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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there!

My name is Alex. I'm 25 years old and I'm from Germany. I'm out of DP/DR. Here is my story.

It's very personal and it doesn't involve a lot of practical tips. But I hope some of you can relate to my experiences and thus find hope during a terrible time.

On the 17th January of this year I had a massive panic attack after eating hash brownies for the first time in my life. It felt good at first but about two hours into my experience I started to feel unwell. I felt like I lost my personality, the feeling of "being myself" that up to this point was all too natural to me. I panicked and ran around my flat for hours, hoping for this feeling to go away. My then-girlfriend had to comfort me a lot and after a couple of hours of panic and throwing up the feeling wore off.

I was fine for about a month after that. Then I first started to have short panic attacks at my stressful work for a start up company. I didn't give the attacks too much attention because they would leave as quickly as they came. I constantly felt on edge and really stressed out during this time but I kept on working for a while.

Then one afternoon in February I had too much coffee which made me feel really weird. I remember telling my girlfriend "I feel like I'm on drugs again." From this point on everything became worse. I went into full blown DP/DR that night, accompanied by major panic attacks and a constant feeling of going crazy/losing control.

It was that night when my life completely turned around. For the better.

After my 24/7 DP/DR started I blamed the hash, the coffee, the world for making me feel this way. It only sank in after weeks of lying in bed and feeling nothing but disconnection that I started to re-evaluate my life. I stumbled upon things that I didn't give attention to before and that didn't seem to bother me on the surface but that did bother me subconsciously a lot.

I was bullied in school as a teenager for a while and was cheated on in my first two relationships. Those experiences set off a terrible development which eventually lead me to cheating on my girlfriend regularly and developing a porn addiction that got worse and worse. It never crossed my mind that through these actions I acted against who I was at the core: An introvert guy who loved literature, music and the arts and who was slowly replaced by a cynic with a growing desire to control things and people.

Now don't get me wrong: This is my story and not everyone of you went through such a development, I know. But I do firmly believe that DP/DR is there for a reason. It's a warning sign telling you that you're not living life according to who you actually are. It's scary and it's a fucked up feeling. But the DP/DR doesn't want to do you any harm. In fact, there is quite a chance that this scary monster can become a good friend who will help you to be a better person.

And when you'll be on that path, he'll disappear. That's what actually happened to me.

My girlfriend and me broke up when things got worse and depression became a part of my life as a result of DP/DR. I felt terrible, moved back from the party metropolis Berlin to the German countryside where I grew up. I'm with my parents now, without a job, I have to take antidepressants. And: I'm out of DP/DR.

Right after I returned home I had severe moments of suicidal thoughts. I knew that I had to see a therapist. The first therapist wasn't any good but with the second one I clicked. I told my story about the DP/DR, my depression, my problems with pornography addiction and my confusion about feeling the urge to cheat on the girl that I loved. Her unprejudiced way of dealing with my problems helped me a lot. She immediately prescribed me Sertraline (also known as "Zoloft") and we worked out a daily structure I would have to follow to get back to life.

This was when the veil in front of my eyes and inside my head started to slowly lift.

Not everyone suffering from DP/DR suffers from depression, but for me the antidepressant was life saving! It gave me the energy back to actually deal with the problems that I had figured out in my head intellectually but not yet emotionally.

Starting to talk about my life with my therapist then opened gates in my head that I felt were closed forever. I started to realize that the person I was now had nothing to do anymore with who I was as a child. This was something I didn't realize and that my hash induced DP/DR brought into my consciousness. The cheating, the porn, the wrong life that I lead: I just ignored all this for months. But now I finally KNEW that something in my life was terribly off, that all these actions, the following guilt and the regret just floated around in my head, begging to be integrated into a new sense of self.

These first realizations made me feel even worse at first. But after a while I came to a point of self-acceptance, of DP/DR becoming my friend, my helper that it actually was because it finally turned me into a grown up. I started to see things in a different light. Realizing that I'm not the innocent boy in a bad world, that I'm capable of manipulating, that I'm prone to addictive behavior helped me to find my place in this world as a human among humans. The bullies in school were full of shit. But so am I. As painful as this process of realization was, it felt incredibly liberating. For the first time in my life I actually recognized the demons inside of myself. And I accepted them as a part of me.

