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Hello fellow-(ex)sufferers!

I'm Yorick, a 29-year old guy from The Netherlands.

I have been lurking on this forum since a couple of months now, because as you can tell from my topic title, I suffer from DR for about 7 months now.

Right now I feel it's time to introduce myself and tell everyone what my life looks like, what i'v done so far to coop with DR and how I got it in the first place.

Background-story

Every since I was little, I have been a very social, happy and curious person. My parents split up when I was about 3 years old, but I never felt like that bothered me (it only bothered me when I was still very young).

My mom, sister and me moved to various places around The Netherlands and finally settled in the countryside. In retrospect this might also screwed up my childhood, but looking back at things I always felt like a happy kid. My stepdad was a very strict person and I had a hard time cooping with his way of parenting. Besides that I was never physically abused.

First signs of DR and other weird sensations

I remember vividly that I was picking berries in our backyard (I was about 12 years old at this point) and was all of sudden overwhelmed with a sense of 'unreality'. This feeling faded after a couple of minutes but this was the first episode of DR. Ofcourse at that time it didn't bother me that much. Ever since then I was also plagued by this thing called 'Alice in wonderland syndrome' which I only found out about recently (Praise the internet and forums). More about this syndrome can be found here.

Fast forward a couple of years, my mom, sister and me moved away from my ex-stepdad and started living in a small village. Feelings of DR just visited me occasionally as short episodes that lasted a few minutes, not more then 3/4 times a year. Still I was a very happy kid who enjoyed gaming a lot (World of warcraft, god I miss those stress free years of my life). I also started dating girls and my life as a young man was good! I had loads of friends, but had problems at school (This might be because of ADD). I started stealing allot for the adrenaline rush and I basically skipped 1 whole year of school.

Finally I dropped out of school and started working a factory. This woke me up, thinking "Fuck no, I'm way to intelligent for this shit (Don't wanna offend anyone working in a factory, but this wasn't for me)".

I decided to move to a bigger city on my own and started studying at a University. This felt amazing, new people, new home, new city, new women, A NEW LIFE!

Drugs

My life as a student was a blast. During this time I also started experimenting with drugs. Especially uppers were my kind of drug (xtc, speed). I was able to regulate my drug intake to about once in 2/3 months. At first taking drugs was just adding so much to my life. Until the moment I did some weed with friends. This triggered a huge panic-attack and I just went to my room to sleep it off. Looking back this was one of my first panic attacks when using drugs. Later these attacks would haunt me sometimes when overdosing with xtc for example (stupid, I know).

As a student I always had a lot of time to sleep/rest after using drugs. Feelings of derealization were mild and it never really bothered me since I was always convinced that I could sleep it off (and it always did!). Resting/sleeping did wonders for me.

Fast forward I graduated! Life was amazing, it couldn't be better! I landed a great job that pays well shortly after and the grown-up life started.

At first the work was great, I was doing a great job and I continued using drugs sometimes in the weekend (at a rave or whatever).

Full Blown DR

Back in February I went to a techno party. I used XTC and 4-FMP and had a blast. All of a sudden I started hallucinating heavily and started to panic. I felt like people where observing me and my social anxiety went through the roof! Yeah, I have been suffering from social anxiety (Even though people find me a very very social person, I can hide this well). The panic subsided after a while during that night and I slept it off for a bit. The day after I still felt wired and was still panicking because I had to start working again the next day (How am I gonna hide the fact that I'm feeling out of it?).

The following 2 weeks I felt horrible, my DR was mildly lurking around (no time to rest) until I was in a meeting and completely collapsed when it was my turn to do a sort of presentation. During the meeting I was heavily focusing on my DR and just felt so insanely weird looking at the monitor and people around me. My voice started choking and my vision turned VERY blurry. I told everyone that I had to get out of the building and went home. Ever since this moment my DR stayed 24/7 for at least 2 or 3 months.

Symptoms:



  • Everything around me looks fake


  • 2D vision


  • Complex objects like computers, tv's scare me.


  • Hearing my own voice


  • Having very existential questions about life that scare me (Even though I always felt VERY intrigued by the universe and things like 'The simulation argument')


  • Short-term memory is gone


  • Feeling that there's no connection between me and people (I don't have this with animals or plants).


  • Unable to focus


  • Thinking that everything belongs to my own imagination


  • Etc etc etc…

Small recovery phase

Shortly after this mental breakdown I went to my GP. He prescribed me Oxazepam but this made things worse. Feeling 'different' triggers my DR and anxiety and this is what Oxazepam did to much at first. I stopped using Oxazepam.

