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This is going to be quite long but if anyone could read and offer some advice I would appreciate it so so much-i'm really getting desperate.

I'm 17 years old and my severe anxiety started when I was 10. I would have panic attacks because I feared my heart would just stop beating or I would suddenly fall unconscious, and I would feel dizzy like nothing was real, although I didn't have a name for this feeling.

My anxiety fluctuated along with bouts of derealisation that I could directly link to a panic attack, but these would only last less than an hour, and then I would be relatively back to normal.

I've had more extensive periods of dissociation on two occasions in the past-my mind felt foggy, I felt like I couldn't connect to the world and that nothing was real. I remember being very confused as to what was happening to me, and wondering if there was something very wrong with me, however there were never moments of acute distress, and over time these episodes seemed to just fade away. A few weeks after onset I almost seemed to 'forget' that I'd ever felt depersonalised, as though I couldn't imagine feeling that way now that I was back to normal.

However, a few months ago I had a somewhat traumatic event occur which has really knocked my confidence. It first started with a very severe migraine episode, the first symptom of which was severe depersonalisation. All of a sudden I was looking at my hands and wondering if they belonged to the person next to me, as the connection between my mind and my movements seemed to be completely severed. However, this episode of depersonalisation wasn't due to anxiety but rather a component of migraine aura. The migraine aura caused me to lose vision in one eye, one side of my body went numb and I lost the ability to speak or understand language. These symptoms were obviously very distressing, and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance on suspicion of a stroke. I've had to much more mild migraines since then, one of which caused the same depersonalisation aura and the other of which was very very mild. I had a brain scan a few weeks ago which came back completely fine.

But since that hospital visit, especially given my history of severe hypochondriasis, my anxiety has been getting progressively worse. I've felt the need to constantly check that my hands are my own, that I can speak properly, and that I know who I am and where I am. This in itself caused feelings of simmering unreality, but nothing that was causing me to have acute anxiety or panic attacks.

I mention this traumatic migraine because I felt that before that day, I had almost completely recovered from my anxiety, and since then it has become progressively worse. The most troubling problem though is the severe derealisation which began only a few weeks ago.

I can pinpoint the exact moment that it began. I was in my room on my phone and I was suddenly overcome with the sense that I didn't know what time it was. This caused me to feel isolated from the rest of the world somehow, and although I can't say why the thought freaked me out so much it seemed to be the start of everything. Later that day I went downstairs and found myself thinking that I barely recognised my own mother's face.

I tried to brush these things off, however over time these moments of questioning and confusion became even more frequent.

Some moments I feel fine and connected, but other times I feel like I'm 'falling' out of my own body, like everything around me is zooming backwards and away from me. I feel disconnected from my thoughts and actions, and sometimes when I speak I feel like the words come out before I even decide to say them, like I'm not in control of my mouth.

Most distressing is the feeling that I'm jumping from moment to moment, as though I look up, and intellectually I know how I got to this place, but it feels that I've only just become conscious of where I am. My memories feel so distance, for example by the time I'm sitting down to eat my breakfast, it feels like it was hours ago that I climbed out of bed. If I think about things, I know what I did today and yesterday and I remember doing things, but those memories almost aren't automatically there, and I almost have to think about them to access them, and they feel like they happened a long time ago.

This memory and time perception problem has caused me, at 17, to believe beyond a doubt that I have dementia or some sort of degenerative brain disease. Even as I write this, I'm thinking that what I experience can't possibly be anxiety, that it has to be something sinister. I feel as though there is an illness inside me that is brewing, manifesting in these feelings of unreality, and that every day that slips by I will get sicker and sicker. If anybody could offer me some reassurance that what I'm feeling is a normal part of dpdr that would be so appreciated.

I tried to talk to my psychologist about this but as I started to explain what I'd been experiencing I felt my words disintegrate mid sentence and I seemed to 'zoom out' of my own body. The room suddenly looked unfamiliar and I had a massive panic attack. My psychologist seemed to call into question the fact that this might be a medical problem of some sort, and didn't offer much consolation that this was my anxiety doing this to me. As a result I no longer feel like my psychologist offers a 'safe space' for me to unpack my experience, and that rather I need to get better to confirm to me and to her that there is nothing wrong with me. I'm also scared to speak about the problem again as I had a panic attack the last time i verbalised it. I really don't know how I can get help since getting help made me feel 100 times worse last time.

There was one day this week when I felt completely fine, but then all it took was one moment of unreality for me to lapse back into constant derealisation. I've found that it helps to simply 'notice' my thoughts that 'im not real' 'i dont exist' 'i dont know where I am', without following this with the anxiety that something is wrong or I need help (i.e the thought 'call an ambulance'). However, it makes me so anxious to feel this way that I can't just regard the thoughts and feelings passively, they are too alarming.

I'm really just looking for some support, and someone to validate the fact that this is my anxiety talking and that it wont last forever. It worries me that this might go on for the rest of my life, or worse that there's something wrong with me and that I'm losing my mind.

Any help would be appreciated :)
 

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Pretty much everything you mentioned in this message is symptoms of Dp/Dr and anxiety. No doubt in my mind that’s what this is. Now if it helps ease your mind have your doctor issue up a brain scan to check for anything that may be abnormal just to give you piece of mind. Have blood work done. You can always get your vitamin deficiencies checked. But what you are experiencing...your hands looking unfamiliar, ppl looking unfamiliar, places you are suddenly looking unfamiliar and so forth is all dp/dr which in return is causes you a lot of anxiety and panic which feeds do/dr. It’s a cycle that must be broken. When things look unfamiliar it’s not necessarily it looks unfamiliar but rather it feels unfamiliar. It’s like you know who the person is or the place you are in but the emotional connection to the person or place is lost and it feels u familiar or fake. Trust me when I say this is dp/dr.
 
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