I still suffer from light depression right now but I'll be off the meds in a couple of weeks.

The DP/DR faded about a month ago. I didn't realize it was gone because I shifted my attention from thinking about my DP/DR to thinking about the following questions:

What am I doing with my life?

Who am I?

Where do I want to go?

Trying to answer these questions, using the time on my hands to do sports and starting to meditate, finding a good therapist and taking the right medication were the keys to saying goodbye to my friend after his job was done.

In the end I think that DP/DR is about trauma, identity and morality. Dealing authentically with horrible experiences, incorporating them into the autobiographical story and recognizing them as catalysts for change was what got me through this.

I'm me again now. In a way. I'm also different. But I know that life will be a great adventure again because I know exactly who I want to be as a person.

For the rest of my life I want to be kind, peaceful and caring. In a way I am happy that DP/DR opened my eyes. I came out on the other side as a better man.

Recognizing your evils and weaknesses is painful but it's essential in growth. I'm just glad that I'm there now and that I can go on.

The bottom line of all this: Accept DP/DR as your subconsciousness calling for change and rearrangement. It's a scary and terribly uncomfortable crisis giving you the opportunity for growth.

Now remember: 3 months ago I wanted to kill myself.

Today I am posting my recovery story.

There is a light and it never goes out.

:)
 

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Thanks for sharing your story man. Glad you were able to recover from it!

I feel like I am out of it too but depression is hitting me hard. Lot of bad thoughts, emotional numbness and existential thinking. Did you go through this phase? if so how did you deal with it? How do you feel now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm glad it helps and that it gives people a bit of hope! :)

The depression is still with me to a certain degree. Things are becoming a lot easier now though. I think it's a phase that comes naturally after DP/DR is over. Your mind has to get used to the new life after overcoming it and of course you mourn the time lost during DP/DR. Also the realizations I had during my decovery left me devastated at first. To fully heal and integrate these new ideas about who you are, you have to go through this phase. That's my story at least.
So try to give it time and don't lose your patience and belief in things getting better. I could have healed a lot earlier actually if I hadn't had one night stand after one night stand during the time my depression was at its worst..

I went through exactly those feelings you're going through right now as well. The numbness faded through my personal holy trinity of 1. Taking antidepressants, 2. Doing talk therapy and 3. Returning to old habits that I lost over time + creating new, healthier ones (for me this was listening to music, doing sports, reconnecting with old friends and starting to meditate)
The existential thoughts are still with me. They've always been a part of me since I'm very melancholic and complicated by nature. They were a whole lot stronger during DP/DR and they're slowly returning to their normal level.
Let's just say that after about 5 months in I weren't overhwhelmed by them any longer.

I'm still far from where I want to be in the long run right now but at least I'm back on the planet. I'm able to live a healthy routine every day and my sense of self is back + my emotions slowly but surely return.
I'm not happy yet but having been to hell and now being back sure feels pretty good. ;)
 

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Is zoloft causing you any emotional numbness? I had this on all antidepressants i tried thus far, which I find worsens my dp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It did right in the beginning when I took it and lasted for about 3 weeks. When it comes to emotions I'm still far from being back to normal, maybe at 60% of my state before DP/DR and depression. I feel like my brain slowly adjusts to Sertraline/Zoloft though, it gets better each week.
 

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I kind of admire your way of accepting dp is your guide of friend.. it makes total sense. Everything is there for a reason.

The central theme is self acceptance if i can put it that way. I am also struggling with acceptance of my (physical) self through a history of being bullied at school and suffering through severe acne for a few yearsthat was actually wayyy wayyy back. It still has a major effect on me. I avoid mirrors like the plague. Recently it dawned on me that I need to accept my physical self... as a starting point. Somehow everything inside me screams: DO IT! Go ahead!! and yet I'm scared shit to look in the mirror.. so scared.. it's a personal trauma, not everyone understands this ofcourse.

I believe in your story... i believe it reveals the true cause of dp... it's our self acceptance! It's just that our trauma's are different for each person. And we need to discover for ourselves where we lack in self acceptance.

I only wish there would be more attention to self acceptance on this forum..

Right down to the core I relate man. Thank you for your story.
 
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