Medical Questions > Mental Health > Depression Forum

anxiety attack and dissociation problem

Hi,

I am unsure if what I am feeling now can be described as depression, but here is how I feel exactly.
One night I had an anxiety attack and it felt like my mind was racing and was really unable to think clearly, like the thoughts were in the back of my mind. After I slept and woke in the morning, this had gone and I was back to normal. But that night again I had another anxiety attack and the same thing returned. The morning after it didn't go away.
Ever since that day (for about 2/3 weeks now) I feel as though I am becoming more and more crazy. All my thoughts are jumbled in my head and I feel as though I don't know who I am anymore. I feel extremely spaced out, or a dissociative feeling. I used to have this dissociation problem but it eventually went away. I feel so dissociated it feels as though I'm looking at the world through a hazy cloud or a thick fog, as though my eyes are unable to focus on what's happening. I feel as though I don't know who I am or even the people who are closest to me, even and especially family. When I am talking, I sometimes have the feeling that my voice isn't connected to me and I am far off away 'watching' me speak. I have lost all my interests in what I used to love doing, and I find that the days pass by as though nothing is going on, if you can understand what I mean. On top of this I get these uncontrollable helpless moods where I feel as though this problem will never go away and I will never be normal again and I will become mentally ill. I sometimes have suicidial thoughts, thinking there is no escape other then death, and I wonder often what people would think if I did kill myself.
I get creepy ideas (ideas that are always in the back of my head.. I am unable to focus on anything) such as me being in a 'matrix' world.. an unreal one, or the idea that this world is all a dream or that people are not real and I am simply in a 'video game world'...
Even as I'm writing this message I feel extremely weird, as though it isn't my hands writing on the keyboard.
I don't know... people reading this must think I'm crazy, but it would be great to get some help and perhaps some advice on how to escape these feelings and get back to my 'normal self', which I feel I have lost forever.
Thanks
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First Helper E90XJ
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replied February 25th, 2008
Please any help would be really great.
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replied February 25th, 2008
Experienced User
People here are a very understanding bunch.
This isn't an instant help, but you should probably be seen by a professional. They can help you get things straightened out and give you some relief.
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replied February 25th, 2008
Experienced User
How old are you?

I know how overwhelming these situations can be. Depression and Anxiety, is a natural occorance and most people will experience it at some stage of their lives. This is usually due to environmental effects such as stress, eating habits and/or sleeping habits.

Depression and anxiety is the way that your brain communicates to you that something is wrong. Much like the "Fight or flight" response that you get when in danger. When it becomes a problem, is when these symptoms occur frequently over a long period and to the extent that it disrupts your daily life. This happens when the chemicals in your brain, responsible for depression & anxiety, is out of balance and causes you to feel unnecissarily depressed/anxious for the situation or even when there is no reason for you to feel that way.

The first step would be to identify any undew stress in your life. Would you say that there has been any major changes in your life as of late? Are you stressed in any way? What is bothering you the most and making you feel as tho you can't get past it?

Even with normal depression and anxiety, it's a good idea to make a visit to your local GP and ask for an assesment of your situation. They will then either prescribe mild sedatives to get you over the rough patch or refer you to a psychologist/psychiatrist to evaluate your situation further and see what you need to get over this situation.

Don't feel shy about your situation when talking to your doctor. Be as open and as honest as possible. The more you tell him, the better he can help you. It is nothing to be ashamed of and if it is a chemical inbalance, it can be managed with the right medication.

I hope this has been of some help Smile

Feel free to pm me if you feel that it is getting too much for you. I have...and still am...gone through this my self and I know how difficult it is to cope with.

Keep Well
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Users who thank Seraph for this post: meanbutterfly 

replied March 30th, 2009
Dissociation and Anxiety
I have this same problem. It used to be worse when I was younger, especially the dissociation. It's like you described, like you're not familiar with yourself, your body, etc, like an outsider looking in. It usually comes with a feeling of anxiety, like an attack.

This "condition" is listed in the DSMIV (or whatever the latest one is) that psych doctors used to diagnose problems. I'm pretty sure it is, or was, in the anxiety section of the manual. At any rate, I don't know what it is or what causes it, but it's awful.

I've been on antidepressants off and on for the past ten years, and they seem to have helped this problem, along with regular anxiety attacks, but it still happens, albeit very seldom. So, it's possible that this could help.

