Some of you may find this post positive and reassuring.
The general gist of it is YOU CAN RECOVER FROM THIS!!!!!!!!
To give some of you a quick summary of my dp life so far:
I smoked that first joint (incidentally not the first time I'd smoked weed) in July of 2002. Had a huge panic attack, followed by dp/dr. I was convinced like so many of you here that I was doomed forever. Some days were like a living death. I dragged myself through the following year. Tried a couple of meds but chickened out due to side effects. Things did start to improve slightly around July 2003. That summer was pretty good in places. Slid back down a bit in autumn (fall). Slowly improved again.
Then last July I went away to Thailand for three weeks. Wildly romantic experience with a Dutch girl (who I'm always going ona bout here on this forum, but it's only cos' you guys tend to listen more). Needless to say the whole experience was good. Came back, felt full of life. Thought about Thailand a lot, thought about her a lot. Days were relaxed, I'd listen to music, cycle around London in nothing but my swim shorts (no I wasn't mad, just happy), went to the gym a lot and did a lot of martial arts. Felt highly motivated a lot of the time. On an endorphine rush most of the time. Very sociable with a lot of the people I'd meet, more than I'd ever been. Even found the patience to have long chats with the old farts at the bar I was working at. Still maintained my thoughtful side, would have long philosophical talks with a clsoe friend. Still new how to be cynical, but in a humorous less serious sort of way. Stayed in contact with that Dutch girl. After some persuasion on her part, I plucked up the courage to go and visit her in Amsterdam. All the time since coming back from Thailand, dp had been a distant memory really. I mean I still had it, but in a very limited sense. Whereas before I'd constantly question whether I was awake/dreaming, alive/dead, convinced I was eteranlly doomed. Now I'd just feel a bit spaced out in fluorescent light. Or I might get a bit depressed when there was nothing to do. On occasions I would find myself staring at the world till it became 2d again, but I could always snap out of it with ease, and it wasn't really an issue.
Amsterdam was amazing for the most part. Sh*t scared of meeting her and her friends again. She was a fashion model, with a huge social circle of friends, a nice car etc. I was someone who was just coming out of three years of mental illness (2 of which were dp'ed), and was only just rediscovering the talents and charm of his former self. So I felt fairly inadequate, but I used my newly re-aquired laid back attitude, and just laughed it off.
Then on the final day (september 19th) she suggested we buy a joint, because that's what ever tourist who comes to Amsterdam does. That's when I knew I was more or less cured of dp, cos' without even thinking about it I agreed. So we smoked it, or shall I say I smoked it, she only had a few puffs. I really blazed that thing for some reason, I thought I wa making up for two years of this forbidden pleasure. This joint was fat as well, I mean big. I really went for it, holding the smoke in my lungs for ages. I really have absolutely no idea why I did that. I mean I'd been partying pretty non stop with too much booze and not enough sleep, for the past three days, so I was feeling pretty exhausted anyway. I probably could have managed a small joint and been ok, that's testament to how cured I was. I mean I got through three quaters of the joint ok. I felt pretty stoned, not good, just stoned, a bit spaced out. We were in her sisters place. I remember after taking the first few puffs I started to feel stupid and inadequate in her sisters presence. What was I doing there, it just wasn't right. I liked this girl a lot, but it clearly wasn't gonna' work. I was already becoming my narrow minded, neurotic little self again. Then the anxiety hit me, and it escalated into that dreaded sheer terror. I sat there paralyzed on the sofa, staring into space. I don't really remember it too well. I remember needing to go to the toilet a lot (I was almost pissing myself with fear). I was physically shaking at one point. Dr was so extreme, that I felt like I was literally watching a movie, like I was psychotic, I was literally waiting for a scene change. Eventually I crashed out on her sister's bed (real smooth huh). Yet the whole time she was seemingly oblivious to what was happening to me. I didn't tell her, and did a pretty good job of covering it up, apart from the pissing and the shaking. Yet she still treated me like I was normal which was hard. I couldn't really kiss properly, sex was a nightmare.
Anyway that whole expreience was terrifying. Needless to say it has left me with the worse dp ever. I'm right back to square minus one.
I have no idea why I smoked that joint, but it was THE WORST decision I have ever made.
But forget about that, point is, recovery is possible. Even without meds or therapy, you can get better. Time will bring change, it's a law of the universe. You too can have wonderfully romantic experiences in Thailand (no not that kind of experience :twisted: ), or whatevr country you feel like. You really, really can. You may doubt it with every fibre in your body right now. It may seem literally impossible, but you'll kick yourself for thinking that some day.
But when things do improve, and you find yourself experiencing life to the fullest FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T FUCK IT ALL UP LIKE I DID.