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Hi! I am a young doctor from Serbia, I just want to share my story with you. It was extremely hard for me to come to this site and to write about DP, but I just know how much you suffer right now. Excuse me for my language mistakes.

I suffered from DP back in 2014 for 1 month. For 1 single month, but still, it was hell. I have never been so alone in my whole life (Im 30 now). I just felt i could not connect with anybody, I slept only 3-4 hours, woke up every morning with heart palpitations, my memory and my cognitive abilities went to almost zero, and I struggled so much to finish the med school.

It all started in the summer, after a big festival, when I used some suspicious speed and weed every day for 4-5 days. At that point I was about to finish med school, and to start to work. It was a huge stress for me, even though i didnt recognized it as one of my big problems. I was also in a bad relationship, but with a nice girl. Sounds oddly, but it is possible. :) I understand it now. Prior to the start of my DP, I realized I was too irritated all the time, it was quite weird, but all I did was smoking weed to relive the stress. And then, after that Exit festival in 2014, and after the 2 days hangover period (without drugs and alcohol) DP just came suddenly, out of the blue, one afternoon. It was incredibly scary. I wont go into details, because everyone knows the symptoms, I mainly had depersonalization, with out of body experiences, and panic attacks. Even though it was horrifying I think that day the single most traumatizing thing was reading a member`s post from a forum, who just said he was suffering from this nightmare for 40 years. I was just shocked, I thought I just went crazy, that I fried my brain, that my life was over. As a med student I actually quickly figured out the term depersonalization (even though I barely heard anything about it at the university), but the statements like "there is no known cure", that the symptoms are "refractory to current treatments" were to much for me to handle. I took sedatives, but still couldnt eat and sleep. This lasted for 2-3 weeks, it can seem nothing to some people here, but I suffered really bad. I also asked for help from one of my professors from the university, but she didnt seem to be familiar with the state of DP. I had to go home to my family, to whom I could spoke about it. My father was a big help. A good conversation really can help. Then my girlfriend, she was also caring. And 2-3 friends. I didnt make a secret of it, I let my relatives and friends know what was happening to me. I instantly and completely changed my diet, it was like a reflex, because I knew it couldnt be worse. I started running also. I searched the web all the time, and hated the comments like "just dont fight it, it will go away..."! I was sure it may go away for others, but for me it wont. My father, who is a history teacher, told me a lot about his understanding of consciousness. He just kept on proving to me that I can control my thoughts and emotions. And he explained to me that life is not a moment, I wont feel like this for my whole life, nothing is permanent. My father is a great man, in a moment when nothing seemed to be true he was just so authentic and so close to me that he could reach me. I think it gave me power to keep up with my life changes. After a month or so, I noticed I was not DP-ed that much anymore. I had a shelf full of vitamins, supplements, sedatives, teas and all of that.. I quit smoking weed, I didnt drink alcohol, and I exercised every day. After the actual feeling subsided, the fear stayed with me. The DP is a huge emotional stress, and even when it goes away you have a huge task ahead of you. I really like the explanation that DP is a dissociative reaction (it has nothing to do with psychosis), a splitting of the self, a regression, which is a result of acute or chronic stress. Before the DP I was in heaven, girls, good student, parties, drugs.. But after the DP I realized I was in heaven because of the drugs, that was my answer to all of my questions and problems. I actually never grew up and I never wanted to, I never trusted my emotions, I lived my parents' life. I was so passive, I even chose a girl who would be perfect for my mum :) (it was the therapy when I realized it) Because of that I didnt have honest relationships, I had no mercy for myself, I had to be perfect, and I couldnt accept any mistakes from myself. My mum was too strict when i was a kid, and that just lived on as my super-ego, killing all my ambicions, all my faith. I just lived my life to meet other people`s expectations, totally neglecting my emotions. This obviously is a huge stress day in day out, and my adaptation to these stresses was weed.

