View Full Version : Possibly Dangerous Derealization/Depersonalization


hypergirl96
11-30-16, 11:37 PM
So I've always had moments in my life of derealization/depersonalization even from a young age. I can still vividly remember some of those moments back when I was eight or nine years old. But for the most part these moments come and go and I would re-engage with reality gradually and nothing bad would happen.

But recently it seems as a way to keep myself from panicking, feeling extreme stress and anxiety, I have started experiencing more and more frequent and longer periods of derealization. In an effort to keep myself calm instead of helping me focus and channel my thoughts and push away the stress and anxiety it seems instead my brain has entered a state of disconnect so as to protect me from those feelings. And yeah it's helped me not panic but it's also made me feel dazed and disconnected which is also really bad.

Do you guys have any sort of recommendations of how to possibly combat this? Maybe from personal experience? Can longer and more frequent periods of derealization be dangerous mentally/emotionally/to life in general?

I didn't even realize how much of an issue it was 'cause I've been in kind of a daze until my mom called me concerned because she noticed how out of it I had seemed when I was home for the weekend. And now I've really started to realize it more. And I'm not sure if this is something I should be seriously concerned about. It seems like these past few weeks my brain has been detaching more and more from reality which is...not good.

Greyhound1
12-01-16, 01:17 AM
It sounds like getting your anxiety under control would really help. I have the same issues like dazing off, fading out of reality, feeling numb to avoid it. I procrastinate mentally from dealing with stress and anxiety in short "fade out" periods.

They help provide a temporary escape. Properly treating the cause or your outlet is the only way it will work.

Have you tried exercising more, meditation, yoga or mindfulness as an outlet? Some here find them to be very beneficial.

I think the goal should be lowering stress/anxiety and learning healthier outlets for dealing with them when they happen.

I am proof it's a lot easier said than done but I keep trying.:)

OhLookABunny
12-01-16, 02:46 PM
Not to scare you, but have you been checked out for seizure disorders? I too used to experience the derealization as a child - and then later I started to have actual panic attacks instead. But if this is starting to happen more frequently, perhaps there is another underlying neurological cause. I knew a guy in an ADD support group who had these mini seizure blank outs. Wouldn't hurt to ask your doctor. Hope you find resolution soon! Take care!

hypergirl96
12-02-16, 01:04 AM
Not to scare you, but have you been checked out for seizure disorders? I too used to experience the derealization as a child - and then later I started to have actual panic attacks instead. But if this is starting to happen more frequently, perhaps there is another underlying neurological cause. I knew a guy in an ADD support group who had these mini seizure blank outs. Wouldn't hurt to ask your doctor. Hope you find resolution soon! Take care!

Hm. I don't think that's the case. I mean most of the times that I've experienced derealization, especially when I was younger, was due to lots of sensory information. Like a metal defense mechanism against sensory overload. This is still often the case.

However I put this post under the anxiety disorders section because I believe that the increase in derealization and depersonalization I'm experiencing is more likely due to stress and anxiety avoidance. I've only ever had one full-blown panic attack and it was before an exam in a class I was not doing well in despite how much work I had been putting into it. It took me about an hour to get my breathing under control and calm down though I was eventually able to manage it on my own. It was terrifying though.

But despite that anxiety really hinders my ability to study and perform and I feel like in an effort to calm myself more and not put as much importance on the things giving me anxiety in my mind to make it seem like a less daunting task, I've actually gone the other extreme of dissociating and mentally retreating from the situation to avoid that. Which of course leads to other dangerous mental behaviors.

I don't think it's tied to seizures at all. I don't blank out when I experience derealization. I still see what's going on and know what's happening. I just don't feel like the situation itself is real or that I'm actually me (ie: I don't see my body as actually mine or that I'm really in control of it) and I feel like I'm some character in a story or video game that's being externally controlled and that the situation itself isn't real.

The only "seizure-like" things that have ever and do ever happen to me is sometimes my head will involuntarily shake really quickly back and forth and I might stomp my foot or something thought that's always during times when I have a huge spike in hyperactive energy and I've always just assumed it was tied to that.

hypergirl96
12-02-16, 01:11 AM
It sounds like getting your anxiety under control would really help. I have the same issues like dazing off, fading out of reality, feeling numb to avoid it. I procrastinate mentally from dealing with stress and anxiety in short "fade out" periods.

They help provide a temporary escape. Properly treating the cause or your outlet is the only way it will work.

Have you tried exercising more, meditation, yoga or mindfulness as an outlet? Some here find them to be very beneficial.

I think the goal should be lowering stress/anxiety and learning healthier outlets for dealing with them when they happen.

I am proof it's a lot easier said than done but I keep trying.:)

Thank you for the advice! I do believe that that's what I have been doing lately: dissociating as a way to escape the stressful situation or the stress response to a stressful situation. I definitely do need to exercise more and that is something on my list of things I need to do to improve my quality of life both physically and mentally.

The thing with my stress and anxiety is that it's mostly connected to my school work and deadlines (both for school and in general). And it seems to be mostly comorbid with my ADHD (though I have good reason to believe that I may also have pure O OCD which is something I need to speak with a professional about). But most of the anxiety I am experiencing is due to unavoidable things and really the only way to get around them is to change my mindset so I'm not so stressed but like that seems to be what's lead to the exact issues I'm experiencing right now.

Definitely though yeah I do need to find some better way of handling stress because my mind's seemingly natural proclivity for dissociation while it does lower my stress response and anxiety, does so at the expense of reality. Which is not good.

Thank you very much for your response and advice!

OhLookABunny
12-03-16, 11:20 AM
More likely it is the classic anxiety derealization rather than seizures. I just remembered that man from the group so thought I'd mention it. I hope you get some answers and solutions. I also struggle with Pure-O OCD! It's a pain in the butt. And both difficult and embarrassing to try to explain to others. Again, my best wishes for healing for you.

peripatetic
12-06-16, 02:42 AM
hey hypergirl! long time; so good to see you :)

i'm posting to say that and also so i'll try to remember to read and post on your topic :o

i'm sorry to hear you're struggling. i have ocd. it's largely intrusive images/ideas that are incredibly disturbing. and i'm fixated with numbers. i'm going to try to read all of your posts again to understand what you're experiencing and then i'll reply more. xx -peri


EDIT: have you tried grounding exercises/tricks? like 3, 2, 1s when it starts? or do you have any coping mechanisms for staying grounded? you might look into therapy for this. i would highly recommend finding some coping mechanisms if you lack any or if those you have are slipping.

ok, back to reading...

sarahsweets
12-06-16, 05:41 AM
Despite how hokey it sounds and how plain it is, grounding using all your senses can help. First I had to think of a place where I was most happy and then think of what my surroundings felt like, smelled like, looked like, what things I physically felt etc. Now I try to use that when I have panic attacks but starting out slowly and trying to feel those things while taking deep breaths.