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Hi guys I'm a 32 year old male and things went pear shaped start of March this year. Here's my story and what's helped me recover so far. It hasn't completely gone, but I'm definitely at the final hurdle.

Prior to March I was slowly coming of Clonezapam which was prescribed for parasomnia 9 year ago. I started at 0.5mg and the specialists increased the dose over time to 5mg! To give people an idea. The standard does is normally 0.5mg (1 tablet) for no more than a month. I got down to 0.25 (half of 0.5mg tablet) and I started with insomnia. Someone suggested that I should try a joint as it would make me relax and sleepy...... well! I took their advice and bought some weed. It was around 7pm and I literally had 6 drags. For the first 5 minutes I felt fine and then all of a sudden I felt like I was having some sort of out of body experience, extreme panic, severe anxiety and basically felt like I was dying or had already died. By far the worst experience in my life and I've been in some strange situations over 32 years. My partner was that concerned she phoned an ambulance and they took me through to A & E. By the time I had got there the "high" had ended and I felt tired and cozy.

I woke up the following morning and felt off as expected and gradually got better over a period of a week, but never got to 100%. Two week after the incident I was talking my son to school and then BANG...... I felt like I didn't recognise the road I was driving down, extreme panic, anxiety, felt like life was a computer game etc. I dropped my son off at school and rushed home to phone the doctors. I explained how I was feeling and so on. They were more concerned about doing a f**king Covid test! If you're reading this and from the UK, you'll understand how poor the health services are. That day I phone up a private therapist and he got me in, at this point I was unsure what was going on. To cut a long story short I also own several businesses and the therapist believed it was down to severe stress and in turn that created a chemical imbalance. Over the next month or so the symptoms became "aggressive" here's a few......

Feeling like I didn't recognise - myself, familiar surroundings, partner, my children or friends.

Had a constant nervous belly (painful)

Felt like I was already dead and what was playing out was life after death.

Intrusive thoughts - felt like I was going to lose control and harm / kill myself.

Felt like I was part of a computer game.

Brain felt like it was buzzing.

Senses heightened especially my hearing. I would hear certain noises and voices that set the DP off and gave me like a shivering type feeling.

The list is endless, but the above were the most severe.

Fast forward to May and things weren't getting any better. My wife started to do some research and came across information regarding DP/DR. It was a huge relief finding out what was going on and later that day she found an article regarding DP/DR induced by Clonezapam. I mentioned this to my therapist and the strategy was to start doing something I enjoyed once a "wave" started. Initially it worked, because anxiety goes up and at some point it has to go down. Over the course of a week or two I started to feel really good (like 90% better) even went on a holiday and had no issues. The day I got back from holiday it started again! I felt frustrated, angry and low. All that work and now I'm back to square 1!!! Doctors prescribed me Mitazapine, Propranolol and even Diazepam. Mitazapine gave me brain zaps and I felt even stranger, discontinued after 3 days. Propranolol was ok, but I can't say I seen a huge difference and Diazepam made me feel tired and panicky. I was absolutely exhausted and started to lose hope.

Fast forward to July and my new strategy was to let the thoughts enter my head and rather than distracting myself, I let the thoughts run wild and labelled them as intrusive, fake and fantasy. After 5 - 7 days I felt so much better, because my brain was getting bored. It's a bit like listening to your favourite song over and over again, you end up getting sick of listening Was hard work at first! Mid July it dawned on me..... its me vs me and nothing else. On top of labelling the thoughts as intrusive and having a "so f**k" kind of approach, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, recognised thoughts can't harm me and I've got 2 kids here who need a dad. Believe it or not, the day I agreed with myself I was going to do the above, I went from 60% to 90% better and have maintained that 90% up to now. I still get thoughts like "what if this is a computer game" and "what if everything is a lie" but guess what.... SO F**K. It was only in the last week I found out weed could cause DP/DR. Anyways, it was either the weed or Clonezapam reduction. At this point I don't care, I care more about getting over that final hurdle. I would like to add that over the last 6 months it's made me mature as a person and things that bothered me prior to entering hell, don't bother me anymore. I appreciate life, my family, friends and the good days a whole lot more. Blessing in disguise? I feel sorry for those of you who will stumble over this post because your frantically trying to find out what's happening to you. My advice is therapy, don't be scared of the thoughts and get on with life. Easier said than done.
 
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