Medical Questions > Mental Health > Anxiety and Stress Forum

Long time Derealization sufferer (Page 2)


June 1st, 2009
Hi Greg,

Thanks for that response, it really made me feel good. I agree with you that I did put the stress on myself, and now I am just trying to give myself a break and find ways to relax, which is what I think I forgot how to do before. I am such a perfectionist and it's hard for me to let go sometimes. I found that yesterday if I just keep reminding myself to be aware of my stress level, it helped me relax. It always starts in my shoulders, so I focused on that. For me, because this thing makes you feel different, my mind always goes to the extreme and I panic that something physical is wrong with me. I also agree with you about the Zoloft, it has worked great for me in the past and I know I can depend on it. That is true, I feel the same way, why does this stuff have to happen to good people? Anyways, thanks for your response, it is great to be able to talk to other good people about this, and good luck to you also Greg.

How have you been feeling lately?

Adam
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replied June 1st, 2009
Hi Adam,

I'm about 80% good, 20% struggling.It seems my condition is on a sliding scale from- life is great - to I am totally insane & it is unbearable. Most of the time I am in the middle or better.

It is difficult to learn how to just drop these nagging symptoms and move on with life. Sounds easy, but feels impossible for me.

I read in a book that the only way to overcome this is to stop fighting it and allow it to come. When I thik like that my symptoms are much easier to deal with.

I know what you are saying about the shoulders being tense. Mine stay that way no matter how I feel. I also grind and clench my teeth alot, mostly at night.

The issue of derealization/depersonalization is my biggest issue I believe. I saw a good movie about it with Mathew Perry from "Friends" called Numb. It's good, you should rent it.

What are your symptoms like, what do you think of?

Where are you from? I live in Virginia.

Nice talking to you. Hope things get better for you.

Greg
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replied June 2nd, 2009
Hey Greg,

It is great to hear that you are having some good success with this. We all deserve to be completely free of this forever. I agree, I also feel like it is impossible to learn how to overcome these symptoms and you want to have hope but sometimes it is just so hard to. I have been trying to do just that the last couple of days, just stop trying to fight it. I am learning to accept this and still hold on to the hope that I can overcome it. Have you looked at this site: depersonalizationcure.com. There is a link at the bottom for "Forum" and i was reading all of the real people's posts and it seems pretty good. I have an appt tomorrow with a new therapist (actually, my first therapist) and I am excited but nervous to talk about all these feelings. I have read that it is hit or miss with the person knowing what you are talking about. I would like to try that program I mentioned above, I think anything is worth a shot at this point, you know? Ya, I've been seeing that movie mentioned a lot in doing all my research recently, I am definitely going to check it out, thanks! For me, I think it is so hard to put into words what I am feeling, but basically, I feel like things are unreal, and I just feel trapped inside a bubble or something. I feel like I am here and I see things but just don't feel connected. It just feels like I am going through the motions of life and not really living it. I feel scared that this will never go away and I feel depressed that I did this to myself by putting so much stress on myself and I feel like this was my brain's way of protecting itself. It has helped lately to just keep telling myself to not have fears, don't stress and to just be confident. I just know, and have known that I haven't felt the same. I am from San Diego. Nice talking to you too, Greg, and I hope things keep getting better for you also.

