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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. This is my first post on the forum as I really wanted to try stay off. But I need some help before I can officially remove all traces of DPDR and solipsism from my life.

First off I'd like to say: Yes I know solipsism is a philosophy and I know it's not a psychological condition. Nevertheless, the thought is debilitating.

Here we go:

I've been battling solipsism long before I even realized I had DPDR. Initially I was scared of 'being in a dream' but I was able to problem-solve my way through that. It's now almost 5 months of me trying to get rid of this obsession and its becoming relentless. There is no escape.

As most people on here will know, solipsism is the idea that only your mind exists, and that reality you perceive is just part of your imagination, including other people.

My fear of solipsism stems from the eternal loneliness and idea that I am alone, with no other conscious beings. Even as I am typing it I'm questioning whether any sentient being will actually read this. I used to get relief from reading about others with this solipsism obsession but now I just think how no one else is going through this because no one else is real and my own mind is just forming other people's stories -- perhaps to trick me into believing in other people's existence -- or perhaps just out of pure coincidence. -- Also, part of my fear stems from a horrific weed trip I had in which I past out and hallucinated, leading to thoughts about solipsism. (This was the trigger of my DPDR)

For some reason, my solipsism obsession disappeared entirely for a week when I went on holiday with my family. I was 100% convinced that my family was real and I was so incredibly happy. Even when I intentionally thought about solipsism, I thought it was bullshit. I was sure my girlfriend, my family, my friends were all real. -- I don't know how this happened, but it did.

After I got home, I relapsed and fell back into not believing in the existence and consciousness of my family and friends. Since then, I have adopted the mentality of "allowing the thoughts to be there". "Not agreeing and not disagreeing". "Allow the thoughts to pass" "stop ruminating". I did all of these things to no avail.

It's been a month of me just allowing the thoughts to pass, but I'm not getting any better with solipsism.

Now when I try to ignore it or believe in people's existence, I feel like I'm lying to myself. I constantly think "what if I've found the truth but I'm just running away from it?"

I understand that there's no way to know and I understand that there will never be 100% proof. I don't want 100% proof that people are real but I want to 100% BELIEVE that people are real. Will I ever get back to 100% believing that other people are real?

Throughout my day I'm constantly thinking about how other people can't see me, can't hear me, don't have thoughts, don't have feelings. I think about how nothing is physical and no one is real. I feel eternally alone. I just want to believe in people's existence.

It feels ridiculous for me to do anything now that I've come to this conclusion. Why should I live my life questioning other people's existence.

One problem I have is - At one point I believe I was getting close to overcoming the obsession, but one thing was stopping me from recovering: When I started thinking about the fact that everyone around me probably was real: I could only think about all the reading and thinking I'd done about Buddhism and solipsism and how the idea of subjective reality and solipsism is entirely possible. Therefore, I wasn't able to shrug it off as a dumb thought like I could about being stuck in a dream. This is partially because lots of other 'people' truly believe in solipsism, and the entire buddhist religion believes in subjective reality and that we are in a dream. I believe this stopped me from recovering, and it led me back to researching to find out if there really were true solipsists out there. It also reminded me of the potential truth behind solipsism. How do I break this in specific? --- Even when I get close to thinking solipsism isn't true, I remind myself that I can't just shrug it off because theres people who believe it and it could well be true. How do I escape this? It feels like running away from the 'truth' even though I know there's no way to know.

When this obsession first started, I was able to say "I know people are real, BUT I'm scared they're not". Now I am no longer able to say "I know people are real, BUT". Will I ever return to believing people are real?

I don't simply want to 'forget' or 'stop thinking' about solipsism. I want to believe its not true. -- Sometimes I think the reason it doesn't scare other people I talk to about it is because they aren't real. Can anyone relate?

How do I go back to believing my girlfriend is real, my parents are real, my siblings are real, my friends are real. It's all I think about 24/7. It is on my mind from the moment I fall asleep to the moment I wake up.

I've read recovery stories from solipsism, but none of them seem as severe as mine. In most of the stories I've read, people usually say "I always believed that people are real but I wasn't able to stop thinking about if they weren't". This is how I started but I can no longer say "I believe people are real". Then again, I'm not a solipsist. I don't believe in solipsism, but I still can't say "I think people are real".

Please help me. Hearing from other people who escaped solipsism, especially severe cases, will give me some hope. Even if this world isn't real and even DPDR sufferers are figments of my imagination, if they can recover from solipsism, so can I, the same way cures for headaches for other 'figments' work for me too. This is what I say to keep me motivated and getting back to believing in other minds.

