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(I'm reposting this from Andy's old site. I don't feel like revising the whole story so i just copied and pasted.)

Here is my story...regretfully, it is all true and unfortunately I have no need to exaggerate. I have been waiting most of my life for a forum like this to explain exactly how I feel. I am incredibly grateful to the creator of this site, as I honestly thought I was the only one enveloped in this horrific nightmare. This board is the first glimmer of hope I've had in a long time. And I truly mean that.

Needless to say, as a newcomer to this board, I would like to make a fine impression. I also want this story to articulate precisely how I feel so there is no ambiguity regarding my state of mind. I suppose I shall start at the beginning as it always seems to be the best place to begin...

I have had this dis-ease (what else can one call it) for most of my life. As a teenager I remember being very reclusive and having dp in a mild form throughout most of those years. There would be intermittent panic attacks in which it would come on in full force, but for the majority of the time, as long as I stayed in certain parameters, I would only have it in a mild form, always in the background, a window minimized in the task bar (please pardon the pathetic computer metaphor).

I was a writer in my teenage years (I still am, ostensibly, although I've not written anything worthwhile in over a year). I constantly fantasized about a different life...publishing a novel, making a million dollars, and moving to Paris to revel in notoriety. My life was just very confined back then. I knew very little about the world, and the last thing I should have been doing was writing. However, I found it very difficult to interact with others and henceforth live instead of write. It wasn't that I was shy or modest or anything. It was simply difficult for me to move outside of certain parameters (ie. My house, school, etc.). I would always be wary of this terrible feeling that would overcome me, and as my dp was in its infancy back then, I was still testing the waters, and I didn't want to stray too far into the deep end. Perhaps I should jump back a few years...before the beginning...

When I was about twelve years old I encountered depersonalization for the first time (naturally, I had no idea what it was, let alone what to call it). I remember everything about that day. I was in my friend's garage. I remember that we were play fighting, that the garage door was opened, that it was spring and sunny, and a beautiful day. I remember being hit in the head slightly, not hard enough to do any serious damage, but that was when my innocence was lost. I could not explain what came over me. A sense of un-reality...as if I was in a dream. It was strange, because logically I could think. I remember listing off my name and address (to the bewilderment of my friend who didn't know what the hell I was doing), and facts about myself. Logically, I knew who I was, where I was, what day it was, etc. etc. I even knew that I wasn't in a dream...but something didn't feel right...light-headness...that was my final excuse, and I went home and laid on my couch watching mind-numbing television until I felt 100% better.

The next time this happened was during a play fight about a year later. Everything came back in a flash, and it was scary as hell. I went to the emergency room that night, and once I got there I felt like an idiot trying to describe what was wrong. My descriptions were always so vague. They still are. The following dialogue is a typical conversation between me and a doctor/psychiatrist/therapist/psychoanalyst/hypnotist, etc.:

Them: So, what seems to be the problem?

Me: Oh. I just feel strange. Like I'm not myself.

Them: Who do you think you are?

Me: Well, I don't think I'm another person if that's what you are insinuating.

Them: I'm not insinuating anything. But if you don't feel like yourself...who do you feel like?

Me: No one. (this is where "Them" starts to think that I have low self-esteem, due to semantics)

Me: I just feel as though I'm acting out a part in a movie... like I'm not really here...like I'm undead or something.

Them: So you feel like you're wearing a mask. (again with the self-esteem)

Me: No. I'm speaking literally not figuratively. I literally feel like I'm in a dream...although I know I'm not.

Them: Hmmm. (Although "Them"'s "hmmm" is very sincere, I can tell that he has no idea what I'm talking about, and is more than likely lumping me into the ambiguous "teen angst" category...a Gen Xer with too much time on his hands.)

Me: It's very hard to explain or define. I just know that something doesn't feel right.

Them: Maybe everybody feels the way you do.

Me: If that were true, a lot more people would be jumping off off ledges. (This naturally piques "Them"'s interest)

Them: Do you feel suicidal?

Me: There are times when I toy with the idea, although I don't think I ever could do that to my family.

Them: Tell me about your family. Tell me about your mother.

It is at this point that I usually jump up and start strangling the aforementioned "Them". One can hardly blame them I suppose. There is VERY little literature or history on the subject of depersonalization. I don't know if it is a new disease or no one has been able to define it before or what it is. But I truly thought that I was the only one that had it. Anyhow, I digress.