Another thing that would almost definetly help is yoga or tai chi. I've been doing yoga for several months now, and also did tai chi when I was younger, and found that both these things make me feel better, overall. Part of the philosophy with them is that your mind, body and spirit need to work together in order for you to be stable, and yoga/tai chi help to achieve this. I don't know how, but it doesn't matter. It works.
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replied July 1st, 2009
can't believe no one responded with what this actually is. It's called depersonalization/derealization. It is a dissociative disorder. I have had this for 5 months and know exactly how you feel. I hope it goes away for both our sakes.
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replied October 22nd, 2009
me too guys i was normal a month ago and now it seems my brain has turned to mush everyday since would like to talk to you
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replied October 27th, 2009
Wow, I have been searching my whole life to find this many people who are suffering from Depersonalization and or derealization as a part of severe anxiety I think but also can involve depression very badly. I was terrorized by having this happened when I was only 15 yrs old and noone could tell me what was happening to me or why and for over 30 years I have been just living with it constantly never going away and also having other severe symptoms called dysthmia and anhedonia which take away all your emotions good and bad and you feel absolutely nothing. You are like a robot who has no feelings at all. The depersonalization most of you are referring to was not diagnosed for me until I found out on my own doing research, but it is the experience of living in a glass world separate from others and from all that is around you. You are there, but you aren't there. It is like you are disconnected from your own self and if you have derealization you feel like the outside world is different or not real either. It is like you can touch something but it is not actually there. I can explain this is much better detail because I have lived with all of these disorders for all my life since 15 and I am 45 now. This is the most frightening way to exist because you are really not alive and cannot connect to people or the world around you. When I was going through this for years NOONE knew anything about it and now it is becoming very common because of stress, but mainly because of how we treat our bodies, our lack of nutrition, we are full of toxins and we don't sleep enough or manage stress well and these add up to severe problems like what we all have. I also have severe chronic insomnia so I am not thinking straight since I have been up all night and it is now 7:30 am. I will post more because I know we can all help each other and I think I have found some miraculous ways to be cured from all of this without even using drugs. More later God bless you all for the suffering you have endured.
JW in Tucson
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Users who thank braincures4all for this post: w2z1 

replied April 6th, 2010
depersonalization/derealization
I''''ve had bipolar/anxiety for 9 years, but this hasn''''t happened to me until recently (at least not that I can remember). But Rocket111 described it perfectly. At first is associated itself with hypomania and included "sense of bewilderment" and my senses felt "overwhelmed." Then it progressed, to "Feel like myself but don''''t. Sometimes I feel spacey, surreal. Not grounded and solid like I usually am." I felt like I was SLIGHTLY SHIFTED TO THE RIGHT and could observe myself. Brain fog and memory loss present, and I zone out easily (lots of daydreams). If feels like I''m there but like I''m not there - like I''m an observer when in class or talking to someone. Am I really there? Is it real? If I say something will it change the "video"?

Is it related to the cold I have? DEFINITELY gets worse with anxiety, anxiety gets worse in the evening. Gets better if I''m busy and doing something. Maybe a form of anxiety? Maybe my brain is trying to protect itself? My fear is that I''''m going to lose control and I''''m going to lose my mind. *sigh*
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replied May 20th, 2010
Hi, I can relate to what you are going through, I have also had this same problem, mine started after a particulary stressful time in my life, my then husband had been murdered, he was 27 and I was 29. I ended up suffering from severe depression with anxiety and eventually got diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder and Panic Disorder. I am a lot better now, but still have that unreality feeling at times, it is awful. I would definitely recommend you see a doctor who can help you. It wont go away on its own and is very frightening, I used to feel like I was going crazy. Now I can sort of talk myself through these feelings but still at times it is all very real. Good luck with everything
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replied January 7th, 2011
I feel the exact same way but mine has been going on for 9 months now and i cant seem to find an answer i just started seeing a doctor and she prescribed me pritiq. on day two and i feel lousy. Help anybody
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replied January 7th, 2011
I have been battling a dissociative disorder since I was a little girl and depression for about 20 years (including PTSD.)I am a teacher and can no longer teach because of this and am now on medical leave. I have tried every medication for depression, and was recently placed on Ensam, an MAOI 6 mg patch and things got so much worse. I like to be an upbeat person, I am married, have three children and teaching has been my passion for 20 years. Does anyone know how long it takes to come off the patch. It is the lowest dose of Ensam available and I did let the Doctor's know that I needed to go off and they agreed.
Any thoughts, I would really appreciate it!
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replied March 1st, 2011
I too have been feeling the same way, though only extremely recently. I've always suffered from basic seasonal depression. Normally, I just become tired and oversleep, and also lose interest in most things. I've never been a very emotional person and rarely cry.

I started college last year, and again suffered my general seasonal depression symptoms. However, recently diagnosed with ADD, and prescribed adderall. My doctor said it might address my depression issues too, because it helps keep me alert and awake. I've been taking it for a few months now, with no issues. It's now around the peak time for my winter depression to kick in, and I've only been feeling slightly tired, much less so than other winters.

