonalisation that is related to organic causes. You symptoms are related to this area in the brain "parietal-temporal-occipital junction". It is overactive in depersonalisation but can give similar symptoms in epileptic and neurological patients.

it could also be stress related when it is so brief. Fatigue can also trigger a episode in many people.
 

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How did you decide you were not epileptic? Have you had an EEG? I experienced similar alterations to my consciousness over a 40 year period. I didn't know it then, but diagnostics would later confirm I was epileptic.

Focal temporal lobe seizures can be mistaken for anxiety attacks. I also experienced frequent ocular migraines with scintillating scotoma. Migraine is the borderland of Epilepsy.
 

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Hello thank you for replying, How did I decide I was not epileptic? I guess I'm not 100% sure. Well a year ago I went to the Doctors and told him about what I was experiencing and asked if it could be epilepsy (I've never collapsed, fainted or felt anxiety attacks), he said as it's been happening since I was 18 and maybe earlier (49 now) and I have no underlying health issues that it was best to just see how it went over the space of a year. Nothing changed over the last year, and after talking to the Doctor a few days ago his words were; "It's most likely something to do with your migraines, if you collapse we can investigate it further". He really seems to think it's nothing to worry about and as I enjoy it to an extent he's happy enough just to see where it goes, and look into it further if needed.

I did have a trip to hospital some five years ago for a suspected brain haemorrhage (was at the gym lifting weights), I was given lots of tests plus a cat scan and a lumbar puncture

but was given the all clear (It was put down to being a exertion headache), maybe my doctor took that info into consideration.

Forestx5, my migraines start with loosing the ability to see details (a face looks like an egg for example), then a moment of feeling "high" then soon after colourful zigzags followed by four to six hours of headache and sickness, is that what you mean by "scintillating scotoma"? My migraines are rare I might only get one during a five year period and never at the same time as an episode of DP.

Also can I ask if you can trigger an episode of altered consciousness? When I used to play the guitar I would get a similar experience to what I stated in my first post (this only happened when I knew a piece of music fluently not while I was learning it). When playing the guitar I'd start to get what I'd call waking REM SLEEP/DREAMS, very visual but with the same feeling of what I stated in my first post. Playing the guitar was almost impossible because I'd loose concentration so I gave up (was awful anyway).

Maybe I should push the Doc to have more tests? I'm not sure? Tbh I'm more fascinated by it than worried about it.

Thank Mayer-Gross, that's really interesting I'll check that out.

It's funny because after I told one of my friends about this last year, he told me to keep my mouth shut about it haha! He obviously thought I was mad!
 

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The same thing happens to me! I’m happy I found someone with the same experience and I also would like to be able to trigger it. But it really doesn’t happen often to me, it’s sad that it gets in your way! Hope you find a solution !
 
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