I work now as a doctor. I wanted to become a psychiatrist, but I couldnt apply for the specialization. My nerves are still fragile, and I realize I am on a long road to recover, not from the DP, but from anxiety. I can manage my life though, with 5mg of escitalopram. I can have fun, I can smile again. I am quite good at my work, so I really cant complain. I go to a therapist, this is my 5. month now, and I think it helps understanding the possible causes of DP and anxiety. I really recommend SSRIs, too. DP is a hell of a place, you just have to give meds a chance. I was really lucky, I had time, a caring family, and some support from the loved ones. They actually didnt understand a thing from my suffering, but they kept giving me support.

This will be a long road to anybody suffering from DP, but you just have to start your recovery now. YOU will have to do it. You can find help, a lot of information, but eventually you will do it on your own. Dont have any doubts, you are capable of recovering, you just (it is not a just...) have to decide what to do with your life. How will you live. Which principles will you follow, what will you do next, and to understand who you really are. And you have to accept yourself as miserable as you are now. :) It will get better. Believe me, nothing is wrong with you. That is the beginning of your recovery. YOU WONT SUFFER FOREVER, DP IS NOT PERMANENT.
 

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I think you hit the nail on the head. I think most of us sit around saying oh "there's something wrong with me, im gonna be like this forevever" and the more we do that the more symptoms will come up and it's a cycle. Right now I'm in the thick of it. I just wish I knew the exact steps to get better. I know I'm still me somewhere deep inside. As a doctor, what do you think is honestly going on with us?
 

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I think when you study the human body and particularly the brain you just get humble. There are a lot of things we dont know at the moment. (At least I, as an urology resident with a basic understanding of psychiatry, dont understand in details). I was a volunteer in psych department in a local hospital when I talked a lot about DP with an experienced neuropsychiatrist. I also read a lot about DP and I go to therapy right now, for my anxiety. I am not a researcher, I am a practitioner. But what I really think is that DP is a splitting, its a regression, a sign of the decompensated, overwhelmed brain. It can be a reaction to acute or chronic stress. Its a decompensation, just like psychosis. We are genetically programmed to defend ourselves with a splitting (dissociation) in the form of DP, others get psychotic, depressed, or physically ill. Thats the psychological level of the explanation. As for physiology, it really is complicated and if I am up to date, is yet to be understood. My mentor, the neuropsychiatrist I mentioned, says it is always neurosis, psychosis or temporal lobe epilepsy (very wise, I know :) ). I really can find similarities between psychosis and epilepsy, they are (seemingly) randomly firing neurons in both cases, but DP doesnt seem the same. Amygdala and the prefrontal cortex can play a role, but really in the brain you have enormous mounts of transmitters, synapses, connections, and the brain is not even a static thing, it can change morphologically, because of neuroplasticity. When something is overstimulated (lets say a neuron), the number of the receptors on the surface of it decreases, so it temporary alters its function. Thats a rule in the brain. Imagine what happens when you overstimulate one or more parts of your brain, with excessive thinking, drugs, traumatic events, chronic stress, or because of other causes of intoxication. It is possible that parts of your brain decrese their receptors, and because of the huge communication level between them it alters your perception, thinking, mood, alertness, etc.. I cant explain it to you on a molecular basis, but this is how I imagine it. Obviously, there can be other causes, such as trauma to the brain, Lymes, demyelination illnesses, neoplastic illnesses, but they would cause other, more prominent symptoms too. I foung some interesting data on the connection between vestibular neuritis (inflammation of the nerv which controls balance in the inner ear) and DP too.

But I really think the vast majority of people with DP would benefit from huge life changes. Even though you think everything is fine, think about it once more. Before DP I was a programmed robot, programmed by my super ego, I was afraid of showing my real emotions (this thing I battle every day), I did things, but without real faith, and I was rarely spontaneous (maybe just when high, or occasionally), I was afraid of critics, or to mess up things. I was (and am still) too strict to myself. Imagine that you have to conrtol your emotions every day, 24/7, you feel a certain way, but act out on a different way. Its an incredibly huge stress to your mind, one you just cant control without drugs. For me, drugs were the adaptation to my inner world, and my inner world was the cause of my DP.

