Hi, everyone -- sorry if this is super long but please stick with me.
I am 15 and I have been suffering from depersonalization since fourth grade.
Even though I have been trying on and off for years to sort everything out I have never been able to find a direct connection between any of my seemingly random symptoms and am finally taking the plunge to share my story with a community that might be able to understand.
I guess I should begin when my life began -- I was born to amazing parents in a pretty amazing situation... there was never anything weird or dangerous about my life at all, nothing going on with my family; we lived in the same house, we have a great dog, I have friends, and up until last year I went to public school with all of them. I was a carefree child, minus the occasional tantrum or sass to my mom. In elementary school, I was creative (had an "overactive imagination") and smart, sweet to the teachers... I remember everything pretty well up until the black hole that should be grade four. There is no apparent cause for this but so many little things happened that year that psychiatrists insist was "inflicted by a traumatic experience" that I can't help wondering. I have grilled my parents and they genuinely insist that nothing happened.
The summer before fourth grade, I was at the beach with my extended family (an annual vacation to spend some time at the coast with my cousins) and it is the first time I can remember getting DP. I was standing at the base of a cliff with my aunt and looking up at the rocks and something sort of shifted in my gaze. I wasn't quite sure what it was as there was nothing explainably different about how everything looked but at the time I was taken aback. I had asked my aunt if the rocks looked "3D" any more than usual for lack of a better term and she said no, suggesting that maybe our eyes saw differently.
Over the next couple of weeks, I would wake up with this feeling in the morning and complain to my mom and dad about it, sometimes describing it as "still dreaming" and sometimes as "seeing the edge of the puzzle but not the middle". They took me to see an ophthalmologist who had no idea what to say as both my far-sight and short-sight was better than perfect. From then on, DP settled in and became a so far permanent (and greatly unwanted) resident.
That year, as I said, many little things happened that I barely remember but were pretty big parts of my life. I started having these wicked tantrums that I felt like I couldn't control during which I would threaten my parents, be violent to them and myself, scream, throw, break; the works. It scared me and it scared them and sometimes it scared the neighbors. My dad told me that that was the first time I threatened to kill myself jumping off the banister in our house. I don't remember that. I had ridiculous dreams almost every night-- they were rarely bad, just more vivid and sensational than they had ever been; tastes, smells, music, and sometimes they foreshadowed events that happened the following day. I developed a strong sense of vibes from objects, people and locations that would correctly push me toward or pull me away from them. I started getting migraine headaches so bad every few weeks that I would vomit. I started having focusing problems in class. I became very superstitious and made bets with myself all the time (if he looks up before 12:43 I should stay away from the cafeteria today...ETC). The worst part in all this was that I wanted it all to go away but it wouldn't, because a veil we now understand to be depersonalization was holding me back.
Besides the fact that I no longer get headaches or have such extreme tantrums, all of those things continue to this day. My parents, trying so hard to understand and bring me back, took me to all sorts of help. I saw therapists, phycologists, psychiatrists, meditation and mindfulness instructors, attended anger management counseling... nothing seemed to help. I got tested at a children's mental health clinic a few summers ago for an array of problems (one big true and false test); ADD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and paranoid schizophrenia, OCD, and several other things I cannot remember. The results were absolutely clean. After years of feverish googling, my mom finally found this website. At least then we knew what I was suffering from had a name.
I felt as though I needed a change at the beginning of high school and was able to get a scholarship to a boarding school. When I came here, the DP, vibes, and dreams seemed to be greatly heightened. It was kind of weird and scary but also kind of fascinating. I saw another counselor who tried to do mindfulness with me and was unsuccessful. He told me it would take time and even then it would be hit and miss as there is no ultimate or understandable "cure" for DP. This was really, really, really frustrating.
And here we are today. I still feel pretty alone with this and still have no idea if it will ever go away. I hate living every day behind this window of DP. Sometimes I try to open my eyes really hard or close them and tell myself that after I take three deep breaths I'll be better. Of course, when I open them again, the world feels the same. On the outside I am a typical teenager, but when I can sit back and think, the inside is not the same at all.
I have never spoken to someone like me, someone who understands what it feels like.
Does anyone have the other stuff besides DP or is that just me?
Thanks for being there.... I hope this works out