How To Cure Depersonalization Disorder

I had been suffering from depersonalization (DP) disorder for 9 months. Now it’s over – I no longer experience it. Here’s how you can recover from depersonalization too.

What is depersonalization? Depersonalization definition, according to Wikipedia, is the following:

“Depersonalization (or depersonalisation) is an anomaly of self-awareness. It consists of a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. Subjects feel they have changed, and the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance.“

It’s a very hard task to describe it to someone who never experienced it. Even I, after recovering from it, find it difficult to relate myself to the above depersonalization definition, because I do not suffer from DP anymore.

Depersonalization is more of a feeling, a state your mind gets trapped into. If you suffer from depersonalization disorder, you may feel like:

  • You are not you.
  • Your body is not your own/Your hands are not yours.
  • It’s like you don’t think from the first-person position. It’s like you observe your thoughts, as well as your actions and reactions.
  • You may feel like you are ghost, that you consist of eyes only. Sometimes you may feel like physically disappearing.
  • You may experience distortion of time (and of space, if depersonalization disorder is accompanied by derealization, what happens quite often).

The one mistake everybody, who suffers from depersonalization, makes when looking for how to get rid of this dreadful state of mind and soul, is trying to think his/her way out of it.

It will not work. You cannot ruminate over the depersonalization symptoms you’re suffering from and go through possible causes of the disorder in your mind over and over again, and then suddenly come to some solution that will cure you at once.

What helped me — is that I began doing what I love.

First thing I did – I admitted that I am feeling bad, and that I will not get over depersonalization in the near future. Perhaps, I will never get over it.

Secondly, I decided, that if I’m going to suffer from it further, and, perhaps, it will get even worse (I was scared that it’s going to manifest into schizophrenia), the only thing I could do in this situation is to start doing what I love. My reasoning was that if I’m going to lose my mind, I’d better begin doing something worthwhile right now, before it’s too late, so I could leave some legacy, before things get really bad.

Since I wanted to create computer games since childhood, the next step was clear to me: start developing some computer game. That is how my recovery story began.

So here are the steps I recommend you to take in order to stop depersonalization:

  1. Do not resist it.
  2. Identify what you love to do, what you are passionate about, and begin doing it.

I know, your immediate answer to the last recommendation may be something like: “You offer me to do something I like, but I cannot do anything because of depersonalization! I cannot think about anything else but it. I cannot focus on anything. I cannot distract myself from these thoughts. Moreover, I doubt that I can feel anything in this state, I haven’t experienced joy for ages.”

I am not asking you to distract yourself, you are free to continue ruminating over your state of being in the back of your mind, suffer from physical symptoms and mental anxiety.

I just ask you to think of something you can do along with it. Some activity you’re passionate about (or the one you knew you were, because when you’re depersonalized, I know, it is hard to feel any joy).

I remember that feeling of detachment from the world when it seemed like I was not interested in anything at all. However, somewhere in between anxiety attacks, an idea of creating a computer game came to my mind.

I rejected it for the first time. I believed I could not do it. However, it would continue to show up, so finally I payed some attention to it and decided to give it a try.

Remember: perhaps, you experienced a spark of creativity recently as well, but you, like me, denied the thought that you could do something about it in this state. Oh, believe me, you can! Next time when you are “struck” with a creative idea, try to work on it a little bit. Or write it down and come back to it later, on the weekend for example.

Spend a couple of hours (or just 15 minutes) to explore your idea. Draft a simple plan of action how you can implement the idea.

I know it will be hard to get going. Just remember the following: you don’t have to cure depersonalization disorder before you can work on your idea. You can work on it and suffer from DP at the same time.

When I began working on my computer game, DP did not go away. I still suffered from all those terrible depersonalization symptoms I described above. While programming the game I was still ruminating over how I was feeling at that moment: “Are hands, which are typing the code, my own hands?”, and so on. I just kept on developing the game.

You can’t get rid of DP at once. It’s a gradual process, during which you train your brain to think more about other things in your life than how much you suffer from this disorder. That is why I cannot tell exactly when I got distracted so much, that I actually stopped experiencing depersonalization at all.

Now, if I think about DP and try to remember how it felt – yes, perhaps, I may feel some tension inside. However, questioning my state (If I feel like I am me, etc.) does not provoke instant anxiety and fear as it used to. I’m pretty sure that my today reaction to existential, solipsistic and suchlike questions is no stronger than any other highly-sensitive person’s response.

I’ve tried many things on my quest to find ways to overcome depersonalization: neuroleptics, church, homeopathy. However, I found the remedy in a simple act of doing what you love. So if you ask “How do I cure depersonalization disorder?”, my answer will be – do what you love.

Read more on depersonalization from Sociable Introvert: What is Depersonalization disorder? Learn the Depersonalization Cure

114 thoughts on “How To Cure Depersonalization Disorder”

      1. Hi, I’m actually a 15 year old boy with this disorder. This is the first webpage that I’ve found on it 😀 Not gonna go into details but a while ago my parents split up (not agreed upon, my dad just kinda left) and I was super sad. Also I had a weird gf (or ex-gf now) who I’d constantly be wondering what she’s doing and getting angsty. Wow even writing this helps me feel better. I’ve had a rough year this year honestly, but I would like to know how I should overcome this? (P.S I wanna get into the Military when I grow up, but I’m still on that verge of uncertainty) Also, to be honest, when I think about the symptoms I have and start feeling them again, its on and off, I have a bit of a headache, like I have a clouded mind/judgement.