Thank you - My heart goes out to anyone else battling this debilitating and heart-wrenching obsession. It is truly the worst thing I've ever had to experience. If you're reading this and real people are truly out there, just keep in mind that I am definitely real. I know that for certain. I'm suffering and battling this exact same obsession as you. I am not a figment of your imagination. I know you will never truly know that, and neither will I -- but I just want to believe that its true, whether it is or it isn't.
 

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This is partially because lots of other 'people' truly believe in solipsism, and the entire buddhist religion believes in subjective reality and that we are in a dream. I believe this stopped me from recovering, and it led me back to researching to find out if there really were true solipsists out there.
34% of Americans believe humans have always existed in their present form and didn't evolve from lower lifeforms. (source: https://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/chapter-4-social-and-political-attitudes/)

Just because a lot of people believe in unsubstantiated bullshit doesn't mean it's true. Give me one solid reason to believe in solipsism that's in any way based on evidence or even reason. Well, I suppose I can't convince you because I must be one of solipsism's goons that's just trying to fool you into thinking that the world is real, right?
 
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Maybe I'm the only mind in the Universe. Maybe I'm not. It doesn't matter. It doesn't seem like I'm the only one. And even if I concluded I was the only one, then how do I know for sure there isn't another like me in the vast expanses of space-time, which is indefinitely infinite and eternal?
 

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Solipsism happens to be your personal greatest fear. Anxiety has a way of being specially tailored to latch on to the thing you fear most, handle your anxiety disorder and your symptoms (fear of solipsism in your case) will fade away. You’re trying to handle a symptom and not the root cause, instead confusing the two - I recovered from severe solipsism which was part of my DP/dr and you can too. Get the planets in alignment inside yourself and the rest will fall into place and you can return to your childlike state of being - children aren’t concerned with such things - they are just happy being part of the experience as nature intended. We just want to play and interact with each other and be amazed and inspired by things - and you’ll get back to that place. I’m real, you’re real, you just developed an acute form of anxiety... that’s all. And you can get through it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
34% of Americans believe humans have always existed in their present form and didn't evolve from lower lifeforms. (source: https://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/chapter-4-social-and-political-attitudes/)

Just because a lot of people believe in unsubstantiated bullshit doesn't mean it's true. Give me one solid reason to believe in solipsism that's in any way based on evidence or even reason. Well, I suppose I can't convince you because I must be one of solipsism's goons that's just trying to fool you into thinking that the world is real, right?
Hey. You seem to be right. Have you gone through anything similar? If so, could you give some details on how you got through it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe I'm the only mind in the Universe. Maybe I'm not. It doesn't matter. It doesn't seem like I'm the only one. And even if I concluded I was the only one, then how do I know for sure there isn't another like me in the vast expanses of space-time, which is indefinitely infinite and eternal?
I know theres no way to prove if other people are conscious, but frankly I don't want proof. I just want to go back to believing people are real. I want to stop thinking about this 24/7 and just believe in the existence of other's minds. How do I do this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Solipsism happens to be your personal greatest fear. Anxiety has a way of being specially tailored to latch on to the thing you fear most, handle your anxiety disorder and your symptoms (fear of solipsism in your case) will fade away. You're trying to handle a symptom and not the root cause, instead confusing the two - I recovered from severe solipsism which was part of my DP/dr and you can too. Get the planets in alignment inside yourself and the rest will fall into place and you can return to your childlike state of being - children aren't concerned with such things - they are just happy being part of the experience as nature intended. We just want to play and interact with each other and be amazed and inspired by things - and you'll get back to that place. I'm real, you're real, you just developed an acute form of anxiety... that's all. And you can get through it
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Solipsism definitely is my greatest fear, and yes I'm still anxious because of it. My anxiety levels regarding solipsism are at a much better level than they used to be, but still quite high.

Also, I know you say that the issue is my anxiety and solipsism isn't the problem, so how do I solve the anxiety? How do I get through this?

It's reassuring to hear you recovered from a severe solipsism obsession. Was there a point where you no longer believed in the existence of other minds? How did you get back to believing that other people are real? I'm worried that even if I reduce my anxiety levels, I'll still be stuck not knowing if people are real, but I want to believe other people are real.

