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Any other Depersonalisation Disorder People here?


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I joined a site for it a few years ago, just to talk to some people that were going through the same thing. But they all seem to have triggered it from drug use, which I cannot relate to at all. In some ways it really upsets me and frustrates me, the doctors just presume I've been getting high and actually don't understand how bad it is. I've told them I have never done drugs, ever, and they just nod and smile like I'm a stoner in denial.  :huh:

 

I was diagnosed with Depersonalisation disorder when I was 17, although I have been suffering from it since I was four years old but when I tried to talk to my mum about the way I saw things and felt she just never really listened. I don't think I would have understood if a kid came up to me and started babbling about watching themselves brush their teeth etc.

 

I first noticed it after I'd had an accident. I've always been a wimpy kid, and my parents have done loads to try and get me to participate and socialise with other kids. When I was four we were going on holiday and my mum was pregnant with my sister so we were taking loads of stops on the trip there. There was a park, with an assault course type thing in the trees, I wanted to go on it because there was another girl who I'd been playing with that was a bit older, but mum said I was to do it with my dad too as I wasn't old enough on my own.

 

There was a section of a bridge and only one of us could go across at a time, my dad let me go first but I went to wave to my mum and apparently just slipped through the rope bars, my foot was the only thing stopping me from falling, and my dad says he tried to grab it but he had to be slow so as not to rock the rope bridge, after being suspended upside down for about a minute wailing and watching my mum screaming and my dad trying to reassure me as he inched his way over I just fell and smacked my head. I remember being in the car seat on the way to the hospital and my mum was screaming and every time I cried my head really hurt so I just thought sleeping was better but the car ride wasn't exactly smooth. I was still me then as I could see out of my own eyes. 

 

But then I remember watching myself in the hospital room asleep as the nurse tried to stick something in me I was screaming at my mum for help because I couldn't move. I thought I was going to float away I was terrified. Thinking about it makes me want to cry :'( Ever since then I've had a few hours here and there of being myself, in fact it got to the point where if I was not depersonalised (is that even the correct term?) I was terrified because it was more normal to me than being okay. My mum and dad had no idea, I think I was too young to understand, and I never managed to get it across that I didn't feel right.  

 

In my teens I actually realised that how I felt 90% of the time was actually wrong. I couldn't get angry with people, nothing really upset me. I was numb to everything. I was afraid I would never have a boyfriend because when I looked at it I didn't love anyone, I felt nothing, not even for my parents. I felt like an outsider and nobody suspected a thing. I had my own fantasy world, could stay there for ever if life allowed, and nothing seemed to faze me.

 

After some of the popular kids in school cornered me in a science lab (nothing new, I made a fantastic verbal punchbag) they were threatening to set fire to my hair with a lighter. I felt weird and suddenly I was looking though my own eyes again, but I still felt detacted in every other sense. Instead the teacher came in and I spent the entire lesson with a girl poking me with a safety pin from her skirt. The pain made my head clear and I walked out of that class a wreck because suddenly I felt everything, I felt 'normal'. It was too much and I started making myself sick, just to get rid of the sick feeling. I think this was when my anxiety started to form.

 

I ended up with an eating disorder, self harming and just being a horrible b@#!£* to everyone. Ended up in a mentally abusive relationship, got raped, got back with the abusive ass and somehow ended up at university.

 

When I finally got diagnosed the psychiatrist turned to me and said that there was nothing she could do. But if ever I felt suicidal then I should make another appointment and they'd take it from there. They must have though I had done drugs and was too scared to admit it or something. I was just too down and out of it at the time to care but since I've looked back and wished I'd have been feeling something so I could have actually screamed at her and told her what a living hell the past few years of my life had been. Sweet numbness.

