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Author Topic: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization  (Read 1608 times)

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Offline bridgesc

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Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« on: January 25, 2013, 09:15:41 PM »
I just joined this forum and I really need help; I can't take it anymore.

3 months ago I had my first seriously bad panic attack. I felt like my head was going to explode, my arms got numb, I had tunnel vision, somehow I also felt detached from my body, and it felt like I could not breathe or swallow at all. I did not know what was happening so I was screaming for someone to help me and I was shaking a lot. The severest part came and went in around 10 seconds but after I still had some of the symptoms. (I went to the doctor the next day, they did some tests and everything was normal and they said it was anxiety) Ever since then I haven't been the same and I've had more panic attacks.

The worst part is the derealization, or that's what I think it is. It's been constant ever since that first panic attack. I feel like I'm not completely in reality and I keep questioning what reality is. I'm afraid to do anything for fear I'll completely lose touch with myself. I feel like my body isn't mine and that one day I'm going to disappear into thin air. It never stops, it doesn't go away. It will lessen sometimes and it will worsen sometimes, which typically leads to a panic attack. I don't know how much longer I can handle this. If I'm supposed to live like this my whole life then what's the point? Normal tasks are so hard now because I feel so detached. Please somebody help me.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 06:39:13 AM »
What can happen as a rule is, you have your first panic attack, you expect it to happen again. The fear is always there on your mind. So it won't let you down. It will happen again. The thing is now, how to get it under control. Anxiety is just the body going on the defensive from what it thinks is danger. As odd as it may sound the suffering we feel is our bodies way of protecting us. From thise sensed danger that we sent to the brain by way of signals. Better known as triggers. So some time during that first day your mind was sent a signal that told it that danger was lurking. Then the body acts up to defend us from this danger. But in reality there is no danger at all. Hence it is a medical condition. But derealization is just another symptom of this. It can be a frightening symptom. I used to get it for years. Then it just upped and vanished. No magic cure for it. It just stopped by itself. I would even be out of the house. Come home. Have no memory of even been out of the house. It can do that to you at times. You could try distraction methods when you feel it coming on. Like finding something else to do. So you are not focused inwardly. But most times we simply need to snap out of the state of mind. I found that a fright when outdoors always snapped me out of it. Was crossing a road one morning. I saw the car. Thought it was further away because of derealization. So I crossed the road. The car had to skid to miss me. Once that happened I snapped out of it. So the old elastic band trick might work. On the wrist. Once you feel yourself going into this state, let the elastic band fly. On your wrist that is. Might snap you back out of the state of mind. I know it can be daunting. But with me it simply just vanished by itself.
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Offline Twinhere

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 12:26:55 AM »
I have this too. Had a bad panic attack similar to yours after trying weed..  Hope we get better.. :)
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Offline Pippy187

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 12:50:13 AM »
I get this really bad at times... It comes and goes... As unattached as I feel, I never deviate from my daily activities or break from routine. I also find this website helps me a lot.  Try to distract your self as much as you can.  Its not a fun feeling, but it does pass.
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Offline bridgesc

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 11:09:52 PM »
Mine doesn't come and go. It's alway present but it will be more severe some days and less severe others.
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Offline dereal

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 11:21:17 PM »
I really sympathize - I have had derealization/depersonalization panic attacks before and they are horrible.  My first was when I was 16 and they went on constantly for a year.  Back then I didn't know what it was and didn't have anyone to talk to.  Pre-internet!  :sprachlos020:

And I really think that's the key... talk to people about it.  Is there someone you know who you could trust to talk to about this? 

Give yourself time.  They will get better.  The way I think about it is that I am just off balance and I need to let my body and mind get in balance again. 

I would also say that keeping busy is a good idea too.  These kinds of panic attacks come with a lot of negative racing thoughts. 

I actually had one of these panic attacks this morning - I really, really had to force myself to think about something else. 

Just know that there ARE other people who know what you are going through.  You are not going crazy.

Let me know if there's anything I can help you with.
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Offline bridgesc

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 12:17:30 AM »
Thank you dereal! It's comforting to know that I am not alone.
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Offline coeus

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 09:46:02 AM »
You're definitely not alone, bridgesc.

3 months ago I had my first seriously bad panic attack. I felt like my head was going to explode, my arms got numb, I had tunnel vision, somehow I also felt detached from my body, and it felt like I could not breathe or swallow at all. I did not know what was happening so I was screaming for someone to help me and I was shaking a lot. The severest part came and went in around 10 seconds but after I still had some of the symptoms. (I went to the doctor the next day, they did some tests and everything was normal and they said it was anxiety) Ever since then I haven't been the same and I've had more panic attacks.

This sounds exactly what I felt a long time ago when I was dealing with the new experiences of derealisation. The issue for us is that we realise that we are experiencing these symptoms and sensations but we stress ourselves even more that causes heightened levels of anxiety. It's good that you're recognising what going on with your body as self-awareness is the first step in managing your anxiety and associated symptoms.

The worst part is the derealization, or that's what I think it is. It's been constant ever since that first panic attack. I feel like I'm not completely in reality and I keep questioning what reality is. I'm afraid to do anything for fear I'll completely lose touch with myself. I feel like my body isn't mine and that one day I'm going to disappear into thin air. It never stops, it doesn't go away. It will lessen sometimes and it will worsen sometimes, which typically leads to a panic attack. I don't know how much longer I can handle this. If I'm supposed to live like this my whole life then what's the point? Normal tasks are so hard now because I feel so detached. Please somebody help me.

