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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Technically, I'm not a new member but good lord has it been forever. I haven't actively participated here in nearly 10 years!

Before I talk about my current predicament, I suppose I should describe what happened in those 10 years. If anything, this should provide some hope for some people (tldr: My dp/dr went away for a long time, then came back recently).

Around 10 years ago, I had a pretty traumatic drug experience. I was about 17 years old at the time. I remember waking up the next day and everything felt shockingly unreal, like I was suddenly immersed in a dream. This was all so new to me at the time, I had never heard of dp/dr and I embarked on a multi-month Google quest to try to figure out what the hell was actually wrong with me. Back then, my biggest fear was schizophrenia (some things never change, read on lol), and in case the reader isn't aware, this is one of the worst things on Earth to Google. I remember sending myself into panic every single day googling this illness. To this day, I refer to this period as the hardest time of my life.

My dp/dr got pretty bad at times, I remember spacing out 24/7 and at one point I felt that even my vision itself was all blurry. I felt separated from my own memories and experiences, and felt as though I was just wandering through life, not really present and truly experiencing very little.

My senior year of high school is a blurry mess, I remember very little of it except the fact that both the anxiety and the dp/dr persisted through it. The year after that I spent in military school, and one day about halfway through my year there I just kind of noticed that the dp/dr had disappeared for the most part. Overall, the really intense dp/dr lasted about 2 years before just fizzling out. Notably, the anxiety persisted much longer than the dp/dr: I wouldn't say I achieved anything close to an anxiety-free state until I was nearly 24 years old, a full 4-5 years later.

Now we come to, well, now. From age 24 to age 26.5, I enjoyed a life that was free of both anxiety and dp/dr, for the most part. I am pursuing a PhD, and during this period I was very absorbed in my work. I had moved across the country to attend grad school when I was 23, and ever since starting, the anxiety died down at a rapid pace. Then some things happened. Covid hit, and I live by myself, so I ended up alone pretty much 24/7, often going weeks without any real face-to-face interaction with other humans. I had an infected molar sometime around October 2020 that caused a lot of pain. I was prescribed a painkiller to hold me over until I could see a dentist, and for some reason this medicine sent me into my first full-blown panic attack in years. No idea why. I contracted (a mild case of) Covid a few months down the line, and was basically having constant panic attacks in the 2-3 weeks that followed. The Covid panic attacks ceased after I somehow convinced myself that I wasn't going to have many problems from it, and for a few months afterward I was again anxiety-free.

Then I had a few drinks one night (I don't drink incredibly often), and somehow this sent me into a pretty severe but short-lived panic attack. This should've been an indication to me that something was wrong: I've never had a panic attack after drinking alcohol, this was a very new reaction for me. Finally, about 2 weeks later at the end of March, I woke up one morning and felt that I had experienced some sort of cognitive change. I felt that I was somehow having difficulty reading, in a sense that's difficult to describe, almost like my brain was just misreading things more frequently. I noticed an increase in "brain farts," for lack of a better term, like reaching for my phone when I meant to reach for the mouse to my computer, things like that. Just an increase in generally absent-minded behavior, almost like I'm more "scatter-brained" than usual. The awareness of this sent me into full-blown panic mode, where I have been ever since.

All of this has occurred at a sub-clinical level. I've seen 5 doctors, 3 psychiatrists and a psychologist in the time since this began, and none of them could detect any abnormalities. An MRI of my brain came back completely normal, all blood work normal, EKG normal. I went to the ER 3 times in the past month, absolutely convinced that something was wrong with me. The third time I went, I had asked for a psychiatric evaluation because I was eating nothing, sleeping very little and barely leaving my bed for a period of 1-2 weeks, the anxiety was that bad. I was pretty scared that I was developing psychosis, and despite 3 psychiatrists and a psychologist telling me that they saw no evidence of this, I am still afraid of this.

Somewhere in this mess, the dp/dr came right on back, and as many of you know, this just fuels the fear of schizophrenia. So that's it. Sorry for the wall of text.
 

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Hey bro,

You'll be alright I think. Once the panic and anxiety subside, like they did before, you will realize that you're okay. Seems that you naturally came to understand what many say about recovery: Don't think too much on it and live your life as you normally would.
 

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Hi,
I've had A LOT of fear of hallucinating, becoming psychotic or developing schizophrenia. I know how hard it is to distract yourself and accept that the thoughts are not facts, but that's pretty much the only thing that has helped me. Trust that the psychiatrists you've met knows what they're doing and that you won't develop psychosis. It's just built up anxiety and thoughts, and when you obsess over it it can feel as if the symptoms get heightened. If you're extremely stressed and the anxious fight/flight mechanism is being activated AND you're fixated on worrying that you're going to develop psychosis, your mind will start to trick you into thinking that your thoughts are the truth. In reality there's nothing wrong with you! Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey bro,

You'll be alright I think. Once the panic and anxiety subside, like they did before, you will realize that you're okay. Seems that you naturally came to understand what many say about recovery: Don't think too much on it and live your life as you normally would.
Thank you. I hope you're right.

Hi,
I've had A LOT of fear of hallucinating, becoming psychotic or developing schizophrenia. I know how hard it is to distract yourself and accept that the thoughts are not facts, but that's pretty much the only thing that has helped me. Trust that the psychiatrists you've met knows what they're doing and that you won't develop psychosis. It's just built up anxiety and thoughts, and when you obsess over it it can feel as if the symptoms get heightened. If you're extremely stressed and the anxious fight/flight mechanism is being activated AND you're fixated on worrying that you're going to develop psychosis, your mind will start to trick you into thinking that your thoughts are the truth. In reality there's nothing wrong with you! Best of luck
Yeah, I have to actively try to trust the psychiatrists. I often have to work pretty hard at this because of the wide range of speculative diagnoses I've received: anxiety disorder, OCD, bipolar disorder, PTSD...it seems they just can't decide.
 

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Yeah, I have to actively try to trust the psychiatrists. I often have to work pretty hard at this because of the wide range of speculative diagnoses I've received: anxiety disorder, OCD, bipolar disorder, PTSD...it seems they just can't decide.
Yeah I get how it would be confusing with everyone saying different things. Although it seems as if they all agree that you're not psychotic, I'd trust them on that. At the same time you'd think that certified psychiatrists would be able to diagnose you and not just guess what it might be.
Remember tho that it's not just about being diagnosed, focus on getting help for the symptoms you're experiencing and take it from there. I've been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and honestly I have plenty of symptoms that "might be" OCD or bipolar disorder etc. That doesn't mean I have it, it's just that one or two symptoms fit into the description of that.
With that said my story might be different to yours, but when it comes to the fear of psychosis I'd trust them if they say you don't have it. From what I've heard it's pretty obvious if someone is going through one.
 
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