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Derealization or Depersonalization

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squirrel   
squirrel

Its not panic

or anxiety

just a pressure in my head that builds till my head feels like its floating and i am not connecting with the world around me. my legs are weak and my body feels weak and i feel I am on the outside looking in.

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Neuroplastic   
Neuroplastic

Hey, Squirrel. Seems like depersonification/derealization. One of the most common symptoms. Do you experience it in particular circumstances? How often does it lift?

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squirrel   
squirrel

seem to get it mostly during the day it can lift in the evening.

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stan   
stan

hi Squirrel,

 

Neuroplastic is right maybe

 

depersonalization/derealization is linked to panic or lack of sleep also

 

i know you not feel panic, it is partial chemical symptoms from panic and other unknown

for me :

to simplify

to not have this, you need for example 600 receptors (serotonin , dopamin...), meds have detroyed alot, brain maybe has wrong rebuilt some others,

as long as your brain will not be able to better repair, it will be so,

but there are constantly updates and with time, a day , it can be ok , when the last good needed nerve is update to this function or system

suffering from this stimulate the repairing, alerts the system to correct something

we are updating (homeostasis...) all our life

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Healing   
Healing

I agree with NP that this sounds like DP/DR. Perhaps your w/d-induced low blood pressure also factors in.

 

I also agree it might be helpful to notice when it happens and then try to trace backwards -- did you just do something like go out, walk, get tired; or did you eat something; or have an emotional experience with someone?

 

If you can identify triggers, we might be able to help you brainstorm some things you could do to help.

 

Alternately, it may simply be tied to your daily biorhythm -- for example, when cortisol is higher during the day, you get this. When cortisol is lower at night, it lets up.

 

Have you found anything that helps with it at all -- exercise, relaxation technique, gardening, TV,tea???

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Neuroplastic   
Neuroplastic

Indeed, the triggers can be cornucopious. Many folks reported even fluorescent light bring it on. The good news is that it has a tendency to lift for you.

 

To speed up neurogenesis you may want to do some mild physical exercises (plus endorphines also kick in, which helps a lot). Though you need to be careful to not overdo those.

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squirrel   
squirrel

execise is difficult because I have balance problems( thanks to withdrawl).

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Yes, it goes away. I had it and I can honestly say I don't feel depersonalization anymore at all.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Many of us have experienced that bizarre and distressing feeling called depersonalization as an antidepressant withdrawal symptom. It exists outside of antidepressant withdrawal as well. This is an article about depersonalization as defined by mental health professionals.

 

Do You Feel Like a Stranger to Yourself?

By Elena Bezzubova, M.D., Ph.D. Psychology Today Jul 21 2011

 

I am often asked, even by colleagues in the mental health field, "What is Depersonalization Disorder?" For doctors and patients alike, Depersonalization Disorder, or DPD, is somewhat mysterious and difficult to define. And yet, some researchers consider it to be the third most common mental disorder, after depression and anxiety. Several research studies indicate that more than half of college students have experienced elements of depersonalization at one time or another. And many creative people, such as Poe or Sartre, have suffered from it. Deuce Bigelow director Harris Goldberg explored his experiences of depersonalization in the movie Numb.

 

Depersonalization may happen when you first wake up, or while flying on an airplane. You may link it to acute trauma or years of chronic stress, or to nothing at all. Sometimes it happens after smoking marijuana or using "club drugs."

 

The first signs are often felt as a "mental break." Suddenly, inexplicably, something changes --- common objects and familiar situations seem strange or foreign, as if you've found yourself in an unfamiliar world. And at the same time you feel unreal, "not yourself." You close your eyes and turn inward, but the very thoughts running through your head seem different. Patients feel as if they have no self that formerly enabled them to deal with the world around them, and with their inner world.