I know how you feel since I went through it. I find it that derealisation is the most difficult thing to describe - reality checking is intact; nothing has truly changed and that's why it's the feelings of unreality that cause us discomfort. I kept questioning my surroundings, the people I was with and the things I was seeing.

The element that's causing all this is our hyper-vigilance to our feelings, environment and symptoms. We're always unnecessarily scanning about whether things are real or not and it's a paradox - the more we try to fight and suppress that sense of derealisation, the worse it gets.

Let me tell you something: the turning point for me was acceptance and acknowledgement of the derealisation. This isn't a systematic or linear process - it's not as easy as accepting it and magically feeling better overnight. It takes time and your perseverance to change the relationship you have with your feelings and symptoms. The derealisation and anxiety will ease gradually when you let things naturally be and work with it, not continually struggle with it. I assure you that what you are feeling is not dangerous - I have been through it and now am rid of that time of my life.

Just curious, are you seeing a psychologist at the moment?
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Offline bridgesc

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 11:39:55 AM »
Thank you for the advice. Currently I am not, but I have been through a number of psychologists and counselors, none of them really had a treatment plan or anything. I'd just come in and talk about things and it never helped. When I go see my psychiatrist on the 11th I'm hoping she can help me find a better psychologist.
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Offline mike259

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 08:56:56 PM »
From my own experiences with derealisation i found what helped me cope was understanding and accepting it. Learning that it is the brains way of coping with a situation that would otherwise be too harmful for us enabled me to manage it better, and also pay less attention to it. Working myself up about it only exacerbated the intensity of the feeling. Mine lasted for around 3 months, it takes time but if you gradually make things easier for yourself and work with rather than against yourself it helps. Just know that there is a way out. It was also a relief to discover others with similar experiences and hearing success stories.

Hope you managed to ease the situation.
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Offline Never-Quit

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Re: Somebody Please Help Me; Derealization and Depersonalization
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 12:02:13 AM »
Thank you for the advice. Currently I am not, but I have been through a number of psychologists and counselors, none of them really had a treatment plan or anything. I'd just come in and talk about things and it never helped. When I go see my psychiatrist on the 11th I'm hoping she can help me find a better psychologist.

My biggest issue with DP/DR was that I was never able to permanently control them until my psychiatrist started using medication, even though no one really want to use meds, IT SAVED MY SANITY.  :yes:


I value CBT and mental therapy very much, but there are some areas that its effectiveness was just not working - It worked best with my anxiety (not Panic attacks) and my phobias, but it didn't touch my DP/DR, Panic Disorder, or OCD.

With DP/DR - I personally found many types of medications that did work, some better than others (Meclizine (Bonine), Benzodiazepine (long half life Klonopin in particular), SSRI/SNRI (very good, but it took over a month for the DP/DR to lift).

 
Here is an earlier post on DP/DR - which is a very scary feeling - it would come and go, sometimes I would have it for weeks at a time, sometimes I would be ok for several weeks, just to have it come back in full force!

I am convinced is a biologically based problem, just as my Panic Disorder and OCD.


Yes! ::)  - I call this the "Twilight- Zone State" B-; -  I had these before we had common medical terms we now call  "Depersonalization" and "Derealization"

I was originally diagnosed with Panic Disorder and OCD and GAD - Once I started the medication - 6-8 weeks later this "Twilight- Zone State" B-; - disappeared along with my Panic Disorder, and later after 6 months or so, at higher dosage my OCD finally disappeared.  In my experience, all these disorders appear to have a common root - a chemical imbalance in the brain - that for me was quickly corrected by using an SSRI medication - compared to years of unproductive CBT therapy.

Here is what the Mayo Clinic states:


Symptoms of depersonalization include:
•   Feelings that you're an outside observer of your thoughts, feelings, or parts of your body,  as if you were floating in air above yourself
•   Feeling like a robot or that you're not in control of your speech or movements
•   The sense that your body, legs or arms appear distorted, enlarged or shrunken, or that your head is wrapped in cotton
•   Emotional or physical numbness of your senses or responses to the world around you
•   A sense that your memories lack emotion, and that they may or may not be your own memories


Symptoms of derealization include:

•   Feelings of being alienated from or unfamiliar with your surroundings, perhaps like you're living in a movie
•   Feeling emotionally disconnected from people you care about, as if you were separated by a glass wall
•   Surroundings that appear distorted, blurry, colorless, two-dimensional or artificial, a heightened awareness of your surroundings
•   Distortions in perception of time, such as recent events feeling like distant past
•   Distortions of distance and the size and shape of objects


The exact cause of depersonalization-derealization disorder isn't well-understood. However, it appears to be linked to an imbalance of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which can make a brain vulnerable so that heightened states of stress and fear may lead to the disorder.


While there are no medications specifically approved to treat depersonalization-derealization disorder, certain medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety may help. Examples that have been shown to relieve symptoms include fluoxetine (Prozac), clomipramine (Anafranil) and clonazepam (Klonopin).

If you feel this getting out of hand, by all means see your doctor or better yet a psychiatrist - the can become your greatest allies  :yes:


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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

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