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A very inspiring column about depersonalization and derealization.

May 24, 2010 - 132 comments


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
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
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.

Post a Comment
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:

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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!


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!


by Strale, Nov 24, 2012
Really nice.

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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!

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.


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!

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?

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.  

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

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

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 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%.

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

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 ..: (

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.

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

by englishborn, May 01, 2014

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.

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.

by carnevn03, May 03, 2014

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?

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 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.

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.

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.

by carnevn03, May 16, 2014

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.

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.


by JAYARR8, Jun 29, 2014

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

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.

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

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.


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.

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

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

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

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 :(

by englishborn, Jul 17, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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

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

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.??

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

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.

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

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.

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

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?"


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.

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

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)

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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

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?

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?

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.

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.

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

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:

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.

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?

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

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

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).

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.

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?

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?

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 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.

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.

by realjimmy, Sep 04, 2014

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. :)

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?"
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

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." :)

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

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 :)

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.

by amenoera, Sep 25, 2014
Im so afride ill be stuck like this forever :c i feel like a zoombie because i can't feel anything anymore and all i can think about is the DP. I honestly have no idea what else to think about.
Also it it normal that time goes EXTREMLY fast??
;c i just want my old life back. This isnt fair!! All becouse i smoked a bit pot ONCE. :c i just need someone to tell me it will go away. If not i dont know if i will be able to live on much longer.  Please. Its been 3 months.  Im so so so afride. Please. Im going to a therapist soon. Do you think anxiety medicine and anti depression pills might help? Ohhhhhh all i can do is cry. Please help.

by MzDmoon, Oct 05, 2014
"Feeling like a zombie" is a perfect description of how I've felt  with DP/DR. My anxiety level and fear has been paralyzing. Since DP causes overwhelming existential angst, I often feel suicidal. I'm doing CBT for anxiety and depression, and added Lamictal to my SSRI. It's too soon to say if it is helpful. I also got a CPAP machine for UAR. Not getting enough oxygen and missing REM sleep worsens DP/DR!  I've had problems with dissociation most of my adult life and have found that deep states of meditation, cannabis, shamanistic practices, being a vegetarian, and being in highly dysfunctional
relationships have precipitated major episodes.
Also, grief around mourning a death or lost love.
Thank you to everyone who has posted. It is a great support to know that I'm no alone, and that others have  lessened their symptoms. You are all very Brave!

by MzDmoon, Oct 05, 2014
"Feeling like a zombie" is a perfect description of how I've felt  with DP/DR. My anxiety level and fear has been paralyzing. Since DP causes overwhelming existential angst, I often feel suicidal. I'm doing CBT for anxiety and depression, and added Lamictal to my SSRI. It's too soon to say if it is helpful. I also got a CPAP machine for UAR. Not getting enough oxygen and missing REM sleep worsens DP/DR!  I've had problems with dissociation most of my adult life and have found that deep states of meditation, cannabis, shamanistic practices, being a vegetarian, and being in highly dysfunctional
relationships have precipitated major episodes.
Also, grief around mourning a death or lost love.
Thank you to everyone who has posted. It is a great support to know that I'm no alone, and that others have  lessened their symptoms. You are all very Brave!

by englishborn, Oct 08, 2014
Hello amenoera, I am glad you found this post, I hope you take a lot of comfort from it, even if you feel like it isn't helping right now.

You feel like a zombie because it is the body's and mind's response to a threatening situation, when someone has to jump away from a train, run into a burning building our emotions are shut off so we can deal with the situation and threat much better. In the cause of anxiety the mind and body feel the threat nearly all the time and so keep us in that state, in fact the thing keeping us in that state is the feelings of anxiety.
The symptoms of anxiety can be very scary and we concentrate on them, which causes us to be more afraid, which means we get into a negative cycle. In order to get out of anxiety we need to allow the anxiety to be there, allow the symptoms to be symptoms and not evidence that something more is wrong. In the case of DP/DR we become very existentially thinking and question our reality, now that is very scary and feeds the anxiety we have, which in turn feeds the DP/DR and keeps us in an anxious state.

Your DP/DR seems to have come from a bad trip from smoking pot/weed, it is likely that this is the only cause and not more underlying issues (although it is always wise to make sure). Once you learn to see and tell yourself all the feelings you have are symptoms of anxiety the DP/DR will start to fall away, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly. I strongly advise you seek out a CBT therapist as they will allow you to externalise your fears and therefore start to realise your thought patterns that are keeping your anxiety alive, and so approach them from a rational starting point.

I am going to guess one of the thoughts that goes through your head is "I smoked Pot and have damaged my brain", this is a very common thought for anxiety suffers developed from a bad trip. You haven't damaged your brain, but you have put it into "fight or flight" mode which is a completely natural mode (all animals have it) the difference is you are well aware of being in it and this is the "threat" that keeps you in the state.

I have helped a number of people who have smoked pot and fallen into DP/DR on a few forums, once you are able to accept and not be afraid of the symptoms and rationalise your fears then it should fall quite quickly as the cause is usually just a bad trip.
Stay off caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs whilst recovering as these help heighten your anxiety.

Hi MzDmoon

I am very very glad to hear you are starting CBT for the anxiety and the depression that comes with the condition. Since you have had dissociation issues for a while it isn't a surprise your default anxiety type is DP/DR, but as with everyone it isn't dangerous at all, just feels like it. The therapist will be able to address your dissociation issues as well hopefully as there seems to be a root cause that your mind is in need of addressing and resolving.
Don't hide anything from him/her, it can be very hard to admit things but once we do it starts the journey of slowly unravelling the reason for the anxiety and dissociation in the first place. You may think you already know the reason, but in my experience that is usually just part of the issue and the therapist will along with you explore the whole issues.