Do you think these are the steps to recovery?:

1. Allow the thoughts to remain. (I don't believe other people are real)

2. Allow anxiety levels to reduce. (I don't believe other people are real)

3. Sudden realisation that people are real.

Do you think this is correct? Or is it something more like this:

1. Allow the thoughts to remain. (I don't believe other people are real)

2. Allow anxiety levels to reduce. (I don't believe other people are real)

3. No longer get scared by solipsism. (I don't believe other people are real)

4. Slowly find evidence that people are real. (I believe other people are real)

Should I start looking for evidence or questioning in my head whether people are real again once my anxiety is reduced? Or will this just lead me falling back into endless ruminating? I often see people saying "I had a severe solipsism obsession and I got over it you just need time", but no one really explains the steps to recovery. Do they suddenly go back to thinking people are real? Do they start finding reasons why people are real again? Do they still not believe people are real they just don't care?

Thanks.
 

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I know theres no way to prove if other people are conscious, but frankly I don't want proof. I just want to go back to believing people are real. I want to stop thinking about this 24/7 and just believe in the existence of other's minds. How do I do this?
Seeing people as real is more than a belief. You don't seem to believe people are not real. You seem to have a disbelief that they are real.
 

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Should I start looking for evidence
What evidence could there be against such a belief? It's not grounded in any empirical evidence (nor is it a reasonable a priori inference), and neither can it be proven false through empirical evidence. You can't prove God's nonexistence, but conversely there is no proof for his existence either. That's because it's based on pure, unsubstantiated belief. These are unfalsifiable claims.

You can always point to evidence and provide precise scientific formulas for various phenomena, but then I can just say "God created it!" The same applies to this solipsism nonsense. If your mind created everything, then it must've also created this supposed evidence because the evidence can only be acquired through the senses from this supposedly fake world, and thus it's no evidence at all.

I'd start with realizing this: your belief is based on nothing at all. Believing that we are mind-controlled by immaterial martians is equally sound.
 

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I'd start with realizing this: your belief is based on nothing at all. Believing that we are mind-controlled by immaterial martians is equally sound.
I think his solipsism is based on that one could never prove that they aren't the only mind in existence through obsessive thinking. Imho there's no thought process that can lead to "proof" or conclusive belief. So it's likely he's stuck in a mind loop of thoughts trying to think his way out of solipsism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What evidence could there be against such a belief? It's not grounded in any empirical evidence, and neither can it be proven false through empirical evidence. You can't prove God's nonexistence, but conversely there is no proof for his existence either. That's because it's based on pure, unsubstantiated belief. These are unfalsifiable claims.

You can always point to evidence and provide precise scientific formulas for various phenomena, but then I can just say "God created it!" The same applies to this solipsism nonsense. If your mind created everything, then it must've also created this supposed evidence because the evidence can only be acquired through the senses from this supposedly fake world, and thus it's no evidence at all.

I'd start with realizing this: your belief is based on nothing at all. Believing that we are mind-controlled by immaterial martians is equally sound.
I understand. I was just wondering, since you went through the same thing, would you mind explaining the way in which you escaped? I presume you now 100% believe that I am conscious. How did you go from doubting it and potentially not believing to now fully believing I'm real. I understand that worrying about this is dumbfounded, but I just want to go back to believing people are real. Do you have any suggestions? I really need help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think his solipsism is based on that one could never prove that they aren't the only mind in existence through obsessive thinking. Imho there's no thought process that can lead to "proof" or conclusive belief. So it's likely he's stuck in a mind loop of thoughts trying to think his way out of solipsism.
I no longer try to think my way out of solipsism because I know it's impossible. Nevertheless, this doesn't stop me from thinking about how people can't see me, hear me, have feelings etc. Please help.
 

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I'm not really following here. Would you mind explaining in a bit more depth? Also do you have any advice?
Well it appears from your words here that you don't necessary hold the belief that "people aren't real and it's just me". You seem to be more in a limbo of mistrusting the given reality that you share this world with others. To me it sounds like you are stuck wrestling with uncertainty and mistrust in reality because you aren't able to think of proof either way. So that's why I said it looks like you aren't in a belief that others aren't real, you are in a disbelief that they are real. Kind of an agnostic solipsism. Agnostic meaning you don't know either way, but are caught in and OCD like neurosis trying to think your way into trusting/believing that people are real.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well it appears from your words here that you don't necessary hold the belief that "people aren't real and it's just me". You seem to be more in a limbo of mistrusting the given reality that you share this world with others. To me it sounds like you are stuck wrestling with uncertainty and mistrust in reality because you aren't able to think of proof either way. So that's why I said it looks like you aren't in a belief that others aren't real, you are in a disbelief that they are real. Kind of an agnostic solipsism. Agnostic meaning you don't know either way, but are caught in and OCD like neurosis trying to think your way into trusting/believing that people are real.
Yes. This is definitely the position I am in. You captured it perfectly. Do you have any suggestions on how to get out of this?
 