        1. Hi,

          You’ve described your problem very clearly, so don’t worry, your mind is not clouded :) When parents split up, it’s a big stress for a child. Perhaps, you could discuss this situation with a professional psychotherapist.

          Perhaps, you may find a hobby or a job to get distracted from all that what happened in your life last year.

          It’s okay that you think about symptoms, don’t resist these thougths, let them be.

          Let me know if you have any questions.

        1. At first it came and went away but then i fel asleep for about 2 days and it went away for about 5 minutes then came right back ive been dealing with this for five years please help me

        1. Brady, first of all, you’re not alone (though DP feels like you all alone in your head).

          I strongly recommend to seek advice of a professional psychotherapist. Quite often DP is a consequence of underlying unresolved psychological issues. And a professional counsellor may help in this case.

      1. Dear Alex,
        I truly need advice. I’ve been suffering from this nightmare for 4 years, and only realizing the name of it now. Everything seems fake and surreal. I once walked out on the street when a car was going 45 only for the driver to see me just in time. I stood in front of the headlights clueless. I am panicking and I have no idea what to do. Will I die like this? Are these my hands? Is that my face? Who are my family members? Am I going to die alone? These questions race through my mind distracting me from everything other than what I’m trying to focus on. I don’t feel like I will ever be the same. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel normal. I’ve already gotten through CBT due to my doctor thinking I had social anxiety disorder. I am going to see him again, and hopefully he can help. I’ve already lost myself typing this. I have no idea where I am. The trigger must have been my childhood. I moved a lot, been bullied, hopped around schools, went through multiple divorces, have gotten into real brawls with my sister and mother. I have no idea what to do I’m already on depression meds, and thought of suicide multiple times in the past. Please god get me through this hell.

        1. Maxwell, it’s great that you’re going to continue working with the CBT doctor.

          From the brief description of your life it’s obvious there’re a lot of conflicts in your soul. I’m sure, a professional therapist may help you to resolve them. Although it may look like a tedious process, it is worth it. Don’t give up. Please do not postpone your visit to the therapist, the earlier you start, the sooner you may find some help.

  1. please help me i have been stuck in this disease for one year now!
    for some reason my memory is very bad cuz of Dpd and i stopped studing because of this …did you notice any changes in your memory?

    1. Amad, I was scared to lose my memory as well. I even tried to learn a couple of poems to check it, and if I forgot a line, I would panic. I also made MRT check to see if my brain is OK.

      Now I understand that I imagined my problems with memory. Nevertheless, I assume you may experience some functional issues with it, ‘coz you’re highly stressed and obssessed about your health state. I believe, that was my case.

      I also lost my job, and took the job of a janitor. ( You may read my story here: http://www.thechangeblog.com/lessons-learned-janitor/ ) It was hard time, but I survived… I’m sure so will you do.

      1. Thanks for sharing your story :) It makes me hopeful that I can get out of this too. I am taking baby steps to do what I feel will make me feel better. I find that the feeling comes and goes for me, so maybe I am almost there… I hope as at least. It all began when i broke up with my partner of 6 years.

    2. It is really hard to focus with DP. I got it the last semester of college when I had a personal loss. To finish college I had to focus 3X more than normal….it is really hard to focus on things with DP. I couldn’t study or follow conversations (lectures), etc. I just trained myself to concentrate 3X more than normal….early on I was thinking about DP all the time….how to get rid of it, etc. vitamins, minerals, etc. Don’t do this. It does not help. it is just a never-ending cycle.

      Seek help from a Mental Health professional. Distracting yourself from DP helps. You will not die of DP. You cannot put your life on hold until you get well from DP.

      After all these years, my personal opinion of what I think DP is that it is caused from a bio-chemical response to fear. It acts on your eye muscles and optic nerve reducing your vision to a less stressful, less fearful way of viewing the world. The one dimension, flat and hazy view of the world is less fearful . It is your body protecting yourself from fear and anxiety.

      So ….my advice is to take care of yourself. See a Mental Health professional who is knowledgeable about Depersonalization. Get on with your life. Do things you like to do.

  2. I had DP at age 20 for about 2 years. It finally went away. It reared its head 5 years ago when I had an issue at work. I felt my brain zing and I was off. After a year my husband decided he wanted someone else. I left my home and traveled south to my family and tried to rebuild my life after 20 years. I still have DP and it is as strong as ever. I have been going through a divorce for 3 years and it has been horrendous. Unfortunately fluorescent lighting makes it worse and i work under them all day long. I know I won’t die from this but really have had enough. Sometimes the lack of feeling is too much. It is strange but I am an extremely sensitive person and here I can’t feel. Kinda contradicts itself. I just want to be normal again and live. Everything is surreal, just a movie playing over and over. My husband didn’t understand and the phrase in sickness and in health did not work. I have found never tell anyone that I have this going on. They just don’t understand. I need help!

