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Hello everyone,

This is my first post. I was so happy to discover that a board related to DP was not only available, but also heavily trafficked by other people, sharing stories/articles/experiences, etc.

I will post my personal story in the appropriate section, when I'm finished with it.

Basically, 10 years ago this October 27 was a day that changed my life. I was a full-time student in college by day and working part-time at a convenience store at night.

One night the owner's son "dared" me to take 3 Vivarin tablets (600mg of caffeine). I used to drink a lot of coffee and Coke back then so I figured what's 3 Vivarin. No big deal, right? Wrong!

I took the Vivarin around 8PM that Thursday night, and by 11:30 I was in a full blown panic. My shift ended at 11 and I didn't really start to panic and feel unreal until I got home.

I thought I was going to die. My heart was about to pound out of my chest, my breathing was very fast, and everything around me seemed unreal, two-dimensional. I felt totally detached from my normal self.

I ended up in the ER the following day around Noon. I thought I would be diagnosed with some very serious heart ailment but that wasn't the case. I was told I simply had experienced an acute panic attack, was given some Ativan and told to go home and rest.

I kept thinking, "my goodness I could have died." That was 1994. Today, however, I now know I was never close to dying -- it merely FELT like I was dying (the symptoms had tricked me).

That first full day after the attack, I noticed an immediate change in my breathing. Whereas before the attack I never even noticed how I breathed, now I was obsessed with voluntarily controlling my breathing (because I was afraid my body wouldn't breathe for me).

My breathing was high up in my chest vs. in my belly. I believe I have been chronically, subtlely hyperventilating since the attack.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone can relate to what I went through and what I'm going through. I haven't had a bona fide anxiety attack since March 1995, my second and most recent panic attack to date, but I have agoraphobic tendencies and am afraid to go out of my apartment because everything seems so unreal.

When I look in the mirror at myself I can't really connect with what I see in the mirror. It seems bizarre that I'm still alive after that one panic almost a decade ago.

I want to go back to 1994 and do this all over again so I did not take the Vivarin. This is an impossible request, of course, because we cannot "do over" anything.

I would be overwhelmingly grateful if anyone has advice on how to move on or feel better connected to myself and my immediate environment and surroundings. I think I'm afraid of these feelings and that is why they persist.

I know that these feelings are harmless, but I still can't seem to forgive myself for what I did that one night on October 27, 1994. In fact, for the longest time, I only purchased products or drove cars that were manufactured before 1995. I just could not believe that I lived through the attack, and it seemed unbelievable that anything made after 1994 could be real.

As crazy as that sounds, my doctor doesn't believe I have any sort of psychosis. He just says I have panic disorder, even though I haven't had a panic attack in almost 10 years. He wasn't even familiar with DP Syndrome. Not getting the right diagnosis is frustrating.

I currently take 2 to 4mg of Klonopin a day for anxiety. Unfortunately, I lost my job 2 years ago and have been too scared and anxious to look for another one since. My friends all tell me to "pull myself up by my bootstraps" but this is different. It is incredible when you feel spaced out and anxious 24/7.

I have come close to losing hope in the past, but finding this message board and reading the messages has led me to believe that I just might not feel this way forever. I really think I can overcome this; I'm just not sure what I can do to bridge the gap between 1994 and 2004.

The good news is that when I found this message board yesterday and read up on DP I felt a little more relaxed, a little more myself, just to know that I'm not alone. I know that millions of people struggle with panic but how many people struggle 24/7 with DP? Not nearly in the millions, I wouldn't think. Until yesterday, I thought I was the only one who feels this way.

Again, thank you for letting me post, and any responses would be appreciated beyond what you could ever imagine. I am so glad I found this community.

Kind Regards,

Jeff
 

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I know exactly how you feel, I got DP from smoking weed. I think most people here became DP'd After a full blown panic attack.
Altough you don't have panic attacks anymore, you still suffer from anxiety. The fact is you just have to let the anxiety be, when you do that you can overcome it.. in time.
I think DP/DR is a form of anxiety and obsessive selmonitoring. Have you tried an SSRI for your symptoms?
You need to focus on the world around you instead of focussing on you'r feelings en you being human and all that.
DP is not even close to psychosis. you'r not insane!
 
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It's all veryyy familiar, sure.

Your doctor is correct in that what you have is not psychosis (although, yes, it feels like absolute insanity for sure).

You had a major panic attack in response to the massive caffeine stimulation. The panic attack caused your mind to find a "defense" for its terror, and the secondary creation (the panic attack was the first) was a state of dissociation called dp.

Even though you don't have panic or anxiety attacks now, the BASIS for the dp is anxiety. It's complex, but a person need not FEEL anxious in order to qualify for an "anxiety-based reaction."

Your mind wanted to AVOID future panic attacks at all costs. The solution it chose was dp. THose ruminations and obsessive delusions (like choosing a car pre-1995 manufacturing date) are also a form of anxiety (even though they don't feel like it).

Yes, the vivarin "caused' the panic, but you didn't DO anything to your brain. The drug induced a trauma in you, and your lingering symptoms are the result of feeling like you can never again trust your own mind.

It's all something you can recover from...it just takes time and plenty of work. Stay in therapy, do whatever you must to be as honest and open as possible when you talk to the doctor. Stay focused on ALL aspects of yourself, not only your symptoms. The temptation is to just harp on the dp experience. Misleading. That's a trick the mind plays to keep all your attention on it. The road OUT is by talking about a myriad of feelings and thoughts inside yourself, not to only think about the dp.

