Personal Accounts

Most of the time I just try to do something that gives/used to give me positive emotions.

You basically have to become your own advocate and tell the doctors what it is. Unfortunately, I too have gotten the blank stare when I explain my symptoms. My current therapist is cool though and after I told him about it, he said he did some research to be able to help me better. I’m not sure why it’s not more widely recognized considering the amount of people that seem to suffer from it.

The biggest thing I want people to understand is that I’m not ok. I’ve been dealing with this for awhile now and even though I get up every single day and take care of my son and my responsibilities, I’m still not ok. I’ve only told 3 people about this and they all say the same thing: ‘you seem fine to me.’ The thoughts won’t shut off and I can’t get past the whole not feeling real thing. I’m missing out on everything.

Anyone else feel like their brain is degenerating? I feel dumber and dumber as the years go on. This started at 18 for me and now I’m 21. Before then I felt alert and very aware of my surroundings most of the time. Now my memory is terrible, I feel like I could be walking down the street and a car could crash next to me and I might not even notice…I want to feel alert and present again like I used to.

I find myself thinking over memories trying to tell [if I’ve always had depersonalization]. Rationally, I know I didn’t, but at the same time I can’t seem to remember a time it doesn’t feel like I didn’t.

My memories of times during my DPDR are super foggy and lacking emotional connection, like it wasn’t even me who experienced these things.

I feel like I can’t have feelings, or can’t feel love for someone and I’m scared. Do you guys feel the same way?

I fear the same thing. It’s weird, I can objectively “think” or “calculate” that I do or “should” have feelings for someone, but it’s confusing. It doesn’t seem natural. I’m lost in my head trying to tell how I actually feel. Everything is too blurry and fast-paced for me to be in the moment with someone. I don’t know. I hate it. This largely contributed to the end of my last relationship. I feel so detached and it isn’t fair to string someone along for that.

It’s like stepping back and watching your friend do something incredibly stupid and telling them how terrible of an idea it is, but they won’t listen, you just have to stand there and watch them mess up. And also that friend is you.

DPDR is a very psychologically isolating condition…I can be standing in a crowded room at a party/busy shopping mall or a packed sports event and I still feel trapped inside my own head…The normal connection regular people feel with the world around them has been taken away from all us DPDR sufferers….I particularly notice it when I’m out walking the beautiful park near where I live…I find it hard to connect with nature and the beauty of the trees and plants and animals that surround me the way I used to pre-DPDR….It’s like the sense of wonderment, amazement and awe is just gone but yet I still know nature is astonishing, I just don’t feel it anymore.

It’s not normal for a human to have no emotion or motive…My parents don’t understand. Medical doctors can’t help me…I just suddenly woke up one day and I wasn’t me anymore, I cannot experience a smirk or a smile, laughter, love, anger, fear, sadness, pleasure from activity, interest in anything. I could be lit on fire and be completely blank. I’m stuck like a deer in headlights, but I’m walking around and functioning, but I’m not actually a person…It’s not the sort of numbness from depression, it’s like the emotional center of my brain completely shut off…I used to be highly sensitive and caring and now my family could be killed and I’d be blank.

Locked out of who I was. Trying and struggling to act normal all the time. Short of breath, vision issues, etc. Being behind a pain of glass, unable to properly connect and interact with life. My brain worked and I could kinda pull off being me, but it took so much more concentration and energy than usual. It was as if my personality and imagination had disappeared and I couldn’t experience emotions anymore. It was like I was constantly watching a film about my life, but I wasn’t in it. It was quite terrifying, almost like locked in syndrome where you can’t properly interact with the world, but it was more of a locked out syndrome. Locked out of who I was, struggling to act normal all the time. Additionally, I always felt short of breath and suffered vision issues: double vision, flashing dots, light sensitivity, floaters, etc. There was also this feeling like I was out of rhythm with everything around me constantly. Conversations were arduous, I found learning new things really hard, my memory was slowly deteriorating, and it was as if I had no inner landscape….I was barely coping, struggling to do my job and maintain friendships, insomnia became a horrible side effect that spiraled me further into total despair. Suicidal thoughts were fairly regular and paranoid, but very real fears were creeping in that I had early onset dementia or something similar. Chronic fatigue and IBS crept in…my days were spent in an almost catatonic state of anxiety and dissociation.

I always see derealization and depersonalization as symptoms of things like panic attacks or severe anxiety, but it’s so hard to find anything about the actual disorder. It’s frustrating to me that there isn’t more studies on it because it seems like a lot of people have experienced it and plenty of other people have the actual disorder, which is why it baffles me that a good amount of psychiatrists don’t even know what it is, and that there aren’t studies on it.

