Hello everyone. I just found this site after googling some of the symptoms I felt this weekend and was wondering if anyone could tell me if what I experienced was DP/DR?
A little background - 28 years old, alcoholic, high anxiety levels my entire life which partially lead to the alcohol abuse.
I started drinking heavily around age 22 , around age 26 , after drinking heavily for years I had my first panic attack. Leading up to this was a few years of amplified anxiety from the alcohol which caused me to obsess about my health and think I was dying or gave myself an incurable disease, and many doctor and ER visits thinking I had heart problems or cancer amongst other things..
After my first panic attack, I stupidly kept drinking, and kept having panic attacks every month or so, sometimes more, usually always related to me thinking I had something seriously wrong with me. I went to my doctor endlessly asking for different tests and he basically always told me its anxiety - though never really offered a solution, but it didn't really matter because I didn't believe him anyway, and was convinced I had developed a chronic ilness due to my alcohol abuse.
Fast forward to 28. I had been binge drinking on and off - the anxiety seemed to get worse every time I binged then went through withdrawal. The first was after I binged for several months I had nearly permenant anxiety all day for 3 months straight, and spent most of that time reading up medical symptoms and health pages trying to "solve" what I had because I thought my doctors "missed something"
After that 3 months of sobriety the panic attacks stopped, but I remained in a state of lower level anxiety untill I decided to start drinking again. (stupidest mistake in my life) I only binged for 3 weeks this time , much shorter then previous binges, but the anxiety I felt throughout the binge and then when I stopped was at the highest I ever felt. After I stopped (which was about 3 weeks ago) I had the worst symptoms I ever had , which included non stop shaking, chills, nasua, lack of appetite , insomnia and non stop 24/7 worrying about literally everything.
After experiencing these symptoms daily for 3 weeks with them only subsiding extremely subtly and gradually, I had to go out of town to a wedding for 3 days which amplified my anxiety ten fold. The 3 nights leading up to having to travel I had a panic attack every night, and for the 3 days of the trip I basically was at peak anxiety the entire time and didnt sleep or barely eat or drink anything at all.
It was horrible.
Heres where I think I experienced DP/DR.. On the last night there I didnt sleep at all and spent 10 hours lying in bed with extreme anxiety and at some point during laying there I think I entered DP/DR. I sort of felt my thoughts "shut off" and there was just a black void, though I couldn't tell if I was in a half sleep state or not. It was an odd feeling I never felt before. Then in the morning when walking around everything felt like I was in a movie. I was talking to my family and said to them " this doesn't feel real" then when walking around town I realized I basically had zero emotional reaction to anything I was looking at.. everything sort of just "was". It all looked like a cheap movie I had seen before. I was hyper aware of everyones movements and clothing, but had zero emotion basically, it was like I was just observing through a looking glass kind of. This honestly scared the fuck out of me, but the scariest part of all was how I barely felt any emotion when looking or interacting with my family. They have for quite a while been the one of the only source of positive emotions for me, and when I couldn't feel anything from them I started getting really scared.
Thankfully after about an hour, after I ate and sort of calmed down a bit this feeling subsided, but not entirely, it was still there subtly, and now I was open to and aware of this weird new shift of conciousness I had never experienced before, and constantly worried whether I was "viewing things" correctly or if I was going insane. For the rest of the day it kind of lingered off and on, then at night it completely went away, and I felt normal again (this was after doing lots of deep calming breathing excersizes)
However the next morning after lying in bed anxious all night and barely sleeping at all even though I had not slept at all the night before It was back again in the morning, but not as much as the first day. I ate and tried to relax and focus on the conversation and again it subsided, but again lingered on and off sort of for the rest of the day. I kept questioning whether this was normal or not, but at least I could feel emotions towards my family.
That was last night. Today I finally got a sort of ok sleep ( about 6 hours of fragmented sleep) and felt mostly normal in the morning, although still felt it was very slightly there, but wasn't entirely sure.
Can anyone offer some insight into what may have happened here? I am very scared that I will have to deal with this regularely now, any time I get anxiety, and this is my new normal, just like when I had my first panic attack, and that became my new normal. Is that how this works? Once the "switch" gets flipped , then its easier to flip again?
Is there anything I can do to avoid ever having to feel that feeling again? It actually made me realize I didn't mind my constant anxiety, because at least with that I could feel something, instead of absolutely nothing.