 

Since then I've been trawling online looking for other people like me too, but so far everyone has it because of drugs, which I cannot relate to at all really. For me pain and panic snap me out of it, according to the internet that should be what triggers it, but for me its the only time I don't feel like a zombie. I think general stress makes it worse, but I've tried diaries and charts, counselling and all sorts and it does seem to be randomly occurring. It lasts at best two or three days, occasionally I've had times its lasted for hours but that is rare. The longest must be months, when I was little. Recently its been three weeks, I snapped out of it two weeks ago but I still have it for a couple of hours every day, usually in the evening... and my anxiety is through the roof the rest of the time.  

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Hi.  I don't have depersonalization disorder, but I have brief periods of dissociation where I space out and just watch myself.  I don't realize it until I come out of it and i'm startled that everything is real.  I touch things, remind myself who and where I am and that seems to help me stay grounded.  No one has suggested it has anything to do with drug use.  It's more pronounced when I'm anxious so the better I keep my anxiety under control the less frequently it happens.

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Trauma can cause any form of dissociation, including depersonalization. Perhaps that is an alternative way to go about things: resolve the trauma, and it may help you to learn to be more comfortable in your skin.

Alternatively, grounding techniques can work regardless of what caused the disorder, originally. Do you know what I mean by that?

My personal favourites are a rock in my pocket, cold things, and daily physical activity.

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HI-

 

I also do not have depersonalization  disorder but I can relate to things being harder in the evening hours. That is when my ability to stay present is at it's peak. For me, I have found that structuring that time with self care activities or just having a routine in place, helps me stay grounded in the here and now. It gives me something to relate to on a consistent basis, sort of a "check-in" with me. 

 

I don't know if that helps any but take care of yourself. I know it can be hard at times.

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Thanks guys, it is comforting to hear other people's disassociation stuff. 

I have a small pebble/rock. Its quite pretty I guess, but I keep leaving it in my pocket and washing it or something so whenever I need it I seem to lose it! I need loads of grounding objects I think.

 

I've noticed it gets worse in the evening but I think it might be down to me getting tired. I think the lighting triggers it off sometimes too, dim dusk/dawn like lighting, or even sunlight can trigger it and make me feel unreal and spacey. 

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I've been depersonalizing and more since I was a little kid. Mine was totally trauma-based, and it manifests itself now when I am having ongoing fear and/or anxiety that overwhelms my self-care. I can't believe your doctor presumes this is drug-induced. Sounds like you need a more competent doctor.

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Yeah, apparently its common with people who smoke weed? I joined a group online and they're pretty much all depersonalized because of a drug experience. I could relate to the symptoms a little but not to the people. 

 

I presume the root of my depersonalization has also cause anxiety and other stuff too, but its difficult to change something that has been the norm now for over 17 years. Feeling better sometimes scares me. :-(

 

I hope you find a way out of this too... the only thing that keeps me going sometimes is knowing that people do get better in some cases...  

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There really is hope! Mine used to be constant almost, but after giving up caffeine and other anxiety producers, and taking mindfulness classes for a few years, I learned to stop feeling that way so much. Now I get it only if I've been under too much stress too long, or if something REALLY big triggers me. But then I know I need to stop aggravating my nerves and such (like a few months ago I quit a good paying job because it triggered me more than I could control) and then it settles down and I don't feel "off" anymore.

Stick with working to figure out how to "self care". It will take some time and trial and effort, but I can tell you it CAN work.

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You don't have to smoke pot to dissociate. For me, it started as a symptom of PTSD from being beat by my ex (only one time, but he was starting to strangle me). I kept getting lost in my home town, because I didn't feel like I was physically there.

 

Until I moved to Utah, I used medical marijuana, and I am not saying I wasn't high, but I think dissociation happens on a case by case basis. Because it *never* happened to me, and I *already* dissociated, so I would have known what it felt like. There are definitely cases of psychosis triggered by cannabis. I was raised by my pdoc dad believing it triggered an underlying disorder, others believe differently.

 

What you went through with that "almost" fall sounds pretty traumatic; it doesn't have to be something someone else might think is a big deal (although that sounds pretty big), it's that *you* were scared of bodily harm or death. And your parents seemed to agree with you! I am wondering if you have ever told your pdocs about this. If you have, I don't know what to think.

