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A very inspiring column about depersonalization and derealization.

May 24, 2010 - 94 comments

**PLEASE IGNORE ANY GRAMMAR MISTAKES THERE WAS A PROBLEM WHEN I PASTED THE TEXT**





The feeling of depersonlisation is due to a shift in brain chemistry, and is due to anxiety/worry etc.
Stress or fear produce a change in your brain chemistry ? an increase of adrenaline and decrease of dopamine - and this feeling of depersonalistion and derealisation is a result. You are not going insane and this will rebalance itself. What makes it persist is that usually a person does not know what it is and so worries/creates more stress  this creates a self-perpetuating cycle. Normally, the safe feeling in the chest after a shock will reverse the change in brain chemistry , lowering adrenaline and raising dopamine, but when you are worrying about the DP, you cannot feel safe.

DP can occur as a result of a trauma. In this case, as well as the above, the brain is taking time out to rest itself ? you have no control over this  the more you try , the more tired your brain gets and it can't feel the safe feeling it needs. By worrying/stressing you are sending signals to the brain that something is wrong - hence it will protect itself even more and so the cycle continues.

If you let it get the rest it needs and just carry on your every day life as best you can, then eventually the safe feeling will return and you will recover. But only if you give yourself a chance to and stop trying to force recovery.

When manifesting as part of another disorder such as anxiety, depression etc, the symptom may never occur again after the person recovers from the primary disorder.

People that have experienced DP as a result of a bad drug trip or experience have NOT caused long term damage  the mechanism is exactly the same, your brain is protecting itself, hiding away to get the rest it needs  whether this be from the fear a bad experience causes or from the long term drain the drug use has on your body.

For some people, there seems to be no trauma, no drug-inducement, no nothing that caused the DP. They may have been just walking along the street one day, when the condition suddenly hit them. The fact that there seemed to be no cause whatsoever can make the condition all the more frightening; it's as if something has gone wrong in the person?s brain for absolutely no reason at all.

But things are not always what they seem. There are a HUGE number of elements that, when combined, can cause a person to experience an episode of DP. For example, your work might be a little stressful. You might be drinking some caffeine and soft drinks etc. You might not be sleeping as well as you should.
You might have small some problems in your personal relationships. You might be suffering from a common ailment like post-natal depression, mid-life crisis, exam stress etc.
And of course, all of these things on their own can seem like they can be coped with on a day-to-day basis. But these various stresses combined over time can cause the body and mind to react in very strange ways.
You might have reduced serotonin due to stress (even if you don't feel that stressed, modern life is pretty stressful in itself) as Tommygunz has theorized - in this case the supplements he has listed will help that re balance but you also need to train yourself out of the over thinking and ruminating habit and try to live day by day as normally and routinely as possible.

For most people, the DP dissipates naturally when they are out of the traumatic situation  but this is not always the case. You can become aware of the feeling of being ?outside yourself? that DP causes and say, Hey why am I feeling like this??
That unease creates more anxiety and fear (which is now actually focused on the feeling of DP/yourself/the environment simply because there is no visible threat to aim itself at ), with the result that the DP is not able to ebb away as your brain chemistry returns to normal. It turns into a cycle of more DP and more fear  generating the thought habit that becomes the actual condition.

Thus there are a variety of causes, but what is common to each case is that the person at some point focuses on the DP, and tries to understand why they are having these feelings.
The excess fear/worry has nothing to focus on; there is nothing specific to be worried about, so the fear is projected onto anything and everything
This also makes the fear self-perpetuating; there is no threat, so you assume that something is wrong with your mind.
This in turn generates more fear  still with no threat around

If certain things (thoughts, environmental factors etc) can affect this, then it must be possible to get out of it altogether by establishing precise habits that do not allow it to persist  distraction and not trying to do anything about it.

Most of us react to the initial feeling of DP by trying to fight against it. But if you think about it, the idea of fighting against one's own natural defence mechanisms is pointless.
By fighting against it, you are making the anxiety worse, and prolonging the DP that is trying to stop that very anxiety/protect the brain against it and give it a chance to recover.

Depersonalisation is simply your mind's way of reacting to an event that's been too traumatic to deal with up front or of dealing with too much stress/chemical imbalance.

When you go through an experience that?s very difficult, your mind says, Right - this is too much for me. I'm staying out of this one! - it pulls back from reality, because it seems too scary. Once again, that's why DP so often seems as if there's a pane of glass between the sufferer and the rest of the world  it's not because of any permanent change, any distancing  it's simply because your mind is trying to stay away from anything dangerous and has created a temporary screen to keep that stuff out.

Say someone gets mugged and stays in for a few days to build up their confidence again. this is exactly what the mind does with DP  it says im staying in the house for a while until I get my confidence back up. Of course, getting your confidence back up takes a lot of effort. But it must be done. Otherwise, that man who got mugged can end up staying in the house for much longer than he should, afraid of going out again.

And here's the most important part: It's up to you to get your confidence back up. You must learn to calm your mind down and coax it out of its fear, out from behind that invisible barrier.

NOT worry it more/tire it more so it wants to stay in even longer! Leave it alone to rest in its own time. But don't let it hide away at the same time?

SLEEP is the safest place your mind knows  this is why you may want to sleep all the time when first ill
To find safety, the mind accesses the comfortable state of sleeping - but does so while you are awake. So part of the sleeping state is temporarily shifted into the waking state. That's another reason why DP constantly feels like a mental grogginess, and why concentration becomes difficult  your mind is in that place where you're just about to drift off to sleep, though your body is fully awake. It's also why DP is always worse after a nap  the mind is much closer to the sleep-state.

So, in order to deal with a scary waking reality, the mind pulls the warm blanket of the sleep-state over itself and waits until it?s ready to come out again. The mind?s proximity to the sleep-state explains further many of the difficult existential / philosophical thoughts that DP generates.
You can find yourself asking questions like, Why am I here? Why am I me?? etc, constantly questioning your own reality: Because of the mind being so close to the sleep-state all the time, life can actually feel like a dream.

And what happens at the end of a dream? You wake up. The dream reality disappears, and normal reality resumes. So one reason for the constant nasty existential thoughts of DP is because you keep expecting reality to somehow stop ? because all your previous dream experience tells you that it should! And of course, that's a scary thought.

But that's all it is  just a thought.
One thing you absolutely have to remember with DP is that reality never changes. It will never stop, it will never fall apart none of those horrible thoughts will ever actually take place. Those thoughts are nonsense. All that has changed is your minds ability to deal with everyday life  but it's a perfectly natural and understandable reaction to a trauma, and it's only temporary.

You know that feeling when you are half-asleep in front of the TV or the radio, The sound can seem a bit louder than usual. Sometimes specific words can set off a strange train of thought.

It's usually a nice, cosy feeling  being set adrift on the river of the mind! But with DP,
you can have those long trains of thoughts even when you're fully awake. The anxiety and fear of being in this state tends to generate fearful, rather than happy or creative thoughts.

It can get very scary at times, yes, but just remember that its nothing more than a slightly different level of awareness ? one that everyone around the world experiences every day . All that is happening is that the DP has temporarily pushed the sleeping level of awareness into waking life in order to protect you from some perceived danger.


The following is true: People who have recovered from DP almost always say, What on Earth was I worried about?? Because nothing really changes at all with the condition  it's just the way you look at it!

In fact, DP is very much an example of a condition that features what psychologists call state-specific learning, and refers to any type of experience that is difficult to remember emotionally (dreams etc). That means that what you feel when you have DP - all the fear, anxiety etc - is very difficult to recall once you get out of it.

For example, I can describe DP to someone in vivid detail, but I cannot remember the feelings of it in the same way that I can remember, say for example, the sadness I felt when I finished college and said goodbye to my classmates. I know that this may sound unbelievable right now, but I guarantee that when you recover completely from DP, you will find it very difficult to even remember these emotions that seem so important at the moment. Much like you cannot remember a dream sometimes, even moments after waking.

People with DP are usually the sensitive, intelligent and reflective type. This is not entirely surprising, since it is introspection and contemplation of temporary feelings that
create the condition in the first place. In my experience, this has actually been a very positive thing, since all of the people I have contacted in researching the condition have always been open, intelligent and optimistic, even in the face of what is often terrible fear.

Ok, so we?re looking at DP as a habit of thought. Now let's compare it to another habit: smoking. If you're a smoker, how do you deal with cravings after you quit? Sure, you can use nicotine patches, gum etc but the bottom line is about having the will power to get past it. But you can certainly help your will power out by distracting yourself from the craving, by ignoring and trying to forget the habit.
For example, a very common tip for smokers is, keep your hands busy. If you play an
instrument, go practice it. If you like to knit, go knit. Go look at some interesting websites for a while.

The exact same idea works with DP.
But because it is a habit of thought, getting out of it is more difficult than simply not
picking up that cigarette. The pink elephant principle applies here - if you think, right, I'm not going to think about DP, the chances are that you won't able to stop! And with DP, that tends to happen over and over again. The harder you try to not think about it, to forget about it - the more you do think about it and the more ingrained the habit becomes. That's why the condition can be so frustrating: it's very much up to the individual to take action but the action taken by the individual often makes the condition worse.

