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I decided to post under here since I have quite a history that may have reasoning for this so please excuse the TL;DR because I am a verbose person and I just don't have anyone else that'll take me seriously now. My fiance, the closest person in my life, doesn't even seem to believe what I'm talking about. So hopefully some connections here can be made and it will all make sense because at least to me it feels more like a long complex pattern that has woven itself over time from my different experiences.

I've had on and off episodes of derealization since about my early teens as far as I can remember, I am not formally diagnosed with it as a disorder but I have had it explained to me by a psychiatrist that that's what the symptoms are that I get sometimes. Reading around online confirmed the psych was right. Symptoms are primarily feeling exactly like I am in a dream. Hazy, unreal, distant. I feel that all my perception is off like I'm not entirely attached to my body, Pain, simply touching my skin, anything physical feels dulled. I don't entirely feel attached to the world either though. Everything's like it's fake. So to me, I guess it's more like I'm surrounded in some invisible barrier between both. Mentally I feel like my consciousness is positioned slightly to the left of my body, though mostly in it if that makes any sense (don't know if this has to do with being left handed). Like two of me overlapping. I speak and do things as normal and often without performance issues (albeit my short term memory seems much worse and I am also slightly more prone to zoning out) but it feels more like I am watching myself play through the motions of life rather than participating. Walking, sitting, other physical motions are most definitely more like watching than doing it. It feels that all my actions are predetermined rather than chosen, like a movie. My dialogue feels like a mix of listening to myself read a script along with saying things aloud I'd normally keep inside my head (confusing thinking with speaking sometimes).

I have quite an extensive psychiatric history (anxiety with now rare panic attacks, bouts of long lasting depression for no apparent reason, and major social issues leaving me familyless and friendless except for my fiance). I have also had my share of terrible and in some cases I would consider traumatic experiences. From preteens to a couple of my early adult years I was forced to taking every psych med you can think of by psychiatrists and therapists, although none really did much of anything for me. Quit them all cold turkey when I realized it wasn't doing anything but probably poisoning to me. Needless to say my brain is all kinds of messed up today.

My derealization has commonly, though not always, been triggered by being in some scenario I had never been in before or do not commonly find myself in (even if it's for fun), and certain drugs. Sometimes it has even hit randomly out of nowhere just sitting around at home but that in particular hasn't happened in a long time. The scenario thing has seemingly no obvious pattern since I've gone to something as simple as arcades or stores that triggered it, yet I once road tripped across the US and has no symptoms whatsoever then. The next thing is certain medications and that's trial and error. I occasionally have to take opiate type painkillers for migraines and those have never caused it. I would say the majority of times when I've had to take any OTC cold/flu medicine (normal dose for sickness) it's caused it. Then's the latter - marijuana - which I use for both medical (gastrointestinal illness) and sometimes just plain recreational reasons, and I've recognized that in large amounts it's a trigger.

The derealization is more severe on pot than when being triggered by anything else. Maybe it just seems so intense since that's usually how it's triggered for me these days. May be of note but I only actually started doing it a couple years ago when I got mmj authorization. Derealization only ever happens if I have too much (since all other effects will be much more intense than other times), but due to varying strain potencies and intake methods there's no way to always determine what's going to be too much beforehand. By now I've just accepted it happens sometimes and convinced myself to look over it if it does as merely a sucky side effect. Until now, going to sleep later that night "resets" my brain and I'm perfectly all normal and real by the next morning. The first time I ever did what turned out to be too much, I had a panic attack from the sudden onset of derealization, compounded by the fact that my fiance didn't know what I was talking about since pot never does that to him so I thought something was seriously wrong. Reading around online a bit calmed my nerves so I went back to doing it weeks later (even though I likely shouldn't).

Fastforward to now. On Wednesday I had "too much". Slept it off that night, everything was normal the next day. Until now I'd never done too much on back to back days like this but I ended up doing it again Thursday afternoon. The derealization started again. I don't know why but I had a hard time sleeping that night, in fact I probably got 4 hours max but couldn't sleep properly again until the next night. From the point I woke up onward the derealization persisted. My fiance and I went out and had fun but even that wouldn't distract my mind enough for it to go away. Actually got a good full night's sleep last night, woke up today, I feel slightly less physically numb which I'm hoping is a good sign but the whole unreal dream brain is still there intensely. My fiance thinks anything I say about it is full of crap at this point because I have a history of being a hypochondriac about some things (but trust me I'm not exaggerating this one) and there's no way any THC in my system is altering my mind at this point, it has to be the triggered derealization which on a typical basis I keep to myself when I have it and it is pretty difficult to describe to someone else if you've never had it yourself.

So no one to turn to, no known fix, I'm worried I went too far this time. I don't work now, I don't go to school, I'm actively trying to get a job via vocational rehab services which I'm scared this might ruin. I stay at home collecting disability and have no serious passion of any sort that can distract my brain enough off this. I don't know how I can fix it or go on making progress in daily life if this doesn't go away. Never before have I had it last multiple days like this. I'm worried my brain deleted the concept of "normal" and I will never find reality again. I don't want to have to learn to cope with living inside a dream. Can anyone relate? Does anyone know the cure?

DP/DR is a response some people have to chronic stress in their life. It's a survival system normally used for life or death situations, but it can trigger as a result of chronic stress because our bodies aren't sure how to handle it and misinterpret it as life threatening. People are programmed only with short periods of stress in mind, but now we have constant sources like our complex social interactions and emotions as well as the greatly increased frequency of anxiety and depression that modern living causes. On top of that, if DP/DR came under a truly life threatening circumstance we would never notice it because we are to busy trying to survive, but if it happens when we're just stressed out from life or anxiety then we are fully aware of the strange sensations and it scares us leading to more stress.

what you need to do is stop fearing the symptoms of DP/DR which creates a vicious cycle. Secondly you need to improve your life so you no longer have the stress that caused DP/DR in the first place. I'm not saying that like it's quick and easy, because it will be a challenge and will take time, but the reality is that there is no quick fix for this.
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