It is great you have already identified triggers, and I see some which seem to be in the "out of my control" which is the most common cause of anxiety, some seem to be in your control but you are worried about the consequences if you change the situation,

You are far from alone, and it isn't just lessening symptoms that when doing the correct things and facing the fears, it is recovery.

Bit of advice for both of you, compare month to month, not day to day or week to week, otherwise you will make changes in mood/state over small time frames more important than they deserve, and therefore beat yourself up about not getting better or for having a bad day when yesterday was a good one.

by Bill3381, Oct 15, 2014
With depersonalization or derealization does one not only feel seperate from their body sometimes but actually experience the visual (or should I say seeming visual) experience of looking at their body from outside of it? as in a sort of out of body experience? Or is it more of a feeling rather than a perceived visual experience?

by stickybuns, Oct 17, 2014
This is to Englishborn. I need your advice and I hope you get back to me. My DP happend when I was prescribed a pill. I've had the DP for about a year now. now it says you've helped people out with their DP and I was wondering if you can help me. I'm the type of person who worries a lot I don't have confidence on things I  worry about what people think about me I'm just in that general area. so I was wondering if you could help me on that or if anybody reading this can help me out. I have asked advice from my family and friends and it just seems like it's not working cuz they don't understand what I'm going through. and the one thing that bothers me is I went to the doctors and they told me that it was all in my head and I went to see a counselor and they're like oh I never heard of that and they looked it up. Then my next visit thetr like oh yeah that's a real thing I said yeah exactly I have it. it feels like I'm alone in this and I was wondering if you can please help thank you

by sjwilcox, Oct 27, 2014
About a month ago i had smoked pot with my friends for my friends birthday, which i have done before, and we also decided to take laughing gas whilst we were high, which i have also done before, but this time we took 2 canisters in one balloon, which i have done before only sober. It had a good effect on all of my friends but when i did it i went into a bad trip which made me panic a bit to the point where i sat up straight and had a look of shock on my face and was saying to my friends "nah that was bad nah i hated that". The following week i had felt like i was in a dream really bad like my my vision was all blurry and stuff and i was generally worrying thinking i had brain damage and i was going to die.
(By the way i have anxiety when it comes to something wrong being with my health like if i got a headache i would start thinking i had a brain tumour or a blood clot or something ridiculous)

After the first week it had gotten better like i wasn't so out of it after watching a youtube video with someone explaining that it was derealization which is just another form of anxiety, which made me feel a lot better for about 2 days. But then the feelings started coming back making me worry and stress out more to the point i had to research more about it.

Some more symptoms i get now even though its been about a month now is i get blurry vision, my memory can feel terrible sometimes, I'm doing general things like a I'm some robot and i scare myself by thinking "what if i've forgotten what it feels like to not have this derealization and be normal and i constantly think I'm still in it"

Whoever wrote this amazing article could you please give me some personal reassurance on my situation because the things that heals me the most is when situations like this is backed up with scientific evidence that everything is fine, which is why i love being reassured by a doctor that I'm completely fine whenever i get a chest pain or something and they tell me its just a symptom of anxiety.

Please just show me the path to recovery and what is essential for me to do because even though I've read your article which does give amazing support, i fear that maybe I'm not going through derealization and its something much more serious even though i am experiencing the symptoms explain about this disorder.

by englishborn, Oct 30, 2014
Sorry for the late replies, I only pop onto here once every 2 weeks or so.


You are far from alone, a lot of people go through this in their lives and the vast majority (around 95%) recover compeltely. Your general anxiety means you are more vunerable to feelings od dp/dr as your mind rarely gets a prolonged time to quiet and feel safe. You are always seeing "threats" (social occasitions, low self esteem etc), therefore it is important to make progress in addressing these anxieties in order to be free of dp/dr in the future.

DP/DR is slowly getting recognised by doctors and therapists, the trick is to ask if they have experience of it before you arrange a session. Your family and friends are struggling to help you as they cannot understand what you are going through as what you describe to them is alien to what they are used to. In fact the alien feeling is what is the most scary thing.

The best advice is seek therapy to help (I believe CBT to be the best for dp/dr), but constantly tell yourself whenever you feel it or have a thought about existence that all it is a symptom of anxiety that your anxious mind has latched onto thinking it is a threat. The problem is you are seeing a threat in a symptom of anxiety and thus making yourself more anxious.
Stop letting it control your life, go out and do things even when you are at your worst, let the dp/dr be there and distract yourself with a book, tv, puzzles or computer games when you find yourself dwelling on the sensations too much. All this will slowly bring your mind away from hyper alert mode.

by DaisyMaya, Oct 31, 2014
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by sjwilcox, Nov 01, 2014
Englishborn could you please read my last comment I really really need your advice and help!
I also sometimes feel like I've forgotten what it feels like to be normal in reality like I get confused wether or not I'm going through derealization at the time or I'm normal but I get really scared I've lost memory on what reality felt like and what it felt like to be normal, which in turn makes me think and worry more :((((

by englishborn, Nov 02, 2014
HI there sjwilcox
I did reply to you but it seems it didnt get posted correctly.

You havent damaged your brain or the feelings of disconnection with the world are caused by something else, it is all symptoms of anxiety. People with anxiety often struggle with memory as the part of the brain that processes memories receives less blood as the mind puts more attention to the "protective" part, so when you find yourself forgetting things just remind yourself that is what is happening and nothing more, once the anxiety has passed the memory section will be working as normal and isnt damaged.

