Millie

As with so many of you I can’t believe there’s actually anyone else who feels the things I do and that these feelings have a name —Depersonalization Disorder

I first heard about it last night while I was researching Paxil on the net.  I read the word depersonalization and a short definition and had to find out more.  I first experienced major DP at age 12.  I don’t remember the exact onset only that suddenly I wasn’t a part of my world anymore.  I was totally panicked but held myself together and continued to do well in school, etc.  I just felt totally unreal and not a part of anything around me.  I finally tried to explain it to my parents and my father suggested that when these feelings came over me I recite the Apostle’s Creed over and over.  Whether that was what worked or it was only the distraction I got better.

Through the years the feelings would come back but I was able to push them away fairly well.

I never smoked much marijuana until I was in my 30’s and had no problems with it when I smoked until about 4 months ago.  I shared a joint with two friends and felt as if I got extremely stoned.  I ended up having to lie down and totally panicked because I thought I was going to die – my heart was racing and I couldn’t breathe or talk very well.  I would think I was getting better and then