 

The most clinically true and psychologically sharp descriptions of depersonalization are those given by people with DPD. In his excellent book, Stranger to Myself, medical journalist and DPD survivor Jeffrey Abugel summarizes eight symptoms a person with DPD may experience:

 

  • Feeling panic. When a person first experiences DPD, he often feels as if he is going mad. Patients report feeling panic stricken, trapped "inside oneself" or thrown into an unfamiliar world they can't escape.
  • Lack of emotion. People with DPD describe feeling inhuman, like a robot or a rock. They experience a loss of spirit, "absence" of emotions, and no mood changes.
  • Feeling detached. People with DPD feel distant from others and themselves. Many describe the feeling of watching themselves, as if from above. Once-familiar objects seem strange.
  • Fixation/obsession. People with DPD repeatedly check their sanity. They sometimes fixate on the strangeness or foreignness of a single thought or object.
  • Abstract ruminating. People with DPD often dwell on the ideas of eternity and infinity. They think over and over about the nature of existence or the void and the dark mysteries of life.
  • Lifestyle changes. People with DPD are sometimes afraid to leave their houses or engage in activities that might trigger panic attacks. They stop traveling, talking to others, watching TV, even going to doctors.
  • Feeling possessed. People with DPD in some cases report feeling as if an evil entity has taken up residence inside their head, watching them and making negative comments.
  • Acting "as if." People with DPD suffer from not feeling that they are acting, but instead they have a strange feeling of "as-if acting." They feel that they "imitate" moods and expressions, as if trying to "act normal" around others. But they continue to feel like outsiders who aren't part of ordinary life.
....

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-search-self/201107/do-you-feel-stranger-yourself

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aaa50   
aaa50

I had one of the worst cases they have seen of DP, caused by the acute withdrawal of klonopin.

It lasted many years after the withdrawal was over and reason for the Effexor.

It slowly faded out over a period of 8 years although when stressed enough, it can,for me, return temporary in a lesser form.

I relate to all of the 8 symptoms described above..if you don't know what this is, it is petrifying which makes the condition much worse.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

I had it for several years myself, after Paxil withdrawal. It gradually go better.

 

It can be frightening, but you can look at it as a symptom of withdrawal, know that your brain will heal itself, and keep yourself from adding fear and panic to the symptoms.

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Phil   
Phil

This is so horrible. The lack of emotion part rings true.

 

Looking back, I experienced this a lot without realizing it, when I came off ssris previously.

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UnfoldingSky   
UnfoldingSky

I read a tip recently on an unrelated forum, for depersonalization/derealization/out-of-body types of feelings. The tip was to focus on your sense of touch. I had extreme DP/DR for over three years, and during that time only my sense of touch could be trusted (sense of sight and sound being exaggerated or distorted, and, due to benzos, sense of taste and smell being extremely dulled.) It might not be enough to get you back into consensual reality, but at least it temporarily confirms that you still are in that reality.

 

 

Hope that helps someone.

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Phil   
Phil

That's a good tip, UnfoldingSky.

 

Sometimes, a hug from my friend will make me feel all the more better. It's like being back in reality in some odd way, rather than stuck inside your own thoughts about the world.

 

Sometimes I will just lie on the floor in my flat, feeling the carpet, the texture and so on. It helps.

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squirrel   
squirrel

can someone explain how this feels? I feel spaced out but think it may be this Depersonalization

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angie007   
angie007

HI Squirrel,

 

Depersonalisation is a feeling of watching oneself, while having no control over the situation, you feel like you have changed, and the world around you has become less real and vague and dreamlike, its a feeling of living life in a dream.

 

Incidentally, its also a classic wd symptom of many drugs, not just ads and benzos, and tricyclic antidepressants are usually offered to help with it lol.

Its also the third most common psychological symptom reported after anxiety and depression.

 

Hope this helps you decide wether you do indeed have depersonalisation x

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

As I understand it, depersonalization is usually described as a feeling of not really being present, or being behind glass, or not living one's life and feeling one's feelings -- being an observer.

 

I had this for quite a while. I guess it very gradually diminished, until one day I realized I felt I *was* present. It was a very different feeling, and a huge relief.

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stan   
stan

for me derealization is to not be in reality, as behind a window, as in a dream...

 

depersonalization is personality who has problem, asking who i am, where i go, if i am not mad...

 

they are often a little mixed, i suffer near constantly from derealization, and from time to time some depersonalization

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Maybe   
Maybe

I had that quite often in the first 6 or 7 months in my wd and occasionally afterwards. For me it was very often combined with anxiety and when I felt safe (for example during my hospital stay) it was completely gone. Though this was more a kind of derealisation.