I would say everyone with dp/dr worries about forgetting what normal feels like, all that is you are desperatly trying to get better and try and use the "normal" feeling as a way to check how you feel. This oddly is the worst thing you can do as we live in the present and by comparing ourselves all we are doing is constantly reminding the anxious mind that something is wrong and we obsess over it and feed the anxiety.

Have you thought about contacting a CBT therapist or a talk therapist to help you re-engage the rational (newer) part of the brain. You are going to be fine once you start to do the right things and start to allow the dp/dr to be there and not obsess over the symptoms of anxiety. Read the Book "At Last A Life" it will give you a good platform in understanding how anxiety works, and along with CBT therapy (either by a therapist or using a self help) it really helps you break out of the anxious state.

Remember anxiety can be caused by a huge amount of things, yours seems to have been caused by a bad trip which I suspect is causing you distress at the irrational thought of having damaged your mind, you haven't, give it time, live your life how you want to, even when the symptoms make you want to hide away, socialise a lot. I would not drink, and even more so I wouldn't take drugs anymore, these things seem to help but in fact they cause your mind to be more vunerable to the negative thoughts which keep the anxiety alive.

by sjwilcox, Nov 02, 2014
Thank you englishborn for the reply and the support it's much appreciated and has started helping a lot. May I ask how you know all the science behind this anxiety symptom as knowing if I'm talking to a doctor or a specialist also helps me a lot as it reassures me a lot and stops me worrying knowing I was speaking to someone who knows what they are on about.

by englishborn, Nov 03, 2014
I am a sufferer myself but quite a way down the road to recovery, my knowledge on anxiety has come from my own research, experiences and a huge amount from my CBT therapist explaining how and why anxiety works. I also am a volunteer for the UK charity AnxietyUK where I help man the helpline to offer advice.

by sjwilcox, Nov 04, 2014
Oh that's very respectful that you help out so many others with this kind of problem. I was wondering if you could maybe give me the number to the helpline you said you man because speaking to you or somebody else about this would just be the best thing ever like the anxiety would almost dissapear hearing someone over the phone telling me expert advice and reassuring me everything Is fine because there really is nothing better when in times like this to be reminded by someone your absolutely fine.

by englishborn, Nov 05, 2014
here we are sjwilcox, feel free to browse the website and ring us.

I am afriad we are only open during office hours and be in the UK (unless you want a huge phone bill)

by sjwilcox, Nov 14, 2014
Hi Englishborn it's sjwilcox here again, past week I've been dealing with quite DR moderately well like I've been in good moods and felt good and I've just started taking omgega 3 supplements as well as vitamin pills to gain b6 and b12 from it. But earlier today I started to think in a negative manner which lead me thinking deep into my DR. I started thinking about the symptoms it's been giving me for 2 months such as me generally not feeling myself and having a almost fuzzy vision as well as not being able to concentrate on school work which scares me a lot. But what scares me a lot is the fact that I keep thinking I'm never going to get out of this state and that I'm going to constantly relapse myself back into the bad thought habit after noticing I've had a good day or a good few days, because I naturally just think "oh look, I'm feeling a bit better" making me acknowledge that fact and just send me back into the DR again. I started to get really upset and I also get the feeling of nausea when I feel like this, which seems to make it worst. As mentioned before I got this DR from a bad trip experience which I'm afraid I won't forget about since this has had such a bad impact on my life. I feel like I'm going to loose my girlfriend over it as well since she hates seeing me in this state and I generally just feel like life Is going past me to quickly for me to enjoy. Being a sufferer yourself I really need some personal tips on how I should think of DR like for example sometimes I could think of DR as a headache and I would kinda switch back into normal mode for a short period of time because I remember what having a headache or a cold felt like. Please help me to acknowledge the facts as to why I get feeling like this, help is really essential for me :(

by englishborn, Nov 18, 2014
Hi Sjwilcox

The thinking of "I will never recover" is the most common thought of any anxiety sufferer. This is because as human beings we live in the present, and when anxiety hits us coming from a source we cannot see (ie: there isnt a tiger and has been brought on by stress or a bad trip) our minds struggle to let go of the anxious feeling as there is no point where we ca can say "ahh thank god the tiger is god we can relax now".

The best thought you can have when you notice the negative thoughts is "these are just negative thoughts brought on by my anxiety, what they are trying to tell me isnt true, I know this isnt true as anxiety is not the defualt setting of humans and is there because I had a bad trip. I feel like crap right now and that is ok, it is allowed to be there, it will not rule my life as once my mind calms down I will slowly revert back to the default setting. I am worrying about the worry which keeps it alive along with all its symptoms, they cannot harm me, they are giving my mind false alarms and as long as I force myself to move on from them they will go away"

When in an anxious state our anxiety will latch onto other worries that before were very low level or non existent eg: I dont remember putting that pen there.....I must be losing my memory or the pen isnt real, when in fact the act of moving a pen is so trivial our mind doesn't give it hardly and notice. A healthy mind doesnt even trigger the pen has moved it just accepts it is now there. This is what is happening to an extent with your GF, the best thing to do is tell her your fears, do not keep them inside as the not knowing if she might leave you is fuelling your anxiety.....a rule with anxiety is let it change you in good ways such as being more open about your fears and troubles, as letting them out to a friend, family or GF helps you in so many ways.