But the bottom line is this: you must train your mind to not think about DP. That doesn't mean you will learn to stop thinking about it, or get rid of the thought but just to think
about something else. And the best way of doing this is to keep your mind constantly occupied. Keep your hands busy! If you play an instrument, go practice. If you
don't play an instrument, start learning one. If you like to knit, go knit. Go surf the web for a while. Always keep busy. And remember: Every time you are busy, you are absolutely working towards something your own recovery. So don't worry about doing even the most frivolous thing. Enjoy it. But stay busy all the time.

It's all about for now, accepting that you are not 100%, you feel strange because your brain is tired out from all the worrying and ruminating and just giving it a chance to rest and recover by living as normally as you can manage and NOT trying to do anything about the strange feelings/giving them any attention.

It's also better to stay busy with activities that involve your mental input more than others. For example, reading or writing can be better than watching TV, since it's easier to drift away into your own thoughts while doing the latter (That said, though, television can also be the source of a good, positive routine, when it is something that absorbs you like a good drama etc). Learning an instrument or a craft is also a good example since it absolutely requires your full attention.

You should also remember that, as with any affliction, laughter is an absolutely wonderful medicine for DP

Talk to as many people as you can. Remember that in spite of any anxiety you may feel, that each and every time you go into town, shopping, meeting friends etc is another bit of progress!
Go out and have fun with your friends. If you stay in all the time, that will become a habit and one that probably won't help.
All DP/anxiety can ever do is make things seem more amplified, more threatening. But reality itself doesn't change. Even if you wanted it to, it couldn't change! All that's
happening is that your mind is scared and jumpy at the moment, and seeing danger everywhere (even in the normal philosophical thoughts that everyone has from time to time).
I know it can be tough, but just remember that this state is temporary and entirely reversible.

One feeling that these thought processes can generate is the idea that reality has somehow changed. You may come to some very strange conclusions about the nature of the condition: for a while, I entertained the nonsensical thought that was in some sort of purgatory?, that I had somehow lost my soul?. You may think that something dreadful is going to happen, like reality falling apart?. Another common thought is that you are somehow going to disappear altogether.

These things have not happened, and will not happen. I have been to the absolute depths of this illness, and I have come out it completely unharmed. There is absolutely no permanent mental damage, there is absolutely no permanent physical damage. Hundreds of thousands of people have had this condition
before you, and none of them not a single one ever managed to change reality! It's all based on irrational fears created by nonsensical trains of thought.

You have not changed in any fundamental way. The world has not changed in any
fundamental way. You are suffering from an ailment that yes, can be very scary at times, but is relatively very mild. It is not even close to the risks associated with most other conditions. I think that may be one of the reasons it's not recognized as much as it
should be; because as scary as it can get, it is a non-progressive condition and, believe it or not, is simply not that dangerous for the sufferer.

Don't ever fight with DP mentally. Take it from me: Fighting it, like fighting with any type of pain, will only make it worse. DP is like the schoolyard bully who calls people names: If
you respond to his taunts with anger or sadness, he knows that he can hurt you and so it will keep happening, day in, day out. But if you simply accept him no matter how
difficult that may be, and how persistent the bully may be it will eventually stop.

Some people who wear visual aids like glasses and contacts have noted that the stress of DP can be reduced by removing them for a while. I
wear contacts myself, and found that removing them did in fact produce a calming effect. Why is this? Because by blurring your vision, you are reducing the amount of information that is being received by your visual cortex. This goes to show, yet again, that DP is to a large extent dependent on your environment and how you experience/interact with it. It simply proves, yet again that DP is not a mental condition that is somehow beyond your control.

With DP, it can seem very tempting to stay in bed all day, not shower etc every day, to just let yourself go a bit.
And sick people are somehow allowed to stay in bed, to not shower regularly, not dress properly etc. I know that I used that excuse for many weeks after I initially developed DP.
However, that's a very negative way of thinking and it will only make the DP worse. In a sense, doing that is actually drawing your focus onto the DP, since you are physically allowing it to affect your life. It's basically the same thing as letting yourself sit for hours watching boring TV  it might seem like the easier thing to do, but in fact it promotes exactly the kind of introspection that DP thrives on and in the long run it will only make things worse.


So, though it might seem easier to not to jump into the shower every day, go for it anyway. You'll look, and more importantly feel much better when you're clean and it'll give you a
solid routine to look forward to every day. Personally, I found that a good time to take a shower or bath is right before going to bed. It calms you down nicely and makes your body
tired and prepared for rest.

Take good care of your appearance in general. Look as good as you can every day! Wear clothes that are comfortable and that look well on you, especially you're going out. Eventually
this outward confidence will soak into your mind and you will start to feel better too.

As I've said, one of the many ways to get out of anxiety is to train your concentration. And a great way of doing this is by focusing on bettering yourself physically. It gives you goals, and something very worthwhile to work at every day.

You absolutely must cut caffeine out of your diet. It will aggravate anxiety and DP. Plus, they also tend to disrupt sleep patterns, which as we know are directly related to DP.
Firstly, it increases heart pressure something you absolutely don't need when trying to get rid of anxiety. Secondly, salt depletes potassium in the body, an essential element for a properly-functioning nervous system.

Everyone loves chocolate and sweets.  I'm a big fan myself. However, these again are bad for
anxiety and DP. As they are digested, they cause a drop in blood-sugar levels, which can set off anxiety and mood swings. Stay away from sweet foods!

By cutting them out of your diet, you are cleansing your body and brain, and helping to bring them back to their best. In fact, by the
time you recover from DP, your general health should be better than ever. Look at anxiety and
DP as your body?s way of telling you that it needs to be rid of all these impurities.

The carbon dioxide in soda water is actually very good for you, since anxious people tend to have low levels of it in their blood. It is good for preventing hyperventilation and also helps the blood flow in general.

In general, fruit and vegetables are very good for diminishing anxiety and DP. Eat plenty of spinach, carrots, onions, beetroot, celery, wholegrain cereals, asparagus, avocado, garlic,
eggs, fish etc. Drink plenty of water every day; keeping your body hydrated is essential for overall health.

Vitamin B6 and 12 are very important for the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, which, I don?t have to tell you, is essential for control of anxiety and DP. They are needed for the maintenance of myelin,the fatty substance that protects the nerves, and are generally good for dealing with fatigue. Vitamin B deficiencies can be caused by a number of factors, primarily stress and anxiety. This, in turn, can cause increased anxiety, loss of appetite and insomnia ? all of which can make DP worse.

Remember to be patient with it ? if you have developed a deficiency, it can take time to build your Vitamin B levels back up.

Calcium ? nerve health

Magnesium supplements are good for the heart, for the blood flow, and can help prevent anxiety and stress. Magnesium can also help to relieve insomnia and depression.

Take a good Omega-3 supplement every day.

Also, you should take a good multivitamin supplement every day.

If your DP has come on because of taking drugs, you may feel quite guilty; Remember: It's not your fault!
It's nobody's fault. Often, the drug may have been a catalyst the metaphorical straw that broke the camel's back. It'BBs quite possible that the stresses in
your life were building up anyway, and that you were about to suffer a panic attack, depression or DP (if you had not had one already). The drug simply sped up that
process.
But regardless of whether or not the drug alone brought on the DP or whether it just hurried up the manifestation of the stresses that were already happening, the end situation
is the same. It is reversible, so don't worry!

And whatever you do, don't feel guilty about anything. DP is a natural reaction. It is not something that can be anybody's fault,
anymore than getting, for example, a bad dose of hay fever is anybody's fault. Your body simply reacted to stresses in a natural way, it and it is now up to you to train it back to
normality.
Look at it this way: This is your body's way of telling you that you need to better handle stress in the future, and also to stay away from any substances that may aggravate it. All you
need to do is heed this advice, make the necessary changes in your lifestyle, and soon you'll be back to normal.

So don?t think of this as a mistake, or someone's fault. It's a great lesson to learn, it will enrich your life, so just be happy about it! Also, remember that no matter what the cause of the DP, the condition is essentially the same. There is no difference in marijuana-induced DP and DP caused by general stress levels ? and so, getting out of it will be the
same. And if you have a therapist, don't be afraid to tell them what you think brought on the DP, even if it was illegal drugs. Getting the causes of the condition off your chest will be hugely beneficial to your recovery.

It isn't a great idea to drink with DP - although it may temporarily relieve it, the repercussions are generally worse.
But remember this: If alcohol can temporarily alleviate DP, then that tells us yet again that

DP is a temporary state a combination of a transitory imbalance of brain chemicals and thought-habits - and can be changed. The
practices that you are implementing into your life are all contributing towards making that change ? and making it permanently.


Some people have suffered from DP for a long time ; indeed it can affect some people for years at a time. This does not mean that people are affected with different types of
DP that stay longer than others; it simply means that you have not found the correct thought-habits to get out of it. The thing is that it's way to easy to deal with DP by logging
onto the websites every day, to read every book you can about the disorder, to go to every doctor in your area (who usually know nothing about the condition).

