I was the sixth child. My brother was born 18 years earlier and two boys and two girls died in infancy before I was born. My mother did not want another child because she could not bear another loss. Nonetheless I was conceived and in spite of her efforts to abort, was born healthy. She hovered over me. In fact one psychiatrist said it was smother love that I received. Each sniffle, or pain became a death knell in her mind.
When I was seven, I needed my tonsils out. She would not agree to having it done in the hospital because her children had all died in hospital. I had mine removed on the kitchen table with ether. I suspect it was poorly administered since there were no equipment to monitor. It was horrible for me and the awful smell lingered in the house for days. It was then I felt unreal. I never truly awakened. In November my dad had a fatal hemorrhage and two years later I witnessed my mother beaten by her mother and niece. The dp was more intense. School was a nightmare. My mother said it was nothing and I would be fine. I was an A student in spite of dp.
I graduated and since we could not afford college or university I began work. At age 18 I saw the first of many psychiatrists. None understood dp. I was hospitalized, assessed, had shock treatment and medication. I was much worse, but continued to work. No one knew what was happening to me because I had learned to act. I never met anyone who said they felt unreal, so I assumed I was alone.I wanted to die but could not give my mother more pain with the loss of another child. I married, had children and completed my education in this haze called living.
I am now in my 50s and some meds help, but I still live in this shadow of life. Not until I punched in the letters d e p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n on my computer did I realize I was not alone. I have coped because I had to for my mother, husband, children and now grandchildren. Do I still think I am insane or going that way. Yes. Would my friends and family think so. No. They see me as a normal, competent individual with a terrific sense of humour. I have been a social worker for many years and an author. I am currently working on a book. Does any of this give me pleasure? Only in terms of how much I can escape the pain of dp.