    1. Barbara, thank you for your message. I’m sorry you have to go through this.

      I agree, that most people do not understand it. However, still there are people who do.

      I met my wife, when I was at the peak of DP. It was great luck for me to encounter such a beautiful person at such hard times of my life.

      I’m not a professional, and cannot give you a professional advice, but as a fellow human being who has experienced the similar nightmare, I assume that the reason of this disease lies deep inside our mind and soul. And I’m sure that working on this problem with a psychotherapist may help.

  3. Thank you Alex for your effort.I think I am going through depersonalization. I can’t imagine how happy whould I be if could understand being myself. I am looking forward, if your work, works on me.

    1. Nalaka, I’m pretty sure everything will turn out well for you! Also I recommend to consider seeking advice of a professional psychotherapist.

  4. Hi there Alex,

    I had a panic attack 3 months ago and then dp/dr. I go to school and even at its worst with dp I did not quit. It is really one of the worst feelings that I have ever had. My dr is completely gone by now, I sometimes get to enjoy what is out there and be thankful for it. My problem now is that I am trapped in this state where I feel like two floating eyes. It is an stupid feeling but it does go away sometimes at least for a couple of minutes. I have come to the conclusion that dp exists because we have no emotions caused by the panic attack and excessive anxiety. When you said you have no dp anymore, do you at least get to have the same feelings for your loved ones. I mean we all have had those existential thoughts once before, except that while dp’d the lack of emotions make us ruminate over them, causing more fear and anxiety. Thanks

    1. James, I am very glad to hear that your DR has gone!

      Yes, all my feelings are back. Actually, I do not reason about it in my head anymore. I just live the life I used to live.

      Existential thoughts are natural for all of us. The problem is that for people, who suffer from DP and DR, those feelings are wrapped with anxiety and stress.

      1. What was this process like for you? I’ve got partial but significant loss of emotion and earthly pleasure, did you fully get this back?

        My DR is probably mild. However, it is pervasive, and it resulted from persistent failure in middle and high school to do things and have friends, endless social let downs, unavoidable anxiety, and drifting off into space to cope. Also foundations were laid when I was very young by being overly introspective and more intelligent than peers.

        How did you recover? Would you say that you have recovered or have been cured? I feel like reintegrating with society won’t work and I’ll be spaced out if I get a job – if not then simply robotic.

        Things took a turn for the worse when I smoked a lot of weed in the past six months, coming to a climax when I smoked intense sativa about a month ago and stayed up for days and almost had a full psychotic nervous breakdown. Still worried I might get schizo. Towards the beginning of the six month period when I would get really high I felt like brain cells were dying off every time and soul have deep experiences and see lights. I still feel the urge to go back because THC makes me feel amazing, but probably doesn’t help. I’ve been looking into Cannabidiol and Cannabichromene.

        Tl;dr: lonely introspective intelligent kid missed out on growing up because of anxiety, developed DR, worsened by weed, doesn’t know if can be cured, please help.

        1. Yes, my emotions got back. However, I feel that I’ve changed as a person and what brought me enjoyment before, does not sound like fun now. But it’s a natural process, when some old interests fade, and has nothing to do with the DP I had experienced.

          I’m not sure if I’ve been cured. In the end I was so fed up with various treatments that I stopped doing anything all together. So, I guess, that life healed me, though it sounds a little bit exoteric, hmm.

          I’ve never taken drugs you describe, so I can’t relate to you experience.

          I recommend you to seek help of a professional therapist. From my unprofessional experience I may only suggest to find something that you liked to do when you were a child, and try your best to focus on it despite all the mental pain you may experience.

  5. Thank you. This is where I’m at too. Your advice gives me hope. I haven’t dared tell anyone how I feel. Nice to know I’m not alone in this abstract state!

    1. G, hold on! There are lots of ppl who suffer the same nightmare every day.

      Don’t be afraid to tell your family/friends how you feel. I think if you find someone to talk to about it, you’ll feel a little bit better.

  6. Hi Alex I have been rresearching this from last nnight wondering what Iis wrong with me as I go through every day wondering if I am real because I can see everyone else except myself without a mirror etc. I have suffered this for 4 years now and reading your story it gives me real hope that in the future I can beat this with some help.

    1. Greg, I know how it feels. It’s awful. Like you’re standing on a lifeless planet surface and wonder if anything exists beside this endless prostration in the universe at all?

      But regarding my life, I may say that that was a valuable experience, which made me even stronger.

      When it’s over, you’ll look back at it with a smile and perhaps, gratitude.

  7. I think I’m going through the same thing. About a month ago I had a panic attack and severe anxiety for a week after, and it’s like once the anxiety left everything left with it.
    No emotions, feels like my brain is NUMB. I haven’t ever been depressed clinically but I don’t think this is what it is.
    I can’t really tell when I’m tired, only way for me to do that is if my eyes are tired. Is this depersonalization? I did go through dereapization for a couple days but that finally passed. Thanks for the help.

    1. Hi Ross,

      I think the symptoms you’re describing are, first of all, the result of overfatigue.

      Depersonalization may be a consequence of overall “nerve strain”.

      A panic attack is also a signal that you may need to give your mind and body more rest and work on your psychological well-being with a professional counsellor.

