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New on here have been reading comments a while

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Hello, I am a new member been reading some posts but never commented.

I am not sure if I have DPDR or not. Since I was a child I have experiences episodes of feeling unreal and altered environment such as things seeming flat and the world seeming disconnected and unable to take part. I am now 35 and about a week ago I started my latest episode.

This time the DR symptoms seem quite mild some changes I think due to heightened senses. I feel hollow and disconnected from myself. Disconnected from other including family and children which is hard. The main symptom however, is a constant and persistent sense/feeling that the world is not real I can't shrug it off or reason it away. I feels like a part of my brain has been switched on and is constantly seeping this idea into my head. I guess it is this is anxiety thoughts or feelings but I can't shake off, it feels like it is apart of me, like I can't convince myself it is a symptom of anxiety or DPDR. This can lead becoming overwhelmed by my own consciousness.

This episode is the first time I have spoke to people about it and it is the first time I have sought help for it. I thought 35 years of internalising all these problems is long enough. So I am trying to make a conscious effort to be more engaged with others about this finally see if I can tackle it, so any comments and discussion will be great.
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Hi Burglecuts21,

It is good that you are finally sharing how you feel, and I also hope that you have a good therapist to talk to.

Dissociation that comes and goes, as you describe it, is the coping mechanism that we usually start using in childhood, and reach for it every time we are overwhelmed by something going on in the present, that triggers this response.

I am not inclined to think about it being caused (just) by anxiety, even though it goes hand in hand with it, but that is just my opinion, based on reading to the latest trauma therapy research (such as Janina Fisher, Bessel van der Kolk, Ellert Nijenhuis, Onno van der Hart and Kathy Steele, Peter Levine, Pat Ogden and others). I believe it is more complex than just anxiety response, and has to do with some sort of alienation or detachment from aspects of ourselves. It is a mechanism that we were forced to develop in order to endure conditions that have been traumatic to us in some way, when we were kids. What is traumatic to each one of us is a very subjective thing, so don't think of it in terms of big can be a repeated small t trauma, that persuaded you that you were not good enough, or any other sort of false core belief...

Anyway, just like you, I also realized that a big part of self-care in terms of dissociation (including DPDR) is reaching out to other people, knowing that you are not alone, feeling some sense of community with others...not necessarily only with the DP sufferers, but also with other people who are kind and validating, and understanding of what you are going through.

I hope you will find the support that you deserve:)

Take care,

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Hey Burglecuts,

Yes, I think I was fortunate in finding good therapists, as I had two by now.

The first one was a psychiatrist, and also a very good diagnostician whose approach is CBT. He dx me with Depersonalization and derealization disorder, and later with Dissociative amnesia, among other things (I also had GAD, depression at one point, and somatization), but that was even before I was aware of the fact that dissociative disorders stemming from early childhood are linked to trauma. We reached the root cause of my dissociation in therapy, but I was not able to move on, even though I had periods of being highly functional in my professional life, interchanging with periods of a very low functioning.

The second therapist I found recently is a psychologist, whose approach is REBT, but I found him by explicitly looking for an EMDR therapist. EMDR is one of few approaches (besides Somatic experiencing by Peter Levine, or somatic or Sensorimotor psychotherapy by Pat Ogden), that is efficient in treating trauma, but it is not solely used for that. I am very satisfied with how it goes.

In the meantime, I decided that dx, as helpful as it is at the moment one experiences all the weight of a condition that is unknown and scary, does not define us. The main thing I learned, both in CBT, and now in EMDR, and also from reading a lot of the latest research on dissociation (including DPDR) and trauma, is that I have been badly hurt in my formative years (think of betrayal of trust, or the loss of secure attachment, beside other things), and the result of that is a coping mechanism that has been blown out of proportion, and that mechanism is dissociation.

Now, I cannot know the type of problems you face, where they stem from, and what the right therapy would be for you, but I wholeheartedly recommend EMDR for people who had, as I did, problems with depression, anxiety, addictive or obsessive behavior (that in itself is actually soothing behavior, as an attempt to establish some sort of control in the situation one feels helpless or powerless or an attempt to distract oneself - well, I had more distraction than addiction, really, as I was a workaholic, and I never used any substances, no drugs, no alcohol), dissociative disorders, and particularly with some sort of somatization (such as inexplicable pains, tics etc.).

I also relied a lot on online communities, in particular when my anxiety and DP prevented me from reaching out to people irl.

I know it is very difficult to connect to anyone when you already feel disconnected from the closest people in your life. There is a number of posts in this forum that give very good advice as to how to stay grounded as much as it is possible, how to maintain some healthy habits, and how to endure the worst times that depersonalization and derealization can bring about...Hope you will find something to relate to.

Take care,

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