I then started to do Yoga daily and also started this program to fight hyperventilating. I started taking St john's wort and Valerian root. I started seeing a psychologist and that gave me a sense of relief. My psychologist understood my condition and that helped immensely (even though I felt like she was fake and I was just making this stuff up).

I started feeling a bit better, things were looking brighter again and I felt good when I was home alone.

Even though the tangible side of DR subsided (blurry vision etc) I still had this feeling of dread and intrusive thoughts about 'unreality'. But it was manageable!

Sadly I started noticing that my social anxiety got worse because I was isolating myself. I started having anxiety attacks in places where I had to talk to people (Like a barber for example). I stopped seeing my closest friends because I was scared of talking to them and I felt fine on my own (I always loved being alone so this didn't bother me that much).

I just sat at home when I came from work and enjoyed watching series and movies. Doing a lot of bodybuilding felt great as well even though being at the gym made me feel anxious because of social anxiety. I felt pretty ok with everything and I knew I would slowly work my way back to seeing friends etc. I was optimistic!

To fight my anxiety I started taking Oxazepam at a low dosage (about 5mg a day). At this point Oxazepam enabled me to have better conversations with my psychologist and also enabled me to focus better at work. I think Oxazepam was working better for me because I calmed down from the initial full blown DR.

SSRI - Back to square one

I started seeing a psychiatrist to get rid of my anxiety attacks and this annoying feeling of mild depression. She prescribed me Citalopram (Celexa). I started with 5mg because I'm sensitive to drugs. The first 2 days were pretty good actually! I had a lot of energy and I even started to socialize a lot.

Then on day 3 I had my first REAL panic attack (this was no anxiety attack, this was something different). Day 4 I had such a bad panic attack and I called the emergency number telling them these were my last minutes =P (I can laugh about this in retrospect).

This SSRI gave me SO much anxiety.. I couldn't handle this and stopped. This is now 2 weeks ago and DR came back to its FULL-effect and worse.

Right now it's even harder for me because my depression, anxiety and agoraphobia have worsened. The only thing that's keeping me going is forums like this and reading success stories.

Current regime

To start recovering again I decided to start conquering my fears/anxiety with new supplements like magnesium, zinc a paleo diet, yoga, exercise and a LOT more rest. I need to start being more social, even though this is fucking horrible (Talking with people makes my DR sooooo bad).

I started a program from Geert Verschaeve to coop with my anxiety attacks and even after 1 week I started feeling better. He has a very interesting video about panic attacks you should see:


Also doing mindfulness sometimes alleviates my DR. But being to mindful also makes my DR worse sometimes (Paradox shit). I feel like I'm on this small rope, where I'm balancing between being 'present' and being to conscious about my thoughts and stuff that just shoots me into FULL DR.

I will continue to update and tell everyone what is helping me! One day I will end up on the success stories page and never look back at this HORRIBLE condition that's making me unable to live the life that I want so badly. A life full of love, sadness (not scareness!), happiness and just being generally impressed by the beauty of what is REAL life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
P.s.

There were a couple of things I also tried and that helped me in someway.

  • Nofap! I never really thought of myself as someone who had a porn addiction. But recently I'v been reading into this since my social anxiety got worse exponentially. My social anxiety is especially high when talking to women. Don't get me wrong, women are actually really attracted to me because of my looks and overall 'mystic' character, but I always had this 'On-edge' feeling around girls. Ever since I started nofap I felt like talking to women got better and my overall anxiety got less. The problem is that after 2 weeks of nofap my anxiety shoots up and my cravings become so bad that I usually relapse and start over. I still need to try and make it to atleast a month.
  • Running! Usually I hate cardio workouts, and I prefer to do strength exercises only. Since my DR became so bad, running actually makes me feel alive and things start to feel better. Sadly the feeling usually lasts for a short while and I just end up dreading again.
  • Cutting down on protein shakes (CUT DOWN ASPARTAME)! This has worked wonders for me. I never made the connection but always after drinking a protein shake I felt anxious. I then made the discovery that theres a correlation between anxiety/depression and the intake of aspartame. There was a lot of aspartame in my protein shakes and when I stopped using them, I started feeling better. Research this for yourself! Theres a lot of articles on the web about this.
  • Cleaning my room! Having a clean room, helps me to organize my life. The process of cleaning and the result calms my mind.
  • Stop social media! This was VERY hard for me. I realized I was heavily addicted to Social Media and now deleted the apps of my phone. Sometimes I still find myself automatically trying to find my social media apps when I'm in a social situation. I think I have been subconsciously using social media in social situations to try and hide from being present.
  • Cold showers! This was one of the best things I started doing. Cold showers are hardcore but they make me feel alive. Especially the moment when I leave the shower it just fills me with adrenaline and that feels great.

