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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there everyone,

I found about this forum after reading through the book 'Overcoming Depersonalization Disorder' by Neziroglu and Donnely. DpSelfhelp.com was mentioned as one of the top community resources for those suffering with DP, so I thought it'd be great idea to connect with people on here on my way to full recovery (I hope atleast). I suffer from some of the symptoms of Depersonalization (mainly visually based symptoms), but I am not entirely sure if the root cause of my issue is Depersonalization or not.

The primary symptoms I have are:
- Visual Concentration Dysfunction
- Default 'Far-away-gaze' or 'eyes zooming in' all the time
- Unintentional spacing out and starring all the time
- Double Vision when looking at near distances
- Feeling out of body and 'in my eyes'
- 'Brain fog' feeling throughout the day
- Cognitive dysfunction

- Lack of emotional experiences or emotions in general

I have suffered with these symptoms for roughly 6 years. My story is below. Looking forward to making connections and helping myself and others as best as possible with this debilitating condition.

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My Story:

Some 6 years ago, I was on Cymbalta, having been prescribed it for general depression. Somewhere down the line while on Cymbalta, I decided to trip on LSD with a few friends one night. I had read that SSRI/SNRI and LSD adverse interactions were few and that the primary concern was that the antidepressant might 'dampen' the LSD trip, so I wasn't too concerned about doing the LSD while on Cymbalta. But I was still cautious and knew that psychedelic drugs are not something to play with. I took 2 tabs that night and started off on a good high, and then somewhere that night, it took a turn for the worse. I don't quite recall all the details of the moment, but I do remember experiencing stretches during the night of a sense of my cognition not working well, like I could not comprehend and think clearly at all. I was in panic mode for a good part of the night and felt that something had gone wrong in my body/mind/brain and was just hoping and praying it was not permanent. It felt absolutely awful and frightening, because it seemed like a mechanical damage of some sorts on my cognition. I ended up snapping out of it and motivated myself to know I'm just tripping and that everything is ok and thus I had a good last half of my trip. And ultimately, after the experience, I actually felt a sense of personal enlightenment, especially with my ego, due in part to the second half of the trip. I felt my ego lowered and my self-esteem seemed to have grown a degree and I generally felt more free in my self and more self-actualized. The next week, having felt so clear and resolved inside, I decided to taper off the Cymbalta. I felt I had conquered this depression that had lingered prior and the experience on LSD and the after effects gave me the confidence that I was resolved and good to get off the meds. I was also at the time smoking Marijuana on occassion.

Fast forward a several weeks after the trip and I started noticing an odd symptom in my day to day experiences: I had difficulty concentrating, in particular as it relates to a visual task, on just about anything. It started creating huge problems for me with my school work, work, and especially was markedly problematic in my social performance. Keeping eye contact was now so difficult to do and more straining then it had ever been before. I started struggling with any and all sorts of visual concentration acts. It did not matter what the task or activity was. If I had to concentrate visually, it presented itself to be a huge obstacle.

My current status:

Nothing I've tried thus far has helped alleviate these unbearable and excruciating symptoms and they seem to have only progressed and gotten worse. I've also done a myriad of tests and lab work, trying to rule out alternative causes to these symptoms, but everything has virtually come back normal. What's worst of all is that the symptoms are chronic, and not intermittent. From the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep, they are there. And the symptoms don't seem to improve with very much anything. The symptoms also evolved for me in the past 6 years, having gotten stronger in degree and more numerous, despite me having worked on them ardently from an anxiety/depression perspective, as well as making healthy lifestyle changes with diet, exercising, stress reduction, etc.

I don't know quite what to do at this point and don't quite understand what has happened to me. It has truly made day to day life like hell for me. My suspicion is that something with either the LSD + Cymbalta combination and/or withdrawal symptoms from quitting Cymbalta led me down this road.

I hope anyone in a similar situation that may be able to relate and get benefit from my story. Thanks for reading.
 

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Have you tried any medication?

Honestly, I doubt blaming Cymbalta is going to get you anywhere, withdrawal is 2 years for PAWS, plus the fact you were fine till Acid came into the mix, it's better facing facts in my opinion.

How's your anxiety day to day? do you feel it?

I can tell your depression is very constant?

Sorry it's hard to really go any further without really understanding these... but don't worry i've read far worse, far far, with good outcomes

EDIT: how does any of these sound?

Symptoms
  • Visual hallucinations in the form of trailing colours.
  • The sensation that something is moving in the peripheral field of vision although there is nothing there.
  • Trailing phenomena - moving objects leave trails or after-images.
  • Positive after-images (an image that retains the original colour).
  • Colour flashes when lighting is low.
  • Colours of increased intensity.
  • Haloes surrounding objects.
  • Macropsia and micropsia (objects appear respectively larger or smaller than normal).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
CK1,

Thanks for reading my long post. To answer your questions:

- I've tried a myriad of different medications. Mostly antidepressants, some benzos, and various supplements as well. Currently, I'm on an SSRI and me and my psychiatrist have been discussing pharmacological treatments for depersonalization (e.g. naltrexone, lamotrigine, etc.)

- I don't doubt that it could have been just the Acid alone. It sucks if it was, because I feel that there is little help out there for cases where drug use messed with someone's nervous system/brain/etc. But ya, perhaps that's the hard cold facts in my case.