  8. Hi Alex, idk whether it’s depersonalisation or not coz I can feel my body, and everything but it’s just my eyes that make me feel that the world is a movie n yeah those anxieties of my exsistence and after life are accompanied!! Pls tell me wat is it..

    1. Hi Adds,

      Unfortunately, I cannot exactly tell what it is, because I am not a professional counsellor. Try to seek professional medical advice if you want to know the accurate diagnosis.

    1. DP summons all kinds of thoughts. Especially you may be attacked with thoughts which reflect you fears.

      Yes, numbness is a wide spread symptom. Actually, the feature film which covers the problem of DP is called Numb. Have you seen it?

  9. I’m 21 and I’ve had DP since I was 10. It comes and goes depending on stress. I found that meditation and self love helps tremendously and yes like you said, doing what you love. I sometimes worry that the DP will manifest into schizophrenia since my father was schizophrenic. Can that happen? I still look into the mirror and can’t relate to the person I see.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question as I do not have any proven research data at my disposal.

      I just know that most of those who suffer from DP are afraid of schizophrenia (or going “crazy”), but my overall impression is that it’s just fears (again, please note, I haven’t conducted any research).

      When I was looking for the answer to this question myself I asked every MD I’ve met, but noone gave me the reply. They were saying: maybe yes, maybe no.

      I was angry with these answers first. Finally, I realized that psychiatry just cannot answer this question now: this area of medicine is just not that developed yet (which of course, does not stop psychiatrists from prescribing you a bunch of pills!).

      From my point of view, if your DP becomes worse when you’re stressed, it’s likely that it is stress-induced and is Not a part of any other mental desease.

      I may advise you to keep finding joy in doing what you love, because that was what I did, and it has helped me.

  10. Hello my name is Fernando and I’m really scared because today I barley found out about this and I’ve been having it for about a month it all started when I ate a brownie that contained marijuana and it was my first time but ever since I feel like I’m on a dream like if I’m not real like if my body isn’t mine it’s not only a feeling but it’s like if it’s reality and there’s moments were I start crying because I panic and when I see pictures of myself it’s like if I was looking at someone else and I’m really scared because I’m also not eating well because it’s like if I’m not hungry it’s like if I can’t remember how it’s like to be normal I just what answers plz help

    1. Hi Fernando,

      My DP was not induced by drugs (in my case, the stress was the reason), thus, I cannot give any specific advice, unfortunately.

      Try searching through the DPselfhelp.com discussion board. This community is very supportive, and there are lots of people there whose DP started the same way as yours.

      1. Alex I am 15. Can you believe that? 15 goddamn years old and… and I’m sitting here on this computer afraid of just never being the same me. I smoked marijuana a few times . I came to the conclusion that it damaged a certain part of my brain and that I ended up with all the research I’ve been doing which led to here. Depersonalization and Derealization. Just I don’t know where to go. Who to talk to because its just so hard to explain. Just reply with something for me just something for a kid to understand to do. I need someone to just walk me through this or give me steps. I want my real life back not to be in some movie every day and just get pushed out of my life week by week. Please respond with something helpful . I’m 15 and my life is being thrown away. I should have listened and never have touched that drug. I pray for myself every night and day. Its just so crazy right now. Nothing I can do. I should have never touched that weed. Ever.

        1. Kwame, I want you to know, that recovery is possible.

          >>>I came to the conclusion that it damaged a certain part of my brain
          Well, I don’t believe it. You may do MRI, which will prove you’re wrong.

          >>> I pray for myself every night and day.
          I did the same, man.

          >>> Just I don’t know where to go. Who to talk to
          Professional psychotherapist is your key to recovery. (Or a good psychology book at least.)

    2. My DP was also triggered by marijuana. I can say I have had 3 episodes of DP, related to drugs in my life (you would think I would have learned and never took drugs again). Anyway, each time I had the DP reaction, it got worse (more intense and lasted longer ). Someday you will feel like yourself again (if you don’t already). And when you do never ever take drugs again.

  11. Cheers Alex, appreciate your story. Did you ever find it cyclical? For me in a single day I can flip between derealisation then 80-90% normal many times. When I start feeling dr again I think back to the times I was feeling pretty normal and I wonder if I was just distracted or what. Also did you notice your memories became third person? When remembering events from my past I can often only imagine them as if I was looking at a scene. Another thing, did you ever think of your potential reaction to a hypothetical insane scenario? Sometimes I think that if something dramatic happened such as a close friend dying I would think that it was me going crazy rather than the scenario actually happening. One final question, did you ever notice visual snow? Thanks mate

    1. Hey Deano,

      No, I believe my DP was not cyclical: I was caught in this awful state all the time.

      90% of “normality” is an awesome rate!

      Now I am not sure if my memories were 3rd person, but I remeber that I was sure that I definetely had some memory problems. And that I lost my imagination. (Though I actually did not — I was just tremendously stressed).

      I was questioning reality all the time: is it real, or is it a dream? Also sometimes, when I was crossing the road and the car was rather close and moving fast, after that I was questioning if I was hit by it and now I am in some limb place?

      But all those thoughts are completely normal.

      No, never experienced visual snow.

