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Strategies for coping with depersonalization

1690 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Trith
There are a few ways that you can cope and even treat depersonalization.
“Therapy can often help treat depersonalization, as it helps identify what specifically triggers a dissociative state and how you can stay grounded,” says Dr. Albers. “And a professional can also walk you through what you’re experiencing and provide additional coping tips.”
Talking through your feelings can also help you process them, keeping you from detaching from them. And therapy can also help you address and process any trauma that may be the root cause, Dr. Albers adds, saying, “This may include understanding how the trauma led to this coping response and new, healthy coping responses.”
Stop all drug and alcohol use
Recreational drugs and alcohol can trigger feelings of depersonalization so any usage of those should stop, says Dr. Albers. “They alter the brain neurochemistry and invoke changes in perceptual reality,” she says. If you need help quitting, see your healthcare provider, who can recommend resources and treatments that are right for you.
Grounding exercises
Staying connected with the environment around you can help you stay present and in the moment. Some examples include:
  • Touching the ground.
  • Holding an object or interacting with something concrete.
  • Listening to sounds around you.
  • Listening to music.
  • Singing or humming to distract your mind.
  • Smelling something pleasant.
  • Something tactile like wrapping yourself in a blanket.
Additional actions that can help you inhabit your body — like clapping, blinking or clenching your fist — can also help you feel connected. “Using your five senses is key to being present and grounded,” says Dr. Albers. “And listening to music can help to calm down your system and physiological responses.”
Breathing exercises
“Breathing exercises help calm your physiological response to stress and your flight or fight mechanism, which may be what flips the switch to dissociation,” notes Dr. Albers. One helpful breathing pattern she suggests is to breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and breathe out for six seconds.
Practice mindfulness
Practicing meditation and mindfulness is another way to stay present and aware of your own body. “These techniques can teach you how to observe physical and emotional sensations calmly and safely,” says Dr. Albers.
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Meditation may be a strategy to deal with DP that frequently occurs because of stress/anxiety/panic . But the fact is that the real goal of hard-core Eastern mindfulness-meditation is the DP/DR state itself. Anyone with primary DP/DR may want to stay clear of such practices. As a practitioner myself circa1970 (Tibetan and Soto Zen type meditation), I learned the hard way. I had no DPDR, I'd never even heard of such a thing. Meditation gave me a full-blown case of it. At first I was elated, I seemed to be floating on air; traffic-sounds seemed distant, muffled. My own thoughts were drifting as foreign entities, separated from what was now the barest particle of cognition; a bare 'self' and nothing more.

This state faded away after a few minutes, but I sure wanted more of this drug. Nobody told me the next dose can be permanent. I suppose it's a question of values: the Eastern gurus feel one has looked directly (not philosophically) into the essential unreality of sangsara.

I got up from my second session in a permanent trance, and it didn't take long for the novelty of this state to wear off and be replaced with a mood akin to that of Marcel Marceau's, in his famous frozen smile pantomime. A near panic as I realized that this thing wasn't going away, and was entirely different from what it was like quietly sitting still on the floor. You want your thoughts to be solid; you don't want your folks to have the substantiality of dream-persona. Thus has it been for over 50 years. The distress lasted a year or so, and I was relieved to be assured by baffled questionees that I seemed no different; my communication was normal. They seemed puzzled about what it was that was troubling me.

I didn't mean to make this a personal intro account. I only want to make it clear that if you have episodic DP/DR, you might not want to get into something that will make it chronic.
depersonalization-ish feelings one gets from meditation are far away from the actual disorder. there is no suffering for those people. dont mix these things together.
Perhaps meditation can trigger DPDR experiences for some people, but I wouldn’t say that DPDR experiences are what buddhists are seeking.

The enlightenment they seek is always described as being connected to pure perceptions devoid of concepts. The idea of “emptiness” they talk about does not mean that actual things don’t exist, but just that all we have is pure perceptions. We do have concepts in our minds though, but our neurosis supposedly stems from the fact that we confuse concepts for the actual stuff. We are lost in our thoughts and projections and confuse them for reality, which is what causes suffering (that’s what they say). They say that once we see concepts for what they are, we are left only with pure perception. As far as I am concerned this is quite opposite to the experience of DPDR, where it’s rather perceptions that become unreal, and thoughts and concepts that take all the space, and that’s why existential questions and paradoxes seem to become real solid problems, when for regular people they are just abstract stuff disconnected from reality.

This misconception is very widespread, perhaps because buddhists say that “reality is an illusion” which doesn’t help with this confusion. They mean that reality is an illusion in the sense that concepts are not tangible stuff.
The other thing is that meditators are often seen as trying to shield themselves from the world to avoid suffering. But according to buddhist doctrines, it is clear that to the contrary, attempting to shield oneself from reality causes suffering, as opposed to accepting one’s own vulnerability.

I also wouldn’t say that meditation is an antidote to DPDR either. It certainly wasn’t for me. But to me it is definitely going more in the direction of being present and perceiving reality.
did you do meditation with the purpose for recovering from dpdr? be honest
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