Once again sorry for the late reply, I have has a small set back in the last couple of days, but I know how anxiety works which allows me to identify where it is coming from and why it is irrational, it doesn't lessen the horrible feeling but it does reduce the length of time it makes me feel disturbed by the sensations, and you will get to a point where you can too, then the real healing starts.

by sjwilcox, Dec 10, 2014
Hi there Englishborn, I have developed a good understanding on how derealization works which has rid of most of my anxiety about it. But the thing I worry about the most is the fact that I can't remember what feeling normal feels like. I feel like I'm going to stay in this weird semi-healed state and not fully heal back to the way I use to be where I didn't use to think or care like this about the most silliest thing like noticing weird changes in my vision and my general thought process is jus wondering wether or not how long it will continue to take to recovery because I've been going through this for 3 months now which also worrys me a bit, making me feel like I've lost 3 months if my life to this. The things that are very hard to rid of is my obsession about thinking about the weird unstable state I'm in and the anxiety it gives me. I please ask that you send me your indepth knowledge about then feeling of thinking I won't be able to reconnect myself with what normally felt like before this bad trip happened to me. I'm scared nothing will be the same again to the fullest amount it use to be.

by pandabeardreams, Dec 11, 2014
Hi there.
I believe I have suffered with this for all my adult life..I am now 34. I enjoy socialising, I have a high pressure job dealing with children who have social, emotional and behavioural issues and I would consider myself to be approachable and out going. However, my mind and body is in constant anxiety mode and my 'natural' state seems to be in dp/dr. I have read the book ' at last a life' I've read books with cbt, I've tried meditation and hypnosis and yes I have accepted my condition. However, it is there, my vision is head hurts, my memory *****, I have zero sexual desires, a racing heart, sweaty palms...I feel like I'm in the matrix. I sincerely hope I will return to being the optimistic, enthusiastic person I was...where I could see the sun shining, hear the birds chiming and enjoy completely the wonderful world that we live in. I just want to be completely human the the moment with full alertness and sensory pleasure.

by loveeelife2014, Dec 26, 2014
This is the most amazing article I have ever read. Not knowing what this feeling is and why it is happening has been the most terrifying experience of my life.

I first experiences DP/DR when I was 17. A friend of mine had been murdered and all I could think about was life and death. Where will I go when we die... what will I feel when it happens.... what is the point of living... ALL I could think about was questioning my existence. It stressed me out so bad that I was desperate enough to take someone else's prescription for anxiety. I would pop pill after pill hoping things would get better. Eventually, I noticed I was making things worse. I threw away the whole bottle and stopped cold turkey. I began having terrible withdrawls... hot on the outside cold on the inside... restless nights .. I began internalizing everything my body did. I thought about every breath I took, every bite I ate as it slid down my throat, EVERY little thing I noticed. I was so self involved I began having heart palpitations. Being so young I had no idea what was happening to me. I thought I was dying... this began my DP/DR. It also triggered my narcolepsy to make things worse! Night terrors, sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, sleep walking, ect. I couldn't stand to be alive and the thought of sleeping terrified me. All I could do was cry and hide away. I couldn't walk outside without feeling like I was unreal and disconnected... I hated people because they looked alien to me.
I thought I was going INSANE and began questioning if I was even real.

Somehow, someway I was able to get better.
I wish I could remember how but I did it. .
4 years later..  here I am today.

A month ago I started getting severe headaches, to the point all I could do was cry. My ears always ached and I experienced terrifying ringing in my ear.
That caused me to go into a panic attack. I kept getting this fuzzy warm feeling through out my head that made me very uncomfortable.
One day I was smoking marijuana and out of no where I lost hearing and got ringing in my ear..suddenly my entire body and face went numb. I began fading out and this sent me over the edge.
I constantly kept psyching myself out that I had a tumor...

I went to a doctor and she said I was "fine" and that I was experiencing migraines. That I should also go to a dentist and sent me on my way.
Dentist said wisdom teeth were impacting and to take ibuprophen.

Everything I tried FAILED.
I was miserable.
I began slipping into DR/DP faster than I could imagine. NO ONE could understand what I was explaining. Everyone told me I was just being paranoid and I began to feel so hopeless. I cut the marijuana off cold turkey (bad idea since I had been smoking constantly for 9 months straight) this caused me to have even worse DP/DR .

I thought maybe I should smoke a little to get routine back... it only got worse. I began taking vitamins and trying to calm myself down. When I began trying breathing exercises it only triggered my constant obsession with breathing like it did when I was 17. I forgot how to just breathe on my own. Everything combined I have been an emotional wreck. I have researched and studied everything I could have and nothing helped me. I decided to go to the doctors one more time...turns out I had a severe sinus infection that I was oblivious to. (As well as 1st dr.)
I am now taking antibiotics in hope this will relieve the pain.

I was at a dead end until I found this article.
Reading it has given me more hope than I could have ever imagined!!

I plan to set myself up for success and move forward with my life. Thank you for this amazing inspiration. I will recommend this to any and every one I meet who feels this way.

It feels good to know I'm not alone.
It feels even better to be able to share MY story to people who understand!

by Francesk3, Jan 11, 2015
This is the best article I ever read about this horrible condition. I was reading all the messages and I would like to say also thx to englishborn for his amazing support to lot of people.

My apologize for my poor english. I have been with DPDR from my 18 years old, I am 33 now. Yes a ******* ethernity! I learned a lot, I visited lot of professionals without any idea about what was happening to me... Then as lot of u I ve a master in the condition. Now I know and I understand that this is anxiety, but even knowing it I cannot Stop this monster. It is allways there to say me good morning and to say me good night.

At the beginning after 2 years thinking that I was crazy I started with meds bcz I found a dr who told me that this was pure anxiety: paroxetine 20mg and rivotril 0.25/0.25/0.25 it reduced at 0 the DPDR. After these 2 years the nightmare came back to stay, I reduced the rivotril and I was just in 20mg parox with good months and bad months.

When some stress was there, problems with girlfriends, too much alcohol, problems in general, work, etc the DPDR allways came back with me. It was also quite normal to have it just when I was in holidays.

