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    Old 12-26-2009, 09:02 PM   #1
    brettashley
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    derealization?

    I am new here. I am writing because I often find myself on such websites, trying to find people with similar symptoms as myself. Unfortunately, I can never find anything exactly, so I decided to post something of my own. Any responses are greatly appreciated..

    As a child, I would often suffer from tiny bouts of derealization, lasting only about a minute and would quickly fade. As I aged, these bouts of depersonalization and derealization have become an integrated part of my everyday life. Beginning about 4 years ago, I had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety, that of which drove me into a state of derealization, dizziness, confusion, lack of energy and feeling as though I did not have the capability to perform day to day tasks. It was not a general feeling of depression, but more questioning day to day occurrences such as "how am I even typing this e-mail." Everything felt very whimsical and unreal, completely separated from a normal day. Fortunately, I saw a therapist and these feelings were very slowly moved from my life, although it took about a year to remove. I find this very hard to believe that such symptoms can be driven solely by anxiety.

    Recently, I have been suffering from derealization again, plus more physical symptoms. I literally have pain everywhere in my body. I do not go through a single day without feeling some sort of pain. Most of my pain is in my back and my shoulders, and there is even a huge lump that appears on my left shoulder. I was originally afraid that this lump was a tumor, but I find that it comes and goes as it pleases. The pain radiates down my neck and into my head, often causing migraine headaches. With these migraine headaches, and without, feelings of "everything not being real" are constantly in my mind. These thoughts are so constant that it has become a part of my everyday life, I am unable to connect to real life and real people, and can mentally feel the distance between who I am now and who I know I am supposed to be. I know this sounds a little bit crazy, but I am confident that someone has felt similarly and knows the feeling of being detached.

    What is scary about these symptoms, even though I have felt them before, is the constant worry that it is never going to go away. I have little to no anxiety in my life, and feel more content and happy than ever (aside from the anxiety that is brought about by feeling the way that I do). Generally, I feel as follows:

    A constant pain on my left side, lump on left shoulder that radiates pain up to my head and down under my left ribcage, down my left arm, into my left hand sometimes
    Constant dizzy feeling, not vertigo, more like I am "walking on air" and could fall over or run into a wall at any moment
    Concern about performing day to day tasks, as in, I am very curious as to how I am able to compose this thread currently
    A slowed reaction time, almost like being lazy, but dismissing things that I should be doing day to day regularly
    Confusion as to what is real and what is not real
    Sometimes I have an out-of-body feeling, but more likely I find myself staring and rarely blinking, caught in some sort of trance
    I often find myself clenching my teeth/jaw together or clenching my facial muscles in an awkward way
    My head feels foggy, and if I roll my eyes back it causes a lot of pain in my head
    Sometimes I feel as if I am talking incorrectly/struggling to talk, type, or write

    My biggest concern is the part about feeling "unreal." Like when I am driving, I feel as if the car is floating or that I will not be able to functionally drive the car. I have a hard time when I think about my house at school while sitting at another friends house. Whatever is not in front of me feels like it does not exist.

    If this is all stemming from anxiety - wouldn't my body be able to assure myself that and, thus, calm myself and reduce my symptoms?

    I have previously had a brain MRI for migraines and MS and a chest x-ray for my pains on my left side. Everything came back negative.



    Does anybody have any suggestions to what this could be? I would love to get back to my normal life and not feel like I am floating or not alive. It is probably one of the scariest feelings....

    I appreciate anyone who took the time to read my post and I look forward to any response or advice.


    Thank you!

     
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    Old 12-27-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
    MrsPM
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    Re: derealization?

    I am so sorry that you are experiencing such symptoms. I would venture to guess that the physical symptoms you described including the derealization are due to anxiety, and maybe even depression. Since you have had diagnostic testing with negative results, it appears that you are free of any physical condition.

    I think it would be worth considering seeing a therapist again for the derealization. Although it took awhile for you to get through it before, you were successful in doing so. Good luck!

     
    Old 12-28-2009, 09:06 AM   #3
    tUrRrRa
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    Re: derealization?

    I am sorry to hear about this! Have you had any tests done by doctors (physicial tests- like blood work, scans, etc) for the pain you feel? Perhaps this can help rule out certain possibilities so we can help you narrow it down to what it could be.

    The derealization can definitely be anxiety-related. I get this way quite often. I feel like many days are a dream and like my mind isn't "all there." Sometimes I wonder if I have ADD or ADHD since I have a difficult time feeling alert and focused, but the fact that it has gotten worse more recently makes me think otherwise. I struggle with anxiety and used to with depression, and I do take medication. I take Prozac on a daily basis and Xanax as needed. I realize that these help my anxiety greatly, but sometimes they make me even less focused. I choose to stay on them because I feel happier on them overall. I next want to work on feeling more focused and alert.