It is not easy, however, to simply try and forget about it and get on with your life. The thing with DP, as with any other type of obsessive
thought, is that there is absolutely no point in trying to suppress it, analyze it or get rid of it.

As I have already noted, telling yourself "Today, I am not going to think about DP" is the same
as saying "Today, I will not think about pink elephants". By acknowledging that you don't want to think about the condition, you are already creating an association that will bother you for the whole day.

The fact that so many people can and do get out of DP on a regular basis (as many posts on website forums prove) means that in theory, anyone can get out of DP. Of course, it may take longer for others and it may take more intensive effort on a day-to-day basis, but the more effort that one puts into getting out of these thought-habits, the faster they will see results.

You might think, well, even if I recover, won't I be likely to just go back in to DP if I have another traumatic experience or stressful period??
Well, if you recover properly, the simple answer to this question is: No.
Like I've said, DP is a habit of thought. What you are doing now is building up a resistance to that habit; replacing that negative habit with healthy habits.

Let's take, for example, the following situation: Let's say you were a smoker for ten years. And then one day, you just realized that it was bad for you.
So you quit. You didn't quit cold turkey, but you phased it out over a couple of months. Eventually, you completely stopped associating
cigarettes with your coffee break at work, with your glass of wine in the evening. You learned to stop wanting a cigarette every time you saw
someone else smoke one on the street. It took time and effort, but you replaced the smoking habit of thought with a non-smoking habit of thought, with positive thoughts.
And then, for argument's sake, let's just say that if, a decade after that, that you're at a party, and an old friend offers you a cigarette. You think, why not?? and you smoke it.
Now - does that mean that you're back to square one, hooked all over again? Of course not. The positive habits you've built up in the meantime are what count. Even if you get a cigarette craving the next day, that's ok because you know how to deal with it. You have the experience to deal with it. You have dealt with it long enough to know that you can get past it.
And it?s the same with DP. After you get through it, you will have completely trained yourself back into a positive habit of thought.
And if  something especially stressful happens to you in the future, and if  you happen to experience the transitory DP that almost everyone does in such situations, you will recognize it, know why you are feeling it, and be able to let it go.



Also remember: The DP won't stop overnight.
There is no miracle cure for the condition, just as there is no miracle cure for any truly bad
habit. - because it is A NATURAL DEFENSE/HEALING MECHANISM - much like you could not 'cure' a scab that forms over a wound - it simply drops off when the wound is healed.

Getting out of it is a progressive de-habitualisation, like learning to stop smoking,or learning to be more positive in general. You have to think of your recuperation in terms of
months, not days. And even at that, it is still quite difficult at times. As with the removal of any habit,you will find that it will return, temporarily, at the
most inopportune times. You see, recovery from DP is not a straight line from habit to non-habit. It is more like a jagged downhill mountain slope: at times, you will have to
climb tough little peaks, other times, you will find yourself trotting happily down an easypath. It varies from hour to hour, day to day. Just remember that no matter how tough
those little peaks get, they are still part of a definite movement towards recovery.

You see, the thing about DP is that because of its habitual nature, it can be very difficult to judge when you are getting better. For example, you might have two good days in a
row. On the third day, for whatever reason, you feel anxious and feel the depersonalisation strongly. Now, if you'd had that day in the
middle of a week-long bout of DP, it would just seem like another bad day.

In fact, it might not even feel that bad  just another day in which you have had to cope with DP. But when you are back in it after a few days of respite, it can seem much worse. Most of that is attributable not to the intensity of the DP itself, but to the disappointment felt when you
think that your escape route has been closed off.

So when you have a bad day (and let?s be honest about it, you will almost certainly have many days that are quite difficult), try not to think, Oh
no, Im back to square one. Just tell yourself:  am not back to square one. My DP only seems worse because I am getting better in general. I have been making improvements and that tells me that one day soon I can completely recover from this condition. If I feel
bad in the meantime I am happy to simply wait until I feel better.


Comments
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by shnubbles, Jan 13, 2011
I love you. Your described the feelings i am having with dp dr so accurately it made me smile the entire time i was reading this. I am currently still suffering from this and this article just gave me so much hope. Thank you very much, and please add me on facebook please: facebook.com/ottmand

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by phillippe, Jul 12, 2012
Man I dnt know who you are but you jus saved me from a life of hell..I was scared that I caused brain damage to myself by doin something I shouldn't have and that's what started this...loll this article made me crack up the whole time and the way you were so accurate with the description..loll right now I have my contacts out because it calmed me down even before reading this...THANK YOU You are a godsend

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by Ballerkid, Aug 20, 2012
People have been saying its not temporary, but it IS! I had it after I lost my mother and I didn't know what it was Bc I tried something months before.
And I thought My brain was fried, but it eased up and then I lost my mother. It hit me HARD. I didn't know what to do. Then I read this and it calmed me so much! Thank you. And people remember. Pray! It helps. Stay blessed

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by seve260, Sep 02, 2012
What a great article. DP is domething I have been experiencing for 6 years now. I used to go through fleeting moments of It when I was younger, and all of what you say makes total sence. I would just like to say that I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 3 months ago, and DP has been with me since I got Lyme Disease 6 years ago. At times it has been frightening and constant. Worry definately doesn't help the situation. I am so glad I read this. I just hope the principles are the same when DP is caused by an infection. I am on antibiotics now, and I have seen slight improvements. Thanks

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by jo564, Sep 10, 2012
I feel like I'm completely out of all the detachment but I for some reason I can't remember how I even should feel. It's been 4 months and the whole time I've been staying busy to get better I at least felt like myself and felt connected to my family. Now that I'm coming out of it i feel less like myself and less connected to kids. I'm sure that's just another thought but I can't seem to get over this. I have no confidence now and I just feel like I'm walking in circles now that I'm coming out of it. Will the me ever click again with confidence. I just feel like I have no clue who I am or how I used to be. Is this normal when coming out of it or am I just overthinking this? Are these just more unwanted thoughts? Any suggestions would be great! Thx!

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by phillippe, Oct 10, 2012
I suggest everyone read as a man thinketh thoughts on the body it might be exactly what u need

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by phillippe, Oct 10, 2012
The book is by james allen

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by kirtyleigh, Oct 17, 2012
ive done alot of research and reading, and this is one of the best articles I have read, it gave me a better understanding and a clearer perspective on things, thank you! I was wondering though, before my dp/dr started I had been expiriancing social phobia/anxiety, (i geuss its more like social anxiety because i tried not to/didnt avoid social events) i was wondering if this fades with the dp/dr? like when I eventually cure it along with the anxiety, will my fears, social stress and other things go? I have probably made myself believe that i suffer from more things than i do, but im wondering if it is all completely caused by anxiety and if it will all go away together with the right therapy and with time?

Thanks so much!

kirty

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by PinkLisa, Oct 21, 2012
Wow it's very long to read but worth reading. :) I have social phobias and anxiety and panic attacks. Does this go away when the Depersonalization/Derealization goes away? I guess I have to look up the book by James Allen.

Thank you very much!

PinkLisa

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by Strale, Nov 24, 2012
Really nice.

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by Strale, Nov 28, 2012
Damn I have to read this few times a day.

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by Kaylah_Jayde, Nov 30, 2012
I love this!! I have been suffering derealization for about a month now and although it is fairly new to me it is very scary, this has reassured me so so much and I want to try take some of the advice and help myself to rest and recover :) I am going to try my hardest and hopefully soon I can feel alive again!

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by Raq1000, Mar 05, 2013
Thank you for this information. It is bang on, even with the taking off the glasses thing. I do this and it does work! I have been dealing with this for about 3 years now on and off. It ***** and some days are good and some are bad. It all started after i lost a friend to Cancer and I was taking an extremely difficult and time consuming accounting course, and i had just gotten remarried , and I think everything just built up and I had that first awful experience. It terrified me and still does, and I try not to think about that feeling, but can't help it and I associate it with being in meetings ( as the first one happened in a classroom) and now also when stuck in traffic as I had another experience while in traffic. Most of the time I can calm it but sometimes it is sooooooooooooooo hard.  I just want to be back to my normal self. I will read this again and again as it has been helpful. i am also happy to know that I am not alone in this struggle.

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by luckyakhi, Mar 07, 2013
Ditto for me :
"your work might be a little stressful. You might be drinking some caffeine and soft drinks etc. You might not be sleeping as well as you should.
You might have small some problems in your personal relationships. You might be suffering from a common ailment like post-natal depression, mid-life crisis, exam stress etc"

And yes I projected my fear on everything around.

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by myoami, Jul 14, 2013
what about people with DR ?  I have been suffering from it for 15years...

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by Luckaloo, Sep 10, 2013
I hear both sides of the story, that some people have come out of it and that some people haven't... I've been dealing for little over a year. There are times when I almost feel like my old self but mostly I feel like a space-case. I'll never let it destroy my life but what I wouldn't give just to really feel again. Derealization is like a giant buffer between you and the world, it really muffles your experience. Truly a cursed thing.

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by alex681, Sep 17, 2013
I have been suffering for 6 months now. I don't know if I'm doing things right basically. all I do is just watch TVs go for walks go look around at store. Get on the internet cook clean. And go to hangouts. But I still am not feeling better am I doing the right thing?