Adam
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replied June 5th, 2009
Hi Everyone! So glad to hear I'm not the only one! I too have been diagnosed with PTST, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and DP/DR. I've had the dp/dr since I was 15 and am now 40. It just recently came back after 3 years (when I lost my dad). Paxil seems to be the only SSRI that helps, I'm also on Xanax, but this seems to do nothing for the DP/DR. I too am a mom to two beautiful girls and have a great hubby and a good job. I try to get through each day, but I wake up with this terrible dream like feeling and I go to bed with it. Store and some lighting make it worse for me to. I just feel like it changed my personality, I feel I'm really outgoing, make friend easily. But, everyone has noticed I'm just not me! How long do your episodes last with the dp/dr? I is so nice to have a forum like this where people here will actually feel like me. Everyone just tells me to "stop thinking about it and it will go away" Yeah, right! Help anyone??????
Donna---Want DP to GO AWAY!!!!
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replied June 5th, 2009
Hi Donna,
Sounds like you are in the same boat as me. Awful long time to deal with this illness. I don't think I get episodes of DP/DR, I get varying degrees of severity. From no problems to oh my god it is unbearable. I've heard "stop thinking about it" too! Doesn't work. At least we function with this illness and not stuck at home. What is the cause of your PTSD?
Hope you feel better soon.
Greg
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replied June 5th, 2009
Hi Greg. Thanks for responding so quickly. Yes, in a way we are lucky to have this mental illness, yet still function in a job, family, ect. I would hate to have to be stuck at home because of this. Actually, when I feel depersonalized, I am kind of afraid to drive. Does that sound weird? I guess because I don't really "feel" my body maybe I won't know to stop or control the car somehow, but I always do. I have to force myself to or I will be stuck at home! I think I know what you mean by the varying degrees of severity. I sometimes feel like I'm 50% better then a really bad attack of it will come on and it feels so totally weird, I cry and start to panic, which of course only intensifies it!
My PTSD started at the age of 9 when my paternal grandmother (who was very sick mentally) lost her husband, and my parents sent me away for 6 months to live with her. She would "hold me and spoon" me during the night as if I was her substitute husband! I was only 9, didn't know if this was right, but it felt wrong. She would watch me take a bath at night, and again, hey, this isn't right! She would always talk of death and "seeing" my grandfather on the stairs where he died and would tell me to come and see?! I was so scared. My grades finally fell from b's to d's and my mom FINALLY took me away from that hell. I missed my sister too (we are only 15 months apart). Ijust wanted to be a normal kid.
Then when I was 11, my mom started cheating on my dad and told my sister and I to never tell anyone or "your father will kill boyfriend and me and then you'll only have your grandmother and father. Now, my dad, God bless his soul, was never a good dad. He had a volatile temper and we were lucky to get through the days without being hit in the head by a flying centerpiece or glass! He would leave us in the corner for hours at a time. My sister and I would bring each other pillows for our knees without him noticing. Of course, mom never intervened! Now she says she's sorry. Too late!
I did get close to my dad in 95 when my daughter was born. He was divorced from mom by that time and I handled all his bills, medicines, dr visits, because he was illiterate. So, for 7 yrs. I finally had the dad I should have had in those formative years. When he died, I was there in the hospital, I saw him die, and I lost it about 1 week after the funeral. I started with full blown panic attacks, and dp of course. It lasted that time about 8 weeks, until the Paxil and Xanax kicked in. Then I was good until just recently. I went off Paxil because I had become very angry, aggressive, road rage, etc. Was put on Zoloft and had a bad reaction when the meds hit 50 mg. I just woke up from a sound sleep 2 weeks into the Zoloft with a severe panic attack and then the dp started. It's still here, but the Paxil is back up to 60 mg. Still waiting for the relief!!!!!
Wow, that was alot to get off my chest. Sorry if I bored you but that felt great! I hope to hear from you again. You sound so knowledgeable about this. I can't believe someone else experiences this for more than 5 minutes!
Thanks Greg,
Donna
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replied June 9th, 2009
dp/dr
Hey Greg,
I haven't heard back from you since my last post. Is everything ok? Can you reply to me since I really could use some feedback? I hope nothing I said above in my last message was wrong in any way. I do hope to hear from you soon.
Take care.
I hope your well.
Donna
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replied June 10th, 2009
Oh no,I am sorry. You did not bore me at all. Every time I start to reply someone interupts me. Sorry to hear about your rough childhood. How is the Paxil doing for you? What is your DP/DR like for you? Where do you live?

You would not believe how much relief I get from just talking to other people with the same issue I have. I get exited everytime I see an Ehealth email.

Thanks for sharing.
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replied June 10th, 2009
So glad your back!
Hi there. Oh good, I'm glad your back!
The Paxil is doing good for me, I've now been on for about 6 weeks, which the doctors say is the time it takes to get into your system. It has helped greatly with the Panic attacks and the depression I did have on the Zoloft. However, the DP/DR is still here. I'm not sure there is any SSRI out there that can help that. I recently had an MRI because my mind goes to the extreme and I always think well, maybe I have brain disease or a tumor. Thankfully, the results came back ok. I just saw the dr. last Friday.
I seem to have the dp like you do. Somedays, I'm working and my mind is concentrating on my work and I may have some hours where it's gone. But as soon as I stop or start driving home, ect. it's back. It's almost like my brain is telling me to keep busy. Then I do have those moments where it seems unbearable and all I want to do is cry. Feels like I'm going crazy! I've noticed too that it gets worse at night and in the am when I feel really tired. How about you? Do you get the dr/dp when your driving? And if so, does it make you afraid at all to drive?
Nice talking with you Greg.
Take care!
Donna
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replied June 11th, 2009
Hey Donna,
My anxiety and/or DP/DR is usually worst in mid afternoon. I feel alright in the mornings and alot better in the evenings.
So I guess it is when I am tired also from work. I haven't heard of a drug that targets this either.

Staying busy and not falling into the trap of obsessing over your symptoms (distraction) is a good way to cope.