    I would definitely consider taking your list of symptoms and checking with a doctor about them so they can do some routine tests. I hope the lump is not anything serious. Is it painful? I have heard of lumps in such areas that can hurt quite a bit, grow, shrink etc., and often times they are cysts. I know some people who have odd physical symptoms and pains as a result of their anxiety and stress. It can cause some serious symptoms if you are very anxious! Have you ever tried any medication for your anxiety, or just therapy/counseling?

     
    Old 12-28-2009, 10:51 AM   #4
    PAUSA
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    The reason I love this board so much is because I don't feel like such a nut after reading other peoples posts, hahaha :-) That being said, I know exactly what you are talking about and how you feel. I never ever used to have derealization/depersonalization, but lately my derealization has been pretty bad and it makes me so uncomfortable. I will give you a list of my most common symptoms and you'll see how similar they are to yours. I also have had soooooo many tests done and the Dr's all say that I'm perfectly fine and "normal." Whatever the heck normal is.

    ~Derealization - feeling very out of it and spacey like I'm here, but not completely

    ~Confusion that can sometimes be pretty bad

    ~Can't focus or comprehend what people are saying to me

    ~Feel like I don't remember doing things or going places I just did

    ~Don't know how I had conversations, typed emails, etc, because I feel so out of it

    ~Racing heart or slow heart rate, palpitations

    ~Floaters in my eyes and tired eyes almost everyday

    ~Feel like I'm going crazy or I just get very paranoid about everything

    ~Constantly worry about my breathing and what it feels like along with my heart rate

    ~Migraine headaches

    ~Jaw/teeth clenching that can be so bad it makes my face feel like someone hit it with a hammer

    ~Loss of appetite because my stomach muscles feel so tight

    ~Dizzy or off balance

    Also, these symptoms can come even when I'm not feeling anxious at all which can be extremely scary!! Do your ever come when you're feeling pretty calm? It's like I always have anxiety even when I'm not even anxious. So frustrating.
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    Old 12-28-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
    brettashley
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    Re: derealization?

    Thank you guys so much for taking the time to write back. Pausa, in particular, I feel as if you can relate to me very well. As far as to answer the rest of your questions, yes, a few months ago I had about 14 tubes of blood taken from me for numerous tests.. everything came back okay. I have also gone to the doctor about the lump, and they did not refer me to any other doctor saying it looked like a swollen muscle....

    I would like to talk more about the depersonalization. Everytime I look it up online, it kind of relates to me, but I feel like mine is even a step further than that, which is the part that scares me the most.... I know what it feels like to be upset about something and feel "removed," but the depersonalization/realization feels a lot worse than that. This is hard to explain.. but it almost feels like my head is in layers.. and I'll be totally fine and functioning, but then if I move my eyes to look in a different direction, its like a deja vous feeling (not really, but thats all I can use to describe it), in that it literally feels liek my mind fell onto a different level, or pier, and is not thinking completely different than it was before..

    All I would like to know, honestly, if this is anxiety related or if there is something seriously wrong with me. It's a terrible feeling to have such a small grasp on reality and see "normal" in close proximity to myself and not be able to reach it.. not be able to get out of this "mindset" (or whatever it is)........

    And to answer your question about feeling calm and feeling like this.. my answer is 100% YES. I feel completely calm, at ease, etc.. it happens when I'm relaxing in the pool with my best friends, when I'm with my family, even when I'm sleeping at my boyfriends house.. all things that I am so happy and blessed to have. Problem is, I can't enjoy them because I feel the way I do everyday, all day.

     
    Old 12-28-2009, 08:47 PM   #6
    PAUSA
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    Re: derealization?

    I feel like that too and that's one of the things that scares me the most also. We were at the beach this summer twice and I love the beach, it's always so relaxing and fun and while I was having fun and relaxing I always would get at some point during the day/night an off balance feeling or some other anxiety symptom that would make me think, oh my gosh what's wrong with me?! Like I said before, I'm 26 years old, I don't smoke, don't drink, I'm in pretty good shape and I'm thin, I don't over eat or under eat except when my anxiety is really high and I've had practically every test known to man and they all tell me I'm ok. I guess the hard part is believing that, but honestly when you feel so bad almost all the time it's hard. In March I think it was, I had an MRI, MRA, EEG, and ENG, all of which thankfully came back just fine so my neurologist said I have no brain problems. I've also had numerous EKG's, echocardiograms, and 24 hour Holter monitors over the past few years and even a trip or two to the ER and they all tell me I'm fine, just some normal sinus tachycardia, some PAC's and PVC's and that I need to relax and get control of myself. A fear of mine with this anxiety is taking meds so that's not really an option either. I'm at the point now where I won't even take my Xanax. It sucks. I feel like I never truly enjoy what I'm doing because I'm always worrying and what ifing everything. The physical symptoms are the real kickers. I can deal with the thoughts I think better than when it manifests itself into something physical. That's when I freak out and start the constant negative thoughts.