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by MoeH, Sep 30, 2013
This is so wonderful and my fear and depression about this evaporated as I read. I have printed most of this out to stick in my night stand so that I can easily pull it out when I go through this again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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by kmso81, Nov 16, 2013
very good article, your explanation of the symptoms and how to deal with it..  reflect how you completely understand the condition.

i truly appreciate your help.

thanks

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by codyboo, Jan 15, 2014
DP and DR are very very similar in their mechanisms and can be cured in the same way as explained in the first post. Don't worry about the definitions!

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by Ceories93, Feb 10, 2014
Does DP and DR also cause moments of Deja Vu?
Almost like having a dream that you think you had before, or that you think you experienced in real life, but realizing shortly after you didn't.
I seem to experience these moments of deju vu frequently during DP/DR.
I'm assuming that its because of the brain trying to rest while my body is awake.

thoughts anyone?
:-)

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by jac322, Feb 15, 2014
Thank you for all your research and conclusions. Based on my own life of DP/DR, I found this very comprehensive and accurate.

Good point about removing visual aids (in order to diminish stimulation): This is most likely why squinting has worked for me during an episode.  

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by macattack420, Feb 15, 2014
great article, if any one wants to talk email me!!
seba_oprinca***@****  


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by macattack420, Feb 15, 2014
seba_oprinca***@****     ***


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by lrakvon18, Mar 02, 2014
WOW! You couldn't have put it a better way! I'm 20 years old and My depersonalization has almost completely Gone Away. It started a few months after a suicide in my family(Major Trauma) and my DP would be triggered almost every time I ate food.

It turns out for me it was all Food allergies that I think were creating too much stress on my body and mind and the trauma that caused my DP. I also Had severe arm tingling to the point where it would lock up my fingers so I couldn't move them.

Thank God I Found and went to a NAET Practitioner. She eliminated my allergies one by one every week. Now My mind has felt sooooooo much better. It was like taking straw off the camels back. More and more stress(straw) being taken off made me feel like a Kid again.

Visit www.NAET.com to find a practitioner this could change you life and health as it did me.

I was allergic to Many things like Minerals,B vitamins,serotonin,Vitamins A and D ect Dairy,Eggs,Beef. Well if you allergic to any foods no matter how healthy they are your body doesn't properly absorbed them. I was even allergic to foods that would actually heal my allergies and aid my sysmtoms and make me feel better :(

Overall I'm Doing 95% Better and in some areas 110%.

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by JayDoria, Mar 29, 2014
Thank you so much for this article, you saved my life.

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by mielaniekse, Apr 10, 2014
Hello, I am ill DR, or anti-depressants to help (Sertralin?) I feel a constant anxiety, I can not in any way complacent. This feeling horrible ..: (

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by dkkonieczny, Apr 18, 2014
   Does anyone think this problem could be hereditary? I had this same thing when I was10-15 years old. Now my 17 year old son has this. I wish I could make it go away for him, but I think I out grew it.

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by carnevn03, Apr 22, 2014
WOW... you have honestly saved my life. I have been experiencing DP for over 3 years now all because of a traumatic experience smoking weed. I felt like the weed permanently changed my brain and was gonna have to live feeling like a zombie forever. My life is at rock-bottom right now, dropped out of college, destroyed relationships with my family and girlfriend, and had thoughts of suicide almost everyday but your article has given me hope! I feel like this fog in my mind can be lifted and I will finally feel alive again! God Bless you whoever wrote this article!

ps. this might sound crazy but I was thinking that that starting to smoke marijuana again when i am relaxed will help assist my recovery from DP and rewire my brain to be more relaxed in general. Since marijuana is what triggered my DP in the first place. Is this a bad idea? If anyone has any thoughts or advice you can email me at ***@****. Thanks

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by englishborn, May 01, 2014
Dkkonieczny

It isnt that dp/dr is hereditary but it might be that your family are a little more prone to anxiety, maybe due to where you live, how you were brought up, stress brought on from things out of your control. Also seeing someone with anxiety can heighten your own anxiety as seeing someone in distress is not nice.

Carnevn03
I would strongly advise against smoking again, it may relieve the feeling for a short time but it will also increase your anxiety later and therefore strenghten the DP/DR symptom. The best thing for you is to live life, fake it until you make it, let yourself feel bad and dream like, when we start to accept it the fear and horror starts too fade, this stops the feedback cycle that DP creates.

We get DP/DR due to stress and anxiety so the mind retreats to a safer place, we are scared by the symptoms so the dp/dr stays.

Get lots of exercise and eat healthy, socialise lots as it is hard to feel bad when having a laugh with friends. I would also seek out a CBT Therapist as they will help you understand why the dp/dr has occured and the thought processes that help keep it alive and keep you anxious. For anxiety (and dp/dr) knowledge is power, if we are able to rationalise the feelings and sensations it helps take away the sting mentally.

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by carnevn03, May 03, 2014
englishborn-

I really appreciate the advice. This has been a big problem for me for years and going out of your way to personally answer some of my questions means the world to me.  It is really hard but you are absolutely right. I have to learn to accept the DP/DR feelings right now and make the most of it. My only question is, I know I was really anxious about the entire marijuana situation at first but lately it has been enjoyable and helps relieve chronic pain in my knee. I would hate to give it up unless it truly had lasting effects on my brain. However, I have been to numerous counseling/psychiatrist sessions and they all insist that the marijuana itself cannot cause any permanent damage to your brain. If this is the case than how could the marijuana increase my anxiety later and strengthen the DP/DR symptoms?

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by englishborn, May 05, 2014
I dont believe it can cause permanent damage to the brain, but it can make people more anxious, hence people say they got paranoid sometimes when smoking it. With an anxious mind where we are trying to learn how to rationalise our fears again this can be a massive set back and undo any progress you were making.

I understand you use it to help pain relief but I dont think in the long run it is helping your anxiety and therefore your dp/dr symptoms. You might alos be using it as a safety behaviour, if it makes you feel less anxious and reduce the dp/dr you may feel that it is the only way to help relieve the horrible symptoms, which stops you from accepting the feelings as easily (it is hard I know, and takes time and effort to confront them).

I suggest reading a book called At Last a Life, it is by a guy who had anxiety and dp/dr for 10 years solid and finally found a way out of it by accepting it, as he put it....you will not get out of anxiety if you fight it... He gives a lot of advice and comfort which helped me recently when I had a big setback.

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by Santiee, May 11, 2014
My DP makes me feel like life is not worth living... and i hate it because before all of this i lived life. Ive had it for 2 months and its been a life changing experience and it killed my personality and feeling tours life. THANK GOD IM NOT SUICIDAL but man it makes me feel worthless. I am doing things to make me feel a little better like jogging and eating a little more healthy.  But its hell because it makes me see human life as something strange and weird and it makes me feel like ****. I feel so disconnected from my family and environment. I have little hope that i will ever feel alive and like my old self but I'm beginning to accept it somewhat.

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by englishborn, May 15, 2014
The moment you start to accept it is the moment you give it permission to start leaving you. It is a defence mechanism to protect us in very stressful situations, allow to be removed from emotions so we can fight or run from danger. However when we become scared and worried by the sensations the primeval part of the brain keeps us in that state to keep us protected not understanding it is the protection that is scaring us.

By slowly accepting it and talking to our scared mind we slowly allow the older part of the brain to relax and allow the rational part to become more active again. This can be achieved by any methods, simply living your life and trying not to dwell on it with time will bring you out of it. If however you struggle to accept it then CBT can help you understand the sensations and this allows us to be more prepared by the DP/DR and see it for what it is.

Your older part of the brain is in charge at the moment, it is doing its job too well, this is why we start to get scared by other things which are not DP/DR, like existential questioning which usually starts due to the feeling of unreality, our brains are developed to seek answers and we start to believe we or the world isnt real because the mind uses the evidence of unreal feelings as proof we are not real.....however it is reaching the wrong conclusion. By challenging those questions and not dwelling on them it reduces the potency, which in turn brings down your stress and anxiety levels, which in turn allows the DP/DR to fade, or in some cases suddenly go away.

In order to recover you need to break the negative feedback loop of your anxiety over the symptoms and address what event or root cause of the anxiety (social anxiety, self esteem issues, bad trip with drugs....etc), it is hard work but you will slowly tred down the road to recovery, even if you do not realise it. Try not to compare how you feel today compared to yesterday or even last week, compare it month to month. You might feel awful now, but a month ago you were stuck in bed crying.....slow and steady steps. Feel free to PM me.

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by carnevn03, May 16, 2014
englishborn-

Thanks so much for your advice. I ended up buying the book you recommended and it has really given me hope and a whole new perspective on life. The hardest part for me was realizing that drugs/marijuana did not change my brain permanently. These feelings of DP/DR I have are not from the drugs it is just a result of my constant fear and worrying about them. Now that I truly learned to believe and accept this I am slowly starting to feel better everyday. I no longer have anything to worry or be anxious about because I know that marijuana only has temporary effects. The true me is still here! It's only been a few days and I feel like a new man already. At first I had fear that it would come back and would get scared if I started to feel a little anxious again, but I learned to just let it in and am no longer scared of it. This is such a hard thing to overcome because the people who care the most are the ones that suffer the most. Thank you so much englishborn for reaching out and giving me advice. Your words have honestly saved my life. I am proud to say I am finally DP/DR free. God Bless You.

