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Recovering. A story of my success and a guide to help you

1085 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Robbie17
not sure if my first post went through. I hope this helps you all.

IT all started one night in May 2016. Well at least I thought. I realized something was wrong when walking towards my local gym on a cold and rainy Saturday morning. I hadn't been able to sleep well the night before and had started experiencing heart palpitations a week prior but what I was about to feel around midday on this one Saturday in May would confirm that something was definitely not right. I was dreaming.

Or was I?

I was awake but I felt in a dream. I had never experienced this feeling before, at least not whilst awake. But why did I feel this? Was I going insane? What type of psychosis was I experiencing and why did no one notice I was going insane? So many questions were running through my mind and uncomfortable feelings navigating their way through my body. Did I die and I'm now stuck in between heaven and hell? Why would purgatory feel like this? What was I experiencing and would it ever go away?

I looked at my hands. There was something about this dream like feeling that will make you look at your hands instantaneously; I think the urge to do so stems from our experiences of actually dreaming when asleep. Think back to any dream you have ever had and whether you really felt like you were there or just simply a passenger or viewer to your subconscious mind. How many times have you actually seen your actual self in a dream? A part of your body or anything to confirm you were actually there in that place, at that time. This is exactly why disassociation can be so dream like. The experience is simply your mind entering the dream state whilst awake. Unfortunately, what makes it so frightening is the conflict between your ability to acknowledge that you are awake but feel like you may be asleep and in bed whilst experiencing the present.

When I first experienced derealisation, and I still passionately dislike that word so let's call it 'dissociation', I had convinced myself that there was something wrong with me. I had a mental disorder and I was going insane. Fortunately, the reality of such an ill feeling that I began to experience on a daily basis was simply a symptom of an anxiety disorder that I wasn't aware of. But could this psychotic like feeling really just be anxiety? I still wasn't convinced.

How could someone who strolled through early and teenage life with good grades and a knack for being good on the athletics field end up in a phychosis?

Days turned to hours, hours turned to minutes and minutes into seconds. The experience of life in this manner was simply unbearable. Feeling hopeless and without a way out, I didn't know where to turn. I was living life in a movie and I needed to change the channel.

I was constantly on online forums attempting to make any connection with others who had or were going through the same thing. Although it was comforting to find others who experienced my same 'insanity' at the time, the forums are filled with people who are still dissociating, some after many years, and still worrying themselves crazy. This further perpetuated my already bleak dissociation with further worry and so I decided to look elsewhere.

Within myself is where I turned to next.

I was to discover a lot about myself, the world around me and the intricacies behind my mind and its constant desire to turn to this protective self-mechanism, a.k.a dissociation. I'm writing this piece in an effort to help others currently experiencing this phenomenon and what I learned, throughout my unfortunate time of touching the very depths of this strange yet physically harmless and non-progressive feeling, is that it is driven by anxiety/depression. It is also just as important to address your anxiety/depression as it is to also understand the operational elements behind dissociation. Recreational substances have been known to trigger an individual to begin experiencing dissociation; however, dissociation whether triggered by natural causes or illicit substances has no variation in the actual symptoms experience or the potential to recover.

I, myself, pinpoint the start of my dissociation through the use of recreational substances. In the weekends leading up to my first run in with dissociation I had been experimenting regularly with well-known party drugs such as MDMA, ecstacy, cocaine and marijuana. Not to mention I was cocktailing them with copious amounts of alcohol. The last weekend leading to my first experience of dissociation, I had returned from a night of abusing MDMA to smoke marijuana. Twenty minutes later and I was experiencing my first ever serious panic attack. It was within the next five days that my dissociation began.

I beg of you; however, if you too developed this harmless 'disorder' after the use of recreational drugs, do not blame the drugs. The experience and potential for recovery is no different whether naturally or chemically induced. I strongly believe this and can conclude that drugs don't necessarily spark dissociation but the anxiety/depression behind it.

I was at a stage in my life where things both internally and externally felt like they were crashing down around me. Drugs sensitize all emotions. They make happy feelings happier and negative feelings more daunting. It took me about 6 months before I got over the fact that drugs had caused this. I had to stop blaming drugs and feeling hopeless as though I had induced an irreversible feeling.

Once I began to fully understand what dissociation is in conjunction with why I was encountering such feelings of anxiety, I began to really make positive roads to recovery. Dissociation isn't just an experience of your mind going to the dream state. It is practiced subconsciously by people every single day. The girlfriend who shuts out her feelings about her boyfriend who has been causing suspicions of untruthful ways, the mother who ignores dealing with her son's drug problem and the seemingly brave girl who won't open up on her previous experience with abuse. These examples are practiced in the same manner that we feel dissociation as a mental phenomenon. Our mind is simply pulling away from the reality around us.

The problem with dissociation for me, and I would believe anyone reading this, is that it isn't just a feeling but also a habit. In simple terms, to quit a habit like smoking, one would withdraw from buying a packet or hanging around areas where they would generally feel inclined to light up. With dissociation, it can happen anywhere and at any time. Although I truly believe anxiety and depression to be the primary cause of this absolutely daunting but harmless feeling, it is the habit of always turning to dissociation so regularly that makes it more difficult to recover from the drivers of your anxiety/depression. I realized how much emphasis I had placed on this feeling for over a year when I began to really make positive end roads to recovering.

It's been a year and half since I first ever felt dissociation in its strongest and I know sit here writing this in the hope that I can help others out there recover. The odd thing about it is that the more days that pass the less familiar I am with even recalling the actual feeling. Like a dream I can't remember once I've woken up but I know with 100% certainty that I had actually dreamed. It's not an overnight success story but a process.

Some further tips to aid with the process:

· Sleeping was one of my main issues. Herbal remedies for sleep such as magnesium and lemon balm aided significantly

· Playing sport or carrying out hobbies that you are passionate about can keep your mind entertained and away from the thoughts of dissociation

· Don't refer to the feeling as 'derealisation'. This word seemed to remind me that I wasn't feeling quite real and reinforced that I was meant to be feeling this every second of the day

· Seek further aid from a Psychodynamic therapist. Address any anxieties or depressions you may have

· Treat dissociation as an existential crisis. In hindsight, dissociation could really just be a symptom of experiencing an crisis where you are trying to understand your place in this world

· Stay away from forums. Keep this on hand if your dissociation is really causing you mental harm and open it up at times for a little extra reinforcement that you can recover

· Stay away from any stimulants such as coffee or illicit substances. This doesn't mean you can't ever drink coffee again. I am back to two cups a day with no dramas

· Know that this is harmless and you can recover
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