Story by "Linda"
I am a 51 year old woman, and have never spoken to a doctor about my episodes of unreality. They have, thank God, lessened greatly over the years, and have never become chronic.
I remember as a child of about 5 being in the garden and suddenly thinking I had just been born. I couldn't remember the person I had been before that time (although I am quite sure that I hadn't forgotten my parents or other important people or things). Around that time I also remember being in a lane having strange thoughts about things not having a beginning or an end, but just going round and round. I couldn't' t explain how I felt to my mother, although I tried.
My feelings of depersonalization didn't start until I was about 10 or 11. They were episodes that lasted from a few seconds to several minutes, but were the most awful feelings I had ever had. I never felt that I was the only one to feel this way though, because my elder sister had what she called the 'far-away' feeling, and shortly after my first episode, my younger sister had her first attacks.
There was usually a recognizable trigger for me, which was either an unexpected sensation - a bright light, a loud noise - or an unexpected, sudden event. I would have to shut my eyes and stand exactly where I was because I didn't really believe I was in control of myself. Everything around me seemed like a dream. Luckily my friends got used to it.
In common with many people who have written in to the site, I dwelt as a youngster on thoughts of life, the universe and everything. I had dreadful panic attacks, usually in the middle of the night, about 'nothingness' and 'eternity'.
Unlike several others, I had never experienced any truly traumatic experiences prior to my first episodes, and nor have I smoked dope or taken ecstasy or acid.
I am lucky. As I said, these attacks have lessened greatly, and are now only an occasional occurrence.
I hope that soon there will be a proper cure for those people living with this condition on a daily basis.
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