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by englishborn, May 18, 2014
That is really good news Carnevn03, so pleased you have allowed yourself to move on from the symptoms. Keep at it, you may experience a set back or two when extra stress enters your life, but remember these are normal in recovery and just take them in your stride, you may not have any and that will be great.

It does show that it was just the bad reaction to the drugs and nothing more, you most likely dont have another underlying root cause and now can look ahead in your life.

All the best, stay off or limit the drugs/marijuana and enjoy your life, as a favour if you ever see someone suffering anxiety do not hide that you once suffered, finding success stories and meeting people who have recovered is a massive boost.

Chris

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by JAYARR8, Jun 29, 2014
THANK YOU SO MUCH


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by Dreamyone, Jul 06, 2014
Hi all. Ive been suffering with depersonalization for 2 years caused by a bad trip by weed.I was tired of it and decided to smoke while being depersonalized cause I thought it could make it better. I smoked 3 times while being depersonalized and every time got that bad trip.I even have been drinking a lot alcohol to find some relief. But it triggered it and now I think i have even derealization cause all the world outside looks unreal,I feel like im living in a dream,have a lot of dejavus and even hallucinating on my peripherial vision. Does somebody smoked weed while being depersonalized and triggered it to derealization

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by englishborn, Jul 07, 2014
DP and DR are very similar things, do not be concerned if you start to feel the other, it is all coming from the same place. Dreamyone drinking and smoking weed is doing you no favours at the moment, it is giving you some very short term relief, but in the longer term you are just keeping yourself in a dp/dr state.

DP/DR comes from anxiety, you can see this yourself with it all starting with a bad trip, the added bad trips have deepened your anxiety, added extra layers of fear which your irrational state is latching on to.

Drinking while in an anxiety state is a very bad idea when you are in the depths of it. A hangover and the effects of alcohol naturally will feed our anxieties, which in turn increases the sense of unreality and detachment.

When you drink or smoke you are indulging in a safety behaviour, similar to someone suffering from agoraphobia will stay indoors to stop the feeling of anxiety from happening. In order to recover you need to accept the feeling, even though it is distressing, when we accept we are feeling horrible it starts to remove some of the horror and gives our older part of the brain a bit of a rest.

Keep telling yourself the symptoms are just from anxiety and not that you dont exist or that you are not really you, or you are dying. All it is the bad trip triggered the primevil part of the brain, whose job it is to keep you safe (the fight or flight responce), the problem is it is doing its job too well at the moment and will not quiten down, so you need to start soothing it. When you feel anxious and your thoughts are racing and you feel dp/dr tell yourself "this is a symptom of anxiety and worrying about it is only feeding my anxiety and doing me no favours what so ever!" and then distract yourself from it, eventually you will be able to dismiss the thoughts much easier.



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by Naturalhealing2, Jul 07, 2014
This post has been very helpful to me , I've had DR since January , and have experienced the fear that seemed to come from the feeling of having DR thus creating a vicious cycle of fear, and the desire to be in bed all the time, I'm an truly tryin to retrain my brain, I've started jogging again, taking vitamins and I'm working on my diet, I feel like I cannot attempt to work in my field because of this, my concentration and focus isn't there right now, is anyone out there able to deal with this while working? I don't feel like its okay for me to even attempt to work? My job requires focus... I'm an RN

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by englishborn, Jul 10, 2014
Hi Naturalhealing

It is great you are jogging and taking supplements (even if it only for the placebo or indeed they do help, I never could tell) all this is going to make your mind slowly come out of this in time.

Does your work know of your current state? If so I would ask if for the time being could you take on some other duties if they agree your focus isnt currently there. Ironically the focus of the job should be a great tool for retraining the brain, as doing anything other than worrying helps break the feedback loop of anxiety and dp/dr. Last thing anyone should do with dp/dr is quit their job and/or hide away.

I hope you are finding time to socialise when away from work, this for me is one of the biggest healers.

Chris

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by Dreamyone, Jul 15, 2014
Hi englishborn I left a comment here and forgot to check back cause my memory is bad. What if I tell you that I have dp/dr constantly 24/7 and its not just when Im over-stressed. I've read that its better to not think about it,but how can I not think about it as the moment when I wake up I see that things are unreal and I feel like I havent wake up yet,like Im still dreaming. Is this normal? No man,there's no hope, Im really losing my self.

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by michhh, Jul 16, 2014
hi! im 17 and my family recently decided for ius to move acros the country to kansas out of no where! we i was told and we moved in about a week and it triggered my anxiety really bad. at first it was to normal anxiety i.e. stomach pains headaches unable to eat ect ect, then it turned into dp and it really really freaked me out because ive never experienced a feeling like this and it was so hard to explain. i thought i was insane until i started researching. the main promblm i think triggered my anixity is i am all about my education and school and friends and since we moved i would have a whole new schoool and it scared me a lot until my brain just turned off. this has been happening for about 3 weeks/a month and i actually feel like i recover a bit each day since i started exercising and eating healthy to relieve it but some days are really bad. i feel really good today but i still feel the dp and it scares me becasue i have no idea what it feels like to be normal, so i start to worry if im better but my mind is just forcing me not to be..? can you please explain how you feel when you recover becasue that thought is holding me back i think

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by michhh, Jul 16, 2014
also im not socially anxious i actually was very outgoing and i had a lot of friends, but i also was very attached to them and my school everyone loved me there. im also very intelligent with a 4.5 gpa and ive known ive always had anxiety but never to this extent. i try to think normal thoughts but i dont even remeber what normal thoughts are and thats what acres me the most.also my mom made me a doctors appointment on friday and im scared they will put me in a mental institution if i tell them how i really feel. i could really use your advice

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by Dreamyone, Jul 16, 2014
Dont be scary. I was there. It'll pass,belive me. I was recovering but I messed up by smoking weed. Just dont dwell on it,do things as you dont have something like this,forget about it, it wont do you anything. Stay sober, eat well, sleep well, exercise. It will last probably 3-4 months and you'll become better

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by timmyjonstearns, Jul 16, 2014
I'm 90% I have DP/DR (from smoking cannabis) but I'm not sure because I have a few symptoms that haven't really been adressed. When I look around (it can be anywhere, oddly enough it mostly happens in my house) everything looks unfamiliar to me and all I can think about is how it looks so odd. I feel like I act on impulse, like I'll say something and immediately after the words come out of my mouth I can't remember even thinking of that response before I blurted it out. It also feels like nobody can relate to me, it's like I'm in my own ****** up world and I hate it! My memory is terrible and my sense of time seems to be extremely distorted to non existent. Can someone please let me know if this is a result of DP? I want to know if doing what this article said will alleviate these feelings :(

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by englishborn, Jul 17, 2014
Dreamyone:
I had very strong DP/DR 24 hours a day, however some times it would be stronger and sometimes a little bit weaker, but I initally didnt take any comfort from that, all I could do was worry about the symptoms and question is things and me were real. Feeling like you are in a dream is completely normal for dp/dr, all it is your mind has gone into "safe mode" the problem is the safe mode feeling is scaring us and therefore keeping us in safe mode. The best thing to do before you can deal and cope with the symptoms a bit is to distract yourself like there is no tomorrow. The more time you have to think about things the worse for you, so fill your day. Play computer games, do work, do anything that takes your mind of it even for a short time.

This will slowly allow you to reach a point where you can start saying "this is only a symptom of anxiety and whilst I feel horrible I will not let it dictate my life" and this will start to slowly calm your mind down. It may take a while, it is different for everyone, some even snap out of it but most it is a slow fading.

There is hope, in your state it doesnt feel like it but talk to anyone who is somewhat down the road or recovered and they will recall feeling as if there is no hope.


Michh:
Hi Michh, I remember clearly desperatly trying to remember what it feels like to be normal and reaching so hard to try and feel normal. The problem is all that was doing was increasing my worry and therefore making sure the DP/DR stayed as the older part of the brain felt there still was a threat. Compare yourself not day to day or even week to week but month to month, we live in the moment and even a good day can feel like hell. However a bad day in a month will still feel like crap but when you look back a month this would have been a good day. Recovery feels like looking back and realising you dont feel as bad back then, you dont really feel as if you are better as your mind is still anxious and looking for a threat, when in reality it has calmed down a bit and your symptoms are not as bad.

Try not to obsess on getting better, as this helps keeps your mind aware there is something wrong, when you find yourself dwelling on the symptoms and other anxious thoughts quickly distract yourself until you can push those thoughts away by yourself. This also applies to thinking "normally" you are not able to think normally because you are in an anxious state, and you know what that is ok, let yourself have the thoughts but remind yourself it is because you are anxious and when you start to recover your mind will quieten down again.