I feel like I’m in a purgatory…. I feel like none of this is real…. I feel like I’m not real…. I feel like people think I’m crazy when I tell them this…. I feel like my memories aren’t real, I feel like it’s hard to remember things, and I feel for anyone going through this mental illness.

The irony of this disorder is that a lot of people I know with dpdr are the most self-aware people I have ever met. Rationally, we know the world is real. Rationally, we know we are real. We just can’t feel it and its devastating. Feeling unreal is the most alienating experience I’ve ever had. It’s like the whole world is invited to a party and you are the only one that didn’t get an invitation.

My head feels like a submerging submarine, what I imagine the pressure feels like. I feel like I become cognitively hazy and my vision makes everything look glazed over, like everything has a weird shine or as if everything was covered in shrink wrap. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a tightness in my jaw or whole face. Like a bolt is slowly being twisted. Overall, a really weird experience cause nothing is excruciatingly painful, but just a persistent mental ache.

That feeling that you may have always had [depersonazliation]. I hate thinking that I may have always had it, even though I know it isn’t true.

I’m a walking piece of meat operated by nerves controlled by my brain, somehow existing in the abyss of space on a rock that circles a flaming ball, surrounded by other walking porkchop things…I’m not interested in anything 98% percent of the time and really don’t care to interact and talk to people in real life. I just stumble around day by day, week by week, month by month with no sense of time or a care in the world, just operating how I need to. It’s truly like being dead, but alive at the same time.

It’s like you are acutely aware of what your body is doing. It’s like there is a distinct separation between the part of your mind initiating action and the part that is consciously observing it.

Socialization is difficult for me because of the constant brain fog, and often times if I’m able to remember what I wanted to say, I start getting disconnected mid-conversation. Sometimes, I completely forget what I’m talking about. It’s so embarrassing. I don’t want people to think I’m rude or dumb. I also just feel like when I am able to keep a conversation, I sound like an idiot because I’m not able to fully think through what I’m saying due to the brain fog/disconnect.

The only way I can express how I feel is through metaphors and similes…I feel like I am on a boat, drifting away from land…I wake up and I don’t have a solid grasp on who I am and the things around me. I forget my personality. Last night, my girlfriend told me that I briefly seemed like a different person, and that this scared her. This scared me…I still have associations with words, but they are like empty boxes with labels. I look inside, expecting to find something, but there is nothing there. I know I have a past and a future, but when I think about them it’s as if I am looking down a foggy road. It feels like I’m trying to fetch things that are not there. They have been misplaced and I can’t find them. Things that happened yesterday feel like they happened a week ago, I can barely remember…People I am closest with feel like strangers. This is the hardest part of it all.

Anyone else think they have forgotten how it felt to feel things? Not just the ability to feel things, but also the memories which had emotion. Like how you had dreams like a normal person. Dreams as in, imagining your future life, your fantasies, like when seeing a beach or seeing a beautiful or romantic imagery, it used to fill me with certain thrill and motivation. The desire of working towards making your own life. The wide spectrum of emotions. The sexual tension around opposite gender. It’s not only that I can’t feel it anymore, but its like they never existed at all. I am getting completely cut off from my past life and forgetting it all. Its all there theoretically, but I can’t feel it anymore. It feels like a total death of me as a concept, as a person who I grew up to be. I am not the same person anymore. Is it so hard to understand for people who don’t have it? I am feeling so scared and hopeless, and yet I cannot actually feel scared and hopeless because I am so numb. Its like I don’t exist. It feels like ego death or somethings and there won’t ever be a cure for this. I don’t even have enough emotions to kill myself. I am just so dead, I have no will of my own. I am just a dead body with no soul. What’s the point of living when you are not really living or can’t enjoy things, theoretically asking? Its such a curse. I don’t want to get used to it. I really don’t. But I can’t help forgetting everything of the past.

I feel like running with almost no input from emotions. It’s like my humanity isn’t there and I’ve turned into some kind of hollow thing with no internal motivations. Everything is done first by logically thinking about what I should do and then using my willpower to force myself to do it because my body doesn’t “want” anything. I have no internal feelings towards anything, I only do things to keep up appearances and I have to use pure willpower to do those things. A lot of people say DPDR makes them live life on autopilot. For me I’d say that normal life is the autopilot, or at least assisted pilot. With DPDR I have to MAKE myself do everything even though I feel absolutely empty inside. Humans are supposed to have internal motivations, otherwise existence is just empty, you’re just going through the motions trying to get through the day forcing yourself to do everything that should be easy and natural.