  12. Hey Alex, I’ve got this 3 months now and it’s hard. glad to see your doing well. Did you notice anything to do with your time perception? Mines pretty messed up. So fast. I’m constantly in a dream mode. anything I can do to help?

    1. Hey Gary,

      Oh, yes! My time perception was quite messed up! For me, it seemed like I was living through one very long nightmare day which just does not end.

      You may start with seeking help of a professional psychotherapist (or reading some self-help books on psychotherapy, CBT, etc.)

      Also, if you work, you may consider changing your job to a less stressful one temporarily (that was what I did).

      1. Hey again Alex,

        I forgot to ask did your time perception go back to normal? Just like before? Because the way I feel as of now I can’t see it being normal again. Thank you.

      2. Hi Alex

        Please excuse my English it’s my second language.

        I read your article and I’m delighted to hear that you have recovered. I have 24/7 Dp/anxiety for 16 months now, it all started after I had my first panic attack, I have been to doctors,read some books but am still stuck with the condition I do have better days but have never felt normal in this time and I’m concerned that I never will.The main fuel behind it all is fear, fear of going crazy (developing schizophrenia) sometimes I think that I have conquered the fear but other days I fall back almost completely. I also find it sooo hard to socialize because I feel so anxious and strange when I try to be with my friends,and this made me lonely and isolated.

        Can you relate any of this to your experience when you were suffering ?

        Thanx

        JC

          1. Yes, it did. While I suffered from DP I did not have any desire to meet other people, especially those, with whom I was close before (my friends and colleagues). But as I began to feel better I found out that I wanted to be a part of a social group again, that I could contribute to conversation, etc.

  13. Alex,

    Thank you so much for this. I’m an 18 year old kid that’s has been suffering from DP for about 8 months now. Through the first 7 months or so I was experiencing the symptoms full force. I didnt feel like myself one bit at all. I felt like my hands didn’t belong to me and when I would see pictures of me at a younger age I didn’t believe I was the same person. I have gotten better now, I would say I still experience symptoms atleast 50% of the time but atleast things are getting better. I feel somewhat like myself from time to time and reading your post tonight has given me so much hope. I hope someday I can fully recover from this just as you did. Again, thank you my man. Sending as much love your way as my DP mind can. Thank you

    1. Carson, thanks a lot for sharing your story. I’m really glad that your DP is getting better. I know this stuff about strange hands very well) Find something you love to do and concentrate on this activity. It may help 😉

  14. Hi,

    Alex, thanks for sharing.

    I have been through a lot of stress this year and a lot of cortisone/steroid treatment for nerve and muscle pain after a cesarean.

    I noticed this feeling a couple of months ago in hospital but oddly enough I ‘cracked’ my neck and the fog lifted.
    Since then though it has come back and stayed permanently, I also had some seizures before the feeling stayed, plus surgery, heart rate dropped low and was given ketamine to speed it up.

    I am not sure where to go from here. I am anxious all the time. I miss my feelings and the motivated happy person I was before.

    Were you put on medication Alex? Did it help?

    1. Hello Emily,

      I was put on medication, but it did not help. However, every organism is unique. What did not help me, may help you.

      I cannot give you any professional medical advice, so I recommend consulting a professional regarding your issue.

  15. Hello Tom. I Live in Lithuania and I am 10th class student. I am really passionate about music. I spend hours every day playing guitar, this is what I love. But it makes me even more depersonalized about everything that is around me. I play guitar, practice vocals so much that I forget other things- I forget my homework, forget socializing.
    I have a lots of interests in history, politics, maths, physics, electronics and etc. In my life I try to get interested about everything that I do but I get obsessed about every thing and that obsession makes me into DP which I cannot get out. What should I do?
    Physical pain brings me back to reality. I start hurting myself, hitting like a maniac. But I do it increasingly more often.
    Help me.

  16. Hey Alex, I’ve been struggling with DP for about 9 months now. And I’m 15 years old, can DP be caused from puberty? But I hit puberty like 2 years ago and I’m wondering what’s happening. Sometimes it goes away when I don’t think about it. But it’s just hard because it’s always there and I can’t get it off my mind

    1. K, to be honest, I don’t know if this can be related to puberty period. I recommend you to seek help of a professional psychotherapist/medical doctor. I’m sure he can answer your questions more accurately.

  17. I feel horrible after being in a terrible stressful situation i developed derealization its so bad i fear im going mad or stayed mad i just cant shake it my perception is off and i im so scared of developing something worse i suffer from anxiety and stress but i feel like its something worse

    1. Sooh, I also felt like it was something worse, like intuition told me that something really bad is going to happen. But it never did. That was just my current perception of reality, which stays the same no matter how you feel about it. Also please consider talking to a professional therapist. S/he may provide you with a professional answers on why this is happening to you.

  18. Hi Alex, I’ve suffered from depersonalization for a little more than a year now. When it first started I had family issues and the girl I loved rejected me. Soon after, I went numb. There are some days when I feel normal again, but most of the time I feel devoid of emotion. I used to be a very caring and loving person. Did you experience a lack of love interest during your dp? Did you find writing down your thoughts to help you? I’ve also been experience in libido issues. Also, I’m a teenager. Thanks.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Yes, I felt numb. I think that happened as a result of an overwhelming force of constant anxiety. I guess my brain was so tired of endless fear and anxiety that it just turned all emotions off completely, so it could take its time to restore.

