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  • Do YOU suffer from derealization/depresonalization/dissociation?

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    Old 02-19-2004, 06:17 AM   #1
    Natasha1981's Avatar
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    Do YOU suffer from derealization/depresonalization/dissociation?

    Hi all, just a warning that I'm not a health professional, just an average woman out there who suffers from this and wants to help others.

    I've been suffering from symptoms of depresonalization ever since I was young, but it got worse when I was older. I was abused as a child not only by my parents but by my peers, teachers and others. Sexually assaulted at 13. My first love died of cancer. Lost all my friends, dropped out of school and became hopeless overtime.

    When I was younger I started to experience weird thoughts - that I wasn't part of this world, that I was a robot, that I was an alien being. Then I started seeing things differently...everything looked very sharp but it felt like I was in a cartoon or in a dream. Pinching myself would pull me down towards earth but wouldn't get rid of the detachement I felt.

    Derealization/depresonalization is one of the scariest things anyone can suffer. It can make you feel like you're going crazy, that you're schizophrenic or that you're stuck in your dream world.

    Symptoms :
    - Feeling dead or like a walking zombie.
    - Feeling as if you're a spectator watching a movie or just watching the world go by and that you're really not in it.
    - Looking at your body from the outside
    - Feeling like you're looking at the world inside a bottle and cannot escape
    - Spacyness
    - Feeling as if it is a dream and that you'll be waking up anytime soon.
    - Watching a movie or television and thinking that you're part of the program.
    - Emotional numbness
    - Feels like looking through the world through a veil, or you might have extra sharp vision (due to dilated pupils).
    - Amnesia. This is a medical emergency, it is a symptom of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Or it could signal brain damage or severe depersonalization.
    - Dizziness, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light and sound and blurred vision.

    Above are just some of the symptoms, do any of yours sound similar?

    What Causes Derealization/Depresonalization

    - Depression, with or without psychotic features (very common)
    - PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) (very common)
    - Panic disorder, symptoms during a panic attack (very common)
    - Generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive (very common)
    - Repeated trauma, with or without PTSD (very common)
    - Street drug abuse, particularly LSD and marijuana (very common)
    - Physical stress (common)
    - Menses (common)
    - Sleep deprivation, extreme drowsiness (common)
    - Viral/bacterial infection (common)
    - Racing thoughts (common)
    - Neurological disease (common for over 50 but rare for those under 50 to be causing the symptoms).
    - Thyroid disease (rare)
    - Schizophrenia (common for schizophrenics. Does NOT mean you have schizophrenia! Dissociation is not schizophrenia.)

    By no means is the above a comprehensive list but they are the most well known causes of depresonalization. What's important is that if you're experiencing dissociation of any form that you get it checked out with a doctor. Don't worry, they will NOT hospitalize unless you're suicidal. Derealization is actually quite a common symptoms amongst the general population. The doctor will (SHOULD) do a CT or MRI scan of the brain to rule out damage there, blood work to make sure that's all in check and a neurological exam. If that all comes out OK (most of the time it does, mine did) then don't worry, your dissociation will not kill you

    Dissociation happens when the mind tries to dissociate from stressful events, even if you aren't consciously aware of them. Sometimes it can last for a few seconds at a time or for many years at a time. Some people experience their symptoms like a rollercoaster - They get really bad derealization then it disappears and comes back again. It will not kill you, you will not go crazy!


    Here are some things that have helped me and others and may be able to help you too

    - Positive thinking. Remind yourself that this is temporary and will pass. The more anxious your thinking, the more dissociation you will get. Positive feedback may not make your dissociation go away but it can prevent it from getting worse.
    - Pinch yourself, eat something, hold an ice cube, take a shower - the feeling will remind you that you're very much alive. Like above, it probably won't make the dissociation disappear but it helps a lot.
    - Laying down or relaxing in a dark area. Lots of light tends to make dissociation worse for some people.
    - Benzodiazepines helps some people, but not others. Sometimes you may have to try several until you find the right one. Ativan/lorazepam tends to work the best for me, while clonazepam only helps with derealization during panic attacks.
    - See a medical professional. Sometimes they prescribe anti-psychotics for the derealization. Don't worry, it does NOT mean you're psychotic, it just slows down the thoughts and brings you back to reality. I'm personally on 50 mg of seroquel daily and it's helping a lot. Anti-depressants may also be prescribed if you have depression.

    I will add more at a later time. I hope everyone found this post informative.

    Take care.

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    Old 02-19-2004, 07:43 AM   #2
    StarToo's Avatar
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    Re: Do YOU suffer from derealization/depresonalization/dissociation?

    I had many incidents as a child and teenager of feeling that everything was "round", no edges or corners on anything. The feeling would come at different times. I had it especially badly in French lab, in a little cubicle that was surrounded by pegboard. Everytime I would sit down and put the headphones on the feeling would come over me.The odd thing is that I can speak unusually good French after all these years - but am dealing with many depression and self worth issues. I could never explain this feeling to anyone. The people I did tell it to did not believe me and my parents sure weren't going to spend money taking me to a doctor. I will still feel that feeling occasionally, and know to just let it pass. It doesn't happen very often now.

    Old 02-19-2004, 11:50 AM   #3
    blurred's Avatar
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    Re: Do YOU suffer from derealization/depresonalization/dissociation?

    hmmm well my symptoms are similiar but I have more of a feeling that something is controlling me? but i dont feel the world around me is real so...

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