I generally don't have alot of trouble driving. Sometimes I drift in my mind and shock myself back to reality and It freaks me out that I could have wrecked while I was spaced out.

What specifically are your major problems you feel or think? You read my crazy thoughts.

Thanks Greg
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replied June 23rd, 2009
hi i am 14 years old and have been suffering from what i think are derealizations for a couple of months, i also suffer with panic attacks and i am taking propanolol.they seem to come on all of a sudden like i can be talking one minute then everything can feel weird trhe next. ive told my doctor theese but he dosent seem to think its anything to worry about,also i have expermented with cannabis and i had delrealizations when taking it but they reocured months after last smoking cannabis.can that have anything to do with them? and are they wanything to worry about im really worried!Sad


xxx.
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replied June 29th, 2009
Hi there veryworried 118,
My name is Donna and I have had derealization/depersonalization for years. They too started for me at the age of 15. My daughter is 14 right now and has experienced the same thing since the age of 12. You said you suffer from panick attacks, both my daugther and I do too.
I hope that I can reassure you here, because I am now 40 and I feel like if I can help my daughter, I'd like to help you too. First off, please, please stay away from drugs. They can just harm you in the long run. (Not trying to sound like you mom, I promise)
My dr/dp started with my first job and I was only 18. The episodes would last anywhere from 10 min. to months. These have come and gone through my life now and sometimes I get 2 or 3 years without them, only to have them resurface again.
Let's see if our symptoms are the same:
I feel like everything and everyone around me is a dream, Like my body is not even mine, I hear my own voice, but it feels like someone else's. It's hard to laugh and joke with others because you feel sooooo alone. Like no one will understand. Thus, you tend to want to pull away from your friends and not do anything except sit by yourself and worry. Sound similar so far?
Episodes can change in severity. One minute, I feel 40% depersonalized, the next it's like 100%, bam! Just like that. It is really scarey I totally understand that. However, I have had mri, cat scan, blood test, seen so many doctors and psych. NOthing physical ever comes out of it. I almost wish it would, so they could stop these episodes.
First, have you seen a medical doctor just to rule out thyroid problems, diabetes,? If everything is ok, then definately speak to a psych. They know about dr/dp and they can show you it's in a book they use called DSM IV. This is the psych "Bible", and dp/dr DO really exist! You are not alone. Have you checked google at all and typed in Depersonalization or Derealization? You will find tons of stuff. Also, the book called "Feeling Unreal" by Daphne Simeon, PHD is very good. It chronicles all cases of actual people with dp/dr. When did these episodes first start for you and how long have you suffered with panic attacks? I really do hope I've helped some for you. Believe me, you are NOT alone. Also, see if you can talk to Greg on this format, He is really knowledgable about this. He helped me alot just chatting with me.
Take care ok. Try not to worry and just let the feeling wash over you, it's NOT easy. And believe me, you will hear that! I'm here if you ever need to talk.
Donna
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replied July 12th, 2009
Hi Greg, I know absolutely nothing but can feel empathy for you guys with these strange feelings/perceptions - I presume that you've had scan or whatever for epilepsy? Reason I mention it issimply coz of the effects of the lighting and the 'aura' feeling.
Stay positive!
Loupie
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replied July 15th, 2009
I hear ya!
I'm so glad I read your post because I can really relate. Lately, I've been experiencing symptoms similar to those that you are describing. It's strange to explain, but it's almost as though things in my environment bother me, just by the way they look. A certain angle or a curve of an object can feel not right to me. I sometimes feel like I'm in a daze. Normal, every day, ordinary objects sometimes just look 'off' to me, almost deformed, too flat or deep and it bothers and annoys me. I have to do a double take. It's almost like it's physically annoying me. Sometimes it will get to the point that everything around me makes me feel this way. For example, I can be reading a sentence in a book and something about it will seem strange, so I will re-read it because the first time I looked at it, it somehow didn't look right. Sometimes I will look at something and it will cause me to have a sensory reaction. Hearing a certain word or looking at a particular object can create a sensation as though I am touching a particular texture. A few months ago I was on an airplane, reading a book to pass the time and a particular sentence made me feel like a sensation of yogurt against my scalp. I know that this sounds so insane, and this fact also makes my anxiety worse because I hate that I'm feeling so crazy. I feel like I am not seeing well, although I know it's not an actual visual problemt that I have. I'm not a neat freak by any means, but sometimes the way things will be situated or angled will bother me. Just last night, I was standing on line at Walgreens and this guy was talking to the cashier, and suddenly I thought the shape of his head looked wierd, almost like it had lost its curvature. I'm not saying that I thought it actually changed shape because I am still in touch with reality, there's just something that bothered me about the way it looked.
I do believe that a lot of what I'm feeling is stress related. I am certain that sleep deprivation exacerbates it. I've had panic disorder and OCD since my late teens (I am now 32 years old) but I feel that at particuarly stressful points in my life, it has gotten worse. I am still able to function and usually tell myself to snap out of it and get real. I sometimes think that at any moment I will lose my mind. I am constantly thinking that I'm going to begin hallucinating and lose touch with what's real and what isn't.
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replied July 26th, 2009
New to the forum
Hi, I didn't know where to post this. My name is Holli, I am 31 years old, and have had panic/derealization/depersonalization/depr ession, for about 17 years now. I'm currently on 30mg paxil daily, a little alprazolam, and my new psychiatrist just started me on 25mg Lamictal. I hate this new med, so far, it causes me to be even more anxious. I don't go anywhere, except to the therapist and doctor. I have a husband, and 3 children. I wish I could be better for them, for me. I don't go anywhere, cause I have so much trouble with the derealization which brings on the panic. Things around me seem foreign, unfamiliar. I have lived in this area my entire life, but things just don't look right or familiar. This causes me to panic, which encourages my avoidant behavior. I fear I will one day lose it completely, be institutionalized, and never come back to reality. The paxil worked great for the first couple of years, but now, 7 years into it, it's not working like it used to. Also, I have gained some serious weight on it. Has anyone else been prescribed lamictal? It seemed a strange medication for someone with my illness. It seems to generally be prescribed for bipolar patients. I appreciate reading everyone's posts. Sorry my post was so rambling, but I am new to this. Thanks You. Holli
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replied July 26th, 2009
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Hi Holli,

