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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

My name is Erin Cook. Honestly, I'm pretty overwhelmed with work and life happenings but I constantly think to myself "I really need to share my recovery story on the help site." So I thought I'd do it while waiting for my appliance guy to come fix my dryer :) I'm just a normal 26 year old with a normal project management job with normal friends and a normal fiance. But a little under 2 years ago, I just like you (I'm assuming if you're reading this), started down one of the worst journeys of my life. I'll preface this by saying that I dealt with depersonalization while in high school for maybe two months. But at the time I didn't research my symptoms, assumed it was due to me no longer using illegal drugs and having some weird mental breakdown due to no longer using drugs, and let it ride out and go away. I was a much wiser human in high school than I was two years ago when I experienced it again but WAY WAY worse. DP/DR this go around started out with little things seeming off. I would be eating and then feel just really out of it, foggy brain, heart tremors, then feeling like I wasn't connected to myself or the people around me. These little occurrences happened periodically over two weeks. Then a few days before my 25th birthday I woke up at 6 AM to a full blown panic attack. So bad that I actually had to run out of my house and just start sprinting because for some reason I felt like if I ran hard enough I'd distract my body from what felt like me losing my mind. Well, it didn't work. Everything spiraled and kept getting worse. I couldn't focus, I couldn't breathe, in milliseconds my whole world was no longer mine. The worst bit of my DP/DR lasted about 6 months. This included not feeling like it was me talking, not recognizing myself, not recognizing the people closest to me, feeling like I was floating, hands weren't mine, I would wake up in a panic attack, puke, go to work, try and function, come home and live in misery until finally somewhat falling asleep again for the night only to have it all start again. I lost 20 pounds in what seemed like 2 weeks. Everything was a living nightmare. I can't begin to tell you the trauma I experienced, and I know you too are familiar with it.

Throughout the next year and a half I went through a process of healing. Things got better very slowly. I mean day to day you couldn't notice a difference in my overall mental health, I'd have to compare how I was this month compared to the month prior. That's how slow the process was. It felt impossible. I tried every coping mechanism. Therapy (both with therapists who specialized in DP and those who didn't), switching medications, changing my diet, taking supplements, etc. What really pulled me out though was just myself, my mindset and the unconditional love of those around me. I was hellbent on getting out of this mindfuck and wasn't going to give up until I was fully recovered. There are also two people who helped me out tremendously. Their names are Marina and Jamie. Marina, I found on youtube (Please youtube Marina DP - there is a wealth of knowledge in her videos that I started using in my daily life.) Jamie I found on this DP site, she was able to help me see how normal I really was and this process isn't just my own. It's something that hundreds of thousands have had to suffer and strive through. There is beauty in the suffering through this. In addition to those things, I listened to Shaun O Connor's tapes, which helped give me peace when things felt like they weren't progressing. Lastly, on the topic of therapy. Be very wary. If you want to seek help, by all means, do. But no one else is going to solve these problems for you, but yourself. I went to a therapist I found online who specialized in DP and she told me in two months time I would no longer feel any of the symptoms, I'd be fully recovered. When two months passed, it caused me tremendous anxiety and only made things that much worse. People will charge you an arm and a leg because they are familiar with the name "depersonalization" and claim they can solve all your problems. Don't trust people that promise you a timeline of recovery for a set amount of money. There is no set day for your recovery, and certainly no day set by some person who thinks your voice sounding unfamiliar to you stems from fear of talking. You will gain more strength from talking to those who have been in your shoes and can confirm to you yes, you will recover.

I'd like to say this. What you are going through is something that as I said earlier, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people have gone through and recovered from. It will be okay. That being said, this process is uniquely yours. No two processes are the same. My journey to recovery was different than others and felt slower than others, but also quicker than others. I think the overarching keys that helped me were distraction and ACCEPTANCE (You'll hear more about this in Marina's videos) (I'M SERIOUS WATCH THOSE)),

During my bout of DP/DR, I got a job promotion, I got engaged, I moved twice, gained back all the weight that I lost due to DP then lost it again through healthy diet and exercise. Most importantly, I really did become a more evolved human.

If you had asked those closest to me during DP about how I was doing they probably would've said "she seems fine! A little anxious but that's it!" To other people you don't look how your mind feels. Remember that. All of this struggle is within the confines of your brain and it's there that it will also work itself out.

Now I'm starting my journey of coming off antidepressant medication so that I can live an even healthier lifestyle - I'd like to have kids in the next few years. . Am I absolutely terrified? Yup, sure. But DP taught me that every single thing you do really is a journey. The journey of DP was the worst journey of my life but the lessons I learned through it have made me an absolutely unconquerable human.

I want to help someone/anyone that needs it in the way that I was helped. I can't solve this for you but I can be a listening ear if you need me to be. My email is [email protected]
 

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Congratulations, very happy you have overcome this horrible illness

What medication were you on out of interest? And would you say that the therapy helped more? What type of therapy was it?
 

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I changed the name of the chanel to IN PEACE WITH REALITY. Congats Erin, thank you for your mentioning and kind words, all credits to you though and thank you for sharing your recovery story with the others!!! Enjoy your well deserved normal and happy life!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Broken,

When I got the DP I was on citalopram. I thought my medication just wasn't working anymore which caused the DP but switching to what I'm on now - Viibryd - didn't cure me of my DP although it did help with certain things like fatigue.

CBT is a great form of therapy. It teaches you to change your thought process. I also feel like EMDR is something that would be very impactful because of how it helps with traumatic life experiences. I plan on also starting EMDR soon as I have things in my life that I still haven't fully healed from which I think played a factor in my DP
 

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Could not find anything for Marina DP-
Also did you have issues with light sensitivity and the sky looking fake or sunlight causing derealization?
 

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I changed the name of the chanel to IN PEACE WITH REALITY. Congats Erin, thank you for your mentioning and kind words, all credits to you though and thank you for sharing your recovery story with the others!!! Enjoy your well deserved normal and happy life!!!
Just watched it, great video will look at the rest at some point.
Would just like to say thank you for posting these videos and trying to help others.

Perhaps one day I'll be out of this shit and be able to live my life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Could not find anything for Marina DP-
Also did you have issues with light sensitivity and the sky looking fake or sunlight causing derealization?
Ahungerf, Yes. I dealt with derealization and light sensitivity. People looked fake to me, the sky looked fake to me, and I had a lot of issues whenever I was in retail stores. Derealization didn't scare me as much because I have a history of using psychedelic drugs and I was able to talk myself down much more easily than I ever could with DP.
 

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Stillstriving23 I need some help with the light sensitivity and what you did to either confront or ignore or somehow get past this? The damn sky and sunlight causes this dreamlike sensation and just seems unreal when I look up at the night sky and clouds. Also happens at night with a full moon. It’s like it’s a fake backdrop to my surroundings. Another example is being in a dim lit room then someone opens a door and the bright outside light comes shining in and everything outside where it’s bright is just too bright and dreamlike... how do you no longer experience this? Was it the same for you? My mind always notices it and sends me down the anxiety spiral of being trapped in this state. Please help
 
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