******* Trigger Warning********I've been reading all of these getting well stories in order to maybe give me some hope but all can I think about is do they really recover or are they just really good at putting it in the back of their mind maybe that is just the pessimist in me thinking that noone is ever the same after going to hell and back over this condition and maybe the getting better is actually just the mind able to make what do with what it can but it won't go away forever it will always be there lying dormant until one day it perceives a threat or you pick up a joint or take drugs or whatever it is that triggers you and it ignites and your back at square one feeling lost and alone and scared you end up back in therapy or in a psych hospital taking drugs that is supposed to help you with this condition but they really don't and all you can do is wait until you aren't a danger to yourself or others before you can keep on moving on
I can answer both questions as have completely experienced both. I fully recovered from DPDR within approx. 3 years of the first onset, which was induced by stress and a joint. I was in the thick of DPDR and depression between 2007 & 2010, was stuck on this forum all the time,read all the books and even got hold of the experts in the USA for consultations.I somehow moved on, by just being active in the world, although there was a breakdown a year after getting DPDR because of work stress that I landed up in the ER for a week, and they tried to put me on an anti-depressant. In that period I consulted 2 psychiatrists who didn't know a thing about it, and 2 psychologists. Was put on various trials of medications like Lamotrogine and other anti epileptics but opted to stop all medications. One psychologist worked with me with cognitive and EMDR therapy which seem to help, but I cannot pinpoint that exactly. I also became very spiritual. After 3 years it seemed to dissipate, and it was step by step, not suddenly overnight, as I do remember incidences when I was healing the DPDR would be intermittent, and I would recognise it.
Then for the next 9 years it was a blast, I moved up in the corporate world, earned good money, got married, had a child, travelled a lot and even moved countries. The transition out of DPDR was not even a big deal, its not like I woke up one morning and cracked open a bottle of champagne and celebrated leaving the despair of DPDR. Then at the end of 2018 my marriage went west with very stressful things happening including at work too, so I travelled back to my home country and town in the beginning of 2019, just to be around family, and I say unfortunately had to firstly take sleep medication due to having high anxiety and insomnia. Within 10 days on sleep & anti-anxiety pills I woke up one morning with serious Derealization, so went to see a therapist. I was put on a course of anti-depressants.and bam!..., the DR got even worse! So now its been just over a year back in the same boat and have gone off all medication now, as I know I did that last time. Im back on the DPDR forums, and continually go back in my mind to when I had DPDR first for the first time, to see if there was any method I used...but the only one I can remember is that I exercised and got back into the world full time, was got very busy, kind of like an all or nothing attitude.
I must admit it is much worse now, and I literally have become a recluse and had to stop working having DPDR for the second time. I'm not sure if it is the medication which I took which has made it worse or if due to being older now. (I am in my 50's) All I can say is this time I have landed up with tons of symptoms which confined me to the bedroom. Exercise takes a huge effort as I am so dizzy and disorientated. I am also agoraphobic now as I am so derealized that the world looks completely strange, let alone my vision is so blurry and cannot handle bright light and my memory has become really bad. One would say I should have known or seen the symptoms coming back, but I cant, and wouldn't be in this position if I could have pre-emptied it. All I can pinpoint is that the steps leading up to getting DR (I say derealization as these are the main symptoms I have), is that I got badly depressed and was very anxious and stressed prior to getting DR for the second time. Was it the psych medication that caused it? I would say it definately contributed to this second bout of DR, but it really is a major disappointment and I am sitting back at square one with all these existential questions and fear about life, bad depression, and trying to map a way out of this nightmare again.