    Today I had the off balance/spacey/confused/couldn't concentrate, etc... almost all day along with feeling like I couldn't get good breaths and a few weird beats or feelings in my chest. We have a 6 year old son and I have to get my anxiety under control not just for me, but for him because the dear little thing is already developing anxious tendencies just from watching me. I want him to know that you can get through these rough patches, but I'm just at such a stand still it feels like. I'm constantly monitoring my breathing, heart rate, and thoughts or head feelings and it's so tiring. I'm now to the point that I'm really never comfortable being alone. I don't know what to do. My therapist said that it will work itself out in time and I have to just find what works for me, but honestly I have to find something soon because life is passing me by and I'm not going to let it get away!!
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    Last edited by msmod; 12-29-2009 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Changed spelling so word wouldn't appear to be banned. Ms_Mod

     
    Old 12-29-2009, 01:55 PM   #7
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    Re: derealization?

    I hope everyone here can one day find a good way to deal with these feelings. I personally know that my anxiety can cause this feeling, but at the same time, I feel this way even when I'm feeling calm. Who knows! It's very confusing to me. One medication I took made me feel even worse (Cymbalta). I would feel like I was floating up in the air all the time. I feel like the only way I can ever feel somewhat alert and that things are REAL is if I am loaded up on caffeine. I am prone to migraines- I know this can cause a spacey feeling as well. Do any of you get migraines or allergies?

     
    Old 12-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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    Re: derealization?

    I actually get migraines and I have allergies. Right now I'm having problems with my eyes. I feel like they are always tired and sometimes blurry. It's weird because I can't wear my contacts anymore and if I put on my glasses to drive or watch TV it will trigger that weird spacey feeling or derealization. So now my anxiety is affecting my glasses?!?! Ugh. I wish I knew what to do for this. I typically get at least 2 migraines a month. Sometimes I will have a lot more and occasionally I won't get any. Migraines are terrible. Sometimes I think they are much worse than anxiety because I can function to some extent with anxiety, but not a lot at all with a migraine.
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    Old 12-30-2009, 06:25 PM   #9
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    Re: derealization?

    Oh goodness... and then it's hard to tell if the migraines are somewhat caused by the anxiety, and things like that... it's hard to tell what actually started up FIRST! I wish there was a way to just get rid of it all. With me, I don't really know if I felt the derealization first, or the anxiety. It's definitely frustrating! I also can't function with a migraine. Just about all of my sick days at work were from migraines. I hate getting nauseous because throwing up from the migraine with the pain HURTS!

     
    Old 05-01-2010, 03:42 PM   #10
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    Re: derealization?

    Hi there from what you listed if may be TMJ and or some type of migraine.

    You can go to ENT for TMJ and headache specialist neurologist for migraine.

    Try to stay away from florescent lighting and when you use your computer or watching tv turn your contrast level and brightness down and see how that helps, try this for a month and try to stay relaxed as much as possible.

    Try not to take anti anxiety medications, just see if this helps first. Please let me know how you feel after doing some of these simple things, it might help it may not but worth a try to get back to feeling a little more of how we felt before all this happened, good luck.

    Last edited by moderator2; 05-01-2010 at 04:03 PM. Reason: please do not post your email address

     
    Old 05-04-2010, 09:13 AM   #11
    tUrRrRa
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    Re: derealization?

    Unfortunately I've felt this way even before taking medication, but I haven't been this way forever. I don't remember being this way as a child. It's frustrating to not know if something was real or a dream and it's pretty confusing. I also tend to feel tired a lot, although I wonder if maybe I'm just dizzy and "out of it" thus making me feel tired even though I'm not. Sometimes I wonder if I sleep well and am curious about sleep tests. For me, waking up is very difficult. It's normal for me to fall after getting out of bed because my balance is very off. I frequently knock things over and end up getting frustrated when I knock over bottles of water, etc. and make a mess. I do have some pressure on my face and have allergies, so I think this may add to the problem more. I do suspect possible TMJ, but my dentist said that I have no signs of wear on my teeth, so if so, it isn't severe. I'm wondering if I have something going on with my inner ears that makes me feel this way. I haven't had these kinds of tests/check ups done.

     
    Old 07-29-2010, 03:34 AM   #12
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    Re: derealization?

    WOW, I thought I was the only one this happens to. I have always felt this way,even as a kid.I would be playing,and suddenly feel like I was outside my body,looking at me. Even when I spoke, it sounded like a dream. These episodes would last only a couple of minutes,but seemed to come in spurts. I would feel outside myself, a couple times a week and then not feel that way for a couple of months.
    I often wondered if I was already dead, and dreaming that I was alive..

    Last edited by msmod; 07-29-2010 at 06:27 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod

     
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