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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. To be honest I've never written on a forum before and I'm not really sure what to write really. All I know is that about an hour ago I had the scariest existential terror episode attack (there's probably a more proper phrase describing this but for a lack of better words I'm gonna just call this feeling S.E.T.E) and what I immediately did was go to Google/YouTube and try to find others who are/have gone through this and try and find some comfort from their words, but to no avail. They all basically said the same thing: These thoughts are irrational. They are part of what you're going through. You'll overcome this. Just ignore them. Etc. These are all probably incredibly accurate and truthful sage tips, but when you're going through these existential crises you feel little impact. Not to say that these people don't help, I'm just saying that at the moment I didn't feel incredibly helped, which I guess is natural. I mean a single person's words aren't gonna cure you right away. But anyway, I was Googling and YouTubing how to overcome this scary shit and of course I came across this page. I read from DPSelfHelp for about a few weeks now, but I never really had the courage or the inspiration to really write about what I've been feeling or going through. But for some reason going through S.E.T.E made me want to start talking and typing about what I'm going through and what has been going through my mind this past month or so. I guess, I want to reach out and get as much help as I possibly can. I have no one else in my life that understands this feeling and what I'm going through, so why not try and talk to people who DO know what it's like going through this. And of course, I want to help others who are probably just as confused and lost and scared as me. I have gotten some comfort from other posts/YouTubers who have gone through this, and I guess I hope I can provide the same hope and comfort that those people have given me.

So I guess I'll start from the beginning, the conception of this hellish state of mind that is DP/DR.

Now my first stages of anxiety first began around senior year of high school, however they weren't as dramatic nor problematic as they are now. I suppose I suffered from social anxiety. I remember having moments of terrible nervousness and anxiety in certain classes, my hands sweat, I blushed like crazy, my throat got dry. This feeling would only really arise in certain classes and I remember quite frequently missing those classes because I was fearful of feeling the same way and I just had an overall fear of judgement and inferiority when attending said classes. Again I didn't consider these feelings to be terribly important or problematic. Sure I was nervous and socially anxious and awkward and shy, but what teenager wasn't?

Fast forward two years and a couple of months, I went to the doctor on May 5th, 2017. (I remember the exact date because it was my girlfriend's birthday.) I went in for a physical and also because I wanted to tell my doctor about these sort of discomforts and pains I had around my chest area. Now prior to this I thought the reason I had these pains was because I worked at FedEx for about 6 months carrying heavy ass packages for 5 hours a night and these discomforts were a cause of probably some inflammation or something. However, she checked me out and the doctor told me she found a little thickness in my heart. Now this freaked me out because even though I had this thought of that it was simply a result of me working a hard labor job, I also was nervous that I could've had some heart tumor or rare heart condition that would basically kill me anytime soon. So as soon as she found some irregularity, I freaked out. I started Googling what having a thick heart meant and I read some articles on how it decreases blood flow to the heart or something, honestly I forgot, it isn't that important anyway. Point is, it made me more anxious because now I felt that my preconceived beliefs that something was wrong with me and that I could die came true.

Shortly after I started having panic attacks. They happened a lot more than I would like I'd say maybe one every other day? Honestly I can't recall too well. But I think most of them were caused by the fact that I would feel these pains and discomforts in my chest and I would just freak out about them. I had them frequently for about 2-3 weeks or so. But the last one before becoming derealized-depersonalized was the worst. It was so bad I ended up going to the Emergency Room. And of course, they found nothing wrong with my heart or blood or anything. I was basically okay and I kinda figured that out an hour or so into waiting in the emergency room because the feeling like i was having a heart attack subsided and I was fine. Anyway, I felt a bit of comfort knowing was really wrong with my health. I still had some skepticism but for the most part I just figured I just had a panic attack and that was it.

Two days later I went out to my stepbrother's place to go to church and to hang out afterwards, go to the beach, etc. Now the day started out a bit uneasy. For one, I'm not really a believer so going to mass wasn't really something I looked forward to. I told my parents I felt a bit anxious and that I would just wait outside from them. They understood and so I waited outside. From the very beginning of the day I felt a bit off, nothing like feeling derealized but I felt scared I suppose. I took a walk by this river near the church and I was constantly scared that I would have a panic attack and I won't be able to breathe and I'll have a heart attack and no one will find me etc. I didn't have a panic attack until I walked back into this waiting hall in the church and I was approached by some odd man who wanted to convert me. (My step sister in law told him I wasn't really a believer, so I suppose he wanted to convert me) Now I could get into this in a different post but for now I just wanted to say that alone made me feel very uneasy and while he talked to me I had about a one minute panic attack that absolutely paralyzed me. He of course didn't notice.

After church I went to my step brother's house and while I was there I got in a bit of a fight with my girlfriend and that really made me feel like shit for the rest of the day. I felt so sad and lonely and down and anxious that I actually went into my stepbrother's restroom and cried and wrote a paragraph of how shitty and lonely and neglected I felt on my private instagram page. After that I got out and went throughout the day just feeling like shit. I wasn't really happy. I was mainly scared. I dont remember of what exactly. It could've been fear of losing my girlfriend, or the fear of another panic attack, or some other thing. I have no idea, but for the rest of the day I felt nothing but fear, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness.

