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Unable to talk and do simple tasks anymore

472 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Trith
My name is Eric and I am 33 years old suffering from severe DP/DR. This is my first post. Even typing this response is almost impossible for me because I feel like I have every thought and no thoughts at all at the same time. For me it started about a year ago after suffering a lot of stressors - overwhelmed by church ministry, a marriage proposal that fell apart and an outright identity crisis. I barely have the motivation to type this response. I spend most of my days trying to simply appear normal to everyone else and for me this means being quiet and not saying anything because I feel like everyone will find out I am a hollow shell living in a body with no emotion and no thoughts. I get extremely nervous and panicky any time anyone asks me ANY question about myself, my past, or what I think about something. I literally have nothing to say back to people when this happens and when I speak, I feel a huge pressure/brain zap and then my thoughts go to "why aren't you saying anything... say something back to this person!" and I end up just being quiet thinking about the fact that I can't talk and I can barely hold a conversation. I am so quiet that I don't even want to try to talk to anyone anymore even though everything within me screams for and craves connection to the people that love me. Like I know they love me and they care about me, and to them I appear pretty normal, but all I can manage to spit out is small talk and small sentences. I think because I have no thoughts all the time, I have to force myself to think of something "normal" to say just to appear part of this world still to those around me. The truth is I feel so phased out of reality that I spend most days watching the clock pass by, not trying anything to get out of it. I have tried everything to feel better, but nothing seems to be working. I feel useless, guilty for not being able to show affection and emotion to my friends and family, and at this point defeated. Deep down I know I am still "here" and this knowingness of my true self keeps me enduring every day, but the torment of living in this prison of my head and my body, without being able to express anything on the inside is killing my motivation. I frequently think about suicide to end things, but the thought of what this would do to my family and friends keeps me hanging on. Every day I feel like I am fading more and more out of reality, and the irony is that I have almost accepted it. There is a strange peace to the nothingness, like my mind and body have shut down. I feel like my perception of everything has been awakened to such a state that there is "no going back". There is no way to unsee the world the way I see it now. People's expressions, their faces, their emotions their movements are all unfamiliar to me and being around people or social situations is the toughest because all I think about is how strange everything is around me. I am living in a quiet prison with my intellect intact and nothing else. Its pure torture and I keep waking up every day hoping it will change. Anyway, that is where I am at.
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I felt exactly that for some time, I remember, although maybe not as strong. The worst was at parties with many people and many small groups talking together. I could come and say hello when I arrived, say nothing for the whole night and then say goodbye when I left. I just felt I had nothing to say. When I talked to some friends about this, in a much more private setting, most of the time people would tell me "but just say whatever you want, be natural". And that was exactly what I could not do. Being natural for me at the time was to just say silent. It was really annoying to not be able to communicate that. For regular people they had to do nothing special to be in a conversation naturally, and they thought it should be the same for me, but it wasn't. So even trying to explain that to people created some distance, because it felt like they thought I was just stupid for not understanding how life works, or they would think I am so different from them. The truth is that this distance was not so big, they didn't care this much, but it was really annoying at the time. I don't know if it is the same for you, but at the time I worried that people would give up on the relationship if I didn't react enough or if I was too "weird". People who never had that happen to them don't even know how things work, you only need to know how a car works when it's broken, otherwise you just use it blindly. When I was trying to have a conversation at those parties, it felt like that natural conversation sphere would not create itself, I was not interacting with the other person, absolutely nothing was coming to my mind except inner thoughts that nobody would ever share publicly, like "how am I going to solve this problem", "I feel so lonely, is this going to get worse?", "I want to kill myself", "those people speak so naturally and they don't even see my distress", "nobody is ever going to love me if I can't communicate, I am so far from this now, I am not even a person anymore". This is what was going through my mind. So when people told me "just say anything that is on your mind", should I say these things? Of course not. Not everything that comes naturally on your mind can fit a conversation with most people. There needs to be some kind of exchange, but if it always happens naturally to people, they never learn what to do when it doesn't happen naturally. Most people probably don't even know that this natural thing can actually be dysfunctional.
What I did back then was to just try to accept that I won't say anything this time. I practiced trying to be comfortable with my own silence, and just watching people around me. I tried to be happy for them, I tried to enjoy their jokes. I tried to get comfortable leaving when I needed to and not feel guilty or imagine that people are not going to like me anymore if I don't spend enough time with them, or comfortable leaving to take a break before coming back, or comfortable not . Not because I thought this would help me, but because it was almost the only thing I could work on at the time. I tried also to force myself to speak with people, and I had quite uncomfortable experiences (without good nor bad consequences thought), but I am glad I had the courage to try that too. But I don't know about the right thing to do for other people. For sure, now I would say that worrying about what others would think about how I was was probably making it worse, but I am not sure I had a choice. I think I could only make baby steps to try to feel more comfortable. Thinking that "I don't talk, ok, it's my style for now, if anyone doesn't like it whatever". In fact I was more sociable in very small settings, but I was still uncomfortable all the time.
I don't know what did the trick, but I feel much much more comfortable now and I hope the same will happen to you soon. I definitely still have a lack of contact with most people but I have almost no problem engaging in conversation again even in large groups (except when it's too noisy or when people talk over each other, but that's a different thing). I am also more comfortable with spacing out and not being with others, just staying with my own obsessive thoughts for a time, because it's my right, or looking at my phone and not pay attention to anything else.
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