Peace,
Janine
 

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janine what you have just posted is ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON !
but isnt it a bastard what one panic attack can do this to us,even while out shopping today i was aware of my breathing,its getting easier but when do we know weve actually beaten this.....i long for the day when i can enter a shop(or any stressful situation) and not be concious of my breathing...this topic is fantastic as it explains entirely the causes and the symptoms of dp and although disstressing its oh so simple to understand...
the body goes into panic, the mind is shit scared so what does the mind do ? it turns in on itself,and the years after that are spent trying to take our awareness away from ourselves...its like a trap
 

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I think when you've escaped the trap, you say to yourself: the solution was so close al this time, why didn't I see that before?
I'ts the same thing that happens when you get distracted, you feel less DP/DR.
When you are recoverd I think your mind doesn't notice DP anymore cause it's distracted with normal things like life itself.

Sorry for my bad english :wink:
 

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today was a fantastic day for me because i made myself do even more of the things that i hate doing lately, and all i told myself was 'find your inner strength and dont let this fucker beat you'

i didnt say it in a religious kind of way,just a possitive affirmation,and it worked

the only struggle i have now is spending friday and saturday night in without a few beers :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so very VERY much for your replies. There's a lot of valuable information on this message board. I'm incredibly fortunate to have found this community and look forward to discussing issues which, I think, many of us can relate to.

Hope you all had a nice weekend.

Kind Regards,

Jeff
 

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bump! i found this one to be helpful as the day i had my start on dp/dr i drank tons of coffee to study for a test
 

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Your mind wanted to AVOID future panic attacks at all costs. The solution it chose was dp.
For some reason, during my years of musing over DR/DP, I've never thought of DR/DP as a defence against future panic attacks. I've always thought of them as a 'stun setting' after the initial panic.

Hmmm. Spot on again Janine.
 

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8 oz of robitussin cough syrup did me in. It was the strangest experience I can remember. My mind started almost cycling down to its most base level. I felt like I lost the ability to speak and formulate complex ideas, like I was becoming a child again. Then I started obsessively moving between two points in my room thinking if I stopped then I would die. Then all of a sudden a change, my vision started looking like a fish-eye lens. I laid in my bed, my heart felt like it was about to explode. All I can remember is staring at the ceiling, thinking that I was going to die, then that I had already died and that this was simply a memory I was living. It ended and I was fine in the morning but I think that and other bad drug experiences changed my outlook on life, flipped a switch in my brain and led to my experiences of DP. The point of all this is to say that others have arrived at your situation through similiar experiences and are struggling to deal with it. Hope you feel better soon.
 

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thats funny that you use the phrase "flipped a switch in my brain"...that's exactly how i felt about my onset. i had a bad trip on 6 oz of robotussin and a huge joint and it's like my mind was shown how to go to that horrible place. i too got better in the morning, scattered, but i really think i never would have been dp/dr if i hadn't have had that experience.
 

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Boy oh, boy, the caffeine dillemma. I haven't seen 1A around, this is an older post bumped up, but I must say, though my DP/DR had no drug onset (I believe a dysfunctional family and chronic anxiety is the source) I react more and more badly to caffeine.

Caffeine has also been in at least one case study as exacerbating DP in one person using a double blind study I believe. It is also listed at the top of the forum in an article listing drugs (caffeine is a drug) that can bring on DP.

As I get older, not only have I noticed I can't tolerate alcohol really at all (immediate DP/DR sensations I noted after my first drink at 16 -- just a small glass of wine), I now find myself more and more sensitive to coffee/and even the occasional Pepsi.

1. Though I don't believe I've ever had a real Panic Attack, I have dramatically increased anxiety which leads to DP/DR.

2. In the past, year? (and I am now age 46) I have had 4 seriuos spikes in my DP/DR (it is chronic, but these were unbearable episodes that DID fade). I have been tracking common variables:

a. Anticipatory anxiety of going somewhere "novel", to a more anxiety-provoking environment that a "healthy" might or might NOT find anxiety provoking.

b. Being in every case at the time of PMS or the beginning of my period.

c. Ingestion of an excess of caffeine.

This triple combo is virtually guaranteed DP/DR Hell for me though it passes.

My theory, for me, is that something that contains caffeine of course increases agitation and anxiety, and for me that includes irregular heartbeats, shaking hands, feeling "more disconnected" (not really DP/DR, a different sensation) as WELL as increased DP/DR.

I can't say the DP/DR is in reaction TO the anxiety, it COMES WITH the anxiety.

Granted with my anticipatory anxiety there is that vicious loop of fear of spiking DP/DR which I have overgeneralized (and I believe this is conditioned) to a myriad of situations, but I don't see it as a coping mechanism per se, I see it as the result of an increase in the fight/flight actions of my body -- but in my case the fight/flight mechanism is functioning in a sloppy manner.

As a child, I was exposed to ENDLESS chaos and verbal abuse. This caused anxiety that I literally lived with day in and day out. I was also capable of dissociation as I experienced this as early as age 4 (played with it in my mind) ... and I know of one extreme episode at age 4 -- recalled in detail -- as I was on a trip with my mother, and I know by the Passport stamp (I saved all of our passports to remind me of our travels) that I was indeed 4. My mother was ill on a trip and told me to mind my own business when I expressed concern. She said that being worried about her being sick (I was simply a child literally fearing losing a parent) I really wanted her dead.

I then played with DP/DR, the whole "What is death business", brought it on for some time, and made it stop.

I realize in later years say 8 onward after my father left -- more abandonment which caused high anxiety, I was DP/DR on and off for years. It finally took over in 8th grade.

So, sadly, I'm reducing my caffeine intake -- and I HATE that, as I don't have that much to begin with... 2 cups in the a.m. of HALF-CAF. I realize for better peace of mind I must eliminate coffee as I have 2 years ago eliminated alcohol -- even in very small amounts.

I am more and more sensitive to both.

I'll have to settle for decaf, but the flavor alone just doesn't cut it.

HELL.

Ok, my 2 cents 8)
D
 
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