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So I've decided to start a blog on this site. I'll be posting how I feel, how I'm coping and so on and so on and even if nobody ever reads this, writing it down can help me sometimes, so it has some sort of purpose.

Firtly, I should introduce myself. My name is Ben, I am 19 an live in Germany. I've been a hypochondriac for almost 10 years now, I had and pretty much overcame social anxiety during my time at high school and currently I am in a state of depersonalization, where I'm not even sure I exist. I don't believe my DP is drug induced; the last time I smoked weed I got a pleasant high, enjoyed myself and felt completely normal the next morning.

This current phase of DP started about a month ago. I was in the process of enrolling at university after one long year of unemployment and not being in any form of school. After I finished school in the beginning of 2013 I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer, so I searched for work placements or university courses that would work with photography. I found some, applied and got declined from all of them. Any photographers who were willing to take me on as an intern had ridiculous requirements such as working unpaid, Montay to Saturday from 9am to 10pm while paying for transport costs (bus and train tickets) myself. Obviously that would have been very stressful and also unsustainable with no income. So after searching for good places to work towards my dream for many months, I gave up and totally succumbed to a life of video games and junk food. The only times I got out of the house was in the evenings when I went out with some of my friends, drinking or to a club or both. My cigarette intake increased greatly over the year and I became a bit of a smoker. I can still go long periods without smoking but I feel my dependence on nicotine if I don't have a cigarette for over a week.
My sleeping pattern also moved back over time. While I was at school I usually went to bed around midnight and got up between 6 and 7 am, still feeling a bit tired every day but everything was fine. After school finished I started going to bed at 3, then 4, then 5, as I had nothing to do in the morning that I'd have to be awake for. Now, just as I'm about to start going to university, I can not sleep before 6 am. I am scared of going to bed earlier and I don't know why. In fact, last night (Or rather this morning) I didn't sleep until around 8 am. As I am writing this it is 4:34 am.

My hypochondria started around 2004 (I remember drinking herbal tea to calm my nerves while watching the Olympics in Athens on the TV). I was only 9 years old at the time. I constantly feared the most ridiculous things, such as suddenly going blind or deaf. Whenever I heard the name of a disease on TV or the radio, I immediately had that disease. My grandmother was watching a soap opera set in a hospital and there was a patient who they suspected to have Ebola. I straight away believed that I was also infected.
Nowadays I still fear diseases, but I know that I can't get Ebola out of nowhere without coming in contact with someone who is infected and I also know I can't just turn blind on the spot unless someone points a laser at my eyes. Now, especially with the symptoms of DP/DR, I fear such things as brain tumors or multiple sclerosis. Things that are still unlikely, but not impossible to get. And lately I've been scared of psychosis, schizophrenia or amnesia, all thanks to DP.