      Regarding love interest: I did not feel like interested in it at all.

      I found that self-expressing via building a video game was helpful, I was not actually journaling. But if it helps you, keep on doing it.

  19. Hi Alex. I was just wondering if you ever felt it in a philosophical sense. I find myself often wondering HOW am I me, only me, and not someone else. If that makes sense. It causes a lot of detachment when I have this thought, which goes around my mind once a day at least. Is there any chance we could email?

  20. My ongoing sense of “Depersonalization” came about after a very very hard break-up with the love of my life who pretty much just up and decided to leave one day out of the blue for no particular reason. She was suffering from anxiety and depression way before we met but we truly helped each other and built a beautiful life together during the best 7.5 years of my life. We also were extremely passionate about certain hobbies that turned into a full-time business for me and long story short with her being gone it was like I literally did not know how to be myself anymore. The places we used to eat, the songs we would listen to, our pets, the house we loved living in, hobbies/business, everything was somehow a connection to my past and consistently stirring up the love and raw emotions I have for her..eventually turning me into somewhat of a zombie. Not long after all this happened my mother whom I am very close to also became very ill and it has been beyond stressful, so I find myself now barely functional and so severely depressed..literally a shell of my old happy and vibrant passionate self. I do see someone else when I look at the pictures of me from the past, I have withdrawn from friends, lost interest in all the things I know that I really love. It’s like they really do not matter anymore, and this is beyond a simple “depression” it’s like the person I was and knew is just gone. Major cognitive issues and a literal drop in intelligence and wit, it is almost like I had a stroke and a part of my brain died. This is not reality but that’s what it feels like, just missing. The certain something I always had, the sparkle in my eye and a magnetic quality that just drew people to me, just gone. No mojo at all. lol

    On top of that the constant agonizing stress of trying to take care of my sick mother is – in my estimation – more than any human being can take and still be sane. So anyways, I never understood it fully before but when I say that of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most..well..it’s true. I really do. I’m not even afraid of going crazy anymore (which was always my biggest fear) because really there is no such thing, we are all crazy to some extent. The mere existence of this insight and fear is generally enough to prove that you are not in fact over the edge, yet. But even if you do go there, you can come back. Trust me because I know this firsthand, you can come back.

    Now I don’t know if things will ever change back to the old ME or if I will ever have the enjoyment and passion that I used to. People used to always tell me how much passion and enthusiasm I had for my hobbies and business, but for the life of me….well, it just feels empty and cold now. There is more to this story but what really put me into a tailspin was a severe bout of acute insomnia which I don’t feel I have ever really recovered from, despite sleeping much better now. I never had any issues sleeping but in the midst of all of this at it’s worst I was completely and totally unable to sleep, whatsoever. It literally almost killed me, and I have not been “me” since, just like this empty shell of my old self with just enough insight about it all to make me feel like I’m living in a complete and total nightmare. So if you feel like this and you are someone out there reading this, well, just know that you are NOT alone and you are NOT crazy.

    We are more than just bodies and organs, we are more than just healthy eating and good nutrition, we are more than just good intentions and positive thinking – we run on LOVE, at least I always did and at this point after running for so long on an empty tank, I can say that I pretty much forgot what it feels like to be loved anymore. I have zero interest in it now, and believe it or not my ex had even contacted me and tried to see me a few times during the worst of all of this and I literally could not even function enough to see her because I am not the man I once was. I have lost weight, I have no self-esteem anymore, all the light in my eyes seems to be gone. At one point in my life all I wanted to do was help others and be someone who was a healer and a source of hope for people in need..and strangely now I have become that dark trapped lost soul who cannot find his way out of it and back into the light again. I truly want to, but beyond being able to write about it online, well the reality of real life is so much different and I find myself being barely able to function like I used to. It’s hard to do pretty much everything now and I don’t even know what it feels like to have peace of mind and happiness anymore, it just all seems like it was a beautiful dream in some far away place that was once my life that I loved.

    To everyone else out there, just know that you are not alone, and you can survive this. You may not be the “same” as you were before but it’s better to be in the game than out of it, at least you still have a fighting chance. You also don’t have to “win” this battle, just survive it. The longer you hold on the better your chances get of getting better, and I have gotten somewhat better..maybe 50% max I would say and I seem to be stuck here now and wondering if I will ever regain that other half again. Only time will tell, just no matter what do not give up. Love is really the answer but it won’t work until you are ready again..at least in my case. Be well, and thanks for reading my story.

    Ps – Before you get on dangerous and potentially harmful antidepressants give St. Johns Wort a try, but it needs to be standardized for Hyperforin. The best and most readily available is called “Perika” by Nature’s Way which is actually the German pharma formula that is bottled by them and sold here in the USA pretty inexpensively. Just trust me on this one, the Perika is the one you want, 3x a day. You will feel an improvement after a few days and at like 2-3 weeks it really kicks in, there is rock solid evidence behind SJW and it does work. It will not “fix” everything however, but it will make a difference in the way you feel and give you a little bit more pep in your step and help you through the doom and gloom of all of this. I was at basically 0% and it helped me get to 50%, and hopefully in time I will someway and somehow find my way back. I think at this point I would be happy at even just 75%! Truly, give St. John’s Wort a try..it helps with sleep too after a few days of taking it. I’m sleeping better and deeper, and the crippling depression has been probably cut in half honestly. Just thought I would share, no promises here but trust me when I tell you that I am very well informed of all choices available and SJW is the path I have taken. It does work, get the Perika one and take it regularly. Good luck.

