I still have the depersonalization but it’s improved a bit yesterday and today. I asked my psychiatrist about it and she was worried that it was part of, or a remnant, from the psychoses. I did believe there was no me inside, that I had disappeared. If it was psychoses then it arose from depersonalization in the first place or at least that’s where it got it’s cues from. So as it leaves it seems reasonable that I feel decreasingly depersonalized then back to normal.
That assumes my ‘normal’ doesn’t have depersonalization. I have had chronic depersonalization and derealization symptoms for years.
I find these feelings extremely hard to describe and I think that has a lot to do with why I haven’t done much about them. First of all I should do some research.
Definition of depersonalization from Dictionary.com:
– a state in which the normal sense of personal identity and reality is lost
– loss of contact with your own personal reality accompanied by feelings of unreality and strangeness
– a psychopathological syndrome characterized by loss of identity and feelings of unreality or strangeness about one’s own behavior
Definition of derealization from Dictionary.com:
– an alteration in perception leading to the feeling that the reality of the world has been changed or lost
– an alteration in one’s perception of the environment such that things that are ordinarily familiar seem strange, unreal, or two-dimensional
“Sufferers of depersonalization feel divorced from both the world and from their own identity and physicality. Often a person who has experienced depersonalization claims that life “feels like a movie or things seem unreal, or hazy.” Also a recognition of self breaks down (hence the name). The person experiencing the disorder may feel as though life is a dream or an illusion. Often, this results in very high anxiety levels, which further increase the feelings of “fakeness.” It is in a sense, a “feedback loop” that amplifies itself.
This feeling is said to be like being a ghost. No matter how hard sufferers of depersonalization try, they do not feel they are genuinely interacting with the world. Simply put, depersonalization is an alteration in the perception or experience of oneself, so that the self is felt to be unreal; sufferers feel detached from reality and/or their own body or mental processes. They may have difficulty fully comprehending what they hear and see.”
From Depersonalization Support Community:
“Depersonalization : A frightening and/or disturbing experience of not being within one’s own body or of being in immediate danger of vanishing/separating from reality – often described as the sensation of living inside a dream. Although cognitive functioning remains intact, the sufferers feel disconnected from their sense of self and often interpret it “as if I am losing my mind.”
Derealization : A state of consciousness that creates a sense of detachment from all environments, fogginess, as if a plate of glass is in between the mind and the physical world. Any concentration requires tremendous effort, and the harder the sufferer tries to focus, the more disconnected they become. Often including feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu. Familiar places look alien, bizarre, and surreal – as if they are part of a Salvador Dali painting. In fact, the more familiar the surrounding, the more foreign it seems to be.
Depersonalization and Derealization involve similar consciousness states, although psychiatric literature discusses them as two different symptoms. The major distinction is that the first is a distorted awareness of self, while the second is a distorted perception of the physical environment. Often patients experience both, simultaneously or alternately. These states of mind are accompanied by an obsessive need to self-monitor, to observe the self moment by moment. The sufferers describe an inability to experience their own lives while stuck in chronic self-observation (also feeling that identity is disappearing, or has already vanished).
Usually, but not exclusively, these altered states include debilitating anxiety and overwhelming preoccupation that a total loss of reality is only moments away. There may be pervasive beliefs of literally “willing oneself” to remain sane, along with a morbid fear of (and resisted wish for) total surrender to what seems to be an impending psychosis. Over time, the patients believe they are losing more of the self, and while actual reality-testing remains intact, the feeling of reality diminishes. There are increasing doubts about the actual existence of an external reality and the sufferers often harbor secret thoughts that they have only conjured up the world and their own being. Bizarre ideas may include a notion of being the only person in the world, or of existing merely as a thought without a body. Thoughts can develop about being the singular author/director/producer of one’s perceived existence (as is true in a night dream). Such ideas often lead to overwhelming ruminations on the nature of being human. The result is increased withdrawal into one’s own mind, which encourages social isolation and enhances the feeling of alienation.
But to the depersonalization/derealization sufferer, it seems there was no provocation for this bizarre state of mind. In actuality, the brain is often reacting in response to thoughts that exist outside conscious awareness – thoughts that were perceived as potentially threatening to the self’s status quo. In such cases, the mind dissociates as a form of protection – without any discernible trauma or shocking event as motivation. The “danger” was internal, and the potential assault was against self-identity, not the physical body.
Over time (and reinforced by obsessing over the original experience) the mind seems to develop a habit of re-invoking the symptom/neurological reaction. The patients usually become convinced that the way out of their nightmare lies in focusing more and more inward, relentlessly self-observing for any sign of returning reality. But like a child’s straw finger puzzle, the harder one tries to pull free, the tighter grows the trap.
Patients must strive for experiences that allow them to re-engage as actors in the drama of their own lives rather than clutching fearfully to the role of observer. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help sufferers to modify their conscious thinking patterns and reinstate spontaneity of feeling and thought”