After reading these stories I feel that I really need to post also so that I may also help.
Personally I’ve never received an official diagnosis of Depersonalization. I’m currently 31. For me it starts as early as I can remember. The first real depersonalization thing that ever happened to me was an out of body experience when I was about 5. I was sitting watching TV and not really paying any attention to anything and I began to lose contact with most of my senses. I thought it was just that I was so relaxed. I opened my eyes to find my self about 3 feet above myself. I could see the TV and everything but I had to look down to see it. Suddenly I was back in front of the TV and my heart was racing.
The first time I really remember totally panicking was when I was in first grade I had just started first grade at a local Catholic school. I remember looking at the book and at the size of the classroom and my world began to tilt. I felt sick, felt like I was going to pass out of fall over from the shock of it all. It was a total fight or flight response. I literally left the room and ran home. Running made me feel better, it cleared my head it got me out of the situation. Later my parents felt that maybe it was the school so they put me in public school. I got the same feeling and bolted again. The then put me into the councilors room for my first week. When she was out I bolted home. I can still remember her following me in her car as I bolted across a local park.
Once I learned to deal with the situation I was an ok student, but never felt comfortable talking or having any attention put on me. I’d feel my face turning red and I would think that my face was turning red, everyone is staring at me, and I’d start to sweat. Then I’d think I’m starting to sweat, people are going to see that and it became a huge cyclical problem. When my parents divorced I withdrew from any studying. I almost failed 9th grade. I was tested for ADD, found positive and put on Ritalin. Again I would think about what the drug was doing to me and it began to be a cyclical worry until I felt as though I would pass out. I quickly convinced my parents to stop medicating me.
As the years went on. I always thought I’d end up in an institution because the world was so hard to live in. No matter who I was with or what I did I always felt out of place. I eventually graduated. I thought about becoming a recluse from society and moving to Alaska and becoming a hermit, but I eventually got a girlfriend and went to college.
I do remember the first time I tried pot in college. As most people have mentioned. I totally panicked. I thought I was going to die. I could not shut off my mind, I could not stop on thought from circulating over and over. Eventually I did get used to it, and eventually learned to enjoy the experience. It took time and practice and about 1oz and slowly smoking a little at a time until I understood what was going to happen and that I’d end up being the same person after the experience. I applied the same concept to LSD. Starting small and trying to work up. On my third try I did it out of boredom, and used way to much. I panicked. I felt as thought I was going insane. I wanted to get out side. Being that I was in the country and in the middle of Winter I though that If I went for a walk I may end up falling asleep in a snow bank and die. So I ended up staring up at my light fixture for three hours, using it as a guide post for reality.
I eventually got back on Ritalin, and was diagnosed with social anxiety and mild depression. (this is 4 years later). I’ve been on bus par/ Klonipin/ Zoloft / some beta blocker / cloizapan / Prozac / ect… The drugs have helped somewhat, but I do not relish the thought of being on a drug for the rest of my life.
In the meantime, 12 years, I’ve done nothing but read about religious experience of other cultures, and found that this condition mostly mimics Shamanism. If you do not know anything about Shamanism it essential is a local holy man or healer who through some process of imitation has come through an experience with madness and been about to cure him self. In doing so he then gains the power to help others. I’ve also been working with a Transpersonal Therapist about all my issues. I told them all of the work I’ve done in studying religious ecstasy and madness and that I want no need is the better word to confront my self. I’ve been meditating and doing drum induced shamanism journeying for a few years. I told them my plan to try and use an ethnogen again, and asked if they would be my guide, baby sitter and my confidant this upcoming solstice. They agreed to pick me up “post injection” so they have no liability and take to me to their cabin the woods. I’m sure that many people here would object to this. I do not ask nor really want anyone else’s reassurance or comments. I feel that I’ve spent 12 long years trying to understand my self and my problem. I think that this will give me the strength to face my fear. I hope this helps other to realize that your are not alone in your problems confronting yourself or your mind. The method I’ve chose is defiantly not for everyone , probably not for most! Ethnogens can make symptoms worse in people with neurological problems, but in my instance I feel that I’ve been running from confronting it for 12 years now and I finally think that I am in a good place with a strong family and support to stand up to my fear. “Fear is the mind killer, and this is the little test that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear and allow it to pass over me and through me, and when it is gone only I will remain” (Frank Herbert’s Dune)