Right now it feels like I will never get this out of my head and any happiness I had is gone.
I know exactly how you feel. I've had my share of run-ins with this horrible sensation. The feeling of everything that you know being turned upside-down, and an impending sense of doom, as though nothing will ever be the same again. Good old panic attacks!
Just know that you'll be alright. Through my years of experience with anxiety/panic disorder, I've come to realize that the best way to deal with it is to find solace in others who have gone through the same thing. Like I said, I know EXACTLY how you feel right now. I pretty much felt that way when I originally started this thread. However, notice how I'm still here. I'm still typing and I didn't go batshit insane from thinking about this existential type stuff. If I can do this, you can too.
I won't lie, I still think about stuff like this, and it definitely still scares me from time to time, but it's very manageable. Personally, when I find myself FREAKING out, I take a step outside. You'd be surprised how simply getting outside, away from the confining walls of your room/house/apartment, and taking a stroll can calm you down. Same goes with a bike ride, or a trip to the gym, or going to a store. Maybe this doesn't work for everyone, but it's done wonders for me.
The type of panic that you're feeling, and that I've felt numerous times, is kind of in it's own category, if you ask me. If you're panicking about a test coming up, eventually that test will be in the past. If you're panicking about never being able to get out of an elevator, eventually the elevator ride ends. However, if you panic about the theory that everything you know and love is merely a computer simulation...what the hell do you do? Where's the solution? Where's the escape? This is a special case because what you're panicking about essentially negates
everything you throw at it. Any possible type of explanation you can give can always be shot down with "well that's just what I'm programmed to think" or something similar. It's essentially the definition of a panic attack. You desperately try to come to an answer, but you can't find one so you try again, and again, and again, and again, and again, all the while you're getting more and more FEARFUL with each attempt. It's scary, very scary.
Obviously, I can't give you any answers to such philosophical thoughts as this. It's actually impossible for me to, even if I knew everything ever. Why? Because even if I said with 100% certainty, proven by some insane scientific procedure that we are completely real, we are NOT in a simulation, and everything is how it's always been, you can simply use the same thought that keeps you in the panic attack, "this is all part of the programming to keep me from knowing the truth".
I don't mean to say that to make you feel worse, I mean to say it to demonstrate the hopelessness of thriving on these thoughts so much. It gets to a point where you just have to sort of...give in. You have to accept that we don't know everything, and there are some things that we cannot understand.
Think about the WORST case scenario right now. Let's pretend that we're in a simulated universe. Well, for one thing, who's to say that's a terrible thing? Why do we default to a feeling of terror and dread at this idea? In a way, it would open up a tremendous world of wonder. What's on the outside
? Maybe the "real" world is full of our "real" selves, and when we die in this world, we simply wake back up in the "real" world and can begin a different simulation. It opens up so many questions, some terrifying, some fascinating, but it's all speculation.
Science is advancing at an exponential rate. We know things now that we couldn't even dream of thousands or even hundreds of years ago. When we think we know it all, something pops up that needs explanation. Yes, maybe there are in fact some experiments out there that seem to suggest we are in a simulation, but a total game-changer could pop up 100 years down the road that suggests otherwise.
Read what this guy has to say about panic attacks: www.panicend.com
Take a stroll, hang out with your friends and family. Simulated or not, they make us feel happier. Even if we are in a simulation, life is CLEARLY better when we are happy, so why not chase that feeling?