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I was diagnosed with Depersonalisation around October/November in 2019. Depersonalisation is an anxiety disorder and a quite disturbing one at that. It can often leave you feeling detached from yourself and reality around you. Some people get Depersonalisation or aspects of it when they feel extreme anxiety, which could last a short while. But some people, like myself, can have it constantly for months, maybe years. I have seen some cases online where people have said they have had it for 10 years and it's still going on. But you can't let other people's experiences of Depersonalisation distort your own view, because everyone's is unique to themselves. If you have it of course.

Also, Derealisation is very similar to Depersonalisation, but I have not real come across any differences between them. I have seen two professionals in the process, and one diagnosed me with Depersonalisation and the other with Derealisation.

The Reason I writing this is for people who have been in the same situation with me. I had scoured the internet in order to find the answer to why I was like this and how I could get out of it so I could feel normal again, so I could feel like myself again. A lot of sites and people's experiences were helpful and I suggest you read others stuff apart from this. But remember, everyone's experience of this is unique to them, and yours is unique to you.

I'm going to start off with a bit of back story to myself. I finished A-level when I was 19 and when straight into University the following September. My first year of Uni was pretty amazing. Being free from my parents was excellent. I was a regular drug user in hash, coke, ket, nos, you name it, I have done everything. Even K-pins, which are for people with seizures. Drugs are a lot of fun, no doubt about it, I recommend you try some of them, but in moderation and only if you feel up to it. But don't do them too much, I can only express that enough. Don't not feel pressured by people who do them a lot. Think about yourself first, rather than others. I also drank a lot, I think I developed a drinking problem, I would drink nearly every day, sometimes even in the morning. Which isn't good at all.

Anyway, my first year at Uni is not important, what important is to know what I was doing at Uni, and how much I was doing it. Which was a lot. Fast track to June after my first year. Normal day in the park, drinking and smoking, when out later to mates bar. Was sniff coke in the toilets. Just seemed like a normal evening, wasn't even going that heavily compared to other nights out. Went home kinda early to be honest with you. The next day I woke up, boom. That when it started. I can still remember the day exactly, which is common in a lot of cases. I was in bed and everything around me seemed so alien. I felt like I was in a trip. I was so scared and confused to where I was. I'm pretty sure I started drinking to try get rid of this feeling. Didn't work. From there, I can't remember too much, but everyday was the same. The constant dread of reality around me. I would look at myself in the mirror and not recognise myself. I didn't recognise my parents, my sister or even my dog. I truly felt so alone and so scared. I had these constant racing thoughts which would overload my brain to the point I couldn't think of anything else. The thoughts were mostly existential and about the universe. Questioning reality itself. They were constant, every day, every second. No break. No escape.

I've always had anxiety issues. I have even felt this way before, but only for a couple days and after that, I didn't think anything of it. I had aspects of Depersonalisation in high anxiety situations, but just never acted on it because it only lasted a short while. If I or my parents had spotted it when I was younger, maybe my life would be different. But how could we have known what was to come. It's a very rare anxiety disorder, which in some ways makes me feel special.

So back to my story. I had this job at a bar in oxford street. Was very busy and very stressful. But it was good to do something, get out the house and distract myself from my thoughts. I wasn't drinking at this point. Which was good. But one day at work I was alone in the dry room (were you store the drinks) and everything was too much for me, so I backed a cider (my preferred choice of drink) and I felt someone normal. Well I was able to cope. I convinced myself I had a drinking problem (which was true) and the reason I was feeling this way was because of how much I was drinking. I connived myself I was an alcoholic. I ended up drinking constantly at work. Bring my own cider or wine into work until one day I realised what I was doing to myself. I walked out half way through my shift, never to return. I told my parents for the first time about how I was feeling. Was scary, but they reacted well and were very supportive of me. It didn't change how I felt, or how I was thinking. But I was nice to get that off my chest. I stayed at home and played video games and didn't drink at all. And then I started my second year at uni. This is were it really began to go down hill.