Tired of meds I decided to try to stop taking them 2 months ago and here I am... Back 24/7 in Matrix, feeling alone, desperate, gelous of normal people. I miss my life! I am doing meditation 15min 2 times per day. Also running, but sometimes it also creates me anx.. Is that possible? Is a sport... What else can I do? How can I be back without medication?

Someone tried this med Lamotrigine?

by englishborn, Jan 12, 2015
Hi francesk3

I am sorry you have been suffering for such a long time. Stressful situations as you describe are one of the main reasons dp/dr increases or returns.

The reason you feel more dp/dr when you exercise is because the effects of exercise, such as heavy breathing, punding head, blood rushing around the body are all symptoms of anxiety and therefore dp/dr. You notice the way your body is and unconciously you tell yourself you are becoming more anxious and you start "watching" yourself waiting for the dp/dr to get worse, this in turn makes you more anxious which brings on the dp/dr worse.
The meditation hopefully is giving to a bit of relief, keep at it and keep telling yourself no matter how bad you feel it is all anxiety created from irrational thoughts, but currently you are unable to  them as irrational.

I am unaware if you have seen a CBT therapist but I would strongly recommend it. I will add that I have spoken to a number of people who have come out of dp/dr after many years when they finally managed to make the difficult step of learning to not fear the feelings of dp/dr and start the process of not obsessing over the symptoms and your anxiety.

All the best

by Francesk3, Jan 13, 2015
Hi Englishborn and to the whole DP community, thanks for your fast answer and your great support.

About CBT as you can understand after all these years I tried everything, but the problem is that it is almost impossible at list here to find a professional who know about this condition and can help. When you explain it to some "professional" ussualy they look at you with a poker face having any idea about what is going inside us. Some professionals are going a step further but I didn't meet any CBT therapist who has knowledge about this condition and that can help me. I was thinking in printing that web and bring some of the books I have to some therapist and try to put some interest in them but it didn't work. I think the only people who can help us must be therapist who have been through it before, as you know this cannot be explained by words you have to live it to understand it.

In reference at running, when I was in 20mg paroxetine I realized about the same problem but I also realized that doing it constantly I was feeling fine. How can feel fine again doing sport without meds? Do you suggest me to do not run? and do other activities? Even walking hard for ours make me feel dizzy and as you said my unconscient connect it to DP and the cycle starts.

I read a book that you suggested in one of your comments in this web, called " At Last a Life ". Awesome! No words!

I am trying to follow all the advice of the chapter 14 "Coming through despersonalisation" to resume it for the people who read all the posts I will remark some points:

1) Accept that we have Anxiety and DP. We are not mad, we are not going to lose our mind. (this is easy for me and already done)

2) Do a normal life (also done)

3) Stop worry about the condition / stop the obsession. (not completed :-( )

About nº3, I am doing my best to do my complete normal life... I work, go with friends, I have travels for business, I have important meetings, parties with friends, travels, excursions, etc but the feeling is allways there. I try to don't thing about it to ingore it but HOW CAN WE IGNORE IT if it is there 24/7? I found the answer in the book, and is accepting that we got DP with stress and anxiety and understanding that if we keep providing more stress bcz our DPDR we will never go out.

My next thought is, ok I do that I ignore it, I life with it, etc but how can I be sure that doing it I will be better someday? how can I not stress myself... How can I stop thinking about the "pink elephant" every morning when I wake up?

Today 14/1
Wake up in one other country for an exhibition. I had been here now 3 days feeling every day dizzy, confused, and with DR during almost all day at high levels. I try to accept the feelings, go on with the work, etc. But constantly I have thoughts telling me: why I am not normal and can enjoy having my work, why have I to spent so many energy in a simple conversation, why why why... I answer myself saying there is no why, learn from it, go on, keep working, keep been busy and it will dissapear. But will this be enough? What if the stress of the work also help to have de DP?

Too many questions, too many words, sorry... I think I am close to start fighting this condition as I must do it SURRENDING to the enemy without conditions. Stop smashing my broked leg to be recoverd as you can read in "At last a life".

by Ocularr, Jan 15, 2015
Hi, I am currently suffering from anxiety/OCD and I believe I am experiencing depersonalization. about 3 years ago, I smoked so much marijuana that I felt like I was stuck in some dream like state that I could not escape. I also suffered from OCD and anxiety at this time and prior to it. I had the feeling for a few months then I suddenly snapped out of it. As years went on, i felt myself again, completely normal. However, since I have been at university my anxiety has started up again, worse than ever. Ive been at school for a few months now. I always have something to worry about and cant stop thinking about it. I go through fazes where I'd  worry about something: for ex. for a few weeks I would worry about getting schizophrenia because I heard a story about someone that has it, and for another couple weeks I'd worry about getting amnesia because I watched  movie with someone that had amnesia in it. I would be scared of turning homosexual. I have had these fears that I look back to now and think; "how ridiculous", right?

As of a couple weeks ago, I haven't really been worrying about things to do with my health or that would put me in danger but more existential thoughts as I did recently. I began thinking about the meaning of life and the existence of my body, and whats after death. I also think deeply about how my mind operates my body and how its connected. Ex. As I lift my arm or as I'm walking, I think, "how am I moving my limbs, how is my mind controlling my body through nerves and muscles. My arms or legs feel foreign in a way when I think of it. "What if I forget how to use my limbs?". This would generate anxiety and I cannot stop thinking about it. I also started thinking about how we know how to talk and think. Is thought and memory material or spiritual. What If I forget how to talk. I know all these words associated with objects, places, or people etc and I recall them as I perform a sentence, how do I know where to put punctuation/grammar, how do I remember these things. I also thought about why humans are formed the way they are? And what muscle am I using to breathe. Its like imagining having a third arm. All of these ideas I over think and it gives me anxiety. I cant go a day without thinking how am I walking right now or speaking. Even as I type this.

