Story by "Lizzie"

 

I don't really know where to start. Before getting online and "searching" I had no idea that there were so many other people who felt the same way I did. Like many others I have never been officially diagnosed with depersonalization, but reading what others have described, symptoms exactly like my own, I don't know what else it could be.

 

I suppose I'm probably "lucky", as I have only fleeting moments of DP, usually lasting anywhere from a second to maybe 5 minutes. I have these "moments" at least once a day, though stress seems to bring them on more often and for longer periods of time.
 
Some things about me..: I am a 20 yr.-old woman. I am in college full-time and I work full-time.  My symptoms are not a result of drug use. I have had DP symptoms for about 2 years. I don't currently have any mental illness, though I would say if anything my "mental health" started on a downhill slide about 5 years ago when I developed anorexia nervosa, which I "got over" in about a year. Since then I have had occasional bouts of depression but nothing really serious. I'm very introverted, a "loner." I don't spend much time with the few friends I do have. I haven't had a date in almost 2 yrs. I'm more comfortable keeping everyone at arm's length.
 
Certain thoughts always seem to trigger my DP episodes: thinking about death, the finality of it and my own mortality; thinking about my body, focusing on my body, anatomically, such as: "when I close my eyes to sleep, my eyeball rolls down, my eyelid shuts"..; concentrating on my physical actions.
 
Now to the nitty-gritty.. how do I feel during DP episodes? I think the term "perceptual shift" describes it well.
*Detached. I suddenly become very aware that my mind and my body are two very separate things.
*Sometimes my arms do not feel attached to my body, like they might not even be my arms.
*Tunnel vision.. like I've pulled my mind, my "self", so far back into my body that I'm looking out my eyes like I'm looking through binoculars. Or I might describe it to someone who wears glasses as the way you see when you first got glasses; when you see the frames out the corners of your eyes, before you learn to ignore them.

 

I wonder what causes DP? Is it a chemical problem? Is it really a mental illness? Maybe we are not "ill" at all. Maybe we're tapping into something that most people can't or won't recognize?
I wish I had the answers. Feel free to email me with questions or comments or whatever.
 
Lizzie

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