What Was Never Normal Will Always Be The Norm... I Hope Not

Hello, my name is Michael, I'm 22 years old, and I think I have depersonalization disorder. I, like many others with the illness, have had a horrible childhood- molested, neglected, beaten, and severely emotionally abused, all day long, for 13 years. Growing up, I didn't have friends or relatives to find safety in, I felt like I was completely alone, and I suffered in silence.

At the age of 10, I was looking in the mirror one evening and noticed that I didn't feel like I existed. I thought I was in a coma, because it felt like I was asleep, and nothing I did seemed to wake me up, a dream I couldn't escape from. Holding my hands under water, I felt the pressure but not the cold nor the heat. I'd get dizzy, looking into the mirror and having everything just pop out of the glass. That was my first experience with spacing out.

Around the age of 14 or so, when I was in high school my freshman year, I'd walk down hallways and my vision would suddenly become dark, as if looking through sunglasses. It felt as though someone were controlling my body, and I was watching everything around me through a tv. People would speak to me, but I would only hear echoes.

Those two experiences would disappear by themselves over time, the first one lasted about two years, the next one lasted for several months...

This experience is pushing three years, and I feel totally desperate to feel. SOMETHING. My memory is completely shot, I can remember things from a long time ago, but give me two things to memorize in order, and I'll forget them, let alone forget the order they were in. I can't talk right, my speech becomes jumbled because I'm constantly confused, 24/7, and I am now afraid to talk to people for fear they will reject me. I spend a lot of time alone for this very reason. While walking, I'll trip over my own feet, I can't turn my head without walking in that direction, meaning I have to look straight ahead or I'll walk into the street or onto someone's lawn. On the outside, people tell me I look fine. I'm going to college, I have friends... I'm doing fine. Within my head, it feels as though my body is constantly floating away from itself, it feels like I'm constantly dreaming.
People have said that I DO make sense... I make sense when I'm typing, because there's a "backspace" key, which allows me to cover up my mistakes- there's no "backspace" key when you're talking to people. They become confused, I become confused, and then I forget what the heck we were just talking about. I'll forget where I am, forget the time. And I end up looking like a total moron. Until recently, I didn't know my dilemma had a name, and I had such a hard time explaining it to people, because I couldn't understand it myself. I couldn't formulate thoughts in a coherent order long enough to explain what it was that was going on. I've had therapists tell me that it's part of growing up, that a 22 year old doesn't think as clearly as an 11 year old, and so on. I've had therapists tell me that I just need to practice study skills (I'll read something and forget what it was that I just read, I'll re-read it, same thing.)
I can't keep up during a conversation, my brain just shuts down and I end up spacing out the entire time. Friends just look at me like I'm mentally challenged, and laugh. Some have went some far as to call me an idiot. I've had employers do the same thing- and don't get me started on family...
I'm terrified. I can't drive because I'm afraid I'll space out and get into an accident, have it be my fault, and be responsible for the death of someone. I can't work, because I keep forgetting where things are, when I'm supposed to be at work, and so on. I'm afraid to be around people because I don't want to come across as a moron, so I'll spend days by myself, looking outside, or sometimes just have the blinds closed and stay trapped inside my apartment... the loneliness, the isolation, drives me crazy. I've never understood cabin fever before this, but now I understand what it's like to completely lose your mind because you're not around people. Yet when I AM around people, I'm a nervous wreck. I get severe headaches all the time, and when I'm around people, they just get even worse.
I don't know what to do! I'm supposed to start at Umass this fall, but I'm afraid that I'll do so horribly because of this condition that I'll end up failing out of school! Can anyone give me some pointers?
I'd do anything to have friends with whom I can relate to, I haven't felt connected to humanity in a very long time, it feels as though I'm dead. I feel forgotten and completely lost. I want to know what it's like for other people dealing with this. I understand each person's experience is different, but I don't want to be alone anymore, and I want to start somewhere.
Yes, I'm in therapy, EMDR therapy actually. But I was told it's going to take some time before we start the actual hand movements, that there's a great deal of preparation involved first.

Thank you for your time and energy, and I hope to hear back from somebody.


pointofthought pointofthought
4 Responses Jul 25, 2010

Michael, hey, I know you wrote this some time ago. I have/had DPD, was diagnosed and sought treatment and recovered for the most part. How have you been?
You're not alone in this and if you still would like to talk and discuss DPD then shoot me an e-mail and I'd be glad to talk with you. (newyorkonelove@gmail,com)

i am suffering from this too, i feel like im drowning, and have constant panic attacks, i have been suffering for almost a month. i also have crazy vision, i see floaties and snow like stuff and things shoot across my vision, and i feel crazy, i have panic attacks about the weirdest stuff. i want to know how to overcome this, and if there is any medication that would help with it?

Dear Mike,start reading self help books...there are also some really good new age books out there like the secret .The depersonalization you feel is really your true self , your spirit within poping out and saying be strong because that is who you really are...your much greater than you think you are and don't let anyone every tell you different.Know that you are loved so very much for who you are.<br />
Best of luck my friend.

Hello, my name is khloe. You're not alone. The thing that triggered my depersonalization was smoking weed, although the doctors told me it would've came along someday anyways. The weed just happened to trigger it sooner than it would've came out. Don't worry, there is help for us. I'd suggest that you go see a psychiatrist... that's what I'm doing. I've been seeing both a psychatrist & a therapist. I've done some research on the internet and it's been proven that certain medicines can help with DP, and I just started taking this medicine called Zoloft. I'm hoping it will help with it, because I'm so tired of waking up every morning in a dream. I've only been depersonalized for a few months now, but I hate it. Whenever I look in the mirror it seems as if I can't recognize myself. My whole life is a dream. It's like I'm sitting back watching a movie of my life. Some days I wake up and think, "well, if this is the way life's going to be, then what's the point in living it." Suicide seems like the only way out of this neverending nightmare. I can't even do as little as sit with my family at the dinner table without freaking out. The depersonalization brings on these "panic" or "anxiety" attacks because I get freaked out so badly because sometimes I truly do believe I'm either in a dream or dead. I feel like I'm separated from myself. I want to feel normal again. I can't live the rest of my life like this. Well, I can totally relate to how you feel & I'm glad I'm not the only one. 99.9% of the time I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from. Just hang in there, you'll be okayyy(: there are many success stories when it comes to depersonalization. People that once felt depersonalized no longer do. I just keep praying I'll be one of those lucky people. Medication can help. Just hang in there hun, best wishes (: everything will be okay.