As a doctor, I can imagine that you intoxicate your brain, but these toxins, drugs, will just wash out. They can be stored in your liver, in fat, or any other organs though, in small quantities. But they wont stuck in your brain forever. You can even intoxicate yourself with your diet, so I really think changing your diet and physical activity are essential. But the hardest part will be changing your thought patterns. You really have to dig deep to do it. Funny enough, it can be easy, but scary too. Just try to be as spontaneous as you can for 1 day. Be angry if you feel so, be rude, show love, touch the other person, show insecurities, boredom... That will be the ultimate relaxation to your brain, to your transmitters, neurons, receptors, and because of the neuroplasticity they will hopefully just repair, rebalance themselves. I really think that is what happened to me.
 

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Nick there is nothing wrong with you, you brain is just little bit tired, let him do his job, thats all, whether you want to recover or not, whether you will do something or not, you eventually will be recovered, there is no other way out. its brain and its power to recover really huge. Read the story about this boy, and you will understand how powerful brain really is https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/boy-battling-spina-bifida-stuns-8986317<a> https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/boy-no-brain-stuns-doctors-9778554</a>
 

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Hey there fellow Serbian :) I tried to send you PM but it says that you can't receive PMs (maybe you haven't confirmed your registration :D). Mrzi te da verifikujes mejl, c c c... :D

Anyway, I personally think that, regardless of our personal experience, we must understand that this symptom (DP) is not manifesting itself in the same way in everyone, just like inflammation is not the same for everyone. For some it's acute inflammation, caused by whatever, and they just get better and that's it! However, for some other people, it might be CHRONIC inflammation and they may continuously keep relapsing over and over regardless of how healthy their life style is.

The same applies to DP. Some of you had it as a result of stress, while being otherwise relatively mentally healthy, and you might just recover and never experience it again. Some of you had it as a result of Marijuana use (I think that you fall in this group dionis) and they may or may not recover relatively quickly. And then there are some of us who are intrinsically mentally ill and have been like that since forever and for those of us DP probably comes as a part of the symptomatology of some of our mental disorders and it's chronic, just as our mental disorders are. There are also those who have isolated chronic DP (i.e. they don't suffer from any other mental symptom other than DP but if it's chronic and has been recurring on and on without some stress-related or drug-related triggers, then that should be treated as a mental disorder of its own, AKA Depersonalization Disorder).

I think this is ESSENTIAL for all of us to understand! Only then we all will stop making it harder for each other. I.e. those who were helped by psychological treatment and who don't have it chronic will keep saying "it's all in you head, just relax, this is not an illness" and with that make it harder for those of us who KNOW that it is indeed brain-related for us and is not even triggered by any "outside" factor. And then those of us, who know that it's not situational, but rather brain-related for us, we might get annoying with the whole neurochemistry and other topics and might scare the living life out of people who don't have it chronic and who really just need a good relaxation and distraction and will likely never experience DP again, or at least not have it continuously come back in a chronic fashion.
I've witnessed this over and over and over again, and I am 100% positive that all those cases of DP, that I listed up there, unequivocally exist and that we should not assume that we are all dealing with the exact same thing, just because we describe it in a similar way, WHILE we are experiencing it.
 

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Someoneone, as someone who has had this continuously for 12+ years I completely agree with your answer. For some it's temporary weed/drug caused, PTSD and for others like me it's chronic with unknown etiology. I've done so much throughout the 12 years to try and cure it and I still can't pin point a cause or treatment. I have not lost hope that we will get to the root of this sooner or later, but as you say "we should not assume that we are all dealing with the exact same thing, just because we describe it in a similar way" and yes it's very hard and unhelpful for all those who say " ignore it and it will go away on its own" because for many of us that is not gonna happen. after going to many doctors and getting many tests that come back positing, I do think inflammation is at the root of all this, the problem is finding the trigger.
 

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I can speak of weed. There's something about this drug that is not right. Once you panic hard enough while high on this drug, there's no going back. You can recover with time, but you'll relapse if you ever use it again. Stay away from it.
 
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