View Full Version : Depersonalization Recovery


nataliez84
01-27-17, 09:46 PM
I had no idea that depersonalization/derealization even existed until it happened to me. I am going to share my story and how I overcame this horrible disorder in hopes that it will shed some light on someone else's journey.


I was 17 years old (currently 32) when I experienced my first panic attack. I remember this overwhelming feeling of not being in control of my own body. It subsided quickly and I never really thought anything more of it. Then a few months later, I had a really bad trip after smoking weed with my friends. I remember this "spaced out" feeling lasted a couple of days. I just thought it was really good weed and vowed to never touch it again.

Fast forward to age 26 and I started getting really bad anxiety and began having panic attacks again. This was now effecting my everyday life. I stopped driving, avoided going out with my friends and I slept A LOT!

I was put on Celexa 20mg daily. Let me tell you right now that drug saved my life. For the next 5-6 years I was happy. I began living my life again and it was amazing.

When I was 31, my relationship of 5 years ended. I was devastated and fell back into a deep depression. Instead of dealing with my problems I began drinking almost every night and occasionally smoking weed. One day a few friends and I went out the the beach. We smoked a lot of weed, way more than what I normally would. Within a few mins after smoking I began getting that panicky feeling again and I began to freak out. I had to force myself to sleep just to get rid of the feeling. I woke up and felt somewhat back to normal but something was just "off" still.

A couple of weeks went by and then all of a sudden, one morning, I woke up and was looking around my room and nothing felt real. I felt like I was still dreaming yet I knew I was awake. This was the start to a very long and frustrating battle.

I went back to the doctors and he explained to me that what I was experiencing was a disassociation disorder which was an offset from having lots of anxiety. My brain was trying to shelter itself from all the stress I was putting it under. He gave me Xanax to take when I felt I was having a lot of anxiety to help offset the symptoms of depersonalization. He also switched me from Celexa to Effexor. For the next few months nothing got better. I was still stuck in this "daze" and no matter what I did I couldn't stop it. I purchased my very first home during this stressful time and couldn't even enjoy it because I felt so "out of it". Just as I'm sure you are doing right now, I went onto tons of forums looking for an answer. Everyones stories were very similar. Some people experienced this for a few weeks, others many years. It freaked me out to think that I could live like this forever. I watched umpteen youtube videos, read tons of articles, saw several counsellors, switched medications, tried yoga. Everything that was recommended to do, I tried it. I was literally in a state of desperation.

Then I watched a video of a young man explaining his story. He said that he had to try and ignore the symptoms and the longer he did that they went away. My thoughts were this...how could you ignore something that is constantly lingering...no matter what I did I felt depersonalized.

My doctor suggested I start to taper off of my anxiety medication. At that point I had been on clonazepam (Klonopin) for almost 1 year. I took his advice and started weaning off. In the mean time I started to engage myself in things that I would avoid doing because of how I was feeling. I can honestly say to you, whoever you are that is reading this, I am 99% cured from this horrible disorder.

Here is what helped me :
1. I saw a cognitive behaviour therapist. He taught me how to deal with my anxiety and feelings.

2. I dealt with my underlying anxiety. I'm telling you this right now, this disorder is 100% caused by anxiety. Without anxiety it cannot survive. Being on an anti anxiety medication helped me get over that hump.

3. I had to force myself into uncomfortable situations. Ex: going out with my friends, driving, being in large crowds.

4. Distraction. I started playing games on my phone, started a journal (highly recommended) got into a new tv series. Anything that would take my mind off of how I was feeling even for 5 mins.

5. Exercise! I found releasing all my built up energy at the gym helped a lot. It took about a month or so before I started noticing a difference but it definitely helped.

6. Having people you can talk to. My closest friends and family could not relate to me what so ever. I needed to find someone who knew exactly what I was going through. Just so happens that a couple of my co workers had gone through the same thing. I turned to them a lot when I needed reassurance.

7. Do not try and "out think" yourself from this. The more you focus on the symptoms the worse it will get. This is not something that just goes away overnight. It takes time for your brain to recover from all that anxiety and stress you have put it through.

8. As hard as this may seem, you have to try and stay positive.

As of today, my anxiety level has come down significantly. I no longer feel depersonalized and I have began to take my life back. It took me about 1.5yrs to get back to "normal" but I did it. If you are reading this right now and you feel like you are never going to feel better, trust me you will!!! It may take a couple of months or even a few years but I promise you, it will get better. I can't even believe that I'm sitting here writing this because just a short while ago I was the one seeking these answers.

This is a horrible thing to go through, it is very scary and can take over your entire life. That being said, if anyone reading this needs to talk, feel free to message me. I can offer you some insight and try to help you through this!

Suigeneris__
03-15-17, 12:36 AM
Hey, I am currently going through the same thing you went through & also live in Windsor which makes me feel not so alone in this.. It's gotten so bad that it effects my work and quality of life. Its like everything feels so surreal & it's hard to interact and socialize without feeling like a complete weirdo lol... If you could message back maybe with some more advice on how you got through this or even what therapist you recommend it would be much appreciated

Fuzzy12
03-15-17, 05:05 AM
Hi suigeneris. It seems like natalie made that one post in january sharing her story and hasn't been back since then.

I hope someone else can help you. Have you seen a professional about this? If you don't know who to speak to your gp might be a good bet

samilia
04-25-17, 07:38 AM
Urrgghhhh derealisation is THE WORST! I HAD IT EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE FOR 6 YEARS!!! I Cried about it all the time, thinking i couldnt possibly do this for the rest of the life! It was like seeing life through "stoner" eyes 24/7. It was really distressing. It wasnt until i came to peace with it (hard to do i know, it ONLY took 6 years!!) But i said to myself one day, exhausted from fretting over it. I sat there on the end of my bed and said, ok, it may be an annoying uncomfortable feeling, but im still alive 6 years later, its not going to harm me physically, and i dont have a choice BUT to live with it, so i guess this is just how my life is going to be now. I made peace with derealisation. I accepted it as part of me. Low and behold bloody 3 weeks later IT WAS GONE! POOFFF . Just like that. No medication i was ever on (tried 7 diffferent ssris, antisphycotics, adhd meds, nothing made it go away), it literally dissapeared after i accepted it. Only problem is, you cant just "make" yourself except it, you have to truly be ready and not scared of it anymore. Ive been derealisation free for almost 5 years !

I really do feel for you guys currently experiencing / going through this. It truly is an awful feeling. Quite scary. I hated going in supermarkets the most! The aisles always seemed so glarey, long and almost tonnel like. And i hated video stores too! Luckily those are mostly closed down now.

samilia
04-25-17, 07:54 AM
Hey, I am currently going through the same thing you went through & also live in Windsor which makes me feel not so alone in this.. It's gotten so bad that it effects my work and quality of life. Its like everything feels so surreal & it's hard to interact and socialize without feeling like a complete weirdo lol... If you could message back maybe with some more advice on how you got through this or even what therapist you recommend it would be much appreciated

Just read your comment after i posted. My story may help you... read my comment above ^^^ =)