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Hi.

I've been on these forums since probably July 2017. I've been dealing with OCD pretty badly for a few years now, probably due to stress, isolation and exhaustion (new mom here). Last summer, I'm assuming my OCD decided to hold onto DP/DR and I basically started dealing with it constantly, day and night. It was horrendous. I would spend the day in total fear all day long waiting for "something" to happen....whether that would be floating off into space, losing sanity, losing consciousness...whatever. I would feel so unreal that I would panic thinking I was going to basically lose control of my sanity at any second. The DP/DR makes it feel like you're holding onto your sanity and consciousness by a thin thread.

The autumn came and I decided to see a psychologist for the first time in my life (I'm 30). The psychologist I saw knew nothing about OCD or DP/DR. I told her I felt "unreal" and "dissociated" all the time and everything around me looked foreign and strange like I was seeing it for the first time. I would also get existential dread and confusion (I guess you could say I would get existential thoughts, but it was more a dread and confusion of why things are and look the way they do rather than a thought). The psychologist looked at me puzzled and asked, "have you ever been tested for amnesia?" I was like..."no...but logically I know everything around me...it just feels confusing and unreal...." Obviously, I never went back to her because I didn't feel like she could help at all.

In December 2017, I was basically at my wit's end and decided to just email a psychologist who had published a book on CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that I had bought months prior. I explained everything to him in the best way I knew how (it's damn near impossible to write or talk about the literal hell that is going on in our minds) and he emailed me back and said "I believe all of your 'issues' are just different manifestations of your OCD." While I understood that this could be true, it didn't help at all...but it did open my eyes to the possibility that this shit is all just OCD-related.

Anyway...and sorry for rambling, January of this year, the DP/DR began to slowly fade. I don't know if it was because I started taking a "don't give a fuck" attitude or what, but another type of fear took its place. From January 2018 to about two weeks ago, I was obsessed with my health. Google and WebMD became my best friends. I had recurrent dizzy spells, phantom pains, trouble breathing, heart palpitations and chest pains. I went to urgent care twice before my insurance ran out and both times they told me "you're fine, nothing's wrong, here's an anxiety pill, go home and get therapy." (on that note, now that the DP/DR is back, I don't deal with any of the health issues anymore)

Two weeks ago, I was randomly thinking about the dissociation and wondering why it just disappeared. I mean, for the past 3 months, I haven't dealt with DP/DR even ONCE. It was totally gone. Completely. And I'm assuming "remembering" the dissociation triggered it to come back. About two weeks ago, I was cooking dinner and bent down to get a wipe for my daughter's face and I had that "out of body" experience (as I call it) and it came crashing down on me again.

For the past two weeks now, I've been really struggling. Part of me feels like this time around, the DP/DR is much worse and another part of me thinks it just feels bad because I haven't dealt with it for awhile and forgot how bad it was.

Throughout the day, I get those out of body feelings probably once every 15 minutes. They're horrifying. I feel like I'm being lifted away from my body and everything around me takes on that dream-like and fake look. When I feel "fine" I find myself thinking about how horrible the DP/DR is and sure enough, it comes right back. It's like a never ending cycle of fear and confusion. Everything around me confuses me...and it has me wondering if I'm going fucking nuts. I'll be looking at something as simple as a pair of shoes, and I'm afraid of them because they look so weird and foreign to me. It's hard to find joy in anything when everything feels like it's causing me fear. I'm back to crying every day and it's affecting my relationships with my daughter, my husband and my other family members. I'm finding it hard to connect to anything around me. It feels like my mind is constantly chattering and won't shut up.

I get random thoughts throughout the day that come with feelings of DP/DR:

This is so awful...what if it gets to the point where I have to be hospitalized because I don't know who or where I am?

I think I'm confused, maybe there's something mentally or medically wrong with me? Why does everything around me look weird...is this mental confusion?

I don't want to look at anyone because I don't recognize them...I know who they are, but they look weird like I'm seeing them for the first time.

It went away completely and came back and it feels worse than it was before...this is horrible.

I don't even want to talk because everything I say sounds so weird and foreign to me.

What if I forget how to do things like use the bathroom or take care of my daughter because I feel so out of it? (and god forbid if I forget to do something or put something in its wrong place...I panic over the fact that it's a sign I'm losing it)

I also have compulsions along with the DP/DR. When it gets really bad, I count out to four on my fingers in an attempt to remind myself that my mind and body are indeed connected. I also vape like a mad woman when it's especially bad and panic if I don't have my vape with me. I am also a Google junkie and find myself scouring the internet for help and advice when I'm feeling especially bad. I also don't shut up about my issues and it's affecting my ability to hold a conversation with my family without it somehow coming up while I'm talking to them.

Part of me knows that this is just my freakin OCD finding something horrifying to hold onto like it did back when I had health fears and years ago when I had intrusive thoughts, but it's just so hard to convince myself that the more I fear the DP/DR, the longer it sticks around and the more often those out of body experiences happen.

Let me put it this way, I had a baby without even so much as a Tylenol and this DP/DR shit is 100x worse than giving birth.

