Story by "Phyllis"

 

I have lived with DP for 30 years. The onset of the disorder occurred following a suicide attempt at age 15. I took an overdose of pills (I thought they were valiums, but in actuality I have no idea what they were). I laid down after taking the pills and went to sleep crying, convinced I would never wake up again. Eighteen hours later, I woke up and began screaming because I had not died. I felt like such a failure...I couldn't even kill myself correctly, I thought. During my screaming fit, I became aware of the altered state of mind that had infiltrated me. I suddenly wondered if I was dead even though I was in my bedroom where all the surroundings were just as I had left them the day before. It felt like part of my brain had turned from flesh to wood, at least that's how I could best describe it. I wondered around in a fog from that point on, silently rediscovering the world I had tried to leave behind. The DP was constant and chronic. Because I thought I was either dead, in a parallel world, or crazy, I never spoke to anyone about my suicide attempt or the DP.

Looking back, I can't believe that the sudden onset of DP didn't cause me to kill myself. It had, however, the opposite effect. I somehow felt insulated from the world in a way that seemed protective, even though the sensation of not being "whole" or "integrated" often brought on great anxiety. As time went on, I adjusted to my new sense of being. Although I would give anything to feel like I did before my DP, I have lived a fulfilling and successful life in spite of it.

For anyone out there who fears that their DP will never go away, I would like to offer some advice. First, many people have some type of remission from DP at times, although this has not happened in my case. Others have reported that their DP has spontaneously disappeared. You could be one of those folks. However, even if your DP stays with you and doesn't remit, you can still enjoy life and accomplish whatever you had planned. In some ways, it can inspire you to live more fully, more consciously, and with greater insight into yourself and others. If I can help, please email me. Phyllis

 

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