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I've never really been able to express what I'm feeling to anybody. Often times, words seem to fail me because I feel like I've lost my sense of self, and everything I say feels fake and manufactured. It also seems as though nobody I talk to about it really understands or grasps the severity.

I see this community as a place to express openly what I've experienced as a way to maybe somehow feel relief and know that I'll be understood.

I've struggled with DP/DR for about a year and a half, though for a long time I didn't understand what I was experiencing. I felt like I was losing my mind; on the verge of a psychotic breakdown. At the beginning I started experiencing intense derealization episodes.

My first episode was particularly frightening, because I had never gone through anything like it before. I was on a retreat in the mountains, and we were gathered in the dining hall making casual conversation and playing card games. Suddenly I looked up and the people around me were in a slow motion video. People's words and actions seemed oddly predictable and scripted. The sound of people laughing and chatting became muffled and drawn out, and I was processing everything with a lag. I could feel bile rise into my throat, and I felt as if I would pass out. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. I left and went outside. I didn't process that I had even stood up until I was already there. It's as if my body had taken over by autopilot. I tried breathing exercises, pacing, even slapping myself across the face. Nothing worked. I knew that the world around me was real, but I could not grasp onto it. When I woke up the next morning I felt foggy, but I had a grip on reality. I blamed my symptoms on altitude sickness, though I'd experienced altitude changes plenty of times before without this problem.

Over the next few months I had similar experiences, and I've never been able to define if there's any specific settings or situations that trigger them- except for being in large groups of people or loud settings. Beyond these intense episodes, I started to feel a disconnection from myself.This feeling has solidified significantly over the last 6 months.

For a while I considered that I was experiencing depression, but I understood even then, that there was something very distinct about whatever I was going through. Depression didn't explain the episodes of derealization I was experiencing either. It wasn't until I decided to do research on my experiences that I discovered DP/DR. When I read my first article about it, I nearly felt a sense of relief- I could finally put a name to it.

It's become hard- nearly impossible to connect with people. My emotions seem to be limited to: discontentment, irritation, and numbness. Most of the time I feel completely numb. Sometimes the other two will pop out occasionally, and I embrace them when they do because it's better to feel something than nothing at all. I look in the mirror and I know that it's me looking back, but I feel absolutely no connection to the image. I have a severe lack of drive, confidence, motivation, goals, and optimism for the future. I've lost connection with my passions in photography and music. Every day seems to be a matter of survival and nothing else. Sleep, eat, avoid social settings as much as possible, repeat. I have no idea what I am. I don't even know what I mean in reference to 'I' anymore. I can't tell if I'm operating as a body or as a soul. I feel completely disconnected from both- which doesn't even make sense at all, because that would imply that there is a third part of being beyond body and soul.

I really want to get out of this. To feel as though I have a persona, a presence. To feel positive emotion- or any at all. To know myself and what my 'self' is. If that makes any sense. If anyone has similar experiences or tips, please let me know.
 

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"oddly predictable and scripted" Very well put, I can understand that.

I can understand how frustrating it must be, being there for so long.

A year and a half is a long time compared to my episodes that only

last a few seconds, I really wish you all the best in finding your way.

Your story moved me, touched me in a way. Though you might

feel absent from the world, numb and discontent you are defiantly

still here with us.

Good Luck,
 
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