Story by Jessica


As many have stated in these stories, I am so relieved to know that DP (or Depersonalization Disorder as it is called in the DSM IV) is experienced by a lot of people.  One person stated that he/she has primary DP which is not related to drug use.  I believe that's what I have too.  The first time I really felt symptoms, I was in high school.  I had gone through a long bout of intense anxiety.  Basically for months it felt like I was having a low-grade panic was related to emotional chaos in my household.  After the anxiety started to subside and I could sleep and eat again, this feeling came over me.  I remember walking home from school and feeling like I wasn't there.  I tried to explain it to a friend, but I'm not sure he knew what I was talking about.  I remember preparing a presentation, and I just couldn't concentrate.  I felt like a puppet when I spoke, and I would have been panicked that I was doing a horrible job had I any emotional attachment.  I went on a school trip during this time and pretty much don't remember being there.
It eventually passed, but years later after a horrible breakup I started to feel it again.  I talked to my mom about it, and she tried to give advice for it, but nothing worked.  Before long, I was back in my life, although I was not happy during this time and went out drinking too often to distract myself from the intense sadness I felt at the loss of my boyfriend.  I started dating an alcoholic some months later.  Things were always tense with him.  He was a very funny and lively person, but very anxiety-ridden and I felt it.  His behavior became a problem, and we would break up and get back together more than a couple times.  I also got pregnant and had an abortion.  Through all of this I didn't feel like I really processed what what going on.  I was there, and myself, but emotionally stagnant in some way.  If I was alone for awhile, I felt like I would start to deal with things, but then I would be distracted again.  Toward the end of our relationship he was sober for a month, and became almost unbearable to be around...painfully tense and mean.  We went on a trip and I did a small amount of mushrooms.  I felt very anxious during the trip-- a lot like I did during panic attacks, but it didn't really last past that day.  After I finally made up my mind to distance myself from him, I got very depressed.  I cried all the time and just felt intense greif.  I slowly felt like I was growning out of it, that I was accepting my life. Right after I graduated from college,  I moved out of my dad's house, a very comfortable place, and started working regularly.  The week I moved, I started to feel surreal.  I thought it was normal to feel that way in a new environment, and tried to ignore it.  I felt extreme time distortion, like weeks just flew by and I hadn't experienced much of that time.  It started to subside, especially when I played music with my band.  I got new jobs and felt extremely stressed, like I couldn't process any information.  I felt stupid, though I had never felt that way about myself before.  The band and my one bandmate especially were the only areas of my life that allowed me to feel 'normal'.  I started feeling unreal again and almost stopped worrying about my performance in my new jobs because I didn't feel anything.  I had a misunderstanding with my bandmate/good friend and he didn't talk to me for a couple weeks.  I felt extremely depressed for a few days, and it felt good.  I felt in my body, though I was overwhelmed with sadness.  Then the far-away feeling came back, even stronger, and that's where I am today.  The feeling feels related to sleep for me.  During these past months I've felt like I want to just keep sleeping, but a lot of times I don't sleep deeply.  I'll have a 'better' day when I feel a little bit alive, and I'll go crazy trying to be productive (I am applying to grad school) but then the feeling will come back and I'll feel like I can't do anything.  I go to work and fulfill my obligations, but I still am not really here.  The waiting is maddening, but of course the more you think about it the worse it gets.  I read other websites and it seems like the only possibility for relief is distracting yourself and trying to thwart the obsessive thoughts.  I have lately considered admitting myself to an institution.  I don't know what to do.  Sometimes I get glimpses into my emotions and it is more than overwhelming, but very welcome (I have always enjoyed being an emotionally dynamic person).  I want to cry or express myself fully, but it always stops and I feel completely unreal and detached.
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