Story by "Bill"

 

This has turned into more of a life story... But I guess the person's history is crucial to understanding the person.

I'm not sure when exactly this depersonalization thing came on, and what caused it. If I had to guess I'd say it was a combination of an overwhelming feeling of inferiority mixed with an incredible LSD experience. Yea... Somewhere around there.

When I was in grade school I remember being somewhat happy and feeling generally 'normal'. I didn't go into deep thought about much. I worried about things, about bullies at school, about girls, about my parents annoying me. Normal things I guess. I had a lot of friends, developed this rebel persona that kept me busy. Smoked pot for the first time in 7th grade though I don't even remember getting high. Just that smoky taste.

So I come home from school one day and my parents tell me that they're getting a divorce. It felt surreal, like it wasn't really happening. I felt like I was supposed to be upset, but I didn't feel anything. I don't think it really hit until years later. I think I just tucked it away somewhere for a long time. To this day I still feel like bits and pieces of that experience are revealing themselves to me and I'm feeling it for the first time.

Anyway, let's get on with it. My mom moves to a neighboring town, and since my dad really annoys me at the time, I decide to go live with her primarily. I leave all my friends and start going to a high school where I barely know anybody. Though looking back hardly any of them were real friends and I'm sure I would have separated from them anyway.

High school is traumatic as hell. It's like I've been thrown into another world. I don't know anybody around me. Everybody else seems to be getting along with each other, except for me. I am the outsider. To this day I think I still hold that self-image that burned itself into my brain.

So I go to high school, hate being there, am scared to death of situations where I'll be exposed of having no friends. I never got picked on or anything, I just felt totally lonesome and different and alienated. The rest of my time away from school I spent in my bedroom, using the computer, playing videogames, listening to music, fiddling with my guitar. I became somewhat comfortable with my isolation. I felt safe I guess. Every now and then I would hang out with some of my old friends and I would feel like I had to hide my true identity from them, someone who had no life at all. I developed this way of thinking that everyone else had some sort of quality of life that I lacked. I didn't feel like a real person compared to everyone else.

I eventually made a few new friends, and fell into a stoner crowd. Began getting high for the first time since grade school. I really enjoyed it, too. It mellowed me out and made the world seem unpredictable and somewhat magical. Sometimes I would get really paranoid when I was high around other people, but it was still something I enjoyed overall. In retrospect, it was also something that I belonged to, something I had in common with others. Hell, it was something to DO. And it certainly beat the hell out of boredom and loneliness. 

I tripped on mushrooms not too long after which was immensely fun. I loved the feeling of being disassociated, feeling swept up in a world of chaos where I could act as goofy as I wanted, and just laugh and laugh. I became increasingly interested in the psychedelic world. The reality behind this reality. But it wasn't until the night I first took LSD that I plunged head first into this other world. A few hours after I had taken the little blue gel tabs alone in my bedroom, I was on my floor crying. I felt reunited with myself, reborn. It felt like all the color was suddenly brought back into my life. I was so happy to be alive and experiencing this. I got swept up into the intricate layers of music, I fell in love with my guitar. I guess I can't even hope to put this experience into words. But I felt revitalized with a whole new energy... the energy of the universe. I have been very much changed ever since that night.

After that I was all about tripping. I didn't actually trip that often because the drugs were hard to find in my area, but it was all I ever thought about. The sober world around me seemed to be empty and dead, and I believed all of life really existed in that higher plane that I visited on psychedelics. The times between trips were just times to reflect and wait for the next trip. Anyone who didn't see the world like I did, I thought was just blind and unaware. I did have a handful more of beautiful experiences on acid. I wish I could go into detail with them more, but this isn't the time or place. I feel it's important to note how much I fell in love with the experience, because I believe it really pulled me away from a sense of concrete reality, which I am still struggling to grasp today.

So I think the depersonalization really set in a couple years later when the shiny happy acid mind state began to wear off and I realized there was this very real thing called reality that I didn't quite know yet. My mother moved away and I had to get a full-time job and my own apartment. I also had a girlfriend at this time whom I had become extremely dependent on. She was with me through my whole acid excursion and I felt like we were two souls meant to be together. 

The next year in that apartment is a blur. I worked, went to school, played in a band (an awesome band that I still play in today), got high constantly, fought and made-up heavily with my girlfriend, and rode a very crazy roller coaster of mood swings. I began having a very hard time holding onto a sense of self, and of reality. I could not stop asking myself, Why? Why is this all happening? What is the point of doing anything? I had no sense of order in my life... I could not give priority to anything. I couldn't commit to anything. It all seemed like an illusion. I couldn't even sweep my floor because I didn't see the point in it. What right do I have to remove the dirt on the floor, how am I more important than it? I had some really weird neighbors as well, and they just increased my feelings of insanity. I knew I did not want to feel this way, but I felt like this was the way things were and everything else was just an illusion. I was really nervous around people. I had no idea how to be myself, or what myself even was. Work was hell. The problem was I couldn't figure out the meaning of being there. I didn't feel like I had a life to be working for... I just felt like a bunch of crazy thoughts swimming around in this human body, and work seemed like such a colossal waste of time.

I walked out on many jobs because I couldn't take it. I couldn't handle my own brain in the workplace. Every time I did actually feel a sense of happiness or bliss, it would only last seconds until I began analyzing it. I might reduce it to nothing, or maybe I would tell myself that this was the pathway back to sanity, to keep looking for moments like these. But that always ended in a dead-end. I couldn't stop analyzing every last thing. It was a self-created hell. Actually it wasn't really hell until me and my girlfriend broke up, because we were driving each other insane. She had been a major lifeline and once she was gone, I was gone. Completely done for. Earlier I had got on Paxil for a little while, it actually worked quite well with anxiety, but I felt really weird and 'wrong' about being on medication, so I got off it. After I lost my girlfriend, I quickly got back on it just because things got so completely hopeless. I think if I had stayed in that apartment I would have gone completely mad.

There was so much negative energy there. I didn't really start to feel better until my year lease was finally up and I moved into my grandparents house to live with them and my dad. There was this very comforting feeling of knowing I may be really confused, but I had a family that would take care of me. Family is something I had really lost touch with in the past. For awhile though I had a hard time of accepting the fact that an outside force like my environment, or family, could help me. I didn't want to give up that control, if that makes any sense. It's hard to explain. I continued to analyze things too much and I still do. It is tough because you really feel like you could be getting somewhere when you think about it long enough, but it never goes anywhere, it just becomes a painful habit. It has been really hard but I feel like I've gotten over a great deal of whatever depersonalization really is. I guess for me there is some sort of sense of self, and control, in that confusion, and that's what makes it so alluring, but I've realized that it is too painful of a place to be when I have this human body and human life to take care of. Getting off weed really helped with my focus. It's an ongoing process... such is life. I believe it is the choice of the person to overcome whatever is thrown out front of them. You can either analyze it until your blue in the brain, or you can pass through the obstacle, and enjoy life while you wait for the next one. The inner monologue only has as much power over you as you allow it. be strong. be patient. take it one day at a time.


 

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