Story of Paul
I'm 18 years old. Last January I had a panic attack out of nowhere when I was high off of weed. I woke up the next day and felt better but didn't understand why I felt the way I had, I was scared of things that made no sense, like the fear of being 'high' forever off of the weed and losing all of the people that I love. I remember staying up, lying in bed shaking hoping that the high would go away, my mind was completely gone. Then it wore off, and I fell asleep. About 5 weeks later, mid February I was eating fast food with one of my friends and I started to get an un-easy feeling. Something was wrong, my fears seemed far to real. I got home called my girlfriend and she was having a bad night, which in turn didn't help me out much. I didn't talk about how I felt with her. Then I hung up.
The next thing I know I'm starting to go insane. Nothing seemed real, I was completely depersonalized. I was afraid of everything because I couldn't understand anything. I started to think everyone was against me, that I was dreaming, that I might not wake up, I started to have a panic attack. My parents woke up and assumed I was having some kind of drug related problem. Not to go to far into details but by the time I passed out I was in the absolute worse place mentally that I have ever been in.
The next day when I woke up it took no longer than a half hour for me to start having the thoughts again. I had a job interview, so I had to drive. I thought it might help to calm me down, but I didn't it made things worse. While driving I started to wonder why cars existed, why people existed, why anything existed, and most importantly why the fuck was I thinking about all these things and being completely terrified by them? I got through the interview. From the outside I must have seemed normal because I ended up getting the job. On the inside, I was on auto-pilot breezing through my employers questions, saying all the right things, the entire time being far more interested in my thoughts of "which hospital I should go to after I got the hell outta this place."
Next thing I know I'm in the local hospital. In no longer than 20 minutes I'm diagnosed with clinical depression. This was because I mentioned the words "sad, scared, alone, confused, anxious, panic attacks, depressed, afraid, and most importantly depersonalized or and feeling of un-reality. Unfortunately the last two things I mentioned were quickly dismissed, and instead the doctors all started concentrating on the previous symptoms which were all just side effects of the bigger picture which was a very very serious case of chronic depersonalization which I now realize I have. Every day of my life since that night I have awaking to feel just as un-easy as I did that morning. The difference is I'm able to tolerate it longer and longer now before I start to lose myself and when I do hit that point I find myself coming back. Although I don't feel like I ever fully have a firm grip on reality or acknowledging what is wrong with me I do think I have been slowly improving over time.
Long story short I've gone through numerous meds, from Zoloft to welbutrin. I started to convince myself that I had clinical depression but underneath I always felt that something was different about what I had. That I was crazy, that I had something no one has ever had before. Thank god for the internet as I now realize I'm not alone in fighting this terrible plague on our lives.
Get a psychiatrist. Mine has helped, it's just relieving to really let yourself go to someone who will feel for you and understand and who is not a member of your family or a friend who you might feel it is their duty to understand.
Be careful about the medications that you may be prescribed.
Try to give yourself goals to accomplish during the day, the less time you spend sitting around think about all the possibilities of the universe and other mystifying questions with no real answers the better.
You know how you feel, you aren't insane, just sick. That's it, so try not to sit around and let your mind race and confuse the shit out of you. You don't need to spend every minute you have feeling sorry for yourself (even though its very easy to do) or wishing that everyone else could understand how you feel because unless they've gone through it themselves they never fully will.
I'll end on a positive because anytime I read something related to this illness that ends on a negative or anything close to it, it definitely helps to perpetuate my feeling of hopelessness. So here goes...don't give up, there's always something next in life that will give you one of those moments of happiness where you almost completely forget about how depersonalized you are. I'm still very young, so I look forward to marriage, kids, grandkids and all that jive. No matter how fed up I get with feeling this way, or how miserable I feel, for some reason I'm still here. I haven't given up, and neither have any of you or we wouldn't have come across this site. People are realizing how serious this is, the research is improving, and along with it comes more and more help be it through medicine or counseling. Hope is what I have and when there is enough hope going around things seem to fall in place. Good things come to those who wait.
Feel free to e-mail me, there's a lot more to my story then I put down in here I feel like I've been through a lot in a short period of time and I am more than willing to share it with others who have experienced similar type circumstances.
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