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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

Just wanted to give some optimism for those who like me 8 years ago were crawling the internet to look for some hope about their condition.
I haven't had any DP/DR (just some very short hour-long episodes due to major fatigue) since 2014, it lasted for 12 months, and was accompanied by major depression.
Here my story, from the main events (1), to how I managed to get out of it (2), to how I'm doing since then (3)

1. Events leading to my DP/DR:

Earlier events
: I had 2-3 short phase encounters before the burnout: one due to existential thoughts and related fears when I was a teen, one which lasted a week due to a weed bad trip. Both went away by themselves.

Main event: My burnout end of June 2013 was caused by too many things happening simultaneously: death in my family, major financial issues, abusive relationship, and a major series of exam coming up which were the last chance I had to stay at university. It started with a panic attack, then panic attacks all the time during the day, making my life absolutely miserable. I was accompanied by constant DP/DR. Of course I thought I got completely crazy as no-one could explain what was happening to me.
I was prescribed anxiolytics very rapidly (by a psychiatrist), which helped a lot to pass the exams. But dependence/habituation formed, and by start of September 2013 I realized I needed the normal dose just to feel as shitty as I did before even trying the meds. The docs wanted me to increase the dosage, but as I didn't want to do it (I read of so many stories of people taking more and more and not being able to quit) I tried stopping without the approval of the docs. After very painful 2-3 attempts I managed to do it, but it was so horrible that I have a complete blackout of the week following the sudden withdrawal. I do not recommend doing it like I did!
For this reason I recommend being careful about these meds. They can help short-term, but be aware that a strong dependence and habituation takes place quickly. You need good doctors helping you (mine were really bad unfortunately). I'd recommend starting with a psychotherapist, as they are in my experience less prone to try to solve everything with meds. A psychotherapist can always refer you to a doctor if he/she thinks that you need meds.
After withdrawal I realized that I still have constant DP/DR, but I also have a major depression and still panic attacks. And had to continue studying full-time and working part-time next to it, as there was no alternative. Yes, life was really, really shitty.

2. How I got out of it:

I tried to find out what was causing the panic attacks, depression, and DP/DR. And was against meds due to my bad experience with anxiolytics and distrust of the several psychiatrists I saw who all wanted to give me meds already in the first meeting.
Started psychotherapy, which helped. But I knew that just talking wouldn't help, especially as unfortunately my therapist wasn't very good and the depression was that strong.
Tackled the things that brought most anxiety (e.g. dental issues), but I stopped getting panic attacks when I finally understood why I got them: I got them because I was scared of getting them. I was lucky to discover by myself what caused the fear, but I think it would have been faster if the therapist had been good at his job. Then I worked on convincing myself that there is no fear to be had, that it always goes away. And eventually the panic attacks stopped, I guess in November 2013.
So I was now "only" stuck with DP/DR and a very strong depression (with constant self-harm and suicide thoughts). I felt like there was no hope anymore.
In December 2013 I finally decided to take antidepressants because life was just unbearable (I'm sparing you the terrible details). It helped eventually to get my mood completely back on track gradually over the next months while trying out dosages.
So by summer 2014 I only had DP/DR left, even though it was a lot milder than before.

What helped then in summer 2014 to get rid of DP/DR was quite extraordinary: a post on this website suggested to watch a spiral hypnosis video on Youtube (watch?v=BF7bNe1il0M), and doing sessions of 20-30 minutes just focusing on the central point of the spiral. I did it, and it worked for some minutes: I felt normal again! I then started doing it regularly, which gradually made DP/DR disappear over the next weeks.
I'm pretty sure it cannot help everyone, as everyone is different. But it helped me. And if it helps a handful of other people it's worth talking about it.

3. How I've been doing since then:

I haven't had DP/DR for more than some hours since 2014, only 2-3 times where I was either extremely tired or once someone gave me strong weed brownies before telling me that they are not normal brownies. I had no real depression episode either - only temporary downtimes but that's a normal part of life.
The impact of this time is however a major cornerstone of my life, such that I see it now as a net benefit having been through it:
  • Knowing what I could get through by myself it gives me a strong drive to always push forward whatever happens. I am now the captain of my own life instead of just being a passenger (if this corny image makes sense to you). I got pretty driven and resilient.
  • I learned to recognize what is good for me and what isn't. Led to me leaving my abusive relationship, surrounding myself with more positive people, going in another job direction. Now I'm in a great relationship and have a job I enjoy getting up in the morning for.
  • Knowing how bad life can be, I have since then always been doing humanitarian work in my free time to help people who are less lucky. This led to a lot of purpose in my life, and getting to know a lot of great people. Trust me, it feels really good seeing that you help people getting better and that you have a positive impact.
Of course life isn't perfect, there are always downtimes at points. But if you do therapy you learn to recognize downtimes, bad influences, good influences, and act accordingly to get yourself in a better place.


I expect that most people who recover from DP/DR will not go back to websites like this one to talk about it, be aware of that. Therefore you get a warped image of the prognosis for DP/DR. If you're suffering right now of DP/DR, know that there is certainly hope!
Please go see a psychologist or psychotherapist and try to find out what the underlying mental issue is. I think everyone should - even without apparent issue - do a therapy, because we all have issues we aren't aware of and have a bad influence on our life (actually the people thinking they have no issues are in my experience those having the most issues). I would not recommend starting with a psychiatrist, as in my personal experience they try way to much to solve everything with meds. If your psychologist/psychotherapist thinks that meds is what you need, they can always send you then to a psychiatrist. But maybe that's just my bad experience.

If you are right now in a situation similar to mine and would like to talk a bit, feel free to write a PM. I also speak French and German if it's easier for you.


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That's interesting, but just for people's information, stopping benzodiazepines abruptly can cause seizures, permanent brain damage or death. Personally I had 20 mg of Seresta every day for a month (standard initial dose is 10 mg) and could stop in about two weeks with almost no side effects. You can break them in pieces if they are labelled as breakable, and take only a fraction of the pill. Reduce the dosage very slowly and if you feel any withdrawal it means you are reducing too fast. I reduced it by steps of not more than 2.5 mg somtimes, which is a quarter of a pill. The ideal reducing rate varies with time and can be much slower towards the end.
Psychiatrists assume you will follow the instructions on the label and not stop by yourself, so they often don't feel the need to give you this information (none of them ever gave me warnings about stopping any med) (I suspect they also assume they are in charge and if you don't follow their instructions you deserve that punishment for being insubordinate, even if this means death).
Don't rush it thinking that you prefer a strong pain for a short time rather than an average pain for a long time. Rushing it can kill you, and reducing it gradually can actually be almost painless.
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