There is no way a doctor will put you in a mental institute, this is an irrational anxious thought, mention you have anxiety and the main symptom is dp/dr and he/she will hopefully recommend CBT therapy, if not request it. Do you feel like you are going mad? Well you are not, mad people do not know they are mad, so if you worry you might be going mad is proof you are not.

Timmy:
Hi Timmy, what you are describing are classic symptoms and thoughts of DP and DR, it is all because your mind has become anxious, the older part of the brain has been under stress or been triggered by the weed and therefore is now searching for a threat. It is a natural response to a stressful situation, the mind goes into safe mode shutting down emotions and protecting you from mental stress. The problem is the feeling of our minds doing this is very scary when we notice it, and this worry over the symptoms keeps the symptoms there.

Ability to track time
Feeling seperated from your body
Feeling as if you are 2 people
Feeling as if you are watching yourself
Feeling as if you own communications are not your own
Feeling as if people are just objects or not there
Memory worsens

these are all symptoms of DP/DR which in itself is a symptom of anxiety. I remember having these feelings and thoughts but I cannot remember how they feel now, because my mind is slowly coming out of it, I still have scary thoughts and still find myself checking if reality is real, but I know that will fade slowly too and must not let it dominate my thoguhts.

I hope you all find this comforting, can I also ask you not to read DP/DR forums as they are usually full of people who are not doing the things they need to recover and are in despair, your anxious minds will latch onto any bad news currently. Read recovery stories if you must go on the internet to research it, the horror stories are the very very small minority but because they are in a hopeless place right now they are very loud. Someone who has recovered tend not to visit forums on DP/DR as they are getting on with their lives again.

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
will their ever be a day where i wake up and the first thing on my mind isnt my anxiety? i feel like my thoughts are keeping it alive even if they are positive they are still about my anxiety and sometimes i feel like evrything about me is back to normal and my thoughts just want to hold be back my making me think i still have it you know?

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
i also am too aware that im a person sometimes and it scares me, like im scared of thinking becasue its always about my anxiety and i just dont want to be myself anymore

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
im really freaking out right now actually and idk what to do i just want to die or sleep forever i just cant handle this feeling, i cant even explain it it scares me so much im just afraid and i cant love this way please please help

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
being alive actually scares me at this point

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
also does dp make you feel like nothing matters anymore? like when i used to see just trees outside i would think they are beautiful and im so happy to be alive and i had dreams and goals. now i just feel like everything is pointless and life is a void. i hate this feeling because i am the one who usually convinces people that life is beautiful. is this also dp or do i have like major depression too.??

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
will i ever get my ambition back? and lolo soryy im posting so much i just want to fully understand whats happening to me so i can fight it

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by timmyjonstearns, Jul 17, 2014
To michhh, I don't know what to say to help you but I feel exactly the same, it's horrible and I hate it. I'm trying to do what is recommended for a recovery and it's so hard because I wake up and think "if I can do all the right things this could be gone in 5 months!" But at the end of the day all I can think about was how long that day was, and how many days are in a month and it's just terrifying. Keep it together man, I'm trying and finding hope is hard but hold on to what little bit you have.

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
to timmyjonstearns, please dont loose hope, the reason im holding on is i can still remember who i used to be and im just really determined to get back to that person, i just have really bad moments sometimes. i was having a panic attack earlier but right now i actually feel ok i was even able to laugh and smile but i just still have that lingering feeling in the back of my mind and i still have the constant worrying about how i feel. the hardest thing for me is just letting go and giving the dp the room it needs to go away because im so obsessed with how it feels to be normal again and i overanalyze everything i do .



to anyone who can help, at this point it just feels weird being alive and i keep questioning the meaning of existence.. is this normal for dp? i feel like i have really good moments and bad moments all in the same day every time i feel the worst at the end of the day i feel the best. and sometimes i question if i even have dp and im just being dramatic but i think its the anxiety speaking, i just really want it to be gone more than anything but i keep praying for strength to get through and i remember everything happens for a reason and everything is temporary

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
i also sometimes feel like my mind is looking for dp even when i feel ok which makes me think ill never be normal again because my mind cant let it go and i dont remember what my mind thought about all day before.

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by michhh, Jul 17, 2014
its like my mind doesnt want me to get better and its scared of being normal. but i really do want to get better

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by michhh, Jul 19, 2014
also this perfectly explains how i feel is this anxiety/dp or is it something different

".I feel hyperaware of my existence,like I am too conscious.I feel like I was unconscious all my life and now my mind opened and I am ovely conscious of my existence and it's scary.I feel afraid of life,of me being me,and feel stuck being alive and having consciousness.It's super weird and it gives me panic attacks,very very bad panic attacks.I am afraid of the fact that I exist,it's like a phobia of existence ( not death),it doesn't make sense, I don't know how to explain it to my psychiatrist either because I decided I am going back on meds,I can't live like this,It's hell,I want to shut my consciousness to how it was before but I feel that now I am 'aware' of something I wasn't aware before ( of my own existence) and there is no way back,once someone is aware of something you can't get UNaware of it.I don't know even what it is,I think it is anxiety but I am not very sure,it's HYPERANXIETY may be,am I the only one with this weird symptom?I feel like an alien,like I am new to 'living'. I freak out not because of any straight reason but because well.. I'm alive. I feel like my whole life before this I was living unconscious and now I am conscious and it's very very scary. Initially it starter with panic attacks now it's a constant feeling 24/7,can someone relate?"

PLEASE RESPOND ASAP

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by englishborn, Jul 21, 2014
Hi Michhh

I can tell you are in great distress over the symptoms, this is feeding the anxiety and thus keeping the dp/dr alive and stronger. Everyone who gets stuck in dp/dr starts to get very existential questioning. I personally went through a huge amount of questioning reality, questioning how can things be alive, how can my thoughts be me etc...

I also became hyber aware of all surrounding me, the feel of wind, smells and I questioned how did I used to ignore these they seemed so important but not in a good way.

This all happens because our minds always try and find an answers to questions. Our minds in DP/DR search for the answers from our senses over the odd feelings of dp/dr, and it concludes that things are not real, which is a false conclusion. This leads to a huge amount of questioning everything around and mentally exhausts us, but the dp/dr will not allow our minds to rest as we are petrified of it. The anxiety also makes us over sensitised to everything, this is why you are paying attention to things you wouldnt even bother with earlier, coupled with the existential questioning your anxiety latches onto this heightened sense of place and finds things to worry about.

As you calm down the feelings of dp/dr will fade and so too will the questioning and thoughts you are getting. It will likely take time but your mind will recover and you will look back and be amazed you even were able to think like that.

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by timmyjonstearns, Jul 21, 2014
Just thought I'd come give an update, I still lightly feel some symptoms when I'm not doing anything but I feel so much better! Even thiugh I know it's only been about a week since I heavily felt symptoms. I'd like to share what I've been doing in hopes in may help others. I've been getting extra sleep, and when I wake up I take vitamin C, and a B complex vitamin supplement. I also eat much healthier, new favorite snack is celery and peanut butter! I have been running everyday. I also try my best to go out and do things with my girlfriend or family to keep my mind occupied. It may or may not work for you Michhh but give it a try. Cheers and good luck my friend

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by timmyjonstearns, Jul 21, 2014
I just want to clear up, I do still feel the symptoms, but by "lightly" I meant it's  bearable now. (Knock on wood)

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by miadia93, Jul 22, 2014
hi all. i'm in kind of a similar position to michhh and before i even really recognized this as DP I was convinced I was quite depressed. this all came after a bad LSD trip on top of a period of chronic stress in school that had lead me to a place of really intense burnout in EVERYTHING (including friendship and social situations, as much of my anxiety previously was related to my two closest friends going down a super drug-ridden path and me feeling like i no longer knew/understood them, and like i, who had previously thought myself to be open minded, was suddenly this anti-drug NARC or something, which threw my whole identity into question). i haven't had an appetite in a few months and have a really really tough time sleeping. it's like i can't allow myself to feel comforted by sleep, so i can't slip into it. i can't tell when i'm sleeping or not and mainly just lie in bed anxious and uncomfortable and not focusing on anything in particular, but very afraid to let my mind slip away into sleep. most of my rumination centers on my personality/identity, time, and aging and I've reached a point where I've almost totally invalidated my old self (old thinking patterns, joys/pleasures etc), so it's like i'm stuck--I don't even know what i'm trying to get back to, but i'm in a terribly uncomfortable state of existence right now. i literally take comfort in nothing. i never know how I should feel or what should bring me pleasure vs. what should bring me stress or pain. i think that i am suffering from depression as well, and that makes it particularly difficult to distract myself, as tv and books exacerbate my thinking patterns (I don't understand why i used to like them, think really negative thoughts about the characters etc) or i focus on how superficial i feel their values/the things that give them enjoyment are, but, simultaneously grieve over the fact that i can no longer (or may never) be able to take pleasure in the same superficial things.

i guess mainly i just want to know: do I need to work through these things? or just carry on as best I can and hope that the thoughts stop? does anyone else have trouble eating or sleeping? do anyone else's thoughts center around their own identity/personality/traits or aging/time and things like that? did anyone else over analyze every aspect of their life to the point where they can't get pleasure or comfort out of anything anymore?

for context: i'm a 21 year old female going into my senior year at a pretty rigorous university and trying to keep it together/figure things out over the summer so that I don't totally lose it when I go back to school in September. have had a lot of suicidal/self harm thoughts, just because i get convinced sometimes that my self image/world view so messed up that nothing can help me. any feedback would be splendid. thank you.

