I have seen a number of posts (new members) looking for symptoms of depersonalization and how to cope with it. Here are my symptoms and how I am coping. I hope this is a help to someone as I understand how scary this can be especially if you are new to this. Please feel free to message me if you need someone to talk too. I have had this hell for nine months now, although it feels more like nine years. I have found alot of techniques to help cope mentally and emotionally with this condition. (please scroll to the bottom of how I have found a coping technique that is proven to work if you're aware of the symptoms)
I am no stranger to disassociation, I have suffered it on and off for six years after suffering PTSD. I have never experienced depersonalization till now, but I have suffered derealzation for years on and off, long periods of it and some short. My longest episode was six months and it was horrendous but that was because I was too afraid to ask for help as I was somewhat convinced I had gone crazy. Nine months ago depersonalization set in after suffering constant anxiety and panic attacks, as you can imagine because I have not suffered this before I have found it the most scariest thing, but slowly and surly I have found ways of coping mentally until this episode comes to an end. Believe me, you're not going crazy or loosing your marbles, this is something our minds do to help us cope, it won't hurt you at all. Understanding this condition is the key to your recovery. I really hope this helps!
Okay, so these are my symptoms, I have these 24/7 chronic.
1. Perception of reality has changed
I feel like I have lost all perception to reality, everything is strange to me; my home, my family, my body, my mind, my surroundings, It is very hard to explain but it feels like there is something inbetween me and reality, like a block of some sort. Some days it is not that bad and I feel somewhat of a connection but then some days I feel nothing but a total stranger. Also the world feels very different, the world seem's so strange and distorted.
2. A stranger to my memories, my self and my body/ time perception
I got this symptoms six months into depersonalization. This for me feels like my memories are fake, not mine, mixed up, unattainable and the time perception of my memories is all over the place. Something that has happened three months ago feels like six years ago and something that happened , I feel like everything I have done in life never happened. It's so messed up.
3. My body feel robotic (autopilot) I feel like I know how to control my body, but I don't know how I'm doing it. It is like I am not present in my body but I am fully aware of how to control it. A good example of this is like now I am typing on my laptop but I feel I am not controlling my fingers when they're typing, I don't know how I am doing it but I know how to do it. The best way to describe it is feeling like you're not in your body, but your body is on autopilot 24/7.
4. Body feeling numb but it is not numb. Some call it a soul less feeling, but for me I am aware I am in my body and when I pinch it I can feel it, I can feel pain and everything, but mentally my body is numb. Again, just like every other million symptoms of depersonalization, it is VERY HARD to describe it unless you have first hand experienced it yourself. Alot of people call this the minds way of keeping your body safe, it is a mental local anaesthetic. I have this all the time, but it particularly gets worst if I have panic or anxiety attacks.
5. Limbs feel odd and out of place.
The best way I can describe this is that I look at my legs and they feel like they're not attached to my body at all, like from the waist down it's not my body. Like I could stand up and my legs would still be there on the floor. This is the most screwed up symptom but it is all part and parcel of the cut of connection and it is 100 percent harmless.
6. Thoughts feel strange and foreign, unable to recognise my own voice in my head
7. Looking at past events, photo's etc and not being able to connect myself to myself or how I felt back then.
8. Unable to remember what normality feels like
9. Feeling high and stoned. This was one of my very first symptoms but I do not have this chronic it comes and goes but comes on bad when I am anxious or have panic attacks.
10. Existential thought, intrusive thoughts, racing thoughts.
These are all the symptoms of my depersonalization. They're horrible and it can be very hard to deal with this as I have this chronic. For me, the feeling of not being in control is the hardest and at first I could not deal with this, I fell into deep depression within the first 4 months of suffering this horrible condition, but through the power of writing and opening up on this forum, it has helped me tremendously cope with this. It's not easy and there are days when I just want to give up and yes I get suicidal thoughts because sometimes it becomes just too much to deal with especially when you're so desperate for a mental break from it. You're not alone & you will get better. After my six month episode of derealazation a few years ago one day it just went for good and it was like my life had been given back to me, I have ever hope that the same will happen this time around. It takes time, hurdles, tears and cope ability but I promise you it will get better. You're not going to go crazy or loose control.
The one thing that helps me cope is knowing that everything is happening can not harm me, in fact it is a protection put in place by my mind and I know that I am in 100 percent control of my body and my mind. It is important to remember that when depersonalization/derealzation sets in, our minds switch from conscienceless to subconsciousness in able to protect us and this is why we experience these symptoms, but our subconscious mind fails to communicate to tell the conscience mind that it has done this, so this then creates anxiety as our mind think we are danger and this is what causes the never ending anxiety about it, panic attacks, questions, obsession even about the condition and this is why it becomes chronic. As smart as the human body is, it is also fucking stupid as hell.
It doesn't matter how much I fight it it is not going, so I have learnt to get comfortable with this condition, fighting it if anything will only make it 10 times as my mind already thinks it is in constant danger due to the lack of connection. I have now become accustomed to this and now.....it's not so scary. I spent so long fighting it that now I don't I let these sensations stay with me and you know what, mentally I feel so much better. Wave the white flag and let this be, questioning it and Google obsessing will only make it worst, fuck it.....let it be there and welcome it with open arms. I know this won't harm me so why loose my mind over it and yes this does work as I have been seeing alot of improvement with my depersonalization. It's not easy and believe me, it will fight with you tooth and nail but you have to learn to be okay with it. I know this is easier said than done, it took me months and months and months of fighting, questioning, obsessively googling, thinking about it 24/7....you HAVE to break the vicious circle, no it won't go straight away but by god it will mentally give you a rest and it will lessen. Don't add fuel to the fire.....google is the fuel you're the fire.
Remembering you're always in control. "If you have to ask yourself if you're going crazy then you're not"....possibly the best advice I can give to anyone. You're not going crazy although it fucking feels like. You've lost all sense of reality, you don't know who the hell you are, you feel like you've just stepped off a spaceship onto the planet earth & you have NO IDEA what the hell is going on......but guess what, despite all of this, you're still in control of your body and mind. Depersonalization can not make you do anything YOU don't want to. Yes it's a roller coaster and you're desperate to get off but guess what, it doesn't last forever and I am living proof of that. This is temporary not a life sentence.....one day all this will be over.
Existential thoughts are horrible and yes they can be very full on but this is because you're in your subconscious mind. I know it is overwhelming but who is making them over whelming? you! What happens when we get a really horrible thought, we literally fight it and do everything we can to never think it again and we fight and fight, then what happens, it's the only thing on your mind, but when we think of something that is okay we don't fight it and then we forget about it, same with this. Allow them thoughts to be there, don't fight them, in fact demand more, let them scare the shit out of you....they're just thoughts, they do not represent the real you. I've been there myself a million times, questioning humanity, the earth, space, God, death, how do we exist, how are things real, are we really living etc but by really obsessing about it, it kept that fear there. You've got to learn to be comfortable with this, everything is real and you're safe!
I hope this helps. I feel understanding the key and this so far has helped me alot in coping. I've done the fighting for so long and I'm not getting anywhere. This method has helped me alot and I do believe that if we allow this to happen then it will fizzle out.
Lot's of love! XOX