I continued working during the first phase of DR. Now I'm at the point where I'm thinking of stopping work for a while to FIRST get my private life balanced again. When I had my first fullblown DR phase of 3 months I just stopped living a private life (no friends etc, it all just scared me) and I only did things I felt comfortable with (it was work for me, going to the gym and playing video games/watching tv). This resulted in my DR diminishing, but my social life went to shits (and I usually LOVE being with close friends). There was a bad balance between work and private life. I feel like I have nothing left to lose right now since my DR is so bad, and I think the right decision is to get my private life back first. Any thoughts about this? It scares me because my social anxiety/DR is REALLY bad right now and going back to work after 1 week of holiday (starting this monday again) makes me feel horrible. I can't even imagine being at work again and facing it all, it gives me anxiety just thinking of it.

Its a dilemma because I know work is also good for me, in a more social way. But I feel I should have my PRIVATE social life back first. And working on both at the same time just seems impossible. I'm glad I'm working at a company thats very understanding and have been supporting me all this time (they don't really understand the DR thing though).
 

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Hi! I'm Chiara, nice to meet you!

Our timeline is so similar!
My DP was triggered in Febraury as well and I as well was put on Citalopram. I felt awful but instead of quitting I decided to keep enduring and see what would happen. But my DP only got worse. So my doctor kept upping the dose, until I was on 40 mg a day. I was miserable for months.
A few weeks ago, I changed doctor and he has tapered me down of citalopram and put me on Zyprexa (which is an antipsychotic) instead.
I feel soooo much better. Zyprexa was a huge part of it but coming off of Citalopram played a crucial role as well. As I keep tapering down I can feel my emotions peeking and it's amazing.

I think you should definitely take some time off of work, but only if you feel stressed out by it. I took a semester off from university because I couldn't keep up and didn't want to mess up with exams and stuff. But I'll be going back in September as I feel that now I'm in the right place to actually have some relief from being focused on classes and studying. Do whatever you think it's best for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Chiara!

Wow it means so much to me to receive a nice message from you :)

I can't even imagine how you delt with the side effects of Citalopram for so long! You must have been so thrilled to feel emotions peeking. Feeling emotions makes us feel human, and I think that's crucial when having dpdr, just feeling something REAL!

Zyprexa is an antipsychotic right? Any side-effects? And how does it make you feel better exactly?

Yes, I made the decision to stop working for a while since my job has to many responsibilities and adds way to much stress. Still gotta make the phonecall, and just thinking about it shoots my anxiety and DR through the roof.

You made a good decision to take soms time off from Uni! It must have felt like a relief to stop your obligations for a short time.

Stay strong!
 

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Yes, Zyprexa is an antipsychotic!
From the first day it made me feel 3D, which was something I was really wishing for. I had been feeling like the world was in 2D for the whole time and it was literally driving me crazy.
It also made the racing obsessive thoughts less intrusive, so I don't feel super confused all the time.
And it gave me a huuuge boost of confidence seeing that those symptoms were.. just symptoms. And now that they're gone I can barely remember how they felt. So yeah, it was really a life saver, because now I truly believe that I can and will recover.

Talk therapy is also a huge relief!

Good luck with your job! I'm sure you'll feel better once you make that call ????
 

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Yes, Zyprexa is an antipsychotic!
From the first day it made me feel 3D, which was something I was really wishing for. I had been feeling like the world was in 2D for the whole time and it was literally driving me crazy.
It also made the racing obsessive thoughts less intrusive, so I don't feel super confused all the time.
And it gave me a huuuge boost of confidence seeing that those symptoms were.. just symptoms. And now that they're gone I can barely remember how they felt. So yeah, it was really a life saver, because now I truly believe that I can and will recover.
Talk therapy is also a huge relief!
Good luck with your job! I'm sure you'll feel better once you make that call
What dose did you start with? Anti-psychtoic are my last resort,they made alot of people way worse. Glad that it helped you.
 
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