I was living in a 8 person house in a single bed room. I was a shit hole, but it was nice to go back t Brighton (where I go to university). I was weird because for the first week. I felt alright. I started drinking again, but I felt normal and okay. No idea why. But as soon as I felt good. I got back on the drugs and drink. And by the time Uni started, I was back to thinking my existential thoughts and questioning reality around me. It ended up getting top much, to the point where I dropped out of Uni. My mum was not happy, which didn't help my anxiety and my Depersonalisation, but in the future we both agreed it was the best thing for me.

I started to see a therapist. We explored a lot about me. But the more we talked about myself, the more my thoughts started to get crazier. I brought up my sexuality in one session, which then lead me to question who I was sexuality even more. That's when I was diagnosed with Depersonalisation, the first time I had ever heard about my anxiety disorder. I recommend getting a therapist is you have Depersonalisation, if not talk to someone you love or trust. It really is the best way forward. Rationalising your thoughts and getting them out there.

I continued with my therapist and I ended up getting a job at my dad's work. With me out of uni, I was doing nothing with my days, which is bad. You need structure and to feel like you have a purpose in life. I was good, working. Again, it took my mind off my "crazy" thoughts. Then came around Christmas. Had three weeks off work. I was still drinking and using drugs like ket and coke. During Christmas I went up north to see family and was again drinking heavily for three days in a row. I really wasn't helping myself. I was stupid. The only way I thought to have fun and talk to people was through drinking. It came to new years. I was going to go out and go out hard. In my head I thought you must, its new year's. Wrong mindset for someone in the state I was in. I was drinking again and doing coke, which so bad for anxiety. But I just wanted to have a good time. The next day I woke up at my mates, unaware of what happen for most of the night. I smoked a spliff and drank remains of glasses of wine. My mate gave the rest of his coke and was doing that throughout the day as well. I had family over for dinner. At this point I really didn't care. I thought I'm never going to get out of this state of mind so fuck it, lets go overboard. I started for the first time not to care about life. The next day I woke up, went shop bought a bottle of Lucozade and vodka, went back to Brighton drinking that on the train ride back. God I'm writing this now and thinking how much of a spanner I am, and thankful for the place I'm in now. Anyway, after I got back, I bought a bottle of red wine and drank all of that and passed out in bed by 6pm.i woke up at 3am, not knowing where the fuck I was or what was happening. I truly felt like I was going crazy. I couldn't sleep and I was so scared by the environment around me. I kept thinking I was going to trip out. This continued into the day. My heart was racing and pulsating. I thought I was going to explode. I called 911 and went to A&E. I sat there for 5 hours, contemplating reality around me thinking I was in a mental institution. When the doctor saw me, she said nothing was wrong with my body. Heart rate was regular. And my breathing was good. He said I was having a panic attack. Though he gave me some advice, which till this day I'm sticking too. He said, set yourself a goal. An achievement, something to aim too. My parents picked me up that day and I moved back home. I just let everything out to them. Still didn't recognise them or who I was at this point

I started work again. 5 days a week, 9am to 6pm. I stopped drinking completely and no drugs at all. Things started to get worse, mentally. It was so confusing to me, I thought the answer to fixing my problem was to just cut out the drinking and drug use. This is when I thought about killing myself, to end this horrible thought and escape from the scary alien world around me. I would be at the train station, looking at incoming trains ready to jump. One point I nearly did. Taking yourself is completely in your own hands, at the end of the day, only you can stop yourself. But it doesn't end the pain and suffering, it only passes it on to your love ones. I didn't want that for my family. I didn't want to put that on my friends. It wasn't fair on them.

I talked to my therapist about this. It took me a couple sessions to bring it up, but I am glad I did. Telling someone you want to end your self made everything so real. Me and my therapist also discovered that in all recent sessions with him, I felt so real talking to him. He was the only person I really have ever talked to about my feelings. You need to talk to people in your life about your feelings. Not so they can know, so you can put it out there, so its not in your head. The first time I talked to my best friend about I felt and what was going through my mind, I felt safe for once.