I mentioned above that my current state of DP started when I went to university to enroll. I had all my documents filled out, I had confirmation by the university that I was accepted to the courses I picked (English and German) and all I needed to do was hand in my forms. However there was some uncertainty with my health insurance documents, meaning I had to go there two days in a row. I was still in my sleeping pattern of 5 am to 1 pm, so naturally I was very tired when I got up at 8:30 on the Monday. I tried going to bed earlier the night before, but I only managed to fall asleep around 4:30, so I had 4 hours of sleep. But, I thought, that would make me more tired in the evening and maybe I'd be able to sleep even earlier that night. And I did, I fell asleep around 3 am, the earliest in a long time. I got up at 8:30 again, wen to university and returned home arount three hours later. I was really tired, but I thought it was simply down to my change in sleeping patterns and I'd just roll with it. But on top of that I was worried by a pain that had been with me for a few days. My shoulder was hurting in a very strange way, where the pain would extend down my arm and into my fingertips. I thought it was probably a trapped nerve or something like that, but being the hypochondriac that I am, I attributed it to the most unlikely of possibilities: a pancoast tumor. That is a very rare form of lung tumor which forms in the tips of the lung, causing shoulder and arm pain and resulting in the arm going completely numb within days. So on top of being tired I had that on my mind. PLUS just a few days before there was a fight within my circle of friends. I don't know if it contributed at all to my current state as the argument was pretty much resolved immediately and any feuds I had were settled merely hours after they begun, but perhaps my subconscious was brooding on it more than I thought.
Anyway, the third day, Wednesday, I didn't have to get up early, but I thougt I'd still try and sleep before 5, and it worked. I slept around 2:30 and awoke at 9 am without the help of my alarm clock. I thought for a few seconds that I had finally managed to go back to a fairly normal sleeping pattern. I still felt tired though and that feeling was to stay with me for two weeks. No matter how well I slept, I was tired constantly and slowly I felt the derealization creeping up on me, as it does when you're tired. Plus I was still worrying about that shoulder pain. However after a week the pain eased and only came back a few times, yet the tiredness remained. And I had nothing to do to distract me. My friends were either on holiday or busy working all day. So I stayed home. Usually I would have played video games or watched TV, but I couldn't. I just couldn't concentrate on anything and I seemd to have lost the motivation, too. The games I'd usually enjoy playing just didn't bother me anymore. I started them a few times, thinking maybe the fun would come while I played, but it didn't, resulting in me turning them off again after only a few minutes. I felt drained of any emotion. That was the point where the tiredness slowly turned into full DP. I had panic attacks almost every night, thinking I was losing my mind. But then I started feeling different. I started feeling more awake, but still strange. I wasn't tired anymore, I had the feeling that I couldn't feel anything. I thought of my friends, I felt nothing. I thought of someone I had a crush on, I felt nothing. I thought of something sad, I felt nothing. I couldn't even picture faces properly anymore. Then I thought "I should be alarmed by this, why am I not scared?" I wasn't scared. I felt absolutely nothing. I had lost all my emotions. I went to sleep eventually. That was the point where the tiredness went completely and DP kicked in in all its beauty.
I wasn't sure of who I was anymore. I didn't know who or what was real, if anything was real. I looked at things, they seemed too far away. My arm felt too light to actually belong to me. My head on the other hand felt as heavy as a stone. I couldn't see properly, I couldn't hear as well as before, either. I couldn't get up to do anything as I saw no point. I didn't know what time was, it could have been early morning in winter or late afternoon in the summer, I couldn't tell. Something that happened an hour ago may have been last year and something I did last March could have been yesterday. My brain felt like it was made of cotton. I went on like this for about two weeks, until one afternoon I stood in my kitchen, making myself some dinner and I just fell down, crying. My mother came in and calmed me down, but I couldn't take it anymore. The same evening I went to a birthday party. I was very anxious of going there, keeping in mind my nervous breakdown mere hours ago. But it was one of the best evenings I'd had in a long time. I woke up the next morning not feeling extremely good, but better than other mornings. I was still worrying about what I had though, I was convinced I had a brain tumor. So I went to the doctor and he said he saw no signs that would indicate such a thing and the symptoms I listed were all anxiety and panic related. He told me to seek out a psychiatrist that I thought suited me and try starting therapy. So I sought one out and got the nearest possible appointment. Too bad it's in November.

I've been feeling better the past few weeks, my emotions aren't gone. When I spoke to my best friend about my condition and about how I hope he won't think I'm crazy or something like that, he told me that he loved me like a twin brother and how much he cares for me, which made me feel really happy to have a friend like him and I felt mutual friendship/love.
In fact just two nights ago I almost thought my DP was completely gone. However now I'm here again, everything looking kind of 2D, feeling unreal again. I don't know if this is just a setback or I've slipped into it again from drinking alcohol those two nights ago. I didn't get drunk so I don't know why that should have any effect. I did however start getting a strange headache that evening, so maybe worrying about that triggered it again. The headache is still there. I'm going to the doctor again on Monday, hoping he can help me get an appointment that isn't two months away and also ruling out ANY other diseases or conditions that might be causing my symptoms.

So if anyone read this, thank you for taking the time. If you have similar probelms, feel free to message me and talk to me about them, maybe we can get through this together. I'll probably post here every few days, updaing the blog about how I'm feeling, if I'm making any recovery. But for now I've written enough.

Keep on keeping on!


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Wendy
Sep 14 2014 02:57 PM

Thanks for posting your story; it's always great to be able to relate to someone and I definitely relate to his story.

I'm a hypochondriac myself, for years of my life, and I struggle with self-diagnosis of diseases constantly. Obsessive-compulsive disorder causes it and that's nearly incapacitated me at times, so I know we're you're coming from with the hypochondria. Hopefully you can get that appointment sooner and I also hope that it goes very well for you!
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We'll all get through this; keep us updated and thanks for writing!



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asdfyoyoyo
Sep 22 2014 08:43 AM

hey dude, i read your story, can relate, keep up the fight. I'm from germany, too! Wish you all the best.
 
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