- Anxiety day to day....I feel a degree of it, especially in cases where I need to socialize and I know my eyes will be starring persistently and doing their own thing. Depression kinda just depends on the day, and whether or not I am thinking that I can survive this whole ordeal and get my life back on track or whether I will be forever in this state.

Thanks for the encouraging words. I really do hope I can bounce back and find a solution or find some relief atleast. Currently I am on disability leave from work, so I am hoping I can recover enough to start atleast working again..

- The visual symptoms you mentioned...I don't really have any of those. Are those common in DP? The visual symptoms I mainly have is persistent far away gaze, double vision at close distances, and to a lesser degree a sense of objects at rest moving even though they are not.
 

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OH, you are very lucky to found a open minded psychiatrist who knows there is options, keep trying things and stick with 'em.

You can doubt it for sure, but unless you can find some other trigger, it's probably highly likely but if it's unconnected why did you bring it up? you must doubt it yourself.

Yeah I know the off work thing, it's not great for the self esteem which doesn't help the depression. What I do to get over this, is research / practicing my skill / line of work, so when I am ready, i'll have used it well, you know? maybe your job isn't like that, so maybe finding a hobby or something you can get some meaning from your time off?

No those are mainly HPPD, just wondering, something that Acid can cause.

Double vision, I never studied this as I don't have it, so no point me telling you anything, I'd get an eye test, cheap and quick, then i'd talk to the doctor, but I think this will get better in time.

objects at rest moving even though they are not is neurological from my research to do with the equilibrium, can be from inner ear or damage to visual cortex, but fear not, most cases in a few months your brain rights this, i have swaying for the last 4 months and it's getting better. I've also talked to doctors about my research and what to do and he agreed that it usually sorts itself out (if you don't have an ear infection) or they use 'head manoeuvres" which is basically moving your head in certain ways, teaching your vision to straighten out, so that's good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Only reason I have some doubt about the LSD having to do with my symptoms is that the symptoms did not start immediately after that experience. They started maybe weeks after I took LSD, at which point I had also weened off Cymbalta and was smoking Marijuana regularly. One of the three or perhaps a combination of them all must have caused my symptoms, this I am pretty sure about.

I'm definitely trying to stay busy while unemployed. I'm in the Engineering field, so at the moment, I am studying for a FE Engineering certificate weekly. It's just very hard to study and stay focused when I'm struggling so much cognitively and having my eyes constantly zoom outwards.

I've seen every eye doctor possible; optometrist, opthamologist, neuro-ophtamologist, you name it. They said I had a small misalignment in my eyes, though they said this was common with people, and some muscle weakness. I've gotten some prism glasses prescribed for this and am doing vision therapy exercises daily, which all only help a tiny bit. Will keep at it though and maybe over time it will get better.

I've had these symptoms for 7 years!! But I am intrigued about the "head maneuvers", do you have link to it so I can read more about it?

Also, I have a question....Do the symptoms I've described sound like Depersonalization to you? I wonder sometimes if it may be Depersonalization, but because my symptoms are primarily with the far away gaze and double vision, I wonder maybe it's something different. Let me know what you think from your experience and research.
 

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Combination maybe yeah, I read a lot well use to on this subject and many with Acid finds a few months later DP can hit, in fact it usually comes after rather than instant, but who knows. I think the solution is more important than the cause, I know many DP friends now, the causes are all different but symptoms are the same.

Yeah I hear you on that one, good one for staying at it. Have you tried anything else for DP since? (even recently say last 1 year?)

Eye doctor is the wrong person to see, you want to see a good Neurologist about the vision. It's oscillopsia that i think you are explaining.

- note i have just found watched this video, it's the right area, the other results, you'll find what I am talking about, BPPV/Vertigo/oscillopsia is the area and yes ENT maybe but with you I suggest it's a Neurology problem. Again I am no doctor, so go to Neurologist and get an AD from your doctor, that's what i'd do.

Well with you, i'd go to a Neurologist or a few until you find one that is good (never ever take one half interested appointment as fact) and get treated for BPPV with something like Lamotrigine style, this could help your vision and over time depression. Although I hear DP, to me, it seems like if you went to a good Neurologist, got the vision (you should get an EEG done if you haven't btw), treated the depression which will help lift the fog, you'd be making some real headway. In my mind anyway
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've tried a lot of different things for these symptoms. Too many to name. You name it, I've likely tried it. Currently, I'm focusing on treating the depression by establishing a routine and doing basic things like getting plenty of sun, sleeping well, exercise, etc. And I'm also doing eye exercises daily to help with the vision symptoms (which helps a tiny bit). I recently also took up the NoFap challenge, which has improved my cognition to a degree, which is really encouraging.

I've seen two neurologist and they both said that they saw nothing wrong with me neurologically. I can see a third one and see if that helps, but ya, I've gone down the route of neurology and ENT as well and it all looks normal.

Just taking things one day at a time and hoping for the best. Hearing people's stories on this board helps somewhat, knowing I'm not alone in struggling with strange and explainable symptoms.
 

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Well, TBH BPPV is a Neuro problem, so they are being lazy... oscillopsia is the name and it can be corrected. As I explained.

ENT is just ears, balance isn't just ears, it's got to do with a serotonin receptor too, i know this subject pretty well, spent many hours researching it. The good thing on the shaky thing is in time, your brain will fix that for most people.

Everyone feels like they have tried everything till they find something that works... best of luck
 
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