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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi- for the purpose of this community you guys can call me Pal. Here is a little bit about my experiences...

I was abused really badly as a kid. I wont go into it much, but a major component of the abuse was invalidation and having my sense of reality greatly disturbed. I also started self-injuring at a very early age as a way to cope (before age 3). Anyways, as I got older my sense of unreality (both dp and dr) increased. I'd tell my mom I heard crying in my head or that I was "fading" and she'd laugh or call me schizophrenic. Not very helpful! In my teens I experimented with alcohol and weed as a way to cope, but the weed made me feel incredibly, horribly unreal, as if I really had stopped existing and I don't use it anymore. Without lithium, if I drink I black out, and end up in the psych ward. So I try not to drink much, and definately not without lithium!

Starting at around age 11 I began having frequent, extremely debilitating panic attacks that continue on and off to this day. I had panic attacks before that, but not to this degree and not as often. When I have them I feel as if my heart is going to stop and being phobic of death... well, they really scare me.

In addition to the panic attacks, I was diagnosed at age 20 with bipolar disorder. Before that I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Ironically, even though a lot of my anxiety is caused by feeling unreal, I have never been diagnosed (yet) with a dissociative disorder. I swing (without lithium) between states of mania and states of extreme depression. These states drain me of energy, even on lithium. I was also diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (a c hildhood disorder- basically it means I didn't bond to my parents properly, and I guess that's true because they were abusive, it also means I have trouble trusting other people in an intimate way and relating to others, which might be true, I dont know). I currently have all the symptoms of PTSD and am being treated for it. What else... um, occasionally I get really weird intrusive thoughts similar to those experienced by people with OCD (primary compulsions) but I haven't been diagnosed with OCD. I have another psychiatric evaluation this week, so we'll see. But basically, sometimes I get horrible impulses to hurt myself/kill myself or other people, or I get disturbing mental imagery of performing grotesque sexual things or generally just the sickest, worst things that I can imagine. These things drive me nuts an make me feel really guilty and I have trouble cutting things with knives or walking over bridges, etc... in short, I have lots of problems. But the most difficult to explain, and even comprehend myself, are these persistent feelings of unreality that seem to become more and more strong and frequent the older I get. Basically almost all the time I feel some noticable degree of unreality, but sometimes it is so extreme that it triggers a panic attack. I have looked in the mirror many times and hardly recognized myself, and a lot I watch my hands type or draw and they feel like alien hands, not mine, unreal. I also get a sensation that feels like my "soul" is pulling away from the outside of my body and starting at a young age I called my body "the (biological) robot" because I feel so distanced from it. I self injured from a young age both as punishment for self percieved wrongdoings and also to feel things, and to this day I can cut an artery or burn to the bone and feel *nothing*. No real pain at all even though I know I am experiencing something that, if I was more real, would be pain. It's very eerie. But anyways...

Sometimes when I complain of feeling unreal, as if I am disappearing or reality is "dissolving" I am told to get some sleep or not "worry so much". I am afraid I will never feel as if I am living my life again... it feels like a movie almost all the time, I am always analyzing it and commenting on it. For instance, if I am upset this part of my brain will say "and now you are upset. And now your nose is burning. And now your eyes are tearing. And now you are making sobbing noises." It's like a running commentary in my brain and it adds to the sense of unreality.

Sometimes I don't mind feeling unreal. I have felt unreal most of my life. But other times my head feels so foggy and I feel so removed from everyone that it becomes nightmarish.

Anyway, that's my story (in a nutshell). I will post about my psych eval later this week. I am glad I found this place.

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