 

Certainly, there is a history of pot "finding" psychoses. My father would say a genetic predisposition has to be there, and is triggered by pot use. Some agree with him, some think pot can cause psychosis out of nowhere. So I am sure some people who use pot dissociate. But remember, you are only meeting a self-selected group.

But it is crazy that they seem to insist you do drugs. Could you get a hair test? I know it might be really expensive. But I personally would love to shove the results under my Drs. noses, if I were in your place.

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I was already having dissociation and some psychosis before I ever tried pot, but it did put me over the top into even worse and steady dissociation AND psychosis, until months after I stopped. I also added to my previously only family-based PTSD by doing street drugs like pot and (once not by my choice) doing a hallucinogenic street drug, because the drug-induced dissociation and psychosis traumatized me also. This drug-related PTSD has calmed a lot, but even today, 30 years later, I will not eat or drink anything I haven't had eyes on the entire time, because I still have a fear of being given something that would make me drug-psychotic again.

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Thank you Gumby! It's great that you've had such a success... I hope one day to reach that point too! :-)

 

I completely agree with the predisposition for some cases, I think my mum suffers from it, but just doesn't understand it or its mild enough for her to just think its the norm. My dad has always laughed and called her 'dizzy blonde', she is quite spacey and forgetful and does often seem to float around. When I was little she just used to sit and stare into space. She's never done drugs (to my knowledge) but has had a few traumatic incidents that could have triggered it, and they're just the ones I know about. 

 

I had just 18 when I saw the pdoc, I started the process aged 16 but it took over 18 months to get referred to a psychiatrist after they ruled out depression and stuff and did the million and one blood and other tests which came back clear. I figured I wouldn't have to get my parents involved, being 18 and legally an adult in the UK. They were insisting I was fine and that it was a teenage thing so it was a "screw you" move. However they said they needed to speak to a parent  about my childhood, to ask about any traumatic events. Now I can name a few, some my parents know about, some I doubt they do. I was angry and upset but the pdoc has said she couldn't sort out treatment until they knew what was going on. 

 

So, I buckled up and told my mum who was upset i guess, but agreed to come with me at my next appointment. Got in the room and she denied everything. Said I was fine and hadn't noticed anything was wrong. Admitted I had an anxiety problem but said she could think of nothing in my childhood that could have been classed as traumatic.

 

I was furious, in the end I was sent to a 'specialist' a few months later who was an ass hole. He was so sarcastic, asking if I could see a purple dinosaur in the room, if I could hear voices telling me to do bad things. I told him to stop being fucking ridiculous, which I find hilarious because I am really quiet and I really don't like eye contact or talking to people so my mum's face was a picture. The he said that unless I was suicidal then there was nothing they could do.

 

Went home. Nothing more is said on the matter.  :wall:

 

Later my dad starts going on about how much of a bad parent he feels he is. He has huge anger issues, and there are a lot of incidents he feels bad about. Weirdly I can remember hardly any of them. But he admits that after my grandad died a couple of months after I'd had the fall, I tried to comfort my mum by saying that he was a ghost and that I'd been a ghost too (and jabbered about my seeing myself 'dead' in the hospital, although I never actually died, I was just hooked up to a drip and dopey.)

 

My diagnosis was over three years ago now, and I have moved doctors. I tried to get the process started again a few months ago because it was really affecting my university life and I was bordering on dropping out I was that messed up over everything. When I got there they said they only had my medical records up to 2005, so I'd have to do this and that to chase them down. I could start the pdoc process again but it was a 5 month wait for an appointment, by that time uni would have been done. I was so distressed I just gave up, went home and cried.

 

Edited by Paperskyscraper
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What a crock - what did they expect bringing in your parents? There was a very high probability parents with an abuse history of any kind would deny anything had happened. When I said something to my mother once about the abusive stuff that went on when I was a child, she told me essentially that I hadn't been abused enough, and that was why I am so "selfish". PUH-LEEZE. That just seems like a no-brainer for a pdoc to understand - that it's likely s/he will not get a truly accurate report from parents/etc.

