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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It all started at 14. I was in High School and got in with the wrong crowd. I started smoking weed which soon led to acid and amphetamine abuse.
This continued throughout 9th grade and into that summer. By the beginning of the 10th grade I had decided to 'go the right direction' with my life. This meant leaving the drug use, and doing well in my classes and working toward improving my future.

Well, I quit using about a week before classes started. The first day of school, I was walking out of my room and the world looked funny, almost cartoon-like. My house seemed an unfamiliar place. "That's funny" I thought, "I haven't taken any acid today. What the hell is going on?" So I walked down my hall and broke into a full fledged panic attack. My mom, who knew I had used drugs, asked me what was wrong. I freely told her "I don't know. My heart is racing and I 'm scared sh*tless." She asked, "What of?" I couldn't put my finger on it. All I knew is that something was very wrong.

I went to the doctor and he did an EKG. All was perfect with my heart. Then he was nice enough to tell me that he had friends when he was younger who dropped 2 hits of LSD and still suffer ill effects 20 years later. How wonderful I thought. My life is ruined. Good job Ken.

So, I went to school with my new found perceptual issues and attempted to sit in my classes. But when I did I just got completely freaked out. I kept thinking "What if I have one of these freak outs in the middle of class?" I always thought I had a brain tumor or some permanent damage due to drug use. I had chronic migraines and smoked like a chimney.
I was obsessed with my health, yet smoked (go figure). Every day was like living in a dream. No matter what I did, I simply could not feel connected to what I knew was my life. My mind simply could not digest even the most basic of perceptions.

Then one day my dad told me, "Ken, you're having flashbacks. They will go away, don't worry, I had them too." I held to this hope for a year or so until one day, it all stopped just like he had said it would. I was 16 at the time. So the DPDR lasted about a year from onset. I dropped out and got my GED because I couldn't handle it in school. I couldn't even look at people for a year straight. They looked like actors in a movie, and they had strange glows about them. I was convinced I was schizophrenic. The fact I didn't hear voices helped me to think otherwise.

Anyhow, at 18 I met a wonderful young woman who also suffered with DPDR, although she and I thought we both suffered from flashbacks haha. We would just goof about it. We were together 5 years, and both of us remained DPDR free for the majority of the time. My life was completely DPDR free until about 9 months ago, at 26 years old.

I was at the university, taking exams. I had been under constant stress for 8 years. 5 years as an electrical engineering student, and 3 as a law student had taken it's toll. One day I got stuck in a damn elevator at school. I had a full blown panic attack in the elevator. I thought I would die as I am severely clostorophobic (sp). I pulled the fire alarm and even screamed for help :( I got home that day, and went to bed completely exhausted. I couldn't help but notice that my reaction to the elevator drama was a little excessive. Anyway, I woke up the next day and things were off. The world seemed far away. I couldn't perceive things. I felt as if I was dreaming. I thought "What the hell is this? I stopped using LSD 12 years ago. Are the flashbacks here again?" After searching the internet for days trying to find the exact diagnosis for myself, I realized it wasn't LSD flashbacks at all! I came across Janine's excerpt from her book. Her description of DPDR was the first thing I ever read that matched PERFECTLY with what I was experiencing. It wasn't flashbacks at all. It was this illness known as DPDR.

I thought wow. It's never been about the acid. It's an issue with my brain that makes me dissociate. "Was I sexually abused? Why am I dissociating?" I thought. Anyhow, to make a long story short, it persists till this day but it has gotten much better. The 10 year break in between episodes definitely helped me maintain sanity. The most I can say from my story is that IT GOES AWAY, but only when you get so completely immersed in life, that you simply don't think about it. The key is to stay busy. The quicker one genuinely "looks outward" the quicker the DPDR will lessen. And if one manages to focus away for long enough, its almost "harder" for your brain to revert back to DPDR.

So for all you folks in here who have no hope about this thing leaving, hang in there, because it does. Just follow Janine's advice and think outward long enough so that the terrifying thoughts proceed to the recesses of your mind. It takes time and discipline, but it can happen. I speak as one who has not mastered this yet, but as one who shares the same struggles with everyone else in here. The struggle to conquer this DPDR thing even if it takes years.

Ken
 

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Thanks for posting your story Ken. The advice you give near the end about focasing outward is truly one of the best pieces of advice anyone with this disorder can work on.

Here's hoping things continue to run even for you.
terri*
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hey, thanks Terri. It isn't much, but neverthless, it is a DPDR story. Take care.

Ken
 

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Hi Ken,
I just read your account of DP. I find it amazing that i never heard of this condition before until i came across it on the internet, just like you did. Anyway im going to follow your advice and keep myself busy and try not to think inwardly too much. It came to me last night when i was writing my story and i ended up taking 5mg of diazepam just to relax myself as i could feel a panic coming on.........i hate taking tablets but if they help then im willing to be on medication for the rest of my life. Hope all is well with you and take care.
Corrine xxx
 
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