Can anyone give me advice or help to hopefully beat this crap again? As bad as the health anxiety was, it wasn't this debilitating and I enjoyed not being dissociated for three months. What do I need to do to get over the fear that is helping to perpetuate this freakin cycle of dread, confusion and dissociation?

Any help is appreciated <3
 

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I've experienced all of your symptoms. I sought help on numerous occasions when I thought I was at the end of my rope. I was referred to

psychiatric treatment. I took SSRIs which helped a little, but did not seem to address the core problems. I saw several psychologists over

the years. It seemed that I was teaching them at $75 per hour. A few were genuinely sympathetic, but I can't afford friends who charge

$75 an hour. lol. No psychiatrist or psychologist ever thought to refer me to see if there was a physical reason for my symptoms. Apparently,

that was someone else's responsibility.

I suffered ocular migraines as residue from a neurological/psychiatric trauma I experienced at age 17. The best advice

I got was from a US neurologist who told me that US Neurology didn't know a lot about ocular migraines (circa 1980), as "they had

bigger fish to fry". He told me the British neurology had done more research in that area. After suffering spells, depression, dp/dr for

38 years, I finally found the answers to my mental illness in British Medical Texts and Journals. My trauma at 17 was an intense series

of temporal lobe seizures. My lifelong spells were focal temporal lobe seizures. I ordered an EEG and MRI with Epilepsy protocol. My EEG

showed "significant pathology in my dominant temporal lobe, consistent with a history of epileptic seizure". With this understanding, my

life came into focus and began to make sense. I took charge of my treatment. Today, I am virtually symptom free, and hopefully I will never

experience another depressive episode, severe insomnia and anxiety, intrusive thoughts, intense deja vu episodes, panic spells, etc.

From my experience, I would give this advice. US Mental health is Caveat Emptor. They are all happy to take your money and profess

to be experts in mental health. Psychology, however, is a House of Cards. (book by Robin Dawes). Psychiatry is trial and error.

One simply cannot rely on the experts for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They earn your money so long as they "do no harm".

The 2nd piece of advice would be to get an EEG which will monitor 11 different areas of your brain, including your temporal lobe, and

determine if you have any measurable pathology in your temporal lobe. My symptoms emanated from a dysfunctional temporal lobe.

When I was exposed to the facts, this became readily apparent to me. But, the "experts" could provide no diagnosis.
 

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I've experienced all of your symptoms. I sought help on numerous occasions when I thought I was at the end of my rope. I was referred to

psychiatric treatment. I took SSRIs which helped a little, but did not seem to address the core problems. I saw several psychologists over

the years. It seemed that I was teaching them at $75 per hour. A few were genuinely sympathetic, but I can't afford friends who charge

$75 an hour. lol. No psychiatrist or psychologist ever thought to refer me to see if there was a physical reason for my symptoms. Apparently,

that was someone else's responsibility.

I suffered ocular migraines as residue from a neurological/psychiatric trauma I experienced at age 17. The best advice

I got was from a US neurologist who told me that US Neurology didn't know a lot about ocular migraines (circa 1980), as "they had

bigger fish to fry". He told me the British neurology had done more research in that area. After suffering spells, depression, dp/dr for

38 years, I finally found the answers to my mental illness in British Medical Texts and Journals. My trauma at 17 was an intense series

of temporal lobe seizures. My lifelong spells were focal temporal lobe seizures. I ordered an EEG and MRI with Epilepsy protocol. My EEG

showed "significant pathology in my dominant temporal lobe, consistent with a history of epileptic seizure". With this understanding, my

life came into focus and began to make sense. I took charge of my treatment. Today, I am virtually symptom free, and hopefully I will never

experience another depressive episode, severe insomnia and anxiety, intrusive thoughts, intense deja vu episodes, panic spells, etc.

From my experience, I would give this advice. US Mental health is Caveat Emptor. They are all happy to take your money and profess

to be experts in mental health. Psychology, however, is a House of Cards. (book by Robin Dawes). Psychiatry is trial and error.

One simply cannot rely on the experts for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They earn your money so long as they "do no harm".

The 2nd piece of advice would be to get an EEG which will monitor 11 different areas of your brain, including your temporal lobe, and

determine if you have any measurable pathology in your temporal lobe. My symptoms emanated from a dysfunctional temporal lobe.

When I was exposed to the facts, this became readily apparent to me. But, the "experts" could provide no diagnosis.
Unfortunately, I live in America where you either have to be below the poverty level to get free/affordable insurance or else you're stuck paying $700+ a month for a plan that covers only basic care with a huge deductible. So I don't have the funds to start testing to see if there's an underlying reason for this without putting my whole family into debt. I also don't get migraines/headaches.

Personally, I feel that my issues are OCD related because they were totally gone for the three months when I became obsessed with my health. If it was something chronic, it wouldn't have gone away and come back. I was just looking for ways to get over the fear that perpetuates the DP/DR cycle.

However, I do agree with you about psychologists and therapists. The woman I went to in the fall charged a whopping $150 per hour to look at me puzzled and ask if I had been tested for amnesia. Thankfully, I had insurance back then, but were dropped in the beginning of the year because my husband made too much money last year and we went into another tax bracket.

Thanks for your advice, though.
 
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