I believe my true episodes of depersonalization/derealization disorder started when I was about 13. I know that even before that age I had had feelings that “I wasn’t really there” in fact I used to tell my family that all the time and they thought I was just overreacting. Anyway, when I was 12 my parents got divorced and I honestly didn’t mind, because my dad was always really strict with me anyway and he was hard to live with as it was.
When I was 13, I was forced into a situation where I had to go live with my dad (ex-Vietnam marine). I had 4 other brothers and sisters who had already moved out, my mother was planning on moving to a different area with her new abusive boyfriend and said she didn’t have the $ to bring me with. I lived with my dad for a year and during that time I experienced really bad migraines on a weekly basis, and I constantly felt like I was in a dream state, I hadn’t even tried weed yet. My dad took me to a therapist who believed I had a lot of anger towards my dad, and was suffering from anxiety. My doctor never put me on any drugs for the anxiety, but he did provide a very effective migraine medicine at the time.
I suffered pretty bad during that time, and I was always in a state of panic, but this was just the tip of the iceberg. I couldn’t stand living with my dad anymore so much to where my mom finally gave in and let me move back with her. I went to school and met new friends and the DP actually became very un-noticeable for about 2 years or so, I was feeling pretty good overall, I had started smoking weed at this time but it NEVER once was a fun experience, I always felt so weird on it, at first I thought it was laced with something but I had smoked weed my share of times and finally realized that pot will never make me “happy” like it does with most people it just made me feel very out of my mind and like things were moving in frames (if you know what I mean), this was not enjoyable to me. When I was 17 I met this girl and I got her pregnant, we were just kids, but we decided that we wanted to try to stay together, but it REALLY got bad and my symptoms all began to come back, and in a worse way then before, I started having severe panic attacks, thoughts of suicide super fast raging thoughts, feeling of being out of control, and most of all that everything was fake, I felt “cluttered” so much to where I wanted to die, most said it was a severe case of anxiety, and although I agree with about half of that, I know there is something more to it. Anyhow I broke things off with that girl but have always seen my Son since.
A year later I became very interested in the bible, I spent about 3 weeks reading the new testament and one night had a phenomenal, euphoric experience with what I believe to be God. The next day ALL of my symptoms were gone, yep TOTALLY GONE!! Everything was clear and I, for the first time in my life felt what it was like to be normal.
Time passed on and I even met a new girlfriend who was wonderful and understood everything I had gone through and everything I had believed, I married her at young age of 19. She was the only one I could talk to about my DP. I felt good for about 2 years then the DP came back possibly triggered by increasing problems in my marriage. Insomnia was a normal thing and I was taking medications at this time (Paxil, Xanax, and the ever horrible Wellbutrin) Paxil didn’t help even an ounce, and made me feel more dreamlike and the xanax relaxed me a bit but that was all. The WB made my skin feel like it was burning and made me shake inside and out (ugh!). Anyway, I had been suffering with this till I was 22, then my wife left me, and took off with another guy out of the blue. I got REALLY stoned like a week after she left and WOW did it mess me up, I was stoned for 3 days, and it scared the living crap out of me. I went on for about a year feeling strange, and one day I woke up and felt stoned, EXACTLY how I felt the last time I got stoned, I was freaking out. I submitted myself to a mental hospital and they put me on like millions of drugs: Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin (again!!), Xanax, Risperidol, Depakote, Zyprexa, Klonopin, Lithium, just to name a few. not ONE worked in fact the anti-depressants made me feel worse, I had a Cat scan and an EEG both of which turned out negative.
At the present time I feel always stoned (best way to describe) like my hands are not mine, and feel like I can’t see right, sort of like I cant see the whole picture even though I have had eye tests that say I have 20/20 vision. When I look at stuff, it sort of lingers around a while in my brain like a long “burn in” effect, that’s the most annoying one of all to me, I have constant loud thoughts and never ending fear in the back of my mind, I still have migraines but they aren’t as frequent as when I lived with my father. I have kind of learned to accept the way I feel but it is always still there, sometimes worse than others, I’m only on Klonopin now which lets me sleep but that’s it. I think it’s beginning to become a lot less frightening with time and I can only hope that one day it will subside. I must admit that I do drink probably once a week and helps me to feel numb about things, I would rather feel numb than scared. I know this has been very very long and I do apologize, but to all those out there who have the same problem, you obviously ARE NOT ALONE, that in itself helps a lot I think. Be patient and don’t lose hope, there HAS to be something to cure this someday so keep that in your mind as a reason to hang on!