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Hello All,

I thought I would go ahead and share my story with this community as I have been basically living on this website over the past two months and thought I would share what I found helpful, painful and what I did/am doing to recover. I am your average 20 year old kid in college, who loves sports, lifting, hanging with friends, and spending time with my girlfriend. I had a great life, was a 4 point student in college, had a great summer internship, loving relationships, great friends and a fun lifestyle. Nothing bad has ever happened to me except a few family health issues here and there, but nothing serious. I began taking my mental and physical health for granted and decided I would do hormonal supplementation over the summer (out of school) for my lifting and get huge. So I did just that and began to get super strong and felt like a million bucks, again what could go wrong? So before this I was never a big weed smoker, maybe two to three times in my life. So about three weeks after I began my hormonal supplements I started to smoke weed and I enjoyed it, started doing it every other day, no issues. So as time went on I noticed my hormonal supplements were causing me to be moody and not necessarily my normal self, so I stopped at about four weeks into it. I didn't think much of it as I didn't notice anything within the first few days of stopping (this stuff had a tiny half-life) so I thought I was clean and good to go. Five days after I stopped, it was a routine day after work and I decided to smoke before bed and then things started going bad, I started having a panic attack and hearing things all around me, like the noise from the fan seemed weird and I looked out my window at a car parked near by and thought someone in it was going to come and rob me. Long story short I had a bad time and just decided to go to bed. I woke up the next morning and felt like a dream, like I was still high, this is when DP/DR all started.

As I just stated I thought it was just the effects of marijuana still in me, so I played it off as nothing, but kept looking it up and wondering how I could make it go away, almost like a cold. As time went on though, it kept getting worse, I was getting more and more paranoid that this dreamy fog was brain damage from my extra curricular activities. Then one day I was looking up what were causes for brain fog or dream like state and I saw hormonal changes, and knowing I just came off my hormonal supplementation a week ago I started to freak out even more, thinking I really messed myself up and I'll never be the same, I won't be able to have kids or be a "normal" male again. This went on for two weeks and it was hell, I went into urgent care and told them everything about my situation and was 100% convinced I was in this "fog" because of those hormones. The first doctor I saw told me I was just emotional and I would recover in a 2-3 weeks, so I gave it some time, but I still thought about it and researched it everyday. Two weeks went by, I still felt the fog and started freaking out, like bad. I was having bad panic attacks that would just make the fog worse, then it got super bad one weekend at a wedding and I decided I needed more help, have my blood drawn and see how messed up I am. I took a week off work and went home, and had the tests taken. I was very anxious about what was going to come of all this. Was I permanently damaged? Was I going to need treatment? The day after I get my tests back…. Everything is healthy…. Hormones at exceptional levels. I was overjoyed, but also very confused, so what did I decide to do? Research it. After about two minutes of simply looking up my symptoms I found out I had DP/DR. I noticed I was obsessive over my conditions and would think about them 24/7 nonstop. So I went to the doctor the Friday I was at home and told him what was up, he said it was common for anxiety and that was solely what it was based around, all of my non-stop research and freaking out was fueling my anxiety. He prescribed me Zoloft 50mg and recommended I did some therapy. I did just that. I began taking my Zoloft religiously and scheduled a therapist right away. A week went by after starting Zoloft and it was a roller coaster, it was like every other day was a high or a low, no middle ground, but as time went on I started to notice myself level out and begin to enjoy work, because before this I would just sit at my desk, think about what was wrong with me, and think I am messed up and going to die. As of right now I am just three weeks into my Zoloft and I finally feel myself start to come back into reality, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as I am able to be productive and work and get away from my obsessive thoughts. I can now enjoy my girlfriend whom was basically being my comforter for this whole ride. I am now able to start to feel emotions again. I am now able to go through the day without panicking, at all.

I guess just what I want to say is after two months of hell, thinking my life is over and I am going to die, it was just anxiety. Am I saying Zoloft or SSRI's are the key to beating this? No, not at all. I was just so depressed, anxious and mentally messed up/confused I was not able to beat the vicious cycle of oppressive thoughts and worrying more, making my DP/DR worse. Zoloft just helped me get out of the hole and going on the up swing, allowed me to get out of bed easier, socialize, have fun. I really believe anyone can get out of this part of your life, no matter how long you've had it. A month ago I was suicidal and had the worst outlook on life anyone could have had, and now I know I am on my way to recovery with a smile on my face, it all gets better if you take action, make changes and do what it takes to get back to your old self. Also LEARN!! Figure out what caused this, like I am lucky and realized weed triggered a panic attack I've never had, my body freaked out, put me in DP/Dr and then I decided to overthink it x100 and make it so much worse, so I will never be smoking weed again in my life.

So what helped along the way?

Obviously for me I got lucky and found Zoloft worked for me chemically, picked me up and brushed off my shoulders. I also found that being around genuine friends and family helped a lot, someone who you can have a good conversation with and take your mind off things. Doing new exciting things helped a lot too, like going to fairs with friends or trying new restaurants, doing things for others, just get out of your routine, change stuff up. Also if you need to cry, let it out, there is no reason to hold it in and make things worse, express yourself, feel your feelings. Lastly, (for you religious ones) pray and realize that God has a plan for your life no matter how down in depression you may be, understand that he gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers and find peace in that. Know that he made your brain so complicated and smart that when it is hurt, it fixes itself, if you let it. By that I mean QUIT LOOKING STUFF UP!! I personally had my girlfriend block tons of sights with DP/DR just so I couldn't research stuff and freak myself out. Help yourself even when it seems impossible, trust me I know how hard it is to stay away from that online gratification that everything will be okay. When you do that though, you are just making things worse, deal with the couple of days of annoyance and get in a habit of not looking things up. Know for certain that you got this, you are strong and you have loved ones around you. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when your head is staring at your feet, tell derealization it can't hurt you (because really it can't) and just go about your day. Don't sulk about yourself and just indulge in your sadness, stay busy. You got this.

What made it worse?

Just sitting around, watching Netflix, looking stuff up, mindless activities, overthinking, forcing yourself to try and feel emotions, thinking hopelessly, sometimes talking about it too much.

Conclusion

It's all anxiety, seriously. Whoever is reading this probably thinks they are a special case and will never get better but I KNOW you will if you let it. Stay strong, get help, and love yourself and know that everyday alive is a good day. There is nothing wrong with you except the fact that you won't let it go. I am not fully recovered but I am damn close and wanted to give you all my testimony along with hundreds of others that I didn't believe in the moment, you will get better, it's just anxiety, stop giving a f*ck, you still have DR because you are reading this post. Trust me, I know from experience J
 
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