I always felt dp to some degree or another in my teens. Depression usually accompanied it. After awhile, I would learn to keep away from situations that would excite it. This meant a lot of staying at home. I went to university (which by the way was a huge step for me and my dp). I battled with it there as well, but I found solace in alcohol and women (cliche, but true). It actually subsided for awhile. But, as always, it returned, and with a vengence.

A relationship of mine shattered and left me in pieces a few years ago. The dp didn't seem that prominent during that extravaganza. I was just mainly depressed over the girl...for over a year!!! After that, my dp vanished altogether for about a year and a half. It was a grand time, and I can't help but think that it was because my mind was constantly engaged in other activities that it went away. Or had it gone away, and then I was able to engage in other activities.
Chicken/egg,
chicken/egg.

On halloween last year I had the dp equivalent of a nervous breakdown. I didn't work for months afterwards. It was the absolute scariest time of my life. I truly thought that my mind was slipping away. I was positive. I couldn't see any way for my mind to come back...the future was a whirlwind of chaos. The fact that I'm here writing this right now is an absolute miracle, given my state of mind at the time. I hope some of you can understand what I'm saying by this. That was without a doubt the worst time ever.

It has taken me awhile to come back since then. I am still deep in the abyss, however, and true to this insidious disease's nature, it has morphed into something else. Something even more horrific. Now, I feel very little emotion at all. I walk around all day going about my business with no one being the wiser. I'm amazed the front I can put up. But I feel dead.

I feel like I'm trapped in some sort of torpor. One of Dantes stages of hell, but not the fashionable kind. I need help, but how? I've been to every kind of "professional" imaginable, and I'm getting tired of repeating the same thing over and over and over.

I used to hope I was manic-depressive as many great artists have been. Somehow that seemed like a cool thing to be. I also used to be passionate about finding a way out of this dp limbo. Now I mechanically regurgitate the same symptoms I feel to different people, completely uninterested in what they are going to diagnose me with. You see, it's always the same. I am not feeling better. I, for some reason, am scared to talk to or see my family or close friends. I feel nothing.

I just recently broke up with a girl after a short relationship, and although she was upset, I felt absolutely nothing. Not regret, not joy, not pity, not sorrow. Nothing.

I am currently in my mid-twenties. I have a job which I dislike, but pays the bills. I have no ambition (as I used to have), and quite frankly I am not in the least excited about what the future may bring. Because for me it brings only darkness. I am on prozac which has had no effect (although occassionaly I get giddy...I can only assume that it's because of that). Like I said, I can put on a good show. I still laugh and have fun, go out on occassion, have sex, kiss passionately, discuss issues with apparent fervor. But it is all a charade. This thing is eating me up inside, and I am running out of hope.

Like I said before, this site was a godsend. I truly mean that. Whoever made it up has my eternal gratitude. I can express how happy it made me to find it...to know that I am not completely alone.

Thank you for sitting through my story. I have much more to tell, many incidents, fears, opinions, existential thoughts brought on by dp (the enormity of it all, and what not). My fingers are getting numb, so I will bid you all adieu. I will hopefully be talking to you all in the chat room or through the forum. Any advice, opinions, med advice, comments, criticisms, etc. would be greatly appreciated. E-mail me. Until then, I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

"Songs about happiness, murmered in dreams, when the both of us knew how the ending would be." -R. Smith

[email protected]
 

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Are you feeling any better/worse than when you first wrote this? Have you gotten used to the symptoms? Have they let up at all? Have you found anything better than Prozac that at least takes the edge off? Being fairly new here, I'm trying to figure out which of us are 'in Hell' and which are only 'in Purgatory'.

Sounds like you went to a lot of the same therapists I did.
 

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You are a writer and an eloquent one at that. I can relate to feeling as though you are in hell. That is how I feel as well and that is about all I feel. I could really relate to what you said about going through the motions and acting like everything is okay. I am doing the same but I am not the same and my world is completely altered from what I knew before. My story is written in the introducton part if you are interested. Anyway, I am glad that you are here and I will enjoy reading more of your writing in the future. God bless, freesong
 
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Weird, Sebastian, I was about 12 and we are almost exactly the same age. Was it August of that year?

The emergency room dialogue paints a vivid scene. :roll: :cry:
 
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