Are my current existential thoughts and anxiety, actually DP? Because it isnt necessarily the feeling I had a few years ago after doing drugs, its not a visual alteration or physical feeling, its more ideological and thinking about how my body and how life works. What do you think?

by englishborn, Jan 19, 2015
Hi Ocularr

From what you are saying it seems to me (not medically trained or anything) is you suffer from health anxiety with general anxiety disorder that helps latch it onto other things.

I would also say you are not dp/dr as you would be mentioning certain symtpoms, however I do think because of your health anxiety it has allowed you to develop into an existential crisis, most dp/dr sufferers develop this thanks to the symptoms of feeling unreal but that doesnt mean you cannot undego one without dp/dr.

My advice is to say to your questioning " you cannot forget how to move your arm nor forget how to breath as that is in the part of the brain that does things automatically. If we were to actually be able to control that part of the brain we wouldn't be alive as it would require too much time to control such things"
Allow yourself to not be in control of all parts of your being and that is alright and perfectly natural, all that is happening you are asking HUGE questions that we can never know the answer to and it worries you that we dont know, when in fact it is ok not to know.

Have you ever sought professional help? I do think it will help you, and as ever I suspect CBT will very helpful as it helps you understand your thought processes and how it scares you.

PS. worrying about going mad or being schizophrenia is the most common worry with anxiety, but oddly the easiest to rationalise......simple put: People who are mad or are going mad don't know they are mad/going mad. Therefore if you are worrying about going mad you actually cannot be.

by Ocularr, Jan 19, 2015
Thank you so much Englishborn :)

by Francesk3, Jan 21, 2015
Hello community of Matrix :-)

I am learning something, I have been now 2 months without meds with lot of bad feeelings and lot of DPDR. Confused, with lot of difficulties to talk with customers, friends, etc. Also without feelings, so focused in the feelings and well... all of you know what I am talking about.

The reason of this post after my first questions to Englishborn, is that I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I have been meditating now 15m morning and 15m night following mindfullness exercices. I realized that this is helping me to reduce a bit the stress and what it is more important to be able to allow all the thoughts to go away and not be a slave of them. Is not easy, and If I look back the progress is so slow, but I can see some progress.

I think, well I am sure now that what is happening to us is absolutely inofensive, it cannot go worst. We are strange, unreal, but we are having just an anxiety symptom and a tired mind.

Then what I am doing now is this:

I let it happend and refuse to analyze any more over it. Is not easy and somedays is impossible but I keep trying and I can see that I am doing some progress in the let it go. I think we need lot of patience as this doesn't suddenly make it go away. I keep practicing ignoring it, I will keep all of you informed about the progress. I can tell after 15 years with this condition that is the first time I can see some solution and now I am sure that meds are not the answer.

Is inoffensive, really anoying and a completely **** but comon we can try during months to ignore it and live with it without check it every second and without fighting. I think this is our door to a free and real world.

by Freddy_fred, Jan 25, 2015
Englishborn, I'm in need of help.

Firstly, thank you for all your time and effort. You've been a huge help to those in need of answers so thank you. My life changed on January 2nd of this year. Upon entering a grocery store, I was suddenly entrenched by the feeling that I was loosing a grip on reality,loosing my identity, and suddenly felt as if I was living my life through a new level of consciousness in which all that I've known and took joy in, were of no interest to me anymore. This same day, I lost the will to live, lost all my appetite,lost my ego and my confidence, and just felt like I was not my self. I feel like I'm a stranger to myself. Most of all, which is my main question, I've become hyper-emotional about almost any unpleasant subject, especially about a traumatic breakup I've never been quite over that took place over 10 years ago. Before this happened, I was able to stomach crude humor, violence, and everyday sadness that is common among all of us. With me, I feel like crying everytime I think of my past and current problems. My question is, is it common for someone who is experiencing depersonalization to be hyper- emotional and not take joy in the simple things they once liked? Will I ever be able to be myself and enjoy comedy, stomach violent movies, and not be so emotional about everything? I've been evaluated twice, and in both occasions they just say that im depressed  and push pills on me ( which I haven't taken). However, they seem to ignore the depersonalization aspect of it. I've read your suggestion on CBT therapy and am scheduled for some sessions soon. Could depression ans stress trigger this? Like I said, I had a traumatic break up 10 years ago and the life changing event of fatherhood at 17 which has depressed me for the last 10 years. I've battled with alcoholism since the age of 14 until 3 years ago when I decided to quit. Since then, I've been busy at school and am finally getting an AA in march and a transfer to a University in the fall. This change in particular has be over stressed I must admit since I never envisioned myself going from sitting in jail cells to attending a university. Could all this "baggage" and stress could have caused depersonalization? Anyway, this has crippled me emotionally and physically. Ive been bed bound since this began, having to be fed by my mother, force feeding myself at times, and unable to so simple task like bath and go places without feeling like I'm going to pass out. I've lost 15-20 pounds in two and a half weeks. Im scared and desperate for help. My future looks bleak if I don't improve. I apologize for the rant, but feel like I should let you understand key events that have led to where I am today. Should this reach you, thank you for your time.