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I would suggest seeing a psychologist. Have you tried meditation? That can either make it better or worse. Maybe unplug from technology, get out into nature for awhile.

Unfortunately we aren't robots that can suddenly switch our programming from disbelief to belief. Humans are complex and emotions get entangled into our logic. You might know this if you've ever tried to quit a substance addiction. It'd be great if we could wake up and say "I quit nicotine", but the reality is that will bring stress, and the chemicals in our brains have relied so heavily on the hit of dopamine release. So I don't think you can just say "I believe people are real" so easily and be cured from your affliction that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would suggest seeing a psychologist. Have you tried meditation? That can either make it better or worse. Maybe unplug from technology, get out into nature for awhile.

Unfortunately we aren't robots that can suddenly switch our programming from disbelief to belief. Humans are complex and emotions get entangled into our logic. You might know this if you've ever tried to quit a substance addiction. It'd be great if we could wake up and say "I quit nicotine", but the reality is that will bring stress, and the chemicals in our brains have relied so heavily on the hit of dopamine release. So I don't think you can just say "I believe people are real" so easily and be cured from your affliction that way.
I do meditate - I don't really notice if it helps or not, but I still do it. I saw a psychiatrist a few months ago. He told me I have an anxiety disorder but this was at a time when the solipsism was cured, as I said in my text. I'm seeing the same psychiatrist at the end of this month, and I start CBT in a few days. I'm hoping I can get somewhere with this. You've scared me a bit now by informing me that I'm different to the other cases here, since I'm stuck in between believing and not believing, whereas most other people still believe people are real, they just get scared by intrusive thoughts. I definitely lean towards the side of believing people are real, but I'm not quite there.

I feel really lost. I don't know what to do. Life just doesn't feel worth living like this. I have no hope that I'll go back to believing in other minds.

I appreciate the help :(
 

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I think his solipsism is based on that one could never prove that they aren't the only mind in existence through obsessive thinking. Imho there's no thought process that can lead to "proof" or conclusive belief. So it's likely he's stuck in a mind loop of thoughts trying to think his way out of solipsism.
Yeah, that's what I was pointing out here:

What evidence could there be against such a belief? It's not grounded in any empirical evidence (nor is it a reasonable a priori inference), and neither can it be proven false through empirical evidence. You can't prove God's nonexistence, but conversely there is no proof for his existence either. That's because it's based on pure, unsubstantiated belief. These are unfalsifiable claims.

You can always point to evidence and provide precise scientific formulas for various phenomena, but then I can just say "God created it!" The same applies to this solipsism nonsense. If your mind created everything, then it must've also created this supposed evidence because the evidence can only be acquired through the senses from this supposedly fake world, and thus it's no evidence at all.
I meant that it's based on nothing in the sense that it's based on no evidence of any kind. It has no rational justification.

Unfortunately we aren't robots that can suddenly switch our programming from disbelief to belief.
Yeah, this is absolutely true. It's not up to us what we believe. We must be convinced, and whether we're convinced is not up to us. That's why it's possible to get stuck in a loop like this. We actually are robots in a sense, biological ones, but it's programmed into us that we can't change our beliefs like that volitionally through consciousness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, that's what I was pointing out here:

I meant that it's based on nothing in the sense that it's based on no evidence of any kind. It has no rational justification.

Yeah, this is absolutely true. It's not up to us what we believe. We must be convinced, and whether we're convinced is not up to us. That's why it's possible to get stuck in a loop like this. We actually are robots in a sense, biological ones, but it's programmed into us that we can't change our beliefs like that volitionally through consciousness.
This makes sense. Do you have any recommendations on how to get back to believing again? I go through phases in which I suddenly tell myself "I know people are real!" then get all excited but it doesn't last long before the doubt comes back. Do you think I should continue to just "allow the thoughts to be there, don't agree or disagree"? And then do you think over time I will get back to believing again?

For the week where I fully believed that people were real, it was on a holiday with my family. I'm going on holiday with them again for a week in two weeks timing so I'm hoping the same thing will happen.

Any help? Sorry for being pushy mate but I'm really not in a good place. I just need some help from someone whos been through this.
 

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Any help? Sorry for being pushy mate but I'm really not in a good place. I just need some help from someone whos been through this.
I actually haven't been through this at all. When I first read the Wikipedia articles about solipsism, philosophical zombies, etc, I found them fascinating ideas, but I never found them convincing. Why should I believe in something for which there is no evidence at all? I don't know if I can help you any more than giving my own reasons for not believing.
 
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