Story by "Anonymous"
Hello, When I was 14 my mom died from cancer and after she died I walked out of the house feeling numb... But as I walked away from the house I felt like I was separating from reality, like I was being peeled away from actual sensations. Everything just faded to black, because there was no more sight or sound or anything. I don't remember anything for several months after that.
The first memory I have after that time is one of lying alone crying. I was in "my" bed at my dad's house (my parents were divorced and I went to live with my dad after my mom died) but it wasn't my bed and it wasn't me who was lying there... It was someone foreign. Someone I have never even known and probably never will. My childhood had been completely erased. Not only did I not know who I was, I didn't know who I had been.
This realization has stayed with me ever since. There is no time or space or effect. Everything seems like a big engine, a system that just runs endlessly for no reason. Colors don't seem real, people are simply objects that move here and move there and pick up a box and set it down somewhere else... They are working, they say. Trying to make money so they can live well... So they can die healthy? None of this makes any sense. But my story isn't finished.
My most severe depersonalization came from when I couldn't take it anymore and decided to kill myself. I was a teenager and had no idea what kind of pills I would have to take to get the job done. One night I took a bottle of Aspirin and went to sleep. I never really woke up after that. When I got up 24 hours later I didn't really sit up in bed, I stayed in the same place and the room rotated around me. The window in the wall was so complex I couldn't even begin to understand it. Everything was beyond comprehension. I lost my sense of smell and a lot of my hearing.
After a week of being terribly ill my father took me to a doctor and she gave me penicillin. I finally became well after about a week, but everything was worse than before. I told my father for weeks that I couldn't understand trees. Trees were so complex; they were some kind of magnificent fractal, a system so intricate that a human mind would never be able to have a complete notion of the growth of one from a simple seed filled with DNA.
During the summer that year I did that things kept getting worse. I drove to town to buy something from a store and I went to get something to eat... I took it out to my car to eat in the car because I wanted to leave soon, but as I was eating I suddenly realized that I didn't exist. A little later I was working and had the same feeling so strong that I kind of blacked out. I lay down on the floor and went to sleep right during work. Normally I would never do anything like that, and am a very studious worker.
Through each of these experiences I became more detached to the point of not even knowing something had happened until days later. I almost crashed into another car while driving, and at the time it didn't even cross my mind that anything abnormal had happened. Three days later, suddenly panic set in and I thought to myself "I almost crashed into another car!!!" That's how long it took for messages from the real world would take to reach my conscious mind, even though the "reptilian complex" of my brain dealt with the situations I faced just fine. My reactions were alright, but myself was so far away that almost nothing could reach it.
There are a thousand other things that happened to me on a daily basis just like this. Since I could feel no emotion I would stick needles all the way into myself just to feel something. Some people say that "cutters" are just trying to get attention, but I never tried to get attention from this because I have never mentioned this before now, and no one has ever known about it. I used to stick needles into myself every night for years... There is a lot of "pain" in being able to feel nothing. Most people will never understand that, but they don't know what it's like to not exist. They haven't died and been forced to live through years of nightmare. As everything came crashing down I couldn't even leave the house anymore... I just spend months staring at the wall... I couldn't even figure walls out, let alone anything else. I skipped a year of school and spent my time sitting in the house doing nothing, often sleeping 20+ hours a day. My dad finally said I had to do something, so I decided to go back to school.
When I went to High School everything was so strange that I didn't even know the people from one day to the next. I didn't even know the building. Instead of walking into the building, the building would move towards me and the hallways would move past me as I stood still... I got in trouble many times because I would end up in the wrong class, but I had no idea where I was. I had to look at the class schedule every day because I never knew what classes I was going to have. It was all new every day. I never had the same teacher from one day to the next, never had the same students in my class and was never in the same building. Yet somehow I lived through this twilight zone to get a 4.0 GPA and an award because of my ACT score.
In college it just got worse to the point that I couldn't even go to class and when people would talk to me I had no idea who they were, even though when I tried to piece it all together later I would realize that the stranger who just walked by and said "hello" was my professor I had seen almost every day for several months. I spent several hours every night walking around in this dream world, knowing I wasn't really at college and wondering when it was going to end. Every other thought was of depression and when I realized that my dream was becoming a nightmare it had to end. I decided to kill myself again (pun not originally intended, but let stand once recognized) and took every single pain killer and other pills I had in my possession. But it didn't work because I couldn't go to sleep and spent the rest of the night throwing up. I slept for three days after that... When I finally felt better I knew for certain that I wasn't normal in the traditional sense of the word. This led me to realize that I was in a very bad condition and I went to see a counselor.
She helped me put the pieces
together somewhat. The best I could explain myself to her was as a broken
mirror shattered into a thousand fragments. She worried about me so much
that our sessions would go for 3 hours or more. She asked me to come and see
her once a week and she gave me a lot of phone numbers to call because she
wanted to make sure I wasn't going to attempt suicide again. I asked her if
it was possible to be whole again and she asked me if I thought it was
possible. After thinking about it for a while I said yes. Things have been
getting better ever since... She helped me come to grips with the terror of
waking up in a new world every day. Ever since my mom died I felt so sick
every day I felt like I was going to throw up. In college the nausea became
so strong that I would get up at 6:00 in the morning and sit in a chair for
an hour before I could even move. After talking to the counselor for about 8
months this has subsided completely. I have been quite thin most of my life
because of feeling too sick to eat, but my stomach doesn't hurt all the time
now. Thanks to the counselor I'm not dead, and even though this effect has
lessened over the years, the feeling of detachment is so strong I still feel
no emotions whatsoever. Someone can have something terrible happen to them
and be standing in front of me crying, and I feel "sad" for them
on some level, it's not that I have no capacity for understanding of
empathy, but I don't really feel anything. I just say "I know how you
feel" as if I really do. But I don't. I just know that other people,
assuming they really exist, can feel something I can't. And I hope they
enjoy it; they should savor every second of a sense that they are given. If
you can feel any emotion don't let those moments pass you by, because you
have an insight some people will never have.
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