Story by "J"

 

Thank you so much for this site. I cannot stress how helpful this forum is for those of us who suffer from this disorder. I have had DP for 16 years and when it 'peaks', it is just awful to deal with.

I developed Depersonalization from smoking Marijuana when I was 15. I had smoked it many times, but after smoking it one evening with a friend, I was forever changed.

I woke up the next day feeling out of sorts and wondering if I had given myself brain damage, or maybe I was just imagining that I was still detached. Of course that led to anxiety and panic attacks that were agonizing. I went to my doctor and was administered a blood test. When that came back negative, I was sent to a neurologist for an EEG and a CAT scan. Both of those proved negative...

I was then placed on Ativan to calm the anxiety and started seeing a psychologist weekly. Over time I guess I got used to the DP; the anxiety stopped and I went on with life. I went through college, loved life and would notice the DP spiking here and there but never a major episode.

Never a major episode until 2 years out of school. I was working a stressful job, living on my own, and gee, smoking pot every once in a while...DUMB!! Out of nowhere the anxiety and panic kicked in and the DP was surging. I couldn't believe it because I had been doing so well for 6 or 7 years. Nonetheless, it was back to the counseling where they treated the anxiety first and avoided the DP as the primary problem.

I left that job, moved back home, lost my 5 year girlfriend, and had a total disinterest in life. I was able to get the anxiety to go away and over time (again), I got used to that present level of DP and things improved again.

The next 7 years were great, I was loving life again, dealing with the DP, super energetic and never happier.

So recently it has resurged again. I had some anxiety but I dealt with that. I do however get down and frustrated over the DP quite often. Once again it has impaired me emotionally and socially but I have to think positively about it and realize that it will subside to a level that I can get used to.

All of you that read this need to understand that you are not losing your mind. You are not going to die from this either. When your friends and family don't understand what you are trying to explain to them, don't feel that it is you who cannot communicate this problem...try explaining it to doctors back in the 1980's when you're 15 years old...it was impossible! Now at least it is recognized as a real disorder and not a figment of your imagination. Also, realize that you don't act or look strange in public, not one person in my life has ever pointed a finger at me and said, "Hey man, you look depersonalized!!"...No one can tell so don't sweat it.

I don't recommend drug therapy unless there is definitive proof someday of a treatment. Mental health sciences are improving dramatically and I honestly believe that relief will be found, but taking drug cocktails doesn't seem logical.

I truly believe that people like us are prone to this disorder and one thing or another may bring it out. I believe emotionally unbalanced individuals who are prone to worry, ruminating and over-thinking, have a higher chance of getting Depersonalization. Everyone spaces out in stress...like the death of a loved one or a car accident, or something else that's traumatic, but that defense mechanism in OUR brains is on a 24 hour program. It's uncomfortable, distracting and scary...I can't count how many times I've prayed that it would go away...truth is...it may never go away...I've had to move on with my life and adapt... You will too!!

I hope that we all find the remedy to this someday. I hope that you all feel a little better after reading this. You're not alone, keep your chin up!

 

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