Hello all. I amazed by this website. I have thought for the last 27 years that I was alone with this experience. I must say that after reading, I had/have more of a derealization thing than depersonalization [ There seems to be some cross over]
It started for me from a pot smoking session when I was 15 where I had a panic attack. Though I must say that upon reflection I had been prone to phobic thinking, worrying, as well as meta cognition [ I just learned that word/ concept – means thinking about thinking] since early childhood. At 15,16,and 17 , it felt like I was walking around with my head in a glass box. I felt isolated and on ‘automatic pilot’ This was deeply terrifying to me.
My mom and I went to see a Psychiatrist who basically told me I was crazy and invited me to check in to the mental hospital where his office was. Bad idea to see this man at this time. He was confirming my worst fears and I’m not convinced he had my best interests at heart. He did prescribe ‘melaril'[?] I believe it was an antipsychotic. This was a help to me. It allowed me to feel that being stuck in unreality was basically a benign experience- as long as I thought of it as such. When I finished with the drug the feeling of general benign -ness remained though I was still miserable and filled with anxiety about the future. I was still having nutty thoughts that I knew were crazy but couldn’t shake – was I going crazy? When would it ‘wear-off’ Well it didn’t exactly wear off ever I don’t think. I just got bored of obsessing about it. That was a slow breakthrough in and of itself. Realizing the relationship between my level of perceived unreality and anxiety states. I had to use mental discipline to avoid pessimistic thoughts about my perception.
I am 42 now and I feel fine. No more derealization. Either I’m used to it or its gone, I cant tell. Over the years I have had bouts of panic- anxiety phobic states brought on by stress and life changes. During those times I basically became obsessed with a specific fear whose manifestation I felt was inevitable. I couldn’t shake it. I saw my medical doctor who I trust, and I told him I wanted Paxil, and he suggested Adavan and yoga. Adavan to break the cycle of anxiety and yoga to …something. I took his advice and started doing something called kundalini yoga. My wife had bought some tapes and we had a bunch. It involves a lot of movement as opposed to perfecting a ‘posture’. This by far was the most effective thing I ever did to reverse that obsessive thinking and fear. I don’t exactly know how it works but during the various ‘asanas’ [movement postures] my mind would get thoughts of optimism and safety. I’ve read that movement alone releases endorphins that give you feelings of well being. Its more than that with this yoga. There are hundreds of different sets of movements that are targeted to specific needs, etc. I would recommend it as someone who been through the mill with this weirdness. I know how you feel, at least with the intense anxiety, reality distortions, and isolation. I wish you all well.