I was on Lamictal for anxiety and it seemed to work for the anxiety but made my depression worse. I just felt sad all the time and almost childish. Right now I take Xanax at night and it works wonders. I'm in the process of weaning off my anti-depressant but I still take the anxiety meds. I was also prescribed Vistaril which works great for my anxiety. I feel more relaxed and I don't get as much anxiety when I have to leave the house or deal with a stressful situation. I've heard that Paxil causes weight gain. I wouldn't take anything with those kinds of side effects.
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replied July 26th, 2009
Hi Holli,
I am on Paxil too and your right I have gained weight on it. Not serious, but yes, it can and does cause the gain. I am on Xanax right now and I agree with Wendyrs, that it does do wonders. The depersonalization/derealization can cause significant stress and anxiety, thus making it harder to go out and it does totally pull you back from you life and going out and socializing. See, this is where the Paxil has worked for me. In April, I went off the Paxil and onto Zoloft. That is when my panic attacks came back full blown. So, thinking I wasn't taking enough, the dr now prescribed 75 mg from 25 mg! Well, I couln't even function! I ended up in the Partial Inpatient Program at RI Hospital. (for 7 days). Everything was back, the depersonalization, panic attacks, crying, depression. I was a mess. I feel like slowly I may be on the road back, however, still not 100%. Sometimes the DP/DR can come back on me and it feels like I got hit with a ton of bricks. I try to just let it wash over me like so may people on different forums have suggested, but it is hard and it does interfer with living.
You can talk to me anytime. I know what your going through. I've had DP/DR since I was 15 and I am now 40.
Take care. I do hope you feel better soon.
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replied October 14th, 2009
Does anyone question things constantly around there? ESPECIALLY you're perception towards people, they look weird but its so hard to put into words what exactly you mean by that? Nothing feels the same anymore, i just want my life back!

it does help knowing im not along, although i may feel alone often.
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replied October 21st, 2009
Hello wanttobebetter.

There's a program called "Attacking Anxiety and Depression", it's from The Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety. It's so great! I've had it for years. You should look into it. They also have a forum where many of us use the program. The site is called stresscenter.com.

I hope this helps.
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replied November 3rd, 2009
Hey Guys,

Have the same symptoms, etc. etc. (I was especially comforted to see that greg also had the weird reaction to the sky being too blue! i thought that was ridiculous when i first thought it a few months ago).

My question is - is there anyone who has HAD derealization but is now CURED? It's nice knowing there are others to relate to with it, but the most comforting thing would be to know that it can eventually GO AWAY. Granted, I know we can make it better by not thinking too much about it, but ideally I would like to just be past it in general. I'm an English major in college, and I have a lot of trouble simply reading and focusing my eyes (much less paying attention to something for very long). I would love to not have to come back to this forum in ten years saying that the DR has been present the whole time! This is just such a stupid problem - I think that's what most frustrating.

John
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