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by michhh, Jul 23, 2014
miadia93, you perfectly described exactly how im feeling! i have the EXACT same thoughts and feeling and im kind of relieved im not the only one. every time i try to do something i used to enjoy i cat enjoy it because im overthink and questioning. the questioning on existence has gotten really really really bad these last two days and im going to be starting my senior year in high school next month and i really dont want to feel like this when school starts. "just because i get convinced sometimes that my self image/world view so messed up that nothing can help me. " is my exact feeling

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by michhh, Jul 24, 2014
I feel like I'm dead. Sometimes I have really good moments where I'm really motivated to get rid if this then I try to do something to distract myself and I can't feel joy or anything really. I honestly just feel like I died in Indiana and they brought my ghost to Kansas. I find EVERYTHING meaningless now like when I try to do anything like reading my mind just goes what's the point and I hate that thought/ feeling so much I used to be happy about the smallest things now I just feel hopeless and dead. Every day when I wake up is pure torture I just want out of this illness.


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by Dreamyone, Jul 24, 2014
Yeahh michh I feel you. Do you experience derealization also??

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by michhh, Jul 24, 2014
hi dreamyone,yes i did have only a few times. sometimes i just feel so normal (like now) but my mind just wont let me be. it keeps me thinking analyzing everything, i sometimes feel like maybe ive had this my whole life but used it for good because i would daydream 24/7 but i think that was just normal teenage stuff, im trying really hard to replace my anxious thoughts though its just i cant connect to anything and it scares me, im trying not to let it though but its so hard.

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by Dreamyone, Jul 25, 2014
add me on facebook body cause I hardly find this forum to message back so we can talk more about this conditon on facebook https://www.************/meriton.salihu. I found so much help here by englishborn but we must do this now by owns.

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by Dreamyone, Jul 27, 2014
Is anybody having hppd symptoms like visual snow,halos,floaters,auras around objects. Do I have hppd or its just anxiety and maybe part of dp/dr. Im cheking this forum to quickly now, it give me relief

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by michhh, Jul 28, 2014
englishborn can you please respond. my irrational thoughts have pretty much gone away and im able to ignore ym amxious thoughts but i still can only think about my anxiety 24/7 if i just let the thoughts go and ignore them will they enventually go away? i just never want to think of them again or at least not every moment of the day. but im doing much better

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by englishborn, Jul 28, 2014
That good to hear Michhh, yes eventually your thoughts will move away from your anxiety. Currently the ,most important thing your mind feels is important is your anxiety as it seems to be a threat. As your mind calms down so will your constant thoughts about your anxiety, until you will find it odd to think you even worried about your anxiety. IN fact worrying about your anxiety is the only thing keeping you in an anxious state....kind of funny in a way, if it wasnt such a horrible feeling.

There will be ups and downs along the way, sometimes you will hardly think of it other times it will seem as if it is as bad as ever. Just keep distracting yourself and if you can find yourself a good CBT therapist, they will speed up the process.

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by michhh, Jul 28, 2014
ok you so much ive really just been ignoring the thoughts because im 100% confident now that they will go away i just need to have patience its hard sometimes but im getting better at it everyday. i have a question about CBT though, wont it just remind me of the anxiety every time i go?

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by michhh, Jul 28, 2014
and youre 1000% right my anxious thoughts are the only thing keeping me anxious it *****

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by michhh, Jul 28, 2014
also should i just let my thoughts be and wait until they go away? or retrain them because every time i try to think of something else at all i can only think of my anxiety so i just decided to let them be will this work? or should i try harder?

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by michhh, Jul 28, 2014
and sometimes i have really good days (like today) and i always question if this means im back to normal and it causes me to obsess over how i feel, when you actually are back to normal will you not even worry about it at all?

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by Dreamyone, Jul 29, 2014
So englishborn Do I have hppd or just anxiety dp/dr cause Im having snow vision,halos around objects,seeing things(shadows,lights)moving in the corner of my eyes,flashlights while eyes closed.

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by michhh, Jul 30, 2014
also englishborn:
do you not think of your anxiety 24/7 anymore because thats the only thing left and i dont even know how to replace my thoughts or what to do its really hindering my life i cant do anything at all, i cant even have one thought without immediately thinking after an anxious thought. i feel like the only way to not think about it anymore is if i got amnesia and forgot.

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by michhh, Jul 30, 2014
i dont want to just ignore them for the rest of my life, i want them gone

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by englishborn, Jul 31, 2014
Hi Michhh

There are only 2 reasons why anxiety will stick around, either the underlying cause is still there (extreme low self esteem, abusive situation, PTSD, etc...) or (and usually the case) the sufferer has become hyperaware of their anxiety and it scares them and thus keeps the negative cycle alive.

CBT does make you more aware of your anxiety but in a good way, CBT explains to you where it is all coming from, and how your thoughts go from a simple thought into an anxiety spiral. For example in my case when I used to feel tired:

I notice I symptoms of tiredness -> My eyes feel heavy, things feel a bit fuzzy, my mind feels slower -> this feels like DP/DR -> OH NO its DP/DR -> anxiety levels increase -> DP/DR symptoms increase -> Become even more aware of DP/DR symptoms -> anxiety increases -> become heavily Dp/DRed.

However the CBT allowed me to realise what is happening at stop the cycle earlier and earlier until I would feel tired and now allow myself to be tired and not be falling into DP/DR.

When you have a good day it is still important to distract yourself, you will be back to normal when you realise you havent even thought about dp/dr for weeks and months. When you have a good day say to yourself "I am having a good day, it isnt gone and thats ok, I will make the most of feeling ok, tomorrow I might not be and thats ok too, this all part of the healing process"
Your thinking about is this how it is to be normal is still an anxious thought, the desperation to be better, and this in turn is not helpful, slowly you will accept the anxiety and thats when the real healing begins. I no longer think of my anxiety 24/7, I am not recovered but down the road that way. I do think about it everyday but it comes in moments not all the time, and when I do think about it my CBT allows me to stop the thoughts and move on much quicker and thus I rarely get disturbed by the thoughts anymore. They will go Michh, but for the moment they are there, let them be there, you will not get better until you stop fighting it.

Dreamyone what you have isnt hppd, all it is your mind is now paying more attention to things. The floaters for example normally the human mind notices them we get annoyed by them then forget about them. An anxious mind notices them then starts to worry they mean something else, so it keeps an eye on them and refuses to just accept they are there. The other things are anxiety symptoms:

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/signs/seeing-spots

Accept they are symptoms of your anxiety, otherwise they reinforce the anxiety.

I would strongly advise both of you to seek CBT therapy or even just talk therapy, you are obviously in need of  someone you can "look forward" to getting fears off your chest and put into a rational perspective. They will also help you resolve the root cause of the anxiety.





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by michhh, Jul 31, 2014
thank you so much englishborn i am praying for your recovery as well as everyone else's. i try to follow your advice but sometimes its just really really frustrating and hard, but thank you i will keep trying. i have already improved in the last week more than ever so im going to keep holding on to that hope and the hope you gave me.



i have one more question though. does dp/dr make you have strange realistic dreams. i just had one where i was in the exact same spot i was sleeping in but i woke up but i couldnt move or speak or open my eyes. i just woke up but its kinda freaking me out, isthis just the anxiety?

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by michhh, Aug 06, 2014
also is it possible to think two things at once???? i try to think of something else but i always have the thought of anxiety in the back of my mind, its pure torture because everything feels completely normal but my thoughts and im still really aware of my thoughts and evreything i think even if its a normal thought kinda freaks me out. it feels like my mind is axious of being normal!! i just want to know if this is normal or not for anxiety and when i know i'll continue to just ignore it and get on with my life

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by michhh, Aug 06, 2014
i feel really normal right now and its freaking me out!! like i cant get a break from this!!! i dont even know how to describe this feeling im just not me, is this normal?????? i want to be fully educated so i know what to do. also im going to start therapy soon

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by englishborn, Aug 11, 2014
Hi Michh
Sorry for the late reply I was involved in my own things and didnt check the forums until now.

The dreams feeling realistic isn't anything new, in fact trhoughout your life you have and will have them, the difference is the anxiety has made you pay attention to them much much more and therefore raise their significance greatly, and so you worry about is it normal to have them, similar to intrusive thoughts.

The thing with anxiety is we still can do completely normal things as there isnt truely anything wrong with our body or mind. It feels as if you are having 2 thoughts because the you are "checking in" on yourself all the time to see ho you feel now....and now.....and now....and now. This creates the illusion you are going mad, you are 2 people, your mind isnt working correctly, all it is anxiety again and being hyperaware of your own thoughts but in a bad way. When we have anxiety we find it very hard to just let things go, remember when you were not anxious? misplacing a sock wasnt a big deal, now it is something to be afraid of as you fear your mind is going.

