My case may be unusual for this site , I really don't know. But when i first experienced DP/DR it was very intense. Working at a job to support myself, like many people here seem to do, was absolutely out of the question. I got to the point that i couldn't even take care of my physical hygiene. I was in the mental hospital and i had to be forced to shower. As it was the sensations I had when I tried to brush my teeth were so wierd as to be horrifying. I stopped brushing my teeth and ended up with sixteen cavities (decays) when I eventually went to a dentist a year or two later after I was able to function well enough to leave the hospital. I beleive to this day that I suffered a "psychotic break". Not just DP, although feelings of extreme DP/DR were prominent features of my experience. It is my understanding that DP/DR are prominent features of most, if not all, the major mental/nervous disorders.
I have seen several therapists over the years and three of them said that what I experienced was a "schizophrenic reaction". When I had my major "nervous breakdown" I was under extreme stress do to outer circumstances in my life.
While I was legitimately unable to work following my breakdown and legitimately entitled to begin recieving SSI psychiatric disability, for a number of years now I have felt that while i still don't feel I would be able to work on a full time basis, I do feel I am able to work part time, like a couple hours per day. I have heard that many former mental patients feel as I do. But as in my case the Government (U.S.) seems to think that if one is able to work on a part time basis they no longer are eligible for SSI and Medical coverage. I wouldn't mind having part of the amount I earned deducted from my monthly check but it doesn't work that way except in a temporary manner. That is, for so many months one can work and still remain eligible for SSI benefits but after that time is up one is re evaluated and will in all liklihood be found no longer "dis abled." There is no middle ground, either one is dis abled or they are not. I feel somewhat guilty for recieving this tax supported source of income each month, yet on the other hand I feel certain that full time work is beyond my capacity. When I was re evaluated last time by a state appointed "shrink" he stated in his report that I would likely never be able to work at least in a fully self supporting manner. (I requested and recieved my medical records from the state through my GP) Now I am at that age where many people who have worked for several decades are retiring or looking forward to retirement in the not too distant future. I have only worked now and then and even then mostly part time over my entire life. I have been helped a lot financially by my family over the years. I am fortunate in that way.
Recieving these benefits has been a blessing and a curse. I have been able to keep some sort of roof over my head and seldom went hungry, I have state run medical coverage in case i get sick etc. But not having a vocation i.e. some sort of skill or trade in which I earn a living, has made it very hard to have much of a social life. When people in the past would ask me, "what do you do for a living?" i had a hard time answering if the question was unexpected. I would Hmmm and Haaa and usually wind up saying in I am the landscaping business because much of the odd jobs I have done in the past and even currently involve outdoor physcial labor or gardening activities. But I know they can sense a sort of reluctance on my part to discuss the topic and I suspect they think I am involved in some sort of "shady business" which I prefer to keep to myself. The truth is that i live in an uninsulated shack with no indoor plumbing, I have an "outhouse" as i live in a very rural area. Fortunately I do have a phone and electrical power. My furniture is very sparse, and i have only one plastic outdoor picnic chair and one old bed. I would be embarassed for anyone, not in a similar situation, to visit me at home as i don't even have a chair for them to sit on. The floor is plywood. And it does get cold when it snows or freezes. I know I could change my living arrangement if I really wanted to. I guess I just don't care that much. Do any of you recieve psychiatric disability? Do you ever just come out and say when someone asks you "what do you do for a living?" that "I recieve psychiatric disabilty payments?"
I often feel so estranged and alienated from the society in which I live. It's as though I have no place to fit in. I often feel un-moored and adrift in my life, "floundering" I guess is the term. As I am looking down the barrel of my sixth decade coming up there is an increasing sense of urgency about making some changes in my life.
But how? After all these years.
Anyway I have noticed that the topic of schizoprenia has been coming up fairly frequently on this forum. Some seem to feel that it is an organic brain disorder holding a poor prognosis for the person who is diagnosed with it. But when people refer to schizophrenia I am not sure everyone here agrees on a definition. I know i am confused on what it means. For instance in my last dis ability evaluation the shrink gave me the diagnosis of "late chronic *LATENT* schizophrenia." If schizophrenia was a organic brain disorder could it ever become LATENT?
Perhaps there is a type of organic schizophrenia which produces certain symptoms, and then there is another form of schizophrenia which produces similar symptoms but the cuase of the symptoms is psychological in nature. That is ones psychological condition acts upon the brain rather than the brain acting upon ones psychology. My social worker/cognitive therapist told me recently that she had seen a movie called "What The Heck Do We Know?" or something like that where there were little platters of water were placed in front of Buddhist Monks who would focus their thoughts (anger, love, joy, sorrow, etc") upon the water and under the magnifying glass the molecular structer of the water would take different shapes in relation to the type of thought projected upon it. Now it would be hard to imagine that the water in these little platters would cause the monks to think certain types of thoughts. So at least for me I believe that my mental/nervous challenges originate from psychological origins and if these psychological disturbances were adequately addressed the brain would take care of itself.
In my reading of C.G.Jung today I came across the section where Jung said that during the dream analysis of a certain doctor, Jung discovered that the man had a "latent psychosis." He felt that delving into the mans "unconcious" would likely result in the emergence of the psychosis into conciousness. So the analysis was stopped under some pretext. Would this make sense if "psychosis" was the result of a brain disorder? So perhaps, like I said there may be two or more causes or origins for simialar symptom formation. I know that in my own case at least the cause of my "nervous breakdown" was the result of overwhelming stress due to certain specific circumstances in my life at the time. I have heard that often times one becomes Psychologically stronger after putting themselfs back together after a nervous breakdown. In my case I feel I was "hit too hard" and am still in a process of repairing my psyche or rather my psyche is still trying to recover even after all these years. It is as though there is some secret in my mind. I have gotten close to discovering it, but it is elusive. I feel that if i could discover what the secret is I would be able to feel "real" and stand on my own two feet in the face of existence, rather than living more or less like a wispy cloud in the sky, as a sort of an ephemeral abstraction.
Wishing you all well