  21. Thanks for the excellent blog/site here Alex, and the kindness and empathy you show others. God bless you.

    For those out there who believe in God, and even for those who don’t..the story of JOB is a good read. It can help put things in perspective somewhat. For the record I am not sure where exactly I stand on religion/belief anymore but I’m pretty sure that we had to start somewhere and somehow. Even if God is an energy or force instead of a man sitting up on a cloud in the sky, the lesson remains the same. What is lost can be regained, you just have to keep your faith – whatever it may be.

    http://biblehub.com/childrens/The_Story_of_Job.htm

  22. Alex, I’ve been suffering from do now for a month and a bit and I first got it from smoking marijuana (yes I’m stupid for doing it but I’ll never touch it again) can you give me some advice. Thanks

    1. Mantas, hi,

      I’m afraid I can’t give you any specific advice, because you DP was triggered by smoking. I’ve experienced stress-induced depersonalization. You may try asking advice on dpselfhelp dot com forums. I’ve seen threads there started by people whose DP began as you described…

  23. I really need help!!! I have dp and dr I’ve had it for 3 years now and I’m so tired of it I’m losing my mind. This ain’t how a 15 year old should be living. Please help!!!

  24. Hi Alex,

    I have been suffering with anxiety since May 2016. It started with random anxiety attacks, legs shaking, feeling like I needed to get out of the room, etc. The past year has been awful, my mom and grandma moved to a different state, and I moved out on my home for the first time. My parents are also going through a divorce, work has been extremely stressful.

    At the end of June I had the worst panic attack of my life. I thought I was going to die. Ever since then I have been extremely anxious, the whole month of July I thought I had every disease or health problem, only to be reassured that I am healthy. It went from headaches, heart problems, MS, you name it, I thought I had it. Now that I know that I don’t have any of the health anxiety stuff, It has manifested into intrusive thoughts, feelings of emptiness and numbness, feeling like i am going to go insane, have some horrible mental illness other than anxiety that is going to show, etc. I don’t know what to do.

    I also feel like I’m in a dream and everyday is a battle. I have seen a psychiatrist which said that this is all contributed to anxiety and stress, and that if I keep going and dealing with this daily that I will get back to my normal self. It’s almost September and I hate living like this, I need some help or advice. The DP is also a struggle to live with. What do you suggest?

  25. I’d add that, another, even more common and bigger mistake sufferers do is to focus exclusively on their symptoms. DP is a deep, and very, what very, extremely intelligent way of running away from the REAL issue. Because DP/DR is not the real issue.

    1. Hi Alex, just reading your post and it’s a great description, I personally suffered panic attacks and anxiety for about 16 years until I finally got some help after the anxiety got so bad I slipped into derealisation, that was 6 years ago, I felt better 2 or 3 days after I accepted the anxiety and like you mentioned the dp/dr just slipped
      Away without saying goodbye and is then hard to describe to yourself again, 2 weeks ago I went out drinking and woke up and had a panic attack (I think) I’ve had dp/dr for 2 weeks, I now remember what it feels like and wish I didn’t, can’t believe I’ve slipped so easily back into it, gonna take your advise and just do what I normally do from day to day, my favourite saying used to be “invite it to the party and it won’t turn up” just need to implicate this into my life now… good luck everyone and take Alex’s advise as it’s all true and really does work 👍

  26. Hi Alex,

    I’ve had this for about a month now. It’s scary and I have no idea what to do. I feel like I’m just going to disappear. I’m scared that I’ll never be able to go back to my normal self!

    1. It will take time, but you will. I recommend you to seek help of a professional psychotherapist to speed up the healing process.

    1. I believe, there’s still something you enjoy. Perhaps you’re disappointed and overwhelmed. Try to do something for yourself, not for someone.

  27. Hi!
    I am an 18 year old, currently going to 11th grade. I’ll try to write as short as possible and really hope you will read it (totally understand if you don’t have the time). Sorry for grammar mistakes, English is not my native language.
    I’m visiting a psychologist at my school once a week and on the next Friday I’ll finally be going to a mental health centre (they are going to do some tests and see if I need psychiatric help). I have always been a sensitive person but never had any panic attacks or anything like that until two drug induced incidents, the last of which happened one month ago. I quit them immediately. I was living my life normally for three weeks and then suddenly one Sunday the horrible feeling came back. I was tripping b**ls even though I was completely sober. The first days were the hardest, I didn’t understand what was happening. Then I started searching for answers and I know selfdiagnosing is a really tumblr thing to do, but it can’t be anything other than DPD/DSD.
    It started two and a half weeks ago and hasn’t gone away but I already learned how to manage on some level. I’m proud that it hasn’t stopped me from going to school and the amazing support I get from my mother and my psychologist made me understand that there’s nothing wrong with my sanity. In the beginning it was so bad I was thinking about killing myself to end this hell on earth I was living in (I’m sure you know what it feels like). I know a LOT of people have it so much worse compared to me but DPD is truly horrible.
    I’m SO happy that you recovered!!! I really hope I will too. I decided I should stop searching for recovery stories and answers on the Internet since it’s not a productive activity but before i do it I’d just like to ask you, do you think I can recover with therapy and medications? I started worrying because a very famous youtuber stated that one can’t recover with these methods but that was probably just a scam. right? He also offers some special 10 hour long program to cure DPD immediately. As far as I’ve educated myself on DPD can’t magically be cured, it takes time. I assume he wants to trick people into buying his program as a last hope , falsely stating that other methods don’t work.
    Sorry this comment is so long