You will feel "normal" at times, almost moments of clarity but your anxiety doesnt allow you to say "this is good news, it is evidence I am slowly moving forward" it goes along the lines of "this is different! I should be worrying, I should feel like ****, this means something has broken and I am in real trouble!"....let yourself feel normal, just as you need to let yourself feel awful and scared and disconnected later when the symptoms say hello again. It is all about breaking the cycle!

I am really happy to hear you are going to therapy soon, you hopefully will find it a massive help (in time, it may seem to be doing nothing to begin with), remember therapy is a 2 way process, if you dont feel safe you can always ask to be referred to a new one where you feel a better connection with the therapist. (By safe I mean able to open up, not feel attacked when they ask personal questions and how your thought process works, remember they are there to help you, but they need all the information and "secrets" we hold dear).

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by SammyDee7223, Aug 12, 2014
This is amazing stuff to read, I had my first feeling of this when I was in 5th grade! I am now a senior in college, 21y.o., and I have been puzzled for years. I would try to tell my mom,dad, and sisters how I felt when going through DR or DP but I could only articulate it as being dizzy. I was worried I was going crazy. I have noticed that I experience it more in the summer when I am not in school or traveling for track and field training and competitions. I seem to focus on it more when not doing anything. It has freaked me for years, and I started feeling disconnected again last night so I researched it and just discovered what it was. I am relieved and glad that I know what to focus on when trying to correct it.  My only confusion is that I haven't had any traumatic experiences to trigger this  almost 10 years ago.

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by englishborn, Aug 13, 2014
Hi Sammy, glad you found this site. You don't need a traumatic experience for dp/Dr to happen. It is a symptom of anxiety and anxiety can come from a huge amount reasons. My own comes from low self esteem, or can come from co-dependence, stress from work, stress of exams, the need to please people, PTSD, etc.... Have you ever been to see a therapist to help you trace your triggers and therefore the root causes?

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by SammyDee7223, Aug 13, 2014
Hello Englishborn! Thank you for the response. I didn't know that it could be caused by those factors, this is my third day of even hearing about this disorder. I have a lot to learn about it.  I have not seen a therapist for it as of yet, but I will look into it for sure.  How can you differentiate when you are having a spell of DR/DP from the moments you aren't? Or is it just always there?

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by englishborn, Aug 14, 2014
You know you dont have dp/dr when you realise you haven't thought about it for a while. It generally is there in some shape or form and tends to fade away when you start to do the right things and resolve the underlying issues.

When dp/dr is very heavy you feel disconnected either from the world or yourself, this will vary every hour as it isnt at a constant strength. It sticks around as we fear it and other anxiety symptoms and this keeps us fearful and anxious, you will notice when you distract your mind on something else, maybe reading, you will not even pay attention to the symptoms as they will be very low. However as soon as you "search or check" to see if it is there you trigger your fear and it rises again. Hence why you feel it more when you are not doing anything as you all you can do is think and worry about your anxiety and fear something is wrong.

The best state you can get yourself into is not caring if it is there or not and just living your life how you would want to, even more so when your dp/dr makes you not want to, this teaches the mind slowly there isnt anything to fear.

I would strongly advise seeking out a CBT therapist (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as they will help you understand how anxiety works and how to challenge the anxious thoughts. I would also strongly advise against visiting websites such as dpselfhelp.com as it is full of people who are letting despair about the symptoms rule their lives and is generally a negative place. If you must visit such support forums make sure they have a positive tone and concentrate on success stories and not posts written from a dark place with no hope.

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by SammyDee7223, Aug 14, 2014
Englishborn, I can't thank you enough. You have helped me so much in your messages. It definitely helps to simply live life and enjoy each day to the fullest because if I am not thinking about it then I don't even have it. I have looked up "At Last a Life" and plan on ordering it to begin reading it. Going to a CBT is also great advice, I want to see one ASAP. I am very glad that I found this forum because it helped me a lot and much of the positive info that I found were in your posts. I am a very positive person and it is all the more hopeful to have found people that really understand what I have been going through. It seems like the cure is just to forget about it and keep on living normally.

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by realjimmy, Sep 04, 2014
Awesome

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by Keepmylifesimple, Sep 14, 2014
Hello everyone. I am new here. Just testing my first post to see if I need to log in first. :)

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by Keepmylifesimple, Sep 14, 2014
Ok. Great. I was already logged in.
First, I want to thank the originator of this blog.
I know it is a great relief to SOOO many people to find something like this.
I'd like to share some of my story. My first experience with DP was when I was in elementary school. I am guessing maybe 5th grade.
As I reflect back on it, for some reason, I was walking home from school a different way the day I felt it come over me. I must have been under some kinds of various stress. I feel that I may have even been born with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and also depression. It runs on both sides of my family. I have to share my experience of how when I was 18 and mentioned to a regular doctor about my thoughts, way back in the early 1980's nutrition was just getting more popular. So, it wasn't a huge surprise that the doctor mentioned going to see a psychiatrist.
What I truly believe was an answer to me and my Mom's prayers, was a woman from the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses that we attended, secretly handed my Mom money (that we didn't have) to take me to a nutritionist she referred us to. When I met the nutritionist, one of the first things I asked him is: "What would cause a person to have strange thoughts and feel like they were outside their own body." He very calmly and casually said, "Too much copper." From that moment on began my quest to learn about nutrition. I was thrilled to hear his answer!!
I remembered we had COPPER PLUMBING in our house!! Over the years, I also have done extensive research on Natural Progesterone and learned that EXCESS ESTROGEN or ESTROGEN DOMINANCE IS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH COPPER!! To this day, if I start feeling strange, I ask myself: "where did I last get a soda or drink somewhere out, where they may make ice cubes with water with TOO MUCH COPPER." Or "What kind of food did I just recently eat with high fat that could have skyrocketed my estrogen levels?"
So, ANYONE reading this, HIGH COPPER OR ESTROGEN CAN AFFECT YOUR THINKING AND BRAIN CHEMISTRY."
I don't have DP/DR as much anymore.
When I have, each time I can usually always find the trigger of ANXIETY AND STRESS that have built up over time and then explodes or traumatic stressful events. Thanks for letting me share and thanks especially to Englishborn!!! Warmly, Patty

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by Keepmylifesimple, Sep 14, 2014
I remember during my first episode of DP that it helped me come out a lot of the HUGE PANIC ATTACK I had by reminding myself who I was by naming my family members in my head. The more I think about it, a lot of DP can be a panic attack.
Isn't it very simple when you are driving and suddenly forget where you were
going and then forget where you are at? Or the déjà vu feelings are very scary too. They all call into question reality. I think the many points Englishborn brought out about our brains trying to cope with the anxiety is very interesting as well as I totally agree that giving yourself permission to think thoughts or to have the anxiety and then calmly have self-talk that, "Oh, I know it must be something I ate or drank or stress that is causing me to think like this. If I start thinking strangely, it's ok because I know there's something causing it and it's not me. But instead, I'm going to choose to focus on solutions like simple steps of drinking good water and eating food that is healthier. I'm also going to be more modest and know my limitations, so I'm not overly stressed out. I've come out of this before and I know I will again.
Take one day at a time.  Everything is going to be alright." :)

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by Keepmylifesimple, Sep 14, 2014
sorry meant to type "isn't it very SIMILAR when you are driving.."

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by Keepmylifesimple, Sep 14, 2014
One other thought, especially for the women here.
When I actually feel DP coming on. (I'm 52 now, so I've had practice. Haha!) I take a Natural a Progesterone pill I get an RX for. Prometrium is the brand name. They now have generic. They are little round ball capsules in peanut oil. I take 100mg and it has been amazing how it helps me because I think it brings down my sky high estrogen levels and high copper levels.
Men and women should probably ask their doctor who believe in natural hormones if this would be helpful to you. Hope this helps!  Patty :)

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by GodiisAlmighty, Sep 17, 2014
My depersonalization/derealization started January this year. I kept on praying to God that He will heal me. I found this column in May. Since then I started feeling better. There were bouts of bad days but now as I look back the minutes I used to just feel good went longer to hours then weeks. I'm hoping to really fully recover. I always seek God's protection and I'm eating more healthy now. I started doing sports, yoga and "live life" trying to find more time to relax and not to stress myself with work, chores at home and errands for kids all the time. That's actually the cause of my DP. I was so stressed out with things that needed to be done/accomplished and wasn't eating healthy that caused my heartburn which I thought was heart attack a couple of times. I had to go to ER one time and all tests were negative for heart attack. Another time my husband had to call 911 as I was feeling bad thinking that my blood sugar was low. Paramedics checked my vital signs and blood sugar level and all were within normal limits. I just realized those times were panic attacks as I was continually so stressed out being always "on the run". Now when I start to think of my DP/DR, I remind myself that these are just  signs if anxiety and I'm not going crazy. I did have high level of anxiety before that I had really bad thoughts trying to analyze things and think of weird things about the world, etc. but then again they were all from my anxiety that was caused by being so busy with life without time to enjoy life and family per se. Thanks to the author of this. I would say I'm at 95-98% anxiety-free now. I only have 2-5% unreasonable worries now which I observed only when I am sooo busy.

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