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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dealt with symptoms of DP/DR for many years without understanding them as such. Now that I am in therapy, I have started being able to track my symptoms more clearly.

What I am discovering is that while some of my DP/DR symptoms are ALWAYS present (visual snow, for example), I am actually cycling between two distinct "states"--one of these states is severely depersonalized and the other is only mildly depersonalized. When I am in one, it is hard for me to relate to the other. That is, when I am in the severely depersonalized state, my mind is telling me that that is how I feel ALL of the time, that that is the core of who I am, and I feel quite disabled (although I can force myself to perform necessary social/work tasks by separating my external self from my internal self). When I am in the relatively engaged/connected state with only mild depersonalization, it is hard for me to grasp or really understand how badly I feel on the other end of the spectrum, and I feel fairly capable of participating in the external world.

Does anyone else out there have a similar pattern of experience? Does this sound like the kind of fluctuation of depersonalization symptoms that can be associated with Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder? Or is this more like DDNOS or I guess now OSDD in that the states are so different from each other? I'm pretty sure I don't have DID because these states do NOT have different names/ages/personal characteristics etc although they do seem to each carry a pretty different set of beliefs about myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Surfer Rosa. I think I understand what you are saying. The thing is, I do not feel recovered at all. My "good days" and "bad days" happen in quick succession and alternate according to a pattern that feels completely out of my control. And the worldview that governs each is so radically different (basically "I am part of this world" vs. "I am not part of this world") that these shifts are jarring, disorienting, confusing. And these competing narratives interrupt each other when I get stuck somewhere in between for a while--"I'm okay/You're not okay/Yes I am/No you're not" and on and on.

I suppose your theory could be right if recovery takes the form of gradually experiencing more of these distinct windows of time in which I feel less depersonalized. But the way in which they alternate with this feeling of total emptiness makes me feel like I am in a maze. And it's a maze that basically nobody around me knows I'm in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The day after an episode of severe depersonalization, if I am feeling better, my memory of what happened is hazy at best. I sort of rewrite the narrative of the previous. For example, if yesterday I was laying in bed for several hours feeling immobilized by fear and rumination as if swallowed by a black hole, the next day I might think to myself, "wow, I sure was tired yesterday."
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate the different perspectives here, and the encouragement that treatment/recovery is possible, regardless of the exact diagnosis. I appreciate that at this stage my therapist is not focusing definitive diagnostic labels, which I think makes sense as my awareness of what's going on is very much evolving day by day.

Inferentialpolice, I have previously read the criteria for DID that you quoted and thought that I maybe experience a subtle form of that. Right now, I feel a need to connect to others who may have similar experiences (in addition to individual therapy, which is very useful, but can also still be somewhat isolating if you are learning a lot about yourself without being able to process it with a lot of people in your daily life).

What I find striking is that if I start looking at an online DID forum, I can't relate to what people there are talking about at all--all these altars and intricate systems. I relate to MOST of what I read here in a DP/DR forum. But then there seems to be this piece of my experience that for me is a little different, which I have tried to describe in this thread.

It is also striking that although the majority of people with dissociative disorders are diagnosed DDNOS, there don't seem to be the same kinds of online forums where people with this diagnosis are sharing their experiences, compared the kinds of online communities that exist for both DP and DID.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's interesting (and personally comforting) to hear the range of experiences you all have, where there is overlap between many of us, and the different ways people have come to understand and label their experiences.

I know that my mind tends toward compartmentalization, wanting to cut through the chaos and confusion by putting things in discreet boxes, but understanding dissociation (or anything else for that matter) as a SPECTRUM is inherently messy and fluid.

It does make me wonder about to extent to which the way we come to frame our own inner experiences may be be influenced by the particular orientation of a given therapist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've noticed a number of people on this site saying they experience "depersonalization spells". I am very curious what people mean when they use the word "spells" in this way, in relation to what was being discussed on this thread.
 
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