Recently however, my mom moved out of my hometown. While I'm at school, it doesn't bother me. But there are often little reminders that I don't really have a place to call home. I now stay primarily at my dad's, a place I used to "just visit". I now find myself struggling to decide whether his house is my home, or my mom's new place is my home. A few nights ago, I went to my hometown for a small concert, and that's when things snapped. I had arrived there in a very out-of-the-ordinary context, and I started to feel very uncomfortable and alone in the one place I thought I could always feel safe. I broke down and sobbed, and eventually had to call a friend. I started to feel better, but then we stopped talking for a bit and I started sobbing again. After, I met of with some friends for the show, things were fine, and the next day I went back to my college town for work, and was also fine.

Randomly though, in the middle of class yesterday, I started having this strong feeling everyone's been talking about. I started feeling queasy - not nauseous - like I was extremely uncomfortable, or like I was in a new situation and really nervous. What made it worse was that there was no reason for it. I knew where I was, and everything was as it normally is, but I felt like I would if I were somewhere new and different. I made it back to my dorm, and broke down again. (Again this is something I NEVER do.) In the moments where I felt detached from reality, I felt like it was never going to end, and I was afraid I was never going to feel connected and comfortable with my surroundings. I was also afraid this was going to progress to make me feel like I couldn't trust anyone. I decided I should let people know before that did happen.

I find I feel better when I'm around people I know. Even though my college is pretty big, as are my classes, I felt alright in my classes today. But after, I went back to my dorm, made two phone calls, and felt fine. But I also felt like I was going to lose my grip, and start feeling disconnected again. I took a nap, and woke up feeling disconnected.

Another thing that I've noticed is that when I'm in my dorm, I don't want to leave. It's like I'm afraid that wherever I go, I'm going to start feeling this feeling again and not know what to do. But even so, I still get the feelings in my dorm room, so really there's no reason for me to feel like leaving is going to be especially difficult. It's like a fear or anxiety based on nothing.

In these moments, like I said, I feel completely disconnected from the world and myself. I'm doing things and even saying things like I normally do, but it's like it's out of habit. I'll maintain my normal sense of humor but it's like it's not me. And I also feel like I'm just completely alone, like even if I find someone I know and trust, they won't be there for me or something. Normally, I've been a very independent, introverted person who enjoys my time alone. Now I feel like I'm desperately trying to stay in the company of people I trust to feel better.
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replied April 26th, 2011
It is crazy how much this relates to what I'm going through--parents moving out of my home town--everything. Good luck to you; we shall overcome Smile
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replied April 26th, 2011
I have had everything you have described above before after a traumatic event that occurred a couple of years ago. Literally exactly as you are describing. I am still recovering but am A LOT better, to the point where my life is fairly manageable. One of the things that helped me was to know that other people were experiencing exactly what I was as well. It helps you feel more connected to at least some people. Know that people do get better, but it just takes time. As was said above try to limit stresses. Don't worry about it, as you may not be able to make it better now but you can make it worse by worrying. Try to put faith in the idea that it will get better with time and allow yourself to have time to get better. Not to disrespect any of what was said above but it does go away on its own, you don't necessarily need medication. You need to try to put yourself back into balance with the world. Spend time in nature, connecting with the natural world if you can. Start small and take note of things that are happening close to you, trees, birds. Feel them. MEDITATE. This can help you feel comfortable in you body again. This may change your point of view on life somewhat but cannot harm you.
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replied May 2nd, 2011
I just went to see a Psychologist who does EMDR as a form of therapy. I described my panic attacks and she asked me if I am dissociating. I wasn't sure what that was but it quite scares me when I read this. I would say my symptoms are similar but not as severe. Anyway, my advice is to look into EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as a cognitive form of therapy which enables the brain to heal. Look into it to see if it interests you. I know I want to get over my past and move on so I am giving this a shot.
Good luck!
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replied January 6th, 2012
Depersonalized anxiety
Hey everyone. I really hope all of you get better. I have been dealing with all of
This stuff for about two years. My life was a roller coaster of stress and stressful
People in my life. Eventually my body shut down and depersonalized big time.
I had all test ran imagineable! I am 40 and in athletic shape! Doctors put me on paxil
And it helped. I started therapy and that helped. Exercising is great too. I have gotten
Much better but it takes time so hang in there. I still depersonalize every now and then
And get down but not as much!
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replied May 10th, 2012
For me its like Brain Fatigue, when your brain takes on too much stress, you zone out, its a defense mechanism and does go away. Its scarey as hell, but be strong and wait it out, take your meds, it will get better I pray it will.
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replied March 16th, 2013
depression
I totally understand where all of you have come from, in my case, I was abused as a child, I left my parents when I was 14 years old, I turned to drugs and alcohol, once I speed all those habits, it got worse, I than started to exercise and let me tell you, that my friend is the answer! Try it and you will be amazed! Hope you start feeling better... It sucks feeling like this!
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