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Hello everyone!,

I'm a 27 years old guy from Germany.

I'll try to make it short & clear :)

- - -

Background / my story:
My journey of anxiety has begun as I was a child. I experienced various anxiety issues, like fear of suffocating and vomiting in front of others.

But I always got over it for a couple of months / years. My childhood was often turbulent.

So I also had some pretty carefree years, until I was 16. When I was 16 I got my first really bad panic attack after smoking marijuana, when I was alone at home. It was such a shocking experience that I slipped into nervous illness. It took 7 months to recover from a wide range of "uncomfortable sensations". I cured myself without pills or therapists.
The worst issues were: feelings unreality > fear of insanity & agoraphobia,

After recovered I lived a carefree life until my life became more stressful... there was a break up (long-term relationship), trouble at work, trouble at school, fincial problems and I lived a destructive life style (less sleep, much alcohol, toxic people, processed food etc.). That was between 2010 and 2011.

In december of 2011 I experienced a really bad panic attack on the bus - my thorax has become tight and painful and I was sure I'll die by a heart attack.

All symptoms of anxiety - I already forgot - came back (only stronger), I handled them the wrong way and so I became nervously ill again.
I became agoraphobic, anxious 24/7, depressed, "paranoid", had about 10 panic attacks a day and developed obsessive thoughts.
After 6 months of being ill, also my feelings of unreality came back - stronger than ever.

I read a lot of books / material over the past 3 years - like Hope and Hope for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes (must read!) or the Panic Away book / program of Barry McDonough.
I learned how to handle panic attacks and states of high anxiety. I learned how to accept and how to flow with life. I changed my diet and learned a lot about myself, emotions and life.
I also learned how to calm my body and mind through meditation, because on my journey I came across spirituality (Osho, E. Tolle etc.).

- - -

Now I know pretty good how to handle stress and bodily sensations, caused by adrenalin / fear.
But my biggest issue is still the feeling of unreality / DP/DR and it's impact on my thoughts. In my sensitized state back then (about 2 years ago) I developed the fear of being not real - and I mean really not being real. I think as I got in touch with spirituality for the first time, I misinterpreted some words of the spiritual teachers. Spirituality brought many gifts into my life, but at the same time much suffering... I begun to think pretty deep into things like the purpose of life or who I really am.
I still struggle with the thought of being able to think... sometimes I get really anxious (sometimes panic-stricken) of... just being.
Another big fear is to live in the matrix - not the social matrix (the mind trap), but the matrix like in the movie (or something similar).
I'm really obsessed by these thoughts. When I'm less anxious / sensitized I'm often able to accept them, but they are still lingering in the back of my mind and that makes me really sad. I'm also very stressed / confused by many weird experiences / "coincidences" in my daily life and déjà-vu's.

So my questions to you are:
Have you also been confused by thought of being or being able to think?

Have you also feared to live in the Matrix (movie)?
Have you also feared that you are just a thought (/to be really unreal)?
Have you also had bad experiences with spirituality?

Thank you very much for reading. I'm thankful for every answer :)

STAY AWESOME!
 

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Yup, iv questioned all of the above. They end though just give it time. Over time your mind will just get bored of thinking about these questions and life will slowly return to normal. I would stay away from alcohol in the mean time though. Last night I took like 2 hours while watching a movie and wrote down every thought that popped into my head and noticed the main one being "will I ever get out of this" there you'll be some random normal thoughts and then this one would pop up. It was the first time I actually noticed how much I thought about DP and when I woke up today I felt surprisingly connected to reality. Not completely but I'm deffinatly in a better spot than I was before which makes me feel so much better. Make use you get enough sleep but not too much. Don't lay in bed all day like I did. The only way you come out of it is by being proactive in your recovery.
 

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I can definitely relate to all your questions, and partially to your experience.

My DP/DR experience was induced by marijuana as well. Although it sounds like perhaps some of your other symptoms came later on.

I struggle/have struggled with all the existential/unreal feelings/thoughts your describing. They suck. I've found it very hard to be spiritual with this condition as well. If you want to talk feel free to pm me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your answer :)

DP / DR is a sign that your brain is tired of deep thinking and anxious brooding (called "brain ***"), caused by too much adrenaline. Further worrying about this condition causes more adrenaline - which causes more unreal symptoms. So when I get less anxious, through meditation or conscious destraction (like sports) I feel less intimidated by the feeling and the thought / fear of being unreal.
But there's always the possibility in the back of mind: "What if my brain is playing only tricks on me and I'm just lying in coma" or something.

Have you found some strong reasons for yourself that tell you: "Okay, you feel unreal - that's hard to bear - but it's not possible that you're unreal, because of XY..." ?
One argument for me is, that we are able to feel bodily sensations, like the fear that is rushing through our bodies that makes us shaking. We wouldn't be able to have a shaking body if we are just a thought.
I personally need a strong argument that proves reality... but I still haven't found the right one.
 

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Another thing that helps is a positive outlook. I know you can't all of the sudden be positive when in this state but it mean do something like counter your negotiate thoughts. "I'll never feel normal again" think "I will get out of this, it just takes time"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, you're right. One big thing - beside facing, accepting & floating - great Dr. Claire Weekes teaches is: patience > letting time pass. That's crucial for recovery from "nervous illness". It works.
Thanks for reminding me of patience!
 

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I've experienced everything you mentioned minus the bad spiritual experience. All of my spiritual experiences tend to be positive ones and leave me feeling optimistic for hours if not days after. I started doing guided meditations pretty steadily until recently, which I plan on getting back to. I truly believe the cure for ME, is meditation, as well as abstinence from alcohol. The alcohol was a very dark place for me, and only amplified my DP/DR symptoms in the long while only providing temporary relief.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for sharing your experience!

Yes, meditation and relaxation exercises are great! And spirituality is not a bad thing per se... but if you go deeper into spirituality there are things that can really scare you. On my journey through spiritual teachings I came across some people that teach these quantum physics things and matrix healing stuff - but they still call it spiritual. I reached a point were spitituality, scientific theories and esoteric became one and I wasn't able to distinguish between what's real and what's charlatanism. These informations are pretty confusing - especially in an anxious state.

I haven't touched alcohol since 2013 - it was a wise decision!
 
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