 

I'm so sorry you've had such a hard time with getting help in this. But do know that you can get better whether anyone else helps you or not. I did 90% of my PTSD recovery totally on my own, because the shrinks I had were so focused on other symptoms they wouldn't bother with it. It took me some time - nothing other night. But truly, if you are willing to do some stuff to help it, you can help it.

 

Like, first for me was realizing that my dissociation was actually a psychological skill that I had developed to protect myself. In and of itself, it didn't mean I was "bad" or "crazy". It did mean that I had been scared out of my wits far too deeply and too often, but again, I had been able to protect myself from that somewhat by just "checking out".

 

Second for me was learning other things that helped my body and mind realize that I was no longer in the midst of that scary stuff, and so didn't need to keep checking out. I did that by stopping things that caused me anxiety or ramped me up - like caffeine and other stimulants (both natural and unnatural), and by doing more things that calmed me down - like listening to what to me was relaxing music for the last hour before bed.

 

I found that sometimes guided meditations would give me panic attacks, though I did come across a few that did progressive relaxation that didn't make me panic, and those helped me not only calm my body down in that moment, but also teach my body what it actually feels like to BE relaxed - something I had to learn, since I was tense all the time and didn't know it.

 

Of even more use to me was mindfulness meditation. I had to do this for several months, though, to start getting a benefit, and after a few years I was really good at it (for my purposes, anyway). What it helped me with was teaching me not to pursue scary ideas, negative emotions, etc (which also helped me with other MI symptoms I had/have, as well). I did this in a Zen temple, but lots of places teach mindfulness meditation these days without having the religion part in it too. Doing this WITH mindfulness meditation experts, though, I think is required for most (was for me), because at first we are just naturally going to be very bad at it, and we need experts who keep us on track and remind us not to give up when we suck :D

 

Hang in there - you can and will make it :)

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I don't have depersonalisation disorder but I've dissociated quite a lot for years. I've only smoked pot once, and that didn't trigger it. I haven't experienced anything particularly traumatic that could have triggered it either. I think I just have a predisposition towards it (I've always been a bit spacey and daydreamy) and started dissociating to cope with untreated anxiety and depression, and boredom as a teenager. I was definitely dissociating to protect myself from distress but it can become a bit of a problem in itself. I can relate to being numb all the time and being afraid that I could never really love anyone because I didn't really feel things. 

 

I'm not so bad now and can do things like "feel my feelings" thanks to treating the depression and finding other ways to cope. Mostly by trying to not be so frickin' stressed out all the time.  Stuff like tiredness, panic, being overwhelmed and travelling still set me off.  I have tried some mindfulness meditation but have found that I can start panicking if I start experiencing things I'd been detached from and I'm not able to cope with them. So if you want to look into that then it might be good to do it with an expert or a therapist or something.

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  • 1 month later...

I have depersonalization disorder now going on 4 years.  I joined this forum hoping maybe some answer is out there.  It's a matter of just figuring out what the causes are.  Also, it requires a lot of patience.  I really have no answer presently. 

 

If anyone knows any supplements or techniques that help alleviate the symptoms of depersonalization, please post them up here.

Edited by sailaway
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Thanks Gumby, its really encouraging to know that you did most of your recovery on your own, I'm just sick and tired of the docs and pdocs so I think that's what I want to do deep down anyway. Knowing it was as bias as 90% on your own, that's pretty awesome news..! I've been making a list of triggers but never really got anywhere other than what to avoid. When I'm in full on depersonalization mode I don't really know what to do with myself, did you just go with it and wait it out? Or did the relaxing stuff help to get you out of it?

 

I may have a look for some different relaxation techniques, I did try meditation classes at one point but the type of meditation we did just pulled me deeper into myself. 

 

@Squish... I definitely need to de-stress. When not in dpd mode I'm just crazy, OCD is through the roof, always worrying about stupid things... tiredness is a big trigger for me too.

