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"Why do I feel like this?" --> your experience may seem to be, but is not at all inconceivable. Despite the commonly repeated heresy, it is not true that we don't know what is happening in the brain of a depersonalized person, this is a false doctrine. And no, if you have this condition (and are accurately diagnosed with DPDR), your brain is no different. Symptoms differ, it's a subjective discussion time and time again. "But do you have this symptom?", but the mechanism in the brain is the same for everyone, this has been studied for decades, and technology allows us now to see into what is happening into the patient's brain, to the best of our ability granted by most recent technologies. Please read the following, it is very well explained, easy to understand, don't get discouraged by the fancy brain terminology, whenever you come across one, just say to yourself: "a part of my brain", only two regions are important to really understand the basics.

"Medford and his colleagues have studied the emotional response of patients while they lay inside a scanner. If a person with an intact emotional system is shown emotionally positive, neutral, or negative images, the scanner shows brain activations appropriate to each type of stimulus. One of the brain regions that is activated when viewing emotionally salient images is the insula. Activity in the insula is correlated with "every conceivable kind of feeling," writes Damasia in Self Comes to Mind, "from those that are associated with emotions to those that correspond to any shade of pleasure or pain, induced by a wide range of stimuli: hearing music one likes or hates; viewing pictures one loves, including erotic material, or pictures that cause disgust; drinking wine; having sex; being high on drugs; being low on drugs and experiencing withdrawal; and so forth". [...] In depersonalization, Medford's team found that there is distinctly less activity in the left anterior insula while viewing aversive images when compared with healthy controls. "The emotional circuitry, emotional responses, seem to be switched off somehow," Medford told me. The switch lies elsewhere in the brain. Another brain region that has been regularly implicated in depersonalization is the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC)-an area of the brain thats involved in top-down control of emotions. Medford's study (on of the largest ever done [...]) found that the VLPFC was overactive in these patients when compared with controls. An overactive VLPFC might be suppressing emotional responses in depersonalization.

The team took the study one step further. While there are no known medications for depersonalization, some people have reported improvements when they have taken lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant prescribed for epilepsy. Ten of the fourteen patients in Medford's study took lamotrigine for four to eight months, after which they agreed to be scanned again. Some patients reported that their condition had improved, while in others there was no change. Those whose symptoms had abated showed increased activity in the left anterior insula and decreased activity in the VLPFC when compared to the scans from before they began taking lamotrigine and when compared to the scans of those who were not feeling better despite the pharmacotherapy. "Whereas the people that hadn't improved at all, they were still very flat in terms of neural responses," said Medford, of the activity in the insula. The left anterior insula is involved in intergrating sensations from both inside the body (interoceptive) and outside (exteroceptive), and is thought to be crucial for creating a subjective sense of our own body and indeed for the sense of self. [...] while the VLPFC in people with depersonalization can be said to be "switching off" the left anterior insula, it's not under conscious control. "it's not a willed thing," said medford. "It's just happening. Things are being switched off."

If so, this switching off should become apparent in how autonomic nervous system responses (which are not under conscious control) operate in people with depersonalization. And in fact, thats exactly what researchers have seen: if you measure skin conductance of the hand (an autonomic response) in reaction to unpleasant stimuli, people with depersonalization show very little activity."

Taken from The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil Ananthaswamy, bold and underlining was added by me.
 

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"Recent research using psychopshyisiological as well as functional neuroimaging approaches are revealing distinct abnormalities, which supports the idea that the condition is firmly grounded on neurobiological mechanisms. The significance of such objective findings is particularly relevant for a condition like depersonalization, the clinical manifestions of which are entirely subjective, and mostly confined to the experiential domain of self-awareness."

^Taken from Depersonalization: A New Look at a Neglected Syndrome by Mauricio Sierra

Our disorder is a disorder of self-awareness, our ability to describe our current states through interoception/exteroception is impaired. This is why we cannot allow ourselves to be fooled by our own thoughts and subjective symptoms, we must listen to those who understand this condition, which is why I encourage anyone with this condition to read into it. Find out what is happening, don't try to figure it out for yourself, you won't be able to, but thankfully the research can.
 

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I've been meaning to buy the second book you cited.
Sierra is one of the most credible researchers, highly recommend that book for anyone with DPDR.

What's "The Man Who Wasn't There" about?
It's about DPDR, less technical than Sierra's book. It is similar in style to Jeffrey Abugel's book.

What you're saying is that all people who are accurately diagnosed with DP have this lack of emotion, and that lack of emotion is what causes them to feel like they lost their senses of selves and of reality? Is that maybe a little bit like Capgras syndrome?
The emphasis isn't on the emotions. The emotional numbing is just a symptom, just like the flat vision and others. The emphasis is on the inhibitory mechanism of the rVLPC. This is the region that is known to suppress insular activity (read OP). As a consequence, emotions are not brought into consciouss awareness, and your awareness about the external environment is also dulled. So there can be many symptoms, but it all boils down to one mechanism. And this is not "what i'm saying", this is where the current research is at in terms of understanding the condition, just read into the papers, Sierra's book is a good enough summary though imo. (dpdr is nothing like capgras syndrome)

What do you think about symptoms like flat vision? What roles do emotions play in something like that?
The flat vision, is just another symptom, just like the not-felt emotions. All the symptoms in DPDR are related to the inhibitory mechanism (read OP). I have two other posts about both DP and DR respectively, which talk about this more specifically. I go into detail, but it all boils down the VLPFC. In it's chain of commands this process of emotion regulation also entails other structures such as the TPJ and angular gyrus, but in the end of the day, it's still one process, and the VLPFC it is thought to behind it.
 
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