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Near-constant depersonalization


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I am just wondering how common it is to constantly feel depersonalization and derealization to some degree. I never feel fully connected-- not to my surroundings, anyone else or to myself. Well, extremely rarely. (Bear in mind I do not have DID nor am I prone to any major disassociating)

Will some people always have this to some degree even if they're doing okay otherwise..? It just doesn't make any sense. With me, it started when I was a child. My childhood memories are very few and vague but I do remember as a kid having frequent episodes where it felt like a deja vu that didn't end--- everything seeming off, wrong, like my body was not my own, like I had died and become a ghost, and everything felt surreal and faraway and so on. And it just became more frequent as I got older. Sometimes it's paralyzing and overwhelming and I just lie about in a haze for hours, unable to interact with anything or anyone.

This is much more upsetting than depression/anxiety, to me... How do you treat it if it has no apparent cause..? It only subsides when I'm hypomanic-- I guess since my senses are sharper and more intense it makes me feel more alive and connected.

When you never feel real or connected it is very hard to find motivation to do much of anything.

Thoughts..?

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Yes, I go through life as if everything is a dream. I hardly ever live "in the moment." It spoils good times completely and contributes to my lack of finding pleasure in anything. I don't know what to do about it. My therapist was no help. She suggested some weird Buddist practice of "mindfullness" which didn't help at all because depersonalization is a reflex sort of a default mode for me. So I know what you are feeling.

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Mindfulness takes practice - a lot of practice, years for some. Mindfulness isn't just meditation - it's a way of living in the moment. You can a lot of things mindfully - smoking, reading, drinking beverages, showering, etc.

And it is useful for depersonalization and derealization.

One suggestion I have is to look up grounding exercises on the web, and see if anything you try helps (a lot of these exercises are also mindfulness exercises). If you don't know the cause, these exercises may be a starting point - interesting things pop up in the mind when you're trying to focus on the now.

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i feel this way all the time. mind you im constantly under extremely anxious feelings...i wonder if that went away my derealization would go? i dunno...its definitely not caused by my emotions being locked away or some BS...i had a good cry a few days ago and still had the Depersonalization. so i don't know. IM right here with you! i want some answers!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi. I'm new, this is my first post, but I just had to reply.

I have had depersonalisation since I was very young, and distinctly remember sitting in a doctor's office in my small town when quite young attempting in vain to explain to the doctor and my mother that "everything feels like a dream".

At one point the doctor laughed and said "people pay a lot of money to feel like that!"

After useless comments like that and countless tears and stress from the discomfort that feeling unreal gave me, I eventually swept it under the rug, so to say, and never spoke of it again.

Now here I am, stumbling upon this forum for unrelated issues (chronic pain, depression) and I have discovered that I am not the only person going through this! It's incredible!

Thank you for allowing me to read your stories and feel a little less nuts. It's wonderful to know I'm not alone.

Needless to say, I think you will be seeing more of me here in the future :)

Thanks,

MissBea

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It only subsides when I'm hypomanic-- I guess since my senses are sharper and more intense it makes me feel more alive and connected.

this makes me tempted to say it's hitching a ride on your depression.

when i'm severely depressed (now), i'm depersonalized a LOT. it's like a safety mechanism for when the emotional pain is too much. i live kind of outside of reality, sort of like i'm dreaming all the time like you said.

"people pay a lot of money to feel like that" is actually kinda true i think. people self-medicate to numb out, and we're numbing out without trying. it doesn't really take the pain away though. just... moves it over a little so i'm not as overwhelmed? something like that.

so the answer for me is treating the depression. when depression or anxiety isn't severe for me, i don't do this as much. if i'm depersonalized and reasonably otherwise well, it's a disturbing, kind of like i'm a little out of control (even though i'm not really). if i'm really fucking ill, it's a blessing. i don't want to be part of this particular experience (very very rough patch in my illness) so i'm glad when i feel like that. if calgon can't take me away maybe my own brain will get me at least a little distance. i'll take dreamy fog over cold reality.

bleh that probably wasn't helpful at ALL, i'm sorry...

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I don't know your history, and I do suffer very short periods of derealization during bad migraines, and when I am really anxious.

But when I had PTSD, I was dissociating pretty much constantly. I was afraid to drive because I didn't feel real, so how could I control a car? I was always getting lost in the city I grew up in, because all of the sudden, the landmarks I had been using for over 25 years seemed unfamiliar.

I am pretty sure all of us here have experienced some trauma. But PTSD can develop from things that may not seem like a big deal to others. I was punched in the mouth just once by my evil ex. I am not saying "just" like it was no big deal for him to slug me, but "just" to show it can be a seemingly minor trauma that causes it. On the other some people live through wars, and don't have PTSD.

And what Rowen said. It is hard, but mindfulness really can help a lot.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I completely forgot about making this thread (I tend not to remember things I say/do while in this state.)

Thank you for the replies. Of course I've read all other threads I could find on the topic, too. It's hard to talk about with people outside of the internet who have never experienced it.

I so envy people who generally always feel here/anchored to earth and reality. Because I so rarely feel that, it makes me feel like I'm less than human, or rather that I'm connected somewhere else far away and can never be here. I try and it's like something is forcefully yanking my mind underwater.

..But, yes, as lysergia said: being in a dreamy fog is certainly better than cold reality, usually. Even if it's a miserable and uneasy fog which has (along with my depression/anxiety) destroyed every single relationship and job that I've had.

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We're like this a lot! (to the point where we've got posts all over the place that I'm sure that I didn't write - and if anyone else here did, and they're mean or inappropriate, I'm sorry). We can *seem* grounded because, hey, you're looking for help/advice/support and so we're trying to show you the best of things - how we work when we are that way. Even if it's rare. But just because it's rare doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. With time and patience and some skills/tricks/tips/tools everyone on CB gets better at it. Even you :)

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  • 5 months later...

I can go nearly solid years at a time in a dissociated state. I've currently been in one for about the last 6 months. The one plus to it for me is that there are at least brief periods when it is less distressing, since for me the process of entering a dissoc. state is rather intensely unpleasant. It also means that it becomes my normal and I can almost forget it is happening. I'm terrible at the whole mindfulness thing, but I also haven't had a sustained therapeutic relationship in a while. The last therapist I saw (which only lasted for one session...whole other story) explained how I need to figure out how to remain within my emotional/sensory threshold - to avoid becoming to anxious, and therefore over the threshold, that I dissociate and fall off completely. But being in the experience enough to do that is hard.

I can also relate to your sense of memory associated with it. I have really strong childhood memories, but they are all separate from myself. I can only inhabit my body in memories from before about the age of 6. While I didn't articulate anything about this feeling till I was about 16 or 17, I can in some sense locate it in my memories.

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