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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to say hello and see if my experience with DP/DR symptoms is familiar to anyone else here. I've tried explaining it to a few friends and family members but it's so hard to get across.

I think I experienced symptoms on and off during my childhood, but it only became more or less continuous when I was 15 or so and 'pure O' OCD hit me like a train. I'd been gradually building up a shaky sense of who I was after being bullied, but suddenly I couldn't trust myself; I doubted every thought, feeling, sensation and memory; I was terrified I could be a murderer or monster or worse. I saw a counsellor who would just sit there in silence and wait for me to say something, and never told me that what I was going through had a name and a potential treatment. I withdrew from people around me and became more socially anxious. My thoughts and obsessions were so loud, but everything outside my head started to feel distant and 'fuzzy'. People started to tell me I seemed stoned or 'like I was living in a dream world'.

I won't go into every anxiety up and down since then (I'm 31 now), but the gist of it is I still have social anxiety and occasional flare ups of OCD, but they're both a lot more manageable now. I can go into work and talk to people everyday, I have a few good friends, I've done things I once never could have imagined doing. But the one thing that hasn't improved was this sense of being one step removed from everything. I can't explain how, but the world just looks flat and unreal. Every day at work feels like a dream, I'm interacting with people, but most of me is absent, so i feel separate from what I'm saying and doing which is so disconcerting. The same with doing things like meeting up with friends. I feel like everything except the essentials I need to do what I need to do, work wise or socially, is 'closed down', and what's left is this tiny, narrow gap which is all I can experience the world through. When I'm alone it's a little better but still there. Memories of things that happened that day feel like they didn't really happen or they did but a long time ago. There's always this 'daze' and brain fog.

In a way, I've felt more real during the worst OCD flare ups. And it's frustrating that even though I can do things now that anxiety would have previously prevented me from doing, the DP is still getting in the way of actually experiencing them.

I think for a long time I just thought part of who I was, or some sort of personal failing like not trying hard enough to 'be in the moment'. If I did mention it to anyone they said it was probably a symptom of the anxiety stuff and would get better when that did. Recently I started lurking here, and also read Feeling Unreal by Daphne Simeon and Jeffrey Abugel, and it was such a relief to see things I'd never been able to properly put into words laid out like that, and to know that I wasn't on my own.

Sorry this is so long. Tl;dr - hi!
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