I've felt this way for what seems like a lifetime: dissociated. I didn't even know there was a word for it until my senior year of high school, a year ago. What an understatement: dissociated. It's so much more than that. I don't feel like I'm here at all anymore, more so with each passing day. Sometimes I feel like this is not the world I am living in. The only world I know is the world within this glass box.
Sometimes I feel like this is not my body, these eyes are not my eyes, these fingers typing are foreign...
Where am I?
Somewhere inside myself, within my glass box.
I first decided I needed to seek help after a serious suicidal episode. I'll save you the details, but I realized that something was seriously wrong with me. It wasn't just that I was suicidal, but it was why I was suicidal. I was truly only depressed when I felt like I was more dissociated. My biggest fear was being this way forever: dissociated. I couldn't find comfort in my own thoughts. Nobody I knew felt the way I did. I remember telling my step-mom how I felt "not here," like I was in a constant state of "not feeling like myself."
"Everybody feels that way sometimes," she said.
"I've felt this way for as long as I can remember," I said.
It took me a little bit to convince her that our family's very small, tight budget was worth bending to seek the help that I needed. I have never felt like more of a burden. I just wanted to feel like I could be happy. I just wanted this dissociation to go away. If you're sick, you go to the doctor.
I started seeing Mary, my therapist at that time, in late-2013. She knew everything about me. Every skeleton in the closet. She knew that my mother died when I was four, my first step-mom abused me, my Dad was there but not there, my Grandma and my aunt were my heroes, my step-dad died while I was in therapy, and that I wanted to die most days. Mary was the first person I heard use the term "dissociated." Mary believed I was dissociated, suffering from dysthymia, all from trauma in my childhood. She used the EMDR
method of therapy on me:
"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)1 is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies2.
EMDR psychotherapy is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health."
*EMDR Institute, Inc.
All the while I was in therapy with Mary, I was swallowing every damn pill they gave me that was supposed to help. I was being given anti-depressants.
I first was on Prozac: I felt no improvement.
Then, I switched to Zoloft: I felt no improvement.
Mary would give an update to the psychiatrist at the mental health center on how I was reacting to the medication, then I would see the psychiatrist to talk about how I was reacting to the medication. I'm still not sure what the purpose of me seeing the psychiatrist was, because he never listened to what I had to say anyway. I was 17. I didn't know what was going on inside my own head in his eyes.
He made the decision to put me on Cymbalta before the legal age, 18, because I broke down in his office over the drugs not working. Not because he felt like there was something truly wrong with me. He called my parents, got their verbal permission, and warned me about how expensive the medication was.
Cymbalta, at that time, did not have a generic. My parents were paying $60-$70 a month for pills they didn't really believe I needed. Eventually, of course, the generic came out.. But, by then, I realized the medication was only giving me headaches and I never had any energy. It was like I wasn't on any medication at all.
I discontinued therapy with Mary and discontinued my prescription of Cymbalta in May of 2014, shortly before I graduated from high school. As far as I was concerned, I never wanted to see that fat, rude man of a psychiatrist again. I discontinued for a number of reasons, one of them being that I was moving for college, and well... I still felt dissociated.
One day, I decided to sit down and take a shot at researching my condition.
was the first thing that popped up after entering a generic description of how I constantly felt. The moment I read the description of the disorder, I knew. I knew that this is what I have been living with. This glass box had a name now. I wasn't just dissociated. I wasn't just a kid going through a never-ending phase. I have never found more solace than in knowing that I'm not a fucking lunatic.
But nobody likes a self-diagnosis. I've brought the disorder up to my parents and they think it's far-fetched.
"Everybody feels that way sometimes," they say.
"These feelings are persistent," I say.
"Go see a doctor, then," they say.
No doctor I have ever met has listened to a word I have said. Fat, rude psychiatrist man never listened to a word I said. If I were to go to another psychiatrist, I would be in the same situation as before. Nobody with a doctorate wants to listen to a punk kid tell them how to do their job. If they say you have a broken arm when you only have a cough, by damn.. You have a broken arm. If I were to say, "I think I am suffering from depersonalization disorder." They would say, "You're probably just depressed."
I'm only unhappy because I'm stuck in this glass box. I only wish to get out of this glass box. But no physician, no parent, no authority figure of any kind, believes that there really is anything that wrong with me.
I thought I was supposed to know myself better than anyone.
Now, I am going to college full-time and working nearly full-time. I'm still on my parent's insurance, but am capable of paying for my own medication. I brought up these feelings of dissociation to my parents again, asking for their help in who I needed to contact in order to help me. I explained to them that I wouldn't ask for help if I didn't need it.
I have never felt so helpless in my life.
"It's probably just stress from school and work. Everybody feels that way sometimes," they said.
"This feeling hasn't gone away," I said.
"You're an adult now. Find a doctor and call them. We'll fax over our insurance information," they said.
But the thing is, dear bloggers, I don't know where to begin. I'm not sure if there is a doctor in the world that would be willing to listen to what I had to say.
Aug 26 2015 04:37 AM
Your story sounds very similar to mine. I had an interesting childhood to say the least. Not quite comparable to yours. Family history of anxiety and depression as well. My first time experiencing dp i was in high school. Probably my freshman year. I had no idea what the feeling was or what had happened. All i knew is the more i focused on it the worse it got and the further i was pushed away from reality. Just wanted to drop in and say that after reading your post, i just want you to know that there is hope.
I let dp control too many years of my life. It made me hate life and the person I was becoming. I am now in my junior year of college and have almost completely overcome my dp. I still deal with anxiety and depression at times but i am finally starting to feel sane again. Dont know why i was inclined to reply to your post, but it gets better. Feel free to message me at any time if you want to talk.