Apr 27, 2015
Hi everyone. I would like to share my own experience and understanding of depersonalization (DP) with a few things that helped me recover. I hope this will help you as well. These teachings became the foundations of my life after DP, helping me to handle life in a more comprehensive way in our material and spiritual worlds. I had DP when I was 19, in cycles lasting 4 to 6 days happening every two weeks, for an overall period of 8 months. First, we don't win against DP, we win WITH DP. This is very important to understand that DP is not a disease, it is self-triggered, and actually acts as a self-best friend trying to heal something deep in self. When one understands this, when one takes ownership of that DP feeling, when one accepts DP and all the consequences stemming from it, a big chunk of the anxiety should vanish right away. In addition, to make myself clear, DP is NOT a self-destructive state, but rather a psychosomatic disturbance self-triggered for search of awareness. DP is a door, a door onto which questions are written, questions which are asked by subconsciousness. If one wants to open the door and get rid of DP, he or she will need to deeply understand (and answer) its mechanism.
DP is a powerful FEELING, occurring in a hyper-activity brain state, BIOLOGICALLY TRIGGERED by the brain (A), further ENHANCED BY PSYCHE (B).
Let's focus on the biological explanation (A). The human brain is composed of two brains, (1) the cortex and (2) the limbic brain. The cortex is the center of human intelligence and consciousness, while the limbic brain is the center of emotions and instincts. Our brain structure is similar to animals, except that animals have a smaller cortex (animals' brain system is mainly relying on the limbic brain - also called the reptilian brain, the 'instinctive' brain). In a normal state, the human brain balance is actively driven by the cortex (95% of brain activity) with the limbic brain being passive (5% of brain activity). This brain balance, mainly relying on the cortex, allows one to use Judgment and Reason in order to behave and act as Rationally as possible. In this state, emotions are low, anxiety and fear amongst them; this is the 'normal' balance or chemistry of the brain. However, shifting around the brain balance, with 95% of activity driven by the limbic brain, and 5% by the cortex, the human brain system is in PANIC balance. This brain shift normally occurs when experiencing a 'crisis', for example an aggression, a car accident, a bomb blast or an earthquake. This panic shift is most of the time UNDERSTOOD by the cortex, as grounded by a REAL or TANGIBLE experience of a 'crisis' or a 'trauma'. This panic shift, helped by the cortex, will slowly fade away as the brain chemistry returns back to its 'normal' balance.
Let's now focus on the psyche side of the DP feeling (B). This panic brain shift may be triggered WITHOUT a tangible experience of a 'crisis', which, when compounded with anxiety (which can stem from the experience of a trauma IN THE PAST, or from subconsciousness), may yield to the Depersonalization feeling. Indeed, DP is a feeling, not a state. The state is the Panic shift of the brain, and the feeling is Depersonalization. We will call this panic shift the "Irrational Panic Brain Balance" (IPBB), as not justified by a REAL or PRESENT experience of a 'crisis'. IPBB can be triggered by a variety of inputs: (1) hormonal changes (happening through life), (2) subconsciousness (questions on existence, trauma experienced in the past...) or (3) drugs consumption (as they have a temporary organic impact on the brain). In both, Panic brain shifts and IPBB, the brain secretes adrenaline which is spread across the body. Adrenaline flowing through the body members and brain is the MAIN reason of cerebral hyper-activity and the feeling of depersonalization, as it gives the sensation of not owning the body anymore. Now, extrapolated and emphasized by EMOTIONS (driven by psyche), adrenaline and IPBB may give the perception of being part of an unreal world with unreal persons, or being in a dream from which we cannot wake up. This 'out-of-reality' feeling further increases anxiety (driven by subconsciousness), which further enhances IPBB, which further secretes adrenaline. IPBB and DP are then 'working' in a virtuous cycle.
I hope this explanation is helping you to rationally understand what you are experiencing. I am 100% confident that anyone reading and understanding this, and what follows, is on the way to a full recovery, paved with future strong physical and psychological foundations. He or she will then 'thank' DP for raising them to this new state of self-awareness.
Now, a few words on how 'healing from' DP. Healing from DP is a steady, gradual, natural and personal process, which requires one to tame DP by working on those two fields: (I) strengthening the brain chemistry and the body harmony and (II) identify the questions asked by subconsciousness (which feed inner ANXIETY) and find answers (even partial) to them. The first point will reinforce the brain system and will make it stronger to efficiently handle natural 'attacks' from subconsciousness, and the second point will give a sense (or answers) to one's own subconsciousness which will then decrease the overall level of anxiety. Tackling those two points is a very insightful path towards self-understanding and the meaning of existence, which can initiate unexpected interests for fields like art, philosophy or sport. It is very important that one does his/her own research on how to solve these two points.
The question to answer in order to solve the first point (I) is: how can I tame my fear, harmonize my body and reset my brain chemistry in order to have it in a 'normal' balance, and feel alive again?! One will have to find his/her own answer, but I can give a few tips: sport (heartbeat and breathing rate will help the brain to slowly reset ; it has to be quite intense to really feel short-term relief), smile and eye exercises (stimulate the cortex, and calm the limbic brain), talking and writing about what you are experiencing (talking to people who are open-minded enough to understand) and reading about human biology and psychology (activate the cortex in a rational way). All these will definitely help, but the definitive and long-term healing will come from the second point.
The questions to answer in order to solve the second point (II) are: What is my subconsciousness chasing? What are the underlying reasons of my inner anxiety? What reasons could explain this subconscious need for interrogating myself so deeply that I trouble my brain and organic balance? What are the answers to these questions asked by my subconsciousness and anxiety? This is your quest, you will have to answer your inner questions, in a POSITIVE and RATIONAL way. I can give you a few tips from my own experience. I have been answering my own questioning (still today!) thanks to reading about philosophy (I am an existentialist, I believe in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre: the Existentialism), thanks to my acceptance (and understanding) of my sensitivity (built throughout childhood) and spirituality (music in my case).
With my own key, I could then open the door of DP to a world of spirituality that will never leave me. Today I feel strong in this REAL and material world, physically and psychologically. Experiencing DP was a chance in my life, a chance to understand myself better to give a sense to my existence, and build it forward upon solid foundations. I wish you all the best recovery.