 

I have found though, in the past few weeks, that I NEED an hour or two to myself every day. I can play my music, relax, whatever. It needs to be away from the main house, so in the spare room, or my room not downstairs. The room needs to be tidy and clutter free (otherwise my OCD kicks off) and I can do what ever the hell I fancy undisturbed. Its helped a lot, but I think more of a prevention and stopping it from getting worse rather than a cure. Music really helps though, I'd be lost without it.

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  • 2 months later...

My doc added it to my DX.   Its like watching someone else do "me" and btw does a better job then I do.   Everything perfect.   Its only happened once.   I've had Anxiety attacks so I think this is just the newest kind.   Taking Benzos seems to have brought me back.   Its weird.  Its scary, I dunno...   Glad I'm not alone but I feel for you poor folks who have this often.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Similar to you I had a traumatic accident when I was young. 6 years old I was on the see saw at the park with my older brother (10) and he thought it would be funny for him and his friend to go on one side and push down as hard as they can. Being so young and not knowing the force they could produce I didn't hold on tight enough. As I went up I lost my grip, blacked out and smashed my head on the middle part of the see saw, solid metal. Everyone was screaming to call an ambulance, my head was throbbing, I lost 3 of my front teeth, was rushed to hospital etc. On top of this accident I had my older brothers and parents who were very emotionally abusive, ie laughing at me if I was happy about something, disregarding any bad feelings I had. I was also bullied and made to feel different at school because I was always the cleverest in my class, was the best at sports and everyone was almost against me making me feel bad. The teachers didn't do anythong about it, I had no emotional support from my parents, their response was oh stop being silly. I remember distinctively when I was about 8 after my brothers and parents had a huge argument, smashing the house up, I dissociated, it was pretty much a mental breakdown. I felt if I did nothing and caused no trouble I wouldn't be abused and bullied. I pretty much killed my inner child and happiness just to get some relief. Since then I have always felt seperated from myself, like my actions were merely putting on an act, I felt like I was watching myself with no emotions instead of just being myself. I almost feel like I am too in control of everything and too aware. I haven't felt truly happy since then. I've had moments of happiness from external sources eg winning money, getting good results but I always feel like something is missing, depersonalisation disorder describes perfectly how im feeling I don't know if I will ever be truly happy.

Edited by PP10822
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Hi PP and welcome to CrazyBoards.

 

Sorry to hear you had such a rough go of things when you were young.

 

I hope you find support and comfort here.

 

If you haven't done so, take a moment to read the rules (in the lower righthand corner of every page).

 

Let us know if you have any questions.

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Oh PP, I can relate to your post so much, it makes me really sad to know that other people are going through this crap too. I used it to my advantage when I was little, escaping to mentally shield myself from bullying and a life I couldn't control, I loved being in my head and I still do but then I get to the point where I need to function as an adult and it's so hard to do. I struggle with emotions too, I get happy but I don't know what it's like to be content or feel that happiness for long.

 

I am an observer of this huge movie called life, and I really want to be a part of it but I'm no good at acting so I have to just sit and watch.

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  • 2 months later...

HEY! Look I know I'm late by a year but I have the exacttttt sammee thing with me as the cheesy assassin. I even had the out of body experience with the head accident during childhood. I'm also a punching bag or have been for some reason with peopleprobably in part cus of the out of state vibe we dpds give. Look we should talk, we got the same shit goin on. at the moment I'm 17 and I found out officially that I have dpd. It's the root for me too, or one of them. We should talk :) Not to come off stalkerish but I'm curious how thngs have changed since ur post if the stuff gets better. Please reply if you see this, anyoen else who can relate feel so free to step in and speak. 

 

So glad I found my peepz. For soem reason just labeling all the hell of life from one big disorder feels refreshing cus you knwo your not entirely f***ed as a person u just have to get rid of this one package rather than a million things one at a time. which for me has been impossible. :(

 

 

-Samiii

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