Though doing this, I was still having these crazy thoughts, but at a pace I could manage and control. I then went to go see a psychiatrist. She put me on an antidepressant called Sertraline. It's is good, it has made a real impact on my life. But the one thing I will tell you now, which will have a real impact on you. I took the leap. I let the "crazy" thoughts come at me and I was brave, I wasn't scared like I usually was. I challenged all those negative thoughts with positive ones. You can't let your anxiety scare you, because then you live in fear of it the whole time and let it control your life. I used to not want to go out see my friends, not even my best friend. But now, I force myself too. I don't force myself to talk if I don't feel like it, there's nothing wrong with a bit of observation. You must take this slow and know things aren't just going to suddenly get better, it's a process, a hard process which you have to endure. And while you are being brave and challenging these horrible thoughts with positive ones, you will slip. You're not going to master your anxiety straight away. You can't beat up yourself up about it, no one is perfect and its okay to fail.

So, it is now March 2020 for me, during the corona pandemic. And from using these techniques, I can honestly say, I want to live, I want to be happy. Even with all the shit that is going on with the world, I'm just being true to myself, being who I am, thinking about me and thinking positively. I still have these crazy thoughts, but I don't get scared by them anymore. But they are coming less and less.

There's a lot I didn't talk about, because if I was to talk about everything, we would be here till the end of time itself (if time even is a thing). I still doing have Depersonalisation in my life. You can't fix it. It's not something that goes away instantly. You have to look after yourself. You must think about what's best for you. As much I love doing ket coke and drinking, I have now cut these things out of my life. I can't say I won't ever do these things again, because I enjoyed them. But I will not do them as often I did. Not even close to. Some people can do these things, other can't. and there is nothing wrong with that. I have only drunk twice in the last two months and have done any drugs since new year's. I still smoke hash, but I have found that calms me down. But that might not work for you and I do not recommend doing it if you have high anxiety at this point (if you are suffering from high levels of Depersonalisation). Over the course of my Depersonalisation, I have picked up going to the gym and running. Like that doctor said, aim for something. I am now aiming to run a half marathon in May. From barely being able to breath, I can now run 9 miles with ease. Exercising wont cure your anxiety, but it will distract you from it.

I was very lucky, as I was born with a dad who has a good job. With his job he gets private health insurance so that's how I was able to get a therapist and see a psychiatrist. For some people seeing either one of these two will be to expensive. It's not fair that some people are born with more privileges than others. I suggest seeing a counsellor or Samaritans. Just letting out your emotions is key. Especially to a loved one.

Another big aspect of me getting to a better place was through meditation. This is about calming yourself down so you can think more clearly. I mediate two times a day. Start with guided meditation. Just type it into YouTube and you'll be sorted.

Going back to researching online. When I first saw that people were still in a state of Depersonalisation for ten years, that really scared me. Thinking I could be this way for years and years terrified me. But that is exactly the reason why people are in that state for so much longer. Depersonalisation feeds of fear, it only makes it grow. You really can't fear your Depersonalisation, you must accept that it is part of who you are. You can't fix it, only accept and move one with your life. It may seem tough to think that, but it's essential to.

Try to investigate your own anxiety a bit, it is so personal to you. My anxiety is based around what people think about me. I always think I've done something wrong, when I haven't. or if I have, it's not as bad as I thought. I shaped myself around other people, doing stuff to try impress them which just wasn't me. Which probably why I accumulate this Depersonalisation disorder. but now I think for me and what I want to do. I do what make me happy.

Honestly, during the heavy stages of my Depersonalisation, it was horrible and terrifying. But now looking back on it, I'm glad I went through it. I used to be a heavily drink and drug user, did no exercise, didn't really care about life, was always thinking of the future and criticising myself on my past mistakes. Now I'm fit and healthy, happy, making myself laugh, smiling and just generally feeling good. Now if I didn't go through the Depersonalisation (which I still have aspects of to this day), I probably would be ruining my life without even knowing it. I now laugh at my mistakes and learn, i don't feel bad for myself. I feel happy for myself.

This is so easier said than done. I has taken me 9 months to get where I am and I will probably still feel out of place time to time. But I keep being positive and knowing life isn't out to get me, we weren't born to feel this way. And that there are people around me, that can help me, I'm not by myself. I am not scared anymore, I took the leap and so should you. Depersonalisation isn't a bad thing, it will make you your best self. Trust me.

If this has helped you in anyway, I'm glad. If you want to chat to me about anything, or need some advice, send me an email:

[email protected]

I can recommend some way to help calm down your thoughts. Please don't be scared, remember that's the key to changing. I want to help. And maybe you can help me too.
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