by Hopeful12309, Feb 03, 2015
Thank goodness I found this forum which I see dp is a common illness. I think I've developed with dp October of last year. i went abroad in holland for a couple of months, perhaps it was bad weed that triggered it. I tried to be open minded to try out new things over there, maybe not a good idea to try weed as it is a harmful and illegal substance in the states.
Ever since I got home from the trip, my grandparents passed away and my mom moved out of the house. Many events has happened to me, I feel like it is too many negative situations happening that I don't wanna face the reality of it. Every day I just don't feel like how I normally would, hyper, active, sociable, organized, outgoing, friendly.... Instead I feel like a slug, always bed bound, loss of appetite, loss the pleasure of doing things that I used to enjoy:doing makeup, socialize w friends, mall trips; I can't focus, I'm forgetful, I feel like a ghost which my physical body is here but I'm mentally not here. I would do one thing but never get to finish with it. I get frustrated easily over the tiniest little thing, I cry easily as well. For the past 3 months I've been isolating myself from my friends bc I feel the anxiety from being in a large crowd of people, even at family parties. Thankfully  I'm home now where my dad has been taking care of me, not in holland where I had to absolutely deal with everything on my own which I did not anticipate it would be that stressful.
I'm also seeing a social worker which she said my symptoms are all common symptoms of depression. The thing is that I'm not depressed though, I'm feeling just fine after everything happened, just a bit numb to see that my life is not the same as before I left for my trip. i had suicical thoughts last month bc of this strange dp feeling that I'm not myself but this month i haven't had those thoughts.
After seeing the comments above, the only way of recovery is to accept dp as it is and try to concentrate on doing daily things rather than keep on thinking about dp. I also see that it helps to take vitamin supplements and exercise. I live in the new England region of states and it's been a harsh winter, snowstorms coming in after snowstorms, it's impossible to go out on a nature jog or walk. I've been staying in the house the past months and doing as much work as I could to help out at home. I have high hopes that this feeling would go awa in a couple of months, for now I'm unsure how i could not let dp disrupt my daily life.

by bremaze11, Feb 11, 2015
I'm going on about 1.5 years since I've started experiencing Dp/Dr, and it has gotten much worse over time. I'm 16. I have experimented with hard drugs but I have been depressed for years since I was maybe in the 6th grade after my dearest uncle had passed too early in his life. I have a boyfriend of 2 years and I live in a house with my mom, dad, and brother (and 2 dogs).
I've come to terms that it's not going to go away for a long while. It's hard for me to feel things that would usually be exciting. In some situations, I take action aggressively because I do not realize what I am doing. Every day is very hazy and I honestly cannot remember what it was like to feel normal and perceive the world normally. I do not understand how it is because it's protecting you from anxiety-filled situations, because I could be sitting in my room, as I am now, and it could be at one of its worst stages (for me). My Dp/Dr is continuous, although I find being in the dark helps slightly, although it's never really gone. I cannot go in public comfortably (I go anyway, though) because the bright lights and the tall ceilings of places (such as grocery stores) increase its intensity. I really wish that I could see the world again; I want my eyes to really open. What is a life worth living when you aren't actually alive?

by bremaze11, Feb 11, 2015
And to add, my Dp/Dr affects my communication/relationships with people. It is hard for me to talk to people, even online. It's not that I care about how they think of me and what I say, it's just that I can't find the words to say, as if my mind was a dictionary and had all of its pages ripped out except for 2. I'm left with basic words in that very moment and sometimes take about 10 minutes thinking about how to respond.

by englishborn, Feb 15, 2015
Hi bremaze, thanks for sharing with us, I know sometimes it can be hard.

When in the depths of dp/dr we can feel emotionless and therefore struggle to react to things how we would expect., this can lead to us trying to overcompensate and force an emotion or reaction in order to vainly kick start a sense of emotion.
The haziness is all part of dp/dr, we are on full alert and full of anxiety that our mind get confused and are interpreting out senses oddly, this creates the hazy feeling. None of these senses are dangerous to yourself and oddly are not to be worried about, in fact as soon as you learn/are able to stop worrying about the senses the quicket your recovery will be.

you feel better in the dark because when your anxious your eyes take in more light because your anxious mind is on alert looking for dangers, when in the dark you notice the extra intake of light by your eyes less and therefore reduces your anxiety and therefore your symptoms.

Your mind is in overdrive and yet very tired, this is why your ability to think and communicate is reduced currently, which scares you but makes sense when viewed in the context of your very tired and anxious mind.

I strongly recommend reading At Last A Life as a first stepping stone to understanding your anxiety and symptoms which hopefully will allow you to start recovery. If you feel you can therapy will be extremely valuable in resolving the root cause of your anxiety, which seemingly is very closely related to your uncles death.

by Mr_Dr_Professor, Feb 15, 2015
Thank you, to whoever wrote this great post. Until very recently I found out that I was suffering from this, and possibly nothing else. I believe my habitual use of cannabis last year triggered it, but also everyday stresses, and anxiety and depression. At first, I thought there was something really wrong with me, like schizophrenia or something, but I know the biggest symptom I feel is DP/DR.
I've been experiencing a lot of the symptoms that are mentioned here, like the existential questions, and entertaining thoughts where I question whether I'm actually alive or if this is just some computer simulation or crazy thoughts like that. Part of me of course didn't want to believe things like this, but the DR just makes part of you believe it, even if you struggle against it.
I found last week that smoking cigarettes made my symptoms disappear, but I am not allowing myself to see that as a viable option, instead I am just trying to move on with my life and not focus on the symptoms, and hopefully, I pray, they will go away at some point.
For my part, I am trying to avoid caffeine, drugs, and sweets, but also to exercise, focus on my work, and eat healthy. Caffeine in particular induced a sort of panic attack, for me that triggered everything.

by 7ofnine, Feb 22, 2015
Thank you for such an optimistic and informative post. I'm getting closer to recovery but I have a burning question that I just haven't found an answer to anywhere, and this seems to be a responsive thread.

