I found this site many months ago at a point of great desperation. I am glad to add my story to those many others that have helped me to understand that I’m not the only one, and that I am not going crazy.
I am a 20 year-old female and I have determined that I have depersonalization disorder, though I have never consulted a doctor of any sort about it. About three ago, I began getting “spaced out” as I called it. This “spaciness” would only last for perhaps a day, then repeat four-five days later. But as time progressed, the occurrence began to become more and more common, until after an upsetting day, I went for a walk (while spaced-out) that lasted three hours. I began to think about life, death, and especially REALITY. I began to ask myself questions like, “How do I know that I’m here?” and “How do I know that these legs walking are really walking right here right now?” The questions I asked myself were inexhaustible and after I had cried at least five times, I finally wore my mind out, and went home. But I never recovered.
I have been “spaced out” since that day. Sometimes it is worse than others (etc. in large public areas, especially stores), but it is constant. I feel as if my body is not “mine”, especially my hands. When I look at my hands, I don’t believe that I am controlling them. It just seems so strange how my brain can send electric impulses down my spine, through nerves to my hand, and the muscles receive the “message” to type or to wave, or anything. I used to always think about things like that. One thing that really bothered me was thinking about color, and how humans perceive it, and also how sound waves are perceived. Usually thinking of these things makes the feeling of detachment worse.
Not long after I found this site I began to feel calmed and more accepting of the disorder. I hope that perhaps one day I will wake up and it will be gone. I am afraid of pursuing medical help, because I have heard too many stories of lazy or misinformed doctors who just shove patients full of drugs which may inhibit certain chemicals in the brain that RESULT in symptoms, but do not work toward the underlying source of the disorder. I don’t like the idea of putting anything unnatural like that into my body, yet I’m also afraid of a psychologist digging into my like a “subject” or customer instead of helping me on a personal basis. I am attending a university right now, and for the most part the depersonalization does not interfere with my grades. However, it is so difficult to concentrate sometimes and my social life is lacking. Sometimes I really wish I had a close friend with the same problem so that we could support each other. But then I just hate it when classmates call me and I don’t really enjoy spending time with them. I’ve been to a few parties. Guess I’m just not the partying type. I do have a great family though. Even if they don’t understand how I feel, I’m glad to just have them there.
My ‘betrothed’ (pre-engaged, promised) is also very supportive (but he lives back home while I’m away at college), and if it weren’t for him, I don’t know how I could have made it thus far. He’s been with me since January of sophomore year in high school, we are waiting to get married ’til we’re both out of school. What I really want is to wake up on our wedding day and no longer be spaced out. I can’t imagine dealing with this forever. I’m sick of living in a dream. Sick of arriving to class and realizing that I have no memory of walking there, that I just walked there, like some programmed robot. I keep fearing that whatever tells me to do the things I’m supposed to will tell me to do something else. I’m tired of being surrounded by so many loud, annoying people and still being all alone. I’m tired of eating because I’m supposed to and not because I really care if I’m hungry. I’m tired of getting out of bed because I’m supposed to, rather than just staying bed and starving or something, ‘cuz I really wouldn’t care, I would just go to sleep. I DO care I suppose, else I wouldn’t get out of bed, but it’s the internal, long-lost part of me that cares. I’m tired of my funny perception, how the world just seems so fake. Everything seems like so far away or close enough that it should be part of me. I see a table and reach out for it thinking that it’s just too far away, even if it does exist, I just can’t reach it. Then suddenly there it is, the nerves in my hand tell me that I’m touching the table, it’s amazing. The table is there. The table is there, I have to repeat it to myself. Doesn’t work though, I still don’t believe it. I’m tired of looking at a living thing and wondering “how is that different than anything else?” I look at a pretty flower and wish I were that flower. Not because it’s pretty, but because it doesn’t care. I’m tired of not knowing what I’m saying when I speak to people. The words just plop out like some factory-end product, the mouth has no idea how the speech came to be. I’ll say something that I do not mean, I’ll say something that is opposite of what I think, Of course, it’s not really me that’s thinking; it’s the thoughts behind me. The real me seems to be just behind my eyes, and I feel like a horse with blinders on.. I can only see out into the world in front of me, the rest of it does not exist. I read that Depersonalization Disorder may be worse in fluorescent light, and I thought that perhaps that was why I always feel worse in grocery stores, etc. I also read that it may be linked to REM (dream) sleep, hence the “dream-like” state. For even when I am dreaming I feel different, and I have I very high tendency to remember my dreams, e.g. perhaps it’s like I never “wake up”. I typically remember 1-2 dreams a night, sometimes up to four dreams (I usually awaken between each dream). I have never used any sort of drug (including alcohol). I suffer from depression, but for about a year and a half or more, I have had very few of the horrible onsets of sadness that I have had before. Now I generally am “happy” but I usually feel tired, and disconnected. I never feel like doing anything. I worry that I could be anemic or something, but it’s probably just the depression making me tired. My depression and depersonalization disorder may be linked to childhood abuse, though I remember very little of my early childhood. One more thing: Since I have been “spaced out”, my short-term and “photographic” memory have improved greatly (that’s about the only advantage) while my capacity for real conceptual understanding has declined. For example I may remember a large grocery list, yet I might forget something as simple as how a compass works, and have to ‘learn’ it all over again.
Thank you for reading, and I hope I could help even “one someone” as the many writings of this site have helped me. Thank you! Good luck to everyone, and God Bless,