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Okay, so I'll start off by saying I was on this forum every day 10 months ago. Every. Single. Day. Looking for a way out of the hell that is depersonalisation/derealisation.

This is the first time I have been on this forum for 7 months.

TW// Experience and symptoms

My DPDR started back in November 2020. I had a massive panic attack out of nowhere whilst I was cooking dinner and all of a sudden felt like I was living in a dream state. From then on I couldn't sleep, eat or breathe properly. I felt so anxious. It was like a constant panic attack. I couldn't recognise my family or my surroundings. I ended up in A&E after three days where the doctor gave me some Valium to calm me down. Nothing changed though, besides being able to sleep.

I had constant DPDR for five months. More DR than DP I would say, but they are equally as terrifying. I struggled to go outside. Most of the time I didn't. I didn't see my friends. I stayed in my room. Even the sound of my mother's voice sent a surge of anxiety through my body. It was honestly terrifying. I thought my life was over. I was actually convinced maybe I'd already died.

Recovery!!<3

The first thing I did was get in touch with a therapist. I know this is probably quite a privileged thing to say but having therapy twice a week helped me immensely. It wasn't too expensive, £40 a session due to COVID-19. A lot of therapists in the UK had their rates discounted because of the mental toll of the pandemic.

The second thing I did was speak to my doctor. He didn't know much about depersonalisation, which was the general response from most people anyway, but he prescribed me Beta Blockers and 20mg Citalopram. They didn't really do much for the DPDR but they did keep my anxiety at bay, which I suppose, did help with the DPDR symptoms in the long run.

Thirdly, distraction. Get off these forums. I spent every single day on these forums. Here, and on Reddit. On YouTube. On the DP Manual or Jordan Hargraves website. Yes, it feels good to read recovery stories. It instills that bit of hope that you will recover when you feel like you're in the thick of it. But it only takes one comment from someone underneath saying 'they've had it for twenty years' to throw you back into the pits of despair. Also, a free little bit of advice from therapy, you're constantly triggering your fight or flight response when engaging in these discussions with people who are also unwell. Get away from it. Focus on relaxing your body and mind.

Fourth thing.. somatic exercise. Trauma is stored in the body as well as the mind. Get yourself running 3K every few days. Do some crunches, some sit-ups. Anything. Breathing exercises, Yoga, TRE exercises. They do help. Your body needs a release as much as your brain does.

Finally, distraction. At first, I thought it was impossible. I spent every waking moment thinking about how DPDR was ruining my life. How can you distract yourself from something that is constantly there? I thought that too, 100%. The weird thing is that I can't even remember how I stopped thinking about it and started to think about normal day-to-day stuff again. It just.. happened. I started seeing my friends more. Yeah, I felt weird at first. I would only go out for an hour and drank decaf coffee but slowly I pushed through it and started to spend more time out with friends and doing different things.

It's been ten months since the initial DPDR happened. The only thing I still suffer from now is lingering unease sometimes and some intrusive thoughts. I have anxiety anyway, so this is expected. I'm not comparing my recovery time to anybody else's. I live a full life now. I go out all the time. I drink normal coffee. I drink alcohol. I go to clubs. I see big groups of friends and family. It does not affect me in the way that it did before.

I probably will never be the person I was before suffering from DPDR, but that's just life. You can't go through big challenges like this and come out the other side the same as you were before. It just doesn't work like that. My perception of life has changed probably forever, but I am so utterly grateful for the connection I feel again. A few intrusive thoughts or a couple of bad days are not enough to ruin that.

You will get through it. Get off the forums, reading the horror stories about people who have had it for years. It's such a shame, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but reading about it will not help you.

Recovery is a slow process but it's not impossible. There's no one cure. Every individual experience will be different. I feel like I have recovered from the severity of DPDR. It's a traumatic experience so things will linger for a bit. Just allow it. It's all a process.
 

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I've never heard of any therapy to "cure" it. I began having chronic DP/DR 40 years ago at age 14. I just learned to accept the symptoms. I've always had ongoing anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder). I also get panic attacks. Often Depersonalization is the result of ongoing anxiety over a period of time.
 
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