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Hi all,

I started out trying to do this quickly but there is just too much to say! Here is my story, if you have time to read it!


While at university in 2007-2009 I went through some events that were extremely traumatic for me: mainly a break up, and coming out in 2008. (I also inherited some trauma as a child, but this is a longer story) After these events I became severely depressed, and spent all of my time ruminating about myself, and reading a lot of intense philosophy. I was always a high flying deep thinker, but in this period of depression it became extreme. I became isolated and withdrawn, and eventually stopped eating.

As university exams approached, I finally succumbed to the depression and stress and had a nervous breakdown/panic attack/psychotic break. Soon after, I wrote in my diary that: "I am dead, I am just a shell," I remember looking in the mirror and seeing a totally different person. I felt like my self had disappeared in a supernatural fashion, that I was just left with my body. The whole world changed too. It was like all of the life became sucked out of the world around me and I was left with an empty mind and a vacant world. Everything looked lifeless. My brain felt completely empty. I was just going through the motions. I couldn't concentrate on anything and couldn't hold down a conversation for more than one second.

I was screaming and shouting to my parents that "there is nothing in my brain, i am dead inside," and just repeated this over and over again for about 2 weeks. I also kept repeating over and over again: "why didn't I realise that I was depressed". I was beating myself up constantly. I attempted suicide at that time too. I was diagnosed with having a manic psychotic break and was given anti-psychotics. I slept my way through the rest of the year.

While these helped to sedate me, I was still left with these symptoms of DP and DR. I still felt like I was a different person, that I couldn't completely recognise my family, and that I couldn't completely recognise myself in photographs. The world remained lifeless for at least two years. Amazingly, I never found out about DP and DR at the time, I presumed that my situation was unique, that I was permanently insane and that no psychiatrist would ever understand.

Throughout 2010 my DP slowly got better, though the symptoms of DR never went away. Eventually, I was put on an SSRI, celexa 20mg, and unlike some others on this forum, it helped me enormously. Suddenly I had my life back, and could live again. I couldn't believe that this medication could have helped me so enormously. People say that means it can only have been depression, but I know that this is not the case, what happened to me was too extreme. This should give many of you hope, medication can help.

Fast forward four years later, I am on the road to becoming an academic, and was diagnosed two weeks ago with ADD. I have a verbal IQ in the 99% and a performance/processing IQ in the 14%! My psychiatrist gave me ritalin, or methylphenidate, in order to help this.

I took one pill and became completely withdrawn, depressed like I was before DP/DR set in. It was horrible. The next day I felt okay, and the day after that. Three days later I suddenly felt traumatized and repressed memories from the previous DP/DR came back, I don't know what happened.Suddenly the DP/DR that I had been fighting against for so long came back. I don't know if it was the memory of the previous breakdown or the chemicals in the ritalin that did it. . Only this time I felt less insane and more able to think. I discovered that I was not alone, that there are words for I had been through 4 years ago. If only I had known this then, I might not have been in so much mental pain, thinking all the time that I was alone in the world.

The DP has come back in a milder form, I still know who I am, though my voice seems a bit alien, and I can't look at photos of myself without feeling sick. The DR has come back almost completely. I can still do my school work, but the whole world seems lifeless and empty, like there is no 'substance' between myself and objects and people, they just sit there completely lifeless, and this gets so much worse with BRIGHT LIGHTS. I feel nauseous and dizzy when there is too much going on, like I can't concentrate on one thing. And I can't pay attention to most conversations.

Having remembered how much Celexa helped me last time, I increased my dose (I have been on 10mg ever since). It has already been 10 days, and I still feel the DP/DR. I am terrified that this is going to be another 3 year haul like last time. I am too afraid to explain any of this to my psychiatrist, as he thinks that my reaction to the ritalin is all in my head and will go within a few days. I know that this is probably here to stay for a while...

Does anybody else have experiences recovering from DP/DR and then relapsing? If so, did it take as long the second time as it did the first to get over it? Do you think I should try a different SSRI? Does anybody have any idea what could be happening in my brain? Ritalin produces dopamine, and this seems to have done something negative. While SSRI's produce serotonin, which seem to have helped me in the past, but are not working now. I know that this is not just all in my head, that there is also weird brain chemistry going on here. I have permanent headaches, slight dizziness, and nausea. How can this just be anxiety?

I am so pleased that this community exists. We will all get through this. And the truth is I think that something like this only happens to people who actually understand the world... maybe that is our problem.

glad to hear as im currently in the 2nd week of taking citalopram :)
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