For a bit of background info - I've had feelings of DP/DR my entire life, starting from when I was very young. Anxiety and bits of depression and OCD have been obstacles throughout my life. I have been questioning my existence since about the age of 10, and that is around when I had my first episode of DP/DR. I used to just explain it to people as being "overtired" and I was sure it was something everyone felt. Then, I realized it was part of anxiety, but I was convinced my anxiety was different from others' when they felt nervous for a test. Mine was tied to hyper-awareness of self.

For a great period of my life, I would experience DP/DR rarely and had decent control over it. I was enrolled in a philosophy class (always had a love for philosophy) and always felt like I was comfortable with not knowing answers to big questions.

Recently I smoked weed for the first time, and this essentially triggered months of intense DP/DR. It was a gradual process in, but once I was there, I seriously experienced the worst of it every single moment of every day. Now I am distracted most of the time, but there is one thing that concerns me.

Here's where my question comes in. I would like to ask if it is common for someone with DP/DR to be able to completely bring on every bit of DP/DR through thought alone. I see a lot of people say that it is something out of our control that just happens to us. However, I have always been able to bring mine on with any existential thought. It is an immediate response. My biggest problem lately is that it's just hard to quiet down. Before smoking the weed, I would basically just distract myself and the thoughts would sort of go away.

Thanks to anyone who reads this for your time.

by Outrospective, Feb 25, 2015
Hey guys, I've been having dp for a few years now, though I only just learned what it is yesterday. I went 2 years fighting it thinking I was going insane which is probably the main reason I still struggle with it, because I've spent so much time training my brain to think about it. The thing is I've always been very competitive and hard on myself, so when these feelings of dp came over me I told myself things like "this is all in your head, remember who you are" but it only made the situation seem worse and I felt like I was losing it. Trust me I know how it is to remember "feeling normal" and want nothing more than to have that back. I've often wondered if that is what true happiness is, "feeling normal" or like your old self, but it's not. It's best to just let go of that and be who you are now. It's scary, I know, I used to have such a solidified idea of myself and my consciousness and lately it feels like it's all come unravelled. Dp sometimes feels like you've come to some horrible realization that no one else can comprehend because of their simplemindedness, but we have to stop thinking that way, instead we must know it's just our anxiety acting up. It *****, it does, to have to resort to distracting yourself all the time but my hope is that eventually I won't see it as distracting myself I will just see it as being myself

by Outrospective, Feb 25, 2015
Also I wanted to share an intense experience I had, because last year for the first and only time I passed out from dp anxiety. I was hanging out with some buds, we were all tripping shrooms and drinking (yeah no wonder I passed out right?) and I was actually feeling pretty damn good but then we went outside and smoked a blunt which was what did it. I could feel the dp getting louder and I knew I was going to faint from the overwhelming thoughts, so I walked inside without a word to my friends and barely missed the couch lol. We laugh at it now but it was super scary at the time. This was before I even knew what dp was so the only way I could explain it to my friends was that I felt like I was dying. It was quite an unpleasant experience but I'm not sharing this to scare people I just want ppl to know that you probably shouldn't do drugs or alcohol if u have dp, I know it's hard trust m, I've smoked weed every day since freshman year of hs (I'm 20 years old) and it became a safety habit to get high even though I haven't enjoyed it like I use to in years.  Just recently quit drinking/smoking so I'm praying that will help me get rid of dp once and for all.

by JoePinto77, Mar 06, 2015
I have being having dp for two months now...guys englishman explains stuff as if he was in my mind exactly wat goes in ma mind...wat i notice abt dp is that is a learning process to deal with stress and make u much stronger....i try to live with it can u be normal if u dont go out there n be normal ik its difficult sometimes due to the scary nature of it...just live your life no matter how it is being normal tells ur scary mind..hey!!!! Theres nun to worry...pray and read the bible as well it helps

by michhh, Mar 26, 2015
I just want to say my dp is 99% gone i am on my way to my first choice college and i have  found myself again as abetter happier person. It was so hard i wanted to die every moment and i could barely breath through all the fear and pain that was suffocating me but i made it and so can you. Every moment of the day was pure torture, an indescribable pain that was drowning me from within for 9 months. I will never be able to explain in words the horror of having dp, the alienation so strong that you weren't even in your own company, the feeling of floating above everything and everyone until you were nothing. its far worse than death. It completely dehumanized me and my case was very severe. but don't give up i found God and I found myself on this horrific journey. I AM ONLY 17 and i thought my whole life was over. i couldn't feel any spark of emotion and i just wanted to set myself on fire to feel again, but i refused to give up and when my life had no meaning i made it meaningful. Thats how you defeat this demon, make your life meaningful again. This will be the hardest bravest thing you will ever do in your life, but you will be so so strong. I believed in God and i believed in myself and once i started to love my self again i became myself again. I like to look at life like it's a garden. A garden is much more than flowers and dirt. It's the center of life and we each are buds of roses who will eventually bloom into something breathtaking and indescribable. You live in a garden and so do I. With our wilted daises and withered daydreams. But remember that the sun and the rain will rebirth you once again. You may be petals and dirt now but I promise you, you will once again be a beautiful flower who loves the sun and takes the rain in stride. Life is a garden, a beautiful garden and you my dear will bloom and be beautiful once more. when the rain falls harder that never just know that means the sun is going to shine even brighter when it's over. I love you all and im so sorry you have to go though this but i am very grateful for my experience. If you scroll to the earlier comments you can see how much of  a wreck i was how distraught i was but now i look back and i cant even believe that was me because i've grown so much. It has made me appreciate life on a whole new level and to recreate my self into someone i will love truly and wholly. Keep fighting. -Michaela F

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