Depersonalisation I have nearly every day and I attribute it to my malfunctioning nervous system. My body just does not feel right most of the time.

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stan   
stan

For me it was very often combined with anxiety and when I felt safe (for example during my hospital stay) it was completely gone. Though this was more a kind of derealisation.

 

yes,it is often the result of permanent panic state(even when we feel quiet but body is not really quiet)

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Shanti   
Shanti

I've had these symptoms as well. I am wondering, does it also include a feeling of life being a ridiculous idea? Or is that something else? I would feel like it's all so meaningless and stupid as well as unreal. These feelings are so devastating. I have to make a huge effort to cling to the Divine and stay in the Now as I tend to dwell on the future and how gloomy it looks. I'd get a little relief with grounding techniques and rosaries. But it is difficult. Fortunately I'm not experiencing that atm though.

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated

I've had these symptoms as well. I am wondering, does it also include a feeling of life being a ridiculous idea? Or is that something else? I would feel like it's all so meaningless and stupid as well as unreal. These feelings are so devastating. I have to make a huge effort to cling to the Divine and stay in the Now as I tend to dwell on the future and how gloomy it looks. I'd get a little relief with grounding techniques and rosaries. But it is difficult. Fortunately I'm not experiencing that atm though.

 

Shanti,

Yes yes yes. IMHO, of course.

 

Also, the comment about DP/DR being alleviated when feeling safe hits home. I can't seem to find any safe place and don't know if it is result of DP/DR and feeling unable to connect w people. I cannot handle anyone else throwing advice my way when they do not understand the universal denial of the issue by a system that is very broken and invested in not allowing the truth to surface. This concept is absolutely impossible to explain to someone who does not have imminent reason or need to consider it may have validity.

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jake   
jake

i tend to isolate myself from time to time and this is bad for me. i find that when i pick myself and do something even something minor i feel better.

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Phil   
Phil

 

 

Also, the comment about DP/DR being alleviated when feeling safe hits home. I can't seem to find any safe place and don't know if it is result of DP/DR and feeling unable to connect w people. I cannot handle anyone else throwing advice my way when they do not understand the universal denial of the issue by a system that is very broken and invested in not allowing the truth to surface. This concept is absolutely impossible to explain to someone who does not have imminent reason or need to consider it may have validity.

 

I'm the same, Barbara. I tried to explain to my friend yesterday how I feel my problems are so bad and he was giving the conventional advice you would give to someone upset, but because I know my problems are much deeper, I felt like I had to keep a lot in or risk appearing irrational.

It seems like my reality caused by withdrawal is an alternate universe that everyone denies exists.

 

Because of this it seems like I cannot "get over" my upset/trauma over this problem. There is nowhere to turn to. But still, I appreciate that people care enough to try and help, I guess its the best one can expect.

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated

Phil.

'Twilight Zone' feels like an apt description for me. I find myself wondering how others perceive me--do they see how odd I feel? Do they feel the barrier between us? I know I'm not psychotic in the traditional sense of the word. However, I've heard psychosis defined as 'a break with reality' and that begs the question "whose reality??"

No, I am not labeling any of this as psychosis but acknowledging that it is an altered perception or state, similar to any drug that effects CNS. I will go out on a limb and compare it to a dissociative state (sometimes induced by LSD or psilocybin for medical reasons), not that I know what that feels like!

That just triggered more theories that I will keep to myself for now.

Have you read some of the discussions in the Finding Meaning section? Kundalini experience, etc. I think you will be able to relate.

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Goldy   
Goldy

This is SUCH a horrific symptom, from the way I've experienced it. I have literally had it 100% of the time for about 4 years now. It's basically a perceptual disturbance where objects look flat, even 2-dimensional if you have it really badly. It also makes other people seem like they're far away, and when you see an image of yourself its hard to recognize it as yourself. For a better description sans brain fog, here's a wikipedia page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derealization

Does anyone have experience with it?

I've always been convinced it's just a side-effect of the psych meds. But there used to be an entire forum similar to this one just on the subject of dp/dr (not sure if still on the net), but no one ever mentioned it being caused by meds, mostly only generally traumatic events or weed. So if anyone knows of a possible treatment or cure that's safe during withdrawal, please share..

