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I am writing these lines because I am "clearer" again today and I know from my times with very strong derealisation symptoms how often I researched on the internet and the partly very negative reports of experiences influenced me in an unhealthy way. I am also writing these lines because I want to give you hope.

Briefly about myself: I am 26 years old today. I am from germany so sorry for my written English! I grew up as a very sensitive child, my parents were sometimes emotionally unavailable. Even then I was often anxious and felt left alone. With adolescence, drugs came into my life. Although I was not addicted, I think that also had an influence on my psychological development. In addition, I went through some traumatic experiences during that time, which I suppressed for many years with the greatest success. Later, when my life was a bit more orderly, the panic attacks came after an all-nighter (the first of my life), accompanied by my derealisation. The panic attacks gradually passed, partly because the derealisation became more and more chronic. The medication from a psychiatrist (tranquillisers and antidepressants) did not work at any time and I quickly stopped taking them. My condition was very bad in my darkest times, believe me. i don't want to trigger anyone, but we are talking about a massive derealization As a coping mechanism, I put myself under enormous pressure to perform; I always thought that if I tried harder and was "good" enough, the derealisation would go away. It took some time until I found a suitable psychotherapist.
After many sessions, I am now at a point that not so long ago I thought I would never get to. I feel feelings, I can name feelings, I know my limits, I no longer torture myself with my pressure to perform, I often feel clear and am often cheerful, liberated and optimistic. At the same time, derealisation peeks in from time to time, especially when I am overwhelmed, tired or overworked - but it no longer bothers me and there is no downward spiral, it no longer scares me! At no point do I want the experience, the often painful and hopeless time of derealisation, to be unforgotten. I have seen, lived through and learned things that I would like to pass on to you along the way.

1. help: you definitely need a good psychotherapist. I know that it is very difficult to find someone you feel comfortable with and who can deal with this condition. I didn't find the help I needed the first time either. It is up to you to find someone, to take the therapy seriously and to believe in it! That's where all your energy should go now! The sooner you find someone, the better. Recognised psychotherapies are not hocus-pocus, their effectiveness is scientifically proven. I think a lot of depth psychology/psychoanalytic approaches and less of behavioural therapy approaches. But that also depends on the type.
2. attitude: Derealisation is not your opponent, even though it certainly often feels that way. Derealisation (or depersonalisation) is a very important and useful protective mechanism of your psyche to deal with enormous anxiety/stress. Think of it like an autopilot that keeps you survivable when you are in a state of emergency. It's actually "built in" for that. It's your protective function that just goes a bit over the top. Many people feel this way from time to time and for a short time, but it doesn't scare them and then the feeling is gone again. There is good literature here that gives you scientific background.
3. Talk to people close to you: I know that talking about derealisation or depersonalisation is a bit tricky. The feeling is so diffuse, how can you explain it to people who have never felt it? But be honest with those around you, speak out about what a hard time you are having. The people who love you will try to be there for you, even if they may not understand the feeling. Don't seek distance, seek closeness.

4. Don't listen to the internet: I myself spent hours researching the worst horror stories on the internet which made me feel even more insecure=derealised. It was a vicious circle. All people can overcome prolonged derealisation - but those who have done it and are "lucid" again probably prefer to forget the time and don't post their "success" stories on the internet. All the forums and comment columns give a very distorted picture of a supposed insurmountability. I, too, haven't searched the internet for testimonials in ages, and I won't continue to do so. Stop doing this to yourself! Instead, deal with point 5:

5. what relaxes you: I have found things for myself that make me happy and relax me. For me, these are: my dog (I adopted him when I started to feel better), painting, walking, cycling, sorting things, going on (long) trips, gardening, baking bread, lying in the sun, lounging on the couch, watching documentaries about the deep sea and taking hot showers, etc. You have to find out for yourself. You have to find out for yourself. The best thing is to find activities where you can switch off, where you are distracted and where you like to think back. I myself forgot what I liked to do for a long time. I remembered that as a child I liked to go to the forest and paint, I tried it out and I (still) liked it. I also tried new things (including a lot of nonsense, trial and error).

6. live your life
: find a rhythm and don't retreat! A bit of structure gives you security in the beginning. But don't overdo it like I do. Eat healthy if you can, sleep enough and regularly, go for a walk or do your sports. Stop taking drugs (if you do) or drinking alcohol excessively. Take care of your body and mind. Even though it may take some effort at first, don't retreat to your bed! Go to school, university or work, you are not sick!

7. normalise derealisation: You often feel like you are the only person on this wide planet. This is not so, there are even films and popular literature about derealisation. I watched the film "Numb" and didn't feel so alone anymore. Murakami's protagonists sometimes experience feelings of depersonalisation or derealisation, without there being a focus on this theme in the books. But we are quickly back to points 4 and 5. Even if the film or books have helped me to normalise derealisation to some extent, there is much more in life that is so worth dealing with.

8. get to know yourself: Being a good companion to myself and knowing my own structures was a real gamechanger for me! I realised that I am a person who is rather anxious, tends to allow myself fewer feelings, wants to compensate for my inferiority complex through performance, doesn't like to set my limits, etc. pp. Of course I also have bad days, and that is part of life. Learn to know your "weaknesses" and deal with them. In the end, derealisation is only a symptom that wants to protect you with your unresolved issues. It belongs to you and wants to protect you. A useful thing that has escalated a bit and is now maybe your monster? I sometimes imagine my derealisation as in the picture below. But over time the monster became smaller and friendlier.

I didn't mean these lines to be so authoritarian as they sound haha. But I remembered how bad it was for me to read only negative experiences. Take these lines as a loving kick in the ass. Be kind to yourself and find peace with derealisation. All love.

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