Now, to the part where I became derealized/depersonalized. I was out with my family eating at some restaurant and for the first 30 mins I was kind of okay. I was chilling, I think I was a bit nervous or concerned or sad, but nothing too extreme. But suddenly as I was sitting down eating my pizza, I felt this odd feeling like I was about to have a panic attack. It's really hard to recall what led up to that moment specifically, but I can vaguely remember suddenly feeling very nervous and off. And then suddenly *Boom* I went to dream world. Holy shit was this experience the oddest thing ever. I felt so detatched and so odd, I literally felt like I was thrusted into a dream. Everything was suddenly scary, unreal, terrifying. I told my mom to walk me to the car. I wanted to go lay down and be alone and cry because I was so scared and off I felt that was the best thing to do. As soon as I got to the car I started crying and sent my girlfriend a video of me telling her I love her because I felt this was the end of me, that I suddenly lost my sense of perception and livelihood and that from that point on I would be crazy forever. So I wanted to sort of tell her I loved her before my sense of self died I suppose.

My mom went back to my dad and told him we should go home because I'm clearly going through this panicked state and it'd be best if I went back to the comfort of my home. So we did and on the ride back I tried to fall asleep to hopefully discard this feeling. I did but of course it didn't go away. That night I cried alongside my mom, I started telling her how sorry I was for being such a shit son and that I hope I don't go crazy and that I hope this isn't permanent. I hoped the next day I would feel better but of course, I didn't lol. The next week or so was hell. I cried everyday, every second of every day was just agonizing pain, I was depressed, crying, I thought this feeling would never go away, I was constantly thinking about it, I was constantly in a state of panic and stress and depression and I thought I wouldn't have made it past that week. I tried reaching several therapists and psychiatrists however none of them could give me a soon enough date. I had to wait about a week to see a psychiatrist and another week to see a therapist. I went to the psychiatrist and sure enough he told me what I had was anxiety/depression. At first I felt a bit better, knowing that these symptoms were simply a result of anxiety/depression. He gave me medication and I thought, that's great, I'll take these and I'll get better in no time. I felt a bit happy that day. But, I slowly started to think about my symptoms and the medicine I was prescribed. I started googling my symptoms that day and I read about others who were going through what I was going through, and I found someone who felt the same word for word exact way I felt. I was kind of relieved knowing this wasn't exclusive to me, but I was also terrified because the person I read that post from said he had been experiencing this feeling for weeks and weeks and they still haven't gone away, not even the medicine he was prescribed helped. Once I got a hold of the medicine I was given a list of all the side effects and that gave me immense anxiety. I didn't really want to take medication to begin with but I was in so much pain I would've done anything to relieve it. But upon reading the side effects and realizing that these medicines may not even work and that they can make my symptoms even worse, I decided not to take them.

At that time the term depersonalization/derealization were not mentioned in that post I read so I had no idea what to call this feeling. But eventually I googled and youtubed these sensations and suddenly I found what I had been feeling. Now to be honest I was and still kinda am skeptical that what i have is derealization/depersonalization. For starters I haven't been diagnosed with depersonalization disorder, but it's the closest description to what I've been feeling. I feel emotionally numb, what I loved to do before has suddenly lost its significance in a sense. I still laugh and stuff, but I don't feel like it's genuine or real. I used to love playing the guitar, but now when I pick it up I don't feel the same. I still play but when I play I feel like I'm doing it without purpose. I hug my mother and talk to my girlfriend, but I still feel like I'm not there. I feel like when I hug my mother I don't appreciate it as much as I would before. Same with my girlfriend. We're long distance lovers and before when we would call and Skype I felt like I was there and I felt more focused and in the moment. But now when we chat I feel off and I know I love her and if it weren't for this feeling I would definitely love her, but nonetheless I feel like I don't fully appreciate nor love her as much as I should/could. I also feel sort of distanced from everything in the external world. Like I see my house and the things inside it, and I remember all the other times I would walk in and see everything and look at them and be like "yeah those belong there and yeah this is my house" but now I suddenly feel like they're surreal. I feel like perhaps they're not really there or they just seem so fucking off. It's hard to explain but everything feels a bit more foreign than usual. Another thing is that I have brain fog, my mind isn't nearly as sharp as it used to be. I forget things easily, my mind goes a bit blank sometimes, I'm easily distracted, I feel that the world I'm looking at is a bit fuzzier than how it used to be. I also overanalyze every action I take. Like if I'm writing or watching a movie I suddenly think, "did I just do that? was that real?" I think about everything I do a bit more seriously than I used to. Before I would write and that was the end of it, but now I write and I'm just like, "did that just happen? are my thoughts even mine anymore? am i just writing nonsense on a page? etc." I also have a bit of obsessive/intrusive thoughts. I more or less constantly think about how I'm feeling, or I think about certain thoughts that make me uncomfortable, I'm usually thinking about ways to get better, if I'm going to get better, how I'm going to get better, what if I'm an exception, what if I go crazy, what if i have this condition for decades, what vitamins should I take, and the list goes on and on. I think and I'm more conscious of my thoughts than I used to be. I think I read somewhere that the average human has 64,000 thoughts each day and 90% of those thoughts are just bs that people just never pay attention and they go completely unnoticed. But for me, I feel like I notice and am aware of 90% of those thoughts that go through my head. I feel very detatched and I don't like saying I feel like I live in a dream world but for a lack of a better word I'll say yeah I feel like a robot living in a dream world. And of course I have gotten anxiety and worry from those dreadful existential thoughts. The thoughts that ultimately lead me to make this post. I feel they're pretty standard. What if I'm living in a dream? What if what I'm going through is just how I was programmed? What if I develop solipsism syndrome? (A new fear of mine) What if I never get back to reality? What is reality? Am I even real? Is any of this even real? It doesn't feel real so, maybe it isn't. Mind you, I've had existential thoughts before but never gave me nearly as much anxiety as they do now.