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated

Goldy,

There is another thread on this. I'll try to find.

YES this is one of the worst, disorienting, and anxiety-producing feelings for me. I feel some paranoia, too, wondering if others notice how flat I feel.

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haley   
haley

yes, I just feel like I dont want too ask my family for help. but I do. feel as if nothing I see is what it is. like it takes me a minutes too understand what I was doing or like this is a nightmare. like nobody around thinks this is real, what I feel is beyond what wordso too somebody can fix.

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Hannah   
Hannah

I suffer from DR more than DP. I had it really bad for the first time when I was 14, related to anxiety. It almost went away, but has always been there. For the past year and a half it has been chronic. Really bad, no reprieve at all. Began before I had ever even thought about weaning off anything. Had been telling every psych I saw the same thing, "stuck in a dream," "nothing feels real," blah blah blah. They just kind of ignored me. I would try to describe it to my husband, but for someone who has never experienced it, it's very difficult to understand. After trying to explain this horrible feeling to the therapist I have now, she told me it was DR, induced by anxiety. My husband researched it on the internet, the exact phrases and descriptions that I'd been saying for a year and a half were mentioned on the sites. It seems like if I weren't stuck in this disoriented, dream-like state the other issues I'm trying to deal with wouldn't be so bad. The smallest things are just overwhelming. I just want out.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

A lot of people find this to be their most distressing drug-related symptom.

 

I suffered from it for about 3 years after quitting Paxil, but it did very gradually lighten and then go away.

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Nadia   
Nadia

Yes... this is very distressing. It feels for me really dreadful, not just a neutral derealization or depersonalization. Like everything is distant and hostile.

 

I still get it occasionally, but I have to say this is the major thing I've seen improvement with. DP/DR were the first symptoms to start to resolve themselves. So, courage! The best thing is not to try to fight it, but just observe yourself going through it and try not to "think" through it too much.

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Pandora   
Pandora

In my 3rd month off Cipralex these feelings of detachment and altered perceptions started kicking in. I remember those same feelings pre-antidepressants, in my childhood and young adulthood and can now connect them with pretty intense anxiety - sort of like an ongoing panic attack without the physical symptoms of alarm. How grateful I was when they disappeared with antidepressant therapy - but along with that so too did all my other emotions.

 

Approaching my 4th month drug-free I still feel like this alot of the time but I started exercising and it really, really helps. I'm talking swimming and walking, nothing too strenuous but wow, what a difference. I highly recommend it for anyone suffering with this frightening, distressing symptom.

 

Pandora

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Nadia   
Nadia

Interesting, Pandora... I too remember those feelings pre-meds, though they were a lot more manageable and a bit different. I used to call it being "homesick" when I was a kid, even when I was at home. Sleep was my remedy, or getting lost in a book. But the kind of DP/DR I got when quitting meds was way beyond that. It was like that Sunday feeling magnified by 1000 and on acid. I thought of it as limbo... like being in a nightmare that had no end, with the nightmare not just outside, but in my own psyche so that I had no recognizable sense of self.

 

I realize being off meds, though, that I have to accomodate and accept that I'll feel a bit of detachment, homesick feeling, distance... whatever, now and then. I wish I had learned to deal with it before without meds, because it WAS to a large degree "treatable"... I know I'd feel better if I got active, was distracted. While at the worst of my withdrawal, absolutely nothing helped. Not sunshine or puppies or nice smells or a hug or anything. It's the closest I've felt to being absolutely crazy. But Alto recommended doing the things that would normally make me feel better anyway: a cup of tea, fresh sheets on the bed, a shower, sunshine, plants. It didn't seem to make a difference at the moment, but I think it helped.

 

I remind myself of that when I hit a ditch now, too. The past few days I've been feeling awful, and I can't seem to snap out of it, but I'm just going through the motions and over the days I think I'm slowly improving. First and foremost I'm trying to accept and even embrace where I'm at now. No use in digging in my heels.

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated

"Limbo" is a good word. Reminds me of the song (Katy Perry, I think)... feeling like a plastic bag ... drifting through the wind.

 

Unsettling, ungrounded. Freefall. Unable to connect to anything or anyone.

 

Even now, it's often only my animals who "get through".

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