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How I scared myself into mental illness

2093 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  JAG
One afternoon in 1980 I was sharing marijuana with some friends. After only a few hits of pot, in an instant, I lost my sense of self and things suddenly looked different. For days to follow I was in a state of panic of "what if?". What if I never regain my sense of self? What if things look strange forever? I felt my existence had been taken from me. I felt guilty. I felt that I had done a bad thing. That I had smoked marijuana, an illegal substance that good people never touch, and that I deserved what was happening to me.
During the following 23 years, with no change in symptoms, I did my best to conceal my feelings. For the most part I lived in "quiet desperation". I did tell my parents, and even a few doctors, but I basically got no help. Not one of the doctors ever even mentioned to me the word "depersonalization".
During all those years I was never free for one second, that I can recall, from depersonalization or derealization.
About seven years into my obsession over DP and DR, and after reading every self-help book I could get my hands on, I finally began to justify my obsessions. I spent the next several years obsessed about "self" from a philosophical perspective. This did actually help me become happier since I found there were interesting similarities between depersonalization and eastern mysticism. I was somehow able to see a positive side to feelings previously only experienced as negative.
Then in April 2003, 23 years since my 24/7 depersonalization and derealization had begun, I discovered the word "depersonalization", after hours of searching on the Internet for at least one other person in the world who might have the same feelings as me. I was eventually lead to this board.
As a result, over the past couple years, despite other life setbacks due to family issues, I have gotten better. I am very rarely obsessed about depersonalization now and am mostly bothered only by derealization. Although now I believe I am obsessing less and less about derealization. Amazing what a simple diagnosis can do.
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Yeah I had that too.
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