So those are basically my symptoms. Now again I feel like I'm not sure what I have exactly, but based on my research and just the definition of DP/DR i feel this is what I am experiencing. I figured I got it because of my panic attacks and the fact that I had GAD. I heard that DP/DR can only be caused by childhood trauma? Which also worries but the thing is I dont remember any trauma, really, I mean i had a verbally and emotionally abusive father, but I didn't feel his abuse until I was maybe 12 or 13? And even then he didn't rape me or beat me to a bloody pulp, so I don't know. Maybe traumatic is subjective but I mean the worst feeling I've experienced from him was when I was 19 and he tried to intimidate/ scare me by putting a drill on my stomach. He did it with malice and it honestly made me feel like shit and I even cried. Before he made me cry and he hit me every now and then, but again it was nothing that I considered overwhelmingly traumatic.

Well I guess that's all I can write for now. I apologize that this is so long but I felt the need to be as thorough as possible. I would love to engage in conversations with you so we could help each other and well get through this hell together :) Please DM or comment or whatever if you want to get a hold of me or ask me further questions. Thank you!
 

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Hard to read all that now but the jist of it sounds like it was anxiety and depression induced.. perhaps stemming from childhood abuse. Whether you consider it mild or severe, it still effects you and may well have lead to you developing anxiety, depression and low self esteem.
It sounds very sudden and recent so my advice for now would be try to rest. Give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for having these thoughts or those. Allow your mind to do what it wants and take your hands off the wheel. That can be scary but your mind needs a break. And most importantly, give it time. You may well wake up fine tomorrow. Or it may last a little longer. But try not to get in the habit of being in a rush to get better. That only makes these things worse in my opinion. Dont poke the wound, let it heal
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hard to read all that now but the jist of it sounds like it was anxiety and depression induced.. perhaps stemming from childhood abuse. Whether you consider it mild or severe, it still effects you and may well have lead to you developing anxiety, depression and low self esteem.
It sounds very sudden and recent so my advice for now would be try to rest. Give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for having these thoughts or those. Allow your mind to do what it wants and take your hands off the wheel. That can be scary but your mind needs a break. And most importantly, give it time. You may well wake up fine tomorrow. Or it may last a little longer. But try not to get in the habit of being in a rush to get better. That only makes these things worse in my opinion. Dont poke the wound, let it heal
Thank you so much! I don't know if it was solely childhood abuse however because I wasn't abused so frequently or dramatically. However, maybe you're right and I'll be sure to deal with these issues with my therapist. But I also feel it's a mixture of issues at home, stress from other issues in my life that I failed to mention, and panic attacks. I heard you can get DP/DR from prolonged stress and anxiety so I think that's most likely it. Your advice is really helpful and I appreciate it. I also wanted to ask how should I deal with existential thoughts? I feel those are issues that if I don't treat correctly, will prolong my DP/DR so I just want to know the best course of action to take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, I apologize for the ridiculously long essay, I didn't realize I wrote this much haha. I really wanted to be as thorough as possible. There's actually a lot more I want to say but perhaps I'll discuss all that in a separate post.
 

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You could always join the Marine Corps, and all your current problems will be minimalized. The Marines won't give you time to research your afflictions, which might be a good thing. And, they will replace your abusive father with an abusive father figure. Semper Fidelis!
 

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Existential thoughts are not too much of a problem. You just tell yourself they are, and what we resist persists. Over thinking to me is a symptom of emotional distress. So we often look at the problem the wrong way round. Your emotionally distressed so you think of ways out. Also because you are feeling that way you assume the reason must be something that's happening a lot. So we blame thought. Focus on feeling and calming any emotions in you. And also focus on air hunger, the sensation to breath, and don't control the breath. Something else I am toying with. But the main thing is to feel and distract yourself from thinking by feeling
 

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P.s. it sounds like your father was WAY more abusive than you are realising or able to admit at the moment. Not that blame is helpful, but honesty about that and the way it affected you would definitely help being discussed in therapy
 
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