Story by "Vanessa"



    I never knew until just a few days ago what it was that I had. For 3 years now, I knew that there was something wrong, so wrong it was too hard to describe... When I did try and describe it, all I could say was that "I felt detached..." Although I could have put it into other words, I was too embarrassed to elaborate. I have been to 2 psychiatrists, and 3 therapists in the last year and a half looking for answers. They all seemed to agree that I was suffering from depression and anxiety, I knew that was not the case. The only reason why I ever felt anxious or depressed was ONLY because I felt "detached". Well, finally I discovered information regarding Depersonalization Disorder on the internet. After reading several of these stories and analyzing the symptoms, I have no doubt in my mind that I have this. It bewilders me that I have been paying professionals to misdiagnose me. Why didn't they catch on that I have depersonalization?
    Now that I know what I have, I have so many questions, racing thoughts & concerns. I am beyond relieved to discover that I am not alone. I feel so badly for all of us...
I'm going to try and tell you my story, quickly. I am 30 & first experienced this approximately 4 years ago. For the first year, it would randomly come (perhaps once a month). I would notice an uneasy, weird feeling, get confused, and then to my dismay it would disappear.  And then it started to come much more frequently and would feel much more intense. Let me try and explain. A bizarre, borderline pain in my right eye. Almost like my eye felt too big for its socket. Completely void of emotion. Beyond uncomfortable. Slightly disoriented. Not attached. Sick. Sick, because of feeling so disconnected to everyone and every thing... I feel nauseous and dizzy. When it's really bad, I have a difficult time talking. My mouth tightens. I feel ridiculously self conscious. So aware and embarrassed of what I say. As I watch everyone around me, I feel even more weird and abnormal. Throughout all of these interactions, I am typically worrying the whole time about what is wrong w/ me. I am so envious of everyone who strikes me as normal. They are  so lucky to be able to really feel. 
    All of these feelings intensify when I; am around people (everyone except for my beautiful, amazing 5 month old daughter & sometimes I am spared of these dreadful feelings when I am w/ my supportive fiancÚ), in any social situation, bright lights, when I first wake up, after exercising, any stressful situation, traveling, working and did I mention that I cannot be around people w/ out feeling awful. I used to love being around people??? I was considered to be a very social, friendly fun person. 
    The only times I feel very close to normal is: when I am spending time w/ my daughter, when I am alone, reading, watching TV, sleeping, bathing, walking my dogs and occasionally in the presence of my boy friend (only when we are alone in our house). It breaks my heart (even though I don't feel much anyway) that I can not be in the company of even close friends and family w/ out feeling terrible dp/dr. But I am lucky that I at least feel relief sometimes.   I still don't feel lucky, I feel terrible.
    Terrible wondering if this was SELF INFLICTED??? I have experimented w/ drugs here and there. Acid in college, pot now and then, ecstasy - maybe 10 times. The first time I ever felt the "weird feelings" was the morning after a night of ecstasy... Did I do this to myself???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Are any of you wondering the same thing or do you have any answers for me? Did you party, and have a great time, BUT never EVER would have done ANY DRUGS if you thought it would lead to this??? Do I have dp because of XTC???
Other questions? Will I ever be normal again??? I have taking many SSRI's but have felt very little relief - what do I try next? Do any of you feel the way I described? Are any of you parents - do you have any advice??? I am really scared...

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