    With best wishes

    -Liisa

    1. Hi Liisa,

      I’m not really know if it’s a scam. I just know that when you suffer from DP you want to get out of it SO badly, that you’re ready to try every thing. As I’ve written in my post, I tried religion and homeopathy. Just try to be rational and aware of what you’re paying for.

      I hope your DP got better. Don’t worry about your grammar. It’s very good.

  28. Alex, thank you for this article and for reaching out to all these people, myself included. You are so wonderful for responding to everyone.
    I am not 100% sure I do in fact have this disorder however it sure does sound like it. (I’m not a Dr). I have good and ok days and by ok I mean I’m good because I’m still in this world with my family. It’s been 3 months since I had a health scare while vacationing in Mexico and I haven’t been myself since. My anxiety levels have been extremely high as far as my health goes given I have not got any answers after MRI’S, blood work and an ultrasound. I’m always thinking. I’m all for how the Universe works so I know I’m not doing myself any favours by thinking so negatively. I believe, our thoughts create our reality. I filled out a prescription for anxiety medication three months ago and still have not taken it. I’m not a pill popper but I think it’s time. I am going to call my Dr this morning and suggest I see someone regarding Depersonalization and derealization disorder. I’m relieved after having read your article (yet still anxious lol). Your article hits home for me. For everyone still suffering from Depersonalization and derealization disorder During, sending you so much love and light!

    Thanks again, Alex. ❤

    1. >>> You are so wonderful for responding to everyone.
      Alison, I’m not that perfect as it seems :) And sometimes it take TOO much time for me to respond (your comment is a proof 😉

      Thank you for your warm words, Alison.

  29. Alex. I’ve been in the DR state for 6 months.
    It all started by ongoing years of burnout. Working to hard stressing about things and overthinking health symptoms. Then one day the switch tripped.
    For months I’ve Googled researched myself crazy looking for a quick fix. But there is none. Like you said it all starts with your mind. That’s where it lives. We create thoughts. And thoughts create fear. Fear creates anxirty and the cycle continues.
    I feel after a really tough battle I may be winning . Some days worse than others. But I have hope now and your blog confirms this. Thank you for sharing your recovery story.

  30. I’ve been suffering from this for a few days now and I’m 18. I think it is from smoking weed.I don’t know what to do . Please advise

  31. This is a bit “funny”. I myself got it when trying to make videogames starting from age of 10. It was stress for a long time culminating in a panicattack and that’s where “I” lost it. That was 22 years ago. Haven’t recovered. Videogames meant a lot but I am too anhedonic and apathetic to get anything done. Also I suck at drawing. Maybe something in text mode. Despite this (anhedonia,anxiety and derealization) I can’t stop thinking about creating some videogame.

    1. Nosinan, have you created anything since then? Can you give us a link? If not, is it possible for you to create some very-very simple text quest, which will take you no more than a month of work?

  32. Hey alex plezz help me i used to be the first student in class until dp controlled me i hav it since 2 months now my trigger was huge stress my parents cant undrestand my condition and cant affored a psy and even when i went for a section the psy misdiagnosed me saying its just depression im a senior and if i dont succed next year my dad wont undrestand i used to be very kind loving and a dreamer i wonna feel okay again im a good person why me why just me isnt there a surgery or smth that will get me out of it no one in my community undrestand me and next year im a ssenior so it will be even more stressfull cant i recover in just 3 months before school ??? Plezzz help me i hate my life so bad ive always thought im gonna make it and become smth and im always a great student but now i cant study anything my dad is even stressing me more and now i get it i remember having episodes of it my hoel childhood plezzz help my time is short school is coming am at the edge right now from everyone i know all the bad people!! It happend to meeeeee i wanba just die so my question is what is the less painfull way to kill myself???? Thx for caring

    1. From my unprofessional point of view, the reason of your state is your parents’ expecations and desire to make you perfect.

      Get a couple of psychology books in your local library (or buy some), and you will get that all your problems are that you don’t live YOUR life. Think about what YOU want to do with your life. If it’s necessary, get a job. There’s no honor in being the 1st student in the class (bc your parents want it), and being so unhappy at the same time.

      As soon as you can afford it, go see professional psychotherapist. S/he will describe it to you in details.

  33. Hello, you said you had the solipsistic thoughts yes? Did you have them very badly? As in, it felt like the truth even though you didnt want it to be? My issue started when this thought popped into my head during a bad anxiety spell 5 years ago….. I cannot as you said, think my way out. Is there still hope for me for these thoughts to go away?

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