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I'm going to attempt to keep this brief in order to make what I have to say comprehensive, as I really do believe it's important. It's a long story, so i'll do my best. I used to come here when I was at my lowest; it gave me hope. I promised myself if I ever fully recovered, I'd post my story here. If this helps a single person suffering, it's all been worth it. If I can recover, so can you.

My contact with DP/DR began a little over two years ago. I was 16. Seemingly, everything was okay up until that point. I had a great girlfriend, a solid social life, and never had seriously troubling mental issues. I smoked weed, and a lot of it. "But so what?" I thought. "Everyone is doing it and they're just fine." Boy was I wrong. You see, about a week after smoking a large amount, I started to feel off. It was though I was still high. It continued like this for about another week, just living in the fog. I was concerned I had a brain tumor, and looked up the symptoms obsessively. Through more research, I just settled on the fact that I had some sort of "Brain Fog," caused by allergies. It wasn't going away. It took a nosedive for the worse when I was on the phone with my girlfriend later that week, half joking, "hopefully I don't have brain cancer!" She replied quite upset, telling me that I was worrying her. And there it was, my first panic attack. For the first time I felt as though something may be seriously wrong. I felt a fear that I hadn't felt since I was a child, and it overtook me.

I spoke with my mother that night, and she told me that it was anxiety. Finally I had an answer. She told me to take two of the Homeopathic zinc pills in the morning and afternoon to clear me right up. So, I did it. It didn't work. My Lord, was I scared. I scoured the web for my symptoms and I could barely find anything. I lived everyday in a dream. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't vocalize myself well, I stopped showering every single day, I stopped going out. All I did, besides school, was sit in my room, attempt to distract myself with my phone, and cry. I cried every single day. What the hell was happening to me???

It was another two months until I found out what I had was commonly called Derealization. Finally, my demon had a name. That's how I found this lovely, yet tragic community. Everyone so lost and scared, looking for answers, and somehow unified. I learned that marijuana had triggered my anxiety and I was now stuck in the fog. I remembered the anxiety I had as a young kid, and figured I had suppressed it until that point. At this point, it was bad. I mean really bad. I had dropped to 115 lbs, had quite a bit of acne, and was ghostly white. I was a shell of who I once was. My thoughts turned to pure existentialism; "What is life? Am I alone? There is no possible way of proving the world doesn't just exist in my head." My perception was crumbling. I might as well have just been floating through life. I didn't feel in control of my actions in the slightest. Nothing even looked real. I was 100% convinced I was going to be locked up in a loony bin for the rest of eternity, forever withering away. The worst of it came soon after, with the my mind's introduction of intrusive thoughts. Suddenly, without warning, I had a thought about killing my little sisters. Now, a normal person brushes that off. As a matter of fact, those thoughts are quite common. However, in my fragile state, I couldn't let it go. I was so afraid of that thought, so obsessed, that they just kept coming. I was convinced I wanted to do it. I didn't. I didn't in the slightest and even though I thought my mind wanted to, I did not want to. I locked myself in my room because I didn't trust myself. It was time to get help.

So, I traveled to Utah for some "Energy Doctor." I stayed with my grandparents, while there. The session, as you might expect, was baloney. So, I did what anybody in my exact position would do. I cried about it. The next day I sat in the basement, researching again the symptoms of what I had. Low and behold there was my life saver. I remembered that I had felt this same thing before after smoking weed. Several times actually. And it had never last more than a few days. Why? Because I didn't care and ignored it. I looked up from my cell phone screen and everything looked different, in a much better way. The visuals were toned down from 100 to 40.

This is what I realized: Focusing on what I had was what was causing it. I felt off, so I tried to analyze what felt off and why and how much. I'd pay attention to my perceptions, which made it worse, so I'd focus more, and on and on and on and on until I was so far removed from reality I couldn't function. Taking those pills I had mentioned earlier was a reminder every single day, when I woke up and before I went to bed, that something was up.

I went home. I told my family I didn't want to talk about it anymore, and to just continue as if everything was okay. It was hard. It was really hard. I was pushed through it alone. I got a job at a warehouse. That helped a little bit. I joined a philosophy class the following year. That initially didn't help, but later it did. I continued in the fog for another year before I started to take back my life. I studied the things I wanted to, I got new friends, I took up new hobbies, I started eating better. Really, I distracted myself. I got myself to a better place before I could start soul searching for what went wrong and how to continue.

Today, I have reclaimed my life. My girlfriend and I have parted way after I felt as though it was time to move on with my life, on my terms. I just got back from an internship a state away that had everything to do with my passions and was absolutely amazing. In a week, I leave to backpack Europe for a month with my best friend. When I get back, I start a new job with better pay and better hours. I'm beginning University, excited and passionate about my future. I plan to volunteer for my community. My life, right now, is the opposite of where I was. That was hell. Right now, I'm pointed a little closer to heaven.

My Tips For You

*If you are having suicidal or violent thoughts, please get help immediately*

DpDr is something you can walk away from. Suicide isn't. Violence towards yourself or others isn't either. Imma drop this for anyone who may need it. Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

1) Understand That You Are Okay. Now, The best thing to do is to see a psychologist or a doctor or somebody that isn't me. I didn't go because I was afraid. That was a mistake. Make sure that there isn't something else going on! However, considering that nothing else is wrong, you must understand that you are not dying or alone or anything like that. Anxiety is tricky like that. It wants you to think there's something wrong, but there's not. Understanding dpdr and furthermore your family history helps, too. Soon after recovering, I found that anxiety is riddled through BOTH sides of my family. It would have helped to know that before.

2) Accept What is Happening. You're not going to get better if you keep fighting it. It simply won't work. All it will lead to is you being hyper focused on your senses and BOOM you're worse than before. You MUST accept that this is happening to you and all you can do is live with it. Stop paying attention to it (I'll go more into that in Tip 3).

3) Find Your Meaning. DPDR made me lose my religion. I'm starting to find it again after recovery. HOWEVER, you do not necessarily need religion for meaning. While in the midst of it, I determined that my goal in life was to alleviate suffering and perhaps expand on the American ideal of Liberty. That was my personal meaning that geared me somewhere. DO NOT be aimless. I was, and it killed me. I was just floating around without purpose. Find your purpose, and dedicate yourself to it. (I do recommend Dr. Jordan B Peterson and his lectures. Man's a genius. Watch his lecture on cleaning your room. His book, 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote for Chaos, is splendid, too.)

4) Distract Yourself With Meaningful Projects. I had found, about 5 months into my experience, that when I was doing something I 100% genuinely enjoyed I had forgotten about my current state. Even if it was for a few seconds, that was huge. It would be when I was playing the drums or guitar, or when I was reading a book on political philosophy, or even when I was engaged in a debate in class. For Just a few short moments, I felt normal again. So, here's what you've got to do:

-Learn how to cook healthy meals. The work that you put in will make the finished product super rewarding and it will be good for you!

-Pick up a hobby that you love to do as a passion, like music.

-Pick up a hobby that will be physically strenuous. I joined a climbing gym. You could also join a sport or just exercise.

-Pick up a hobby that you will learn from. Start reading or studying or join a class on something you find intriguing!

5) Get Out There, and Start Today. You need to stop sulking in you room. Go outside. It's important. Walk your dog, go to the park, something. You need a change of pace. It may be scary, but you need it. Staying in your safe zone will ensure that you never recover. The beautiful thing is that you can do it today. It's the first day of the rest of your life, do you really want to wait? Now, you won't be cured over night. It took me over two years to write this. But really, it's worth it. Everyone starts somewhere.

I Love each and every one of you. We've all experienced this to some degree, and we are all strong for it. You aren't going to a loony bin and you're not dying, that's the anxiety talking. You are okay. I've come out of this with a new found appreciation for life. Your life is probably a mess right now. Fixing the Dp wont fix your life. I once though that, and I was wrong. However, fixing your life will fix the dp. God bless anyone who reads this. You can do this, and you're not alone.

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I really appreciate everything you wrote in this post. It hit me hard. You are a lot younger than me but you are wise beyond your years. Reading this post was like a light bulb went off. My anxiety was also brought on by a bad reaction to marijuana 6 weeks ago. It’s been hell and being older I felt so foolish to have done this to myself. It makes everything almost unbearable. The obsessive thoughts have made it so that I can’t sleep and I’ve lost 20lbs! I only just found this community today and I’m so happy I did. Honestly when I got to the bottom and saw your steps to recovery I was disappointed there wasn’t some magic pill to fix everything. But that’s not life. What you said made me realize that I have been in a rut for years. Stuck in a comfortable life with no real passion or challenge in it. Stuck in a horrible relationship FOR 8 YEARS!. I recently have been plagued with thoughts of my purpose and meaning and finding the answer in my own head to give me back nothing. It’s soul crushing. But your optimism as revived me. I know it will take time but I will get thru this. I will make my life the kind I would dream about. To think of how long so many people here have suffered breaks my heart for them. And I hope more and more people will read your post and know it will get better. Even in my mess I’ve learned about how unhealthy I’ve been to myself and that it’s time to grow up. Thank you again. I wish you the best of luck in your future.
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