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Hi all,

It all began when i was 14. Id been ill with oral herpes during my easter school break, id been prescribed Zovirax tablets and steroids. After my 2 week recovery i returned to school and on my way walking there i got dizzy at the front gates and passed out and woke up in hospital. Id had a convulsion in front of my firends and the entire school. I had an ECG and tested negative for epliepsy.

Soon after that terrifying (and embarrassing) episode i started to have panic attacks. Everytime i felt a symptom that was REMOTELY similar to any i had before the seizure (nausea, dizzy, confused) i had a full blown panic attack thinking i was going to have another seizure again.

I started to "self-monitor", it started to affect my school attendance, going shopping was a nightmare and relationships with my freinds and family became strained. The final panic attack happened when i was 18 after foolishly experimenting with Amphetemines, the panic attack i had was so severe i was admitted to A & E. That was my only experience with drugs of any kind.

Then at 19 i had a bereavement which brought on quite a bad depression, and my very first experience of Depersonalisation and derealisation. I was reluctant to take anti-depressants as my brother is a doctor and thought it a bad idea in case of dependance. I took St Johns Wort and it seemed to help a lot. These symptoms lasted a full year, then quite literally i woke one day to find them easier, and the next day easier again until they completely vanished. The following 3 years were normal. I had a good job which gave me plenty of focus and routine, had some good holidays and general good health. Then i started university. First 2 years fine, then some anxiety and DP started out of the blue. I was literally sat in Paddington Station in London waiting for my train home when suddenly i felt strange, panicky, needed the toilet, distressed, confused. That subsided afer a couple of hours but i had re-occuring episodes of this over the next year which obviously affected my degree. Knowing i was going to fail my degree was too much for me to face so i buried my head in the sand instead of dealing with it head on. I went a year without sleeping properly, woried myself to the max, the anxiety was terrible. I knew at some point the DP/DR or depression might return because i was pushing my emotional and psychological tolerance to its limits. The fact im unwell now doesnt suprise me to be honest, and probably couldve been avoided if i hadnt ignored everything.

I had a meeting with my lecturers a month ago to discuss my programme and was told i have to repeat a huge chunk of it. Hearing this devastated me. Well, crack i did. The anxiety actually went, great, the panic and uneasy feelings went, it was as though i no longer cared, but what was i left with? severe Depersonalisation.

I saw a psychologist this week who, after an hour, basically told me i have no mental illness and that DP is a SYMPTOM of my anxiety and not a stand alone illness (DP Disorder) She says i will probably be prone to anxiety for the rest if my life and that i have to learn to deal with things head on instead of allowing them to build up, which isnt good for people with anxiety/DP/DR tendancies. She also pinpointed back to that convulsion i had at 14 and the subsequent panic attacks it left me with was probably the start of everything. And also that when my anxiety subsides the DP will go with it too. God i hope so, id rather have the anxiety again than DP.

Now, as we all know here, when your anxious and have DP you self-monitor ALOT. Ive been surfing the net relentlessly and to my horror have found stories of people having DP/DR disorders that have been life long. And now im thinking, is this me? has she misdiagnosed me? what if i dont recover like i did the last time? will i be myself ever again?
My logic tells me ive been through this before and that i will be fine, just need to get rid of the anxiety, but you cant help doubting what the professionals tell you, especially as shes only the second one ive seen They both agree on the diagnosis) My DP only comes with anxiety and the anxiety only comes at turning points in my life, so surely i dont have a stand alone illness with DP? surely it IS anxiety related?

She gave me a list of things to remember, they are as follows:

* DP can be self-induced with increased internal focus of your attention
* DP does not mean i have a mental illness, it is self-induced
* I need to learn to tune-out rather than tune-in
* I need to resolve stresses in my life or at least learn to manage them
effectively
* I need to maintain a healthy lifestyle; sleep, meditation, regular diet
* Think of these "changing emotions" (DP) as a wave that you can wait to
subside in its own time safely

She also explained to me that "if we were sitting in this room long enough and told to just look at a painting, eventually after some time has passed, we would start to feel strange in our selves and in our perception of the painting and surroundings, in fact we would start to hallucinate" i think the point she was tying to make is that it is quite easy for us to make ourselves disociated if we concentrate on it enough through repetative and unnatural thought processes. This, for me is part of my problem with DP, i think about it too much. My biggest goal now is to try and tune-out of myself, which will be hard after 10 years of constant self-monitoring. But again, being busy is a key factor in helping our minds return to a normal balanced healthy state.

The advice this psychologist has given me is great advice and all seems to make perfect sense. I dont want to take anti-depressants but the diazepam im taking are a godsend. But i cant get drunk on them so...then again thats not such a bad thing because a hangover increases my DP TENFOLD.

Im thinking of getting a second opinion from another psychologist just in case my DP isnt a secondary symptom of anxiety but that anxiety is a secondary symptom of DP. I confuse myself! Has anyone here ever been misdiagnosed?

Thankyou for reading my looong story, hope someone can help here

Nik :wink:
 

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if you recovered once, then i think that is great evidence to yourself that you dont have a brain problem, and whatever chemical problem can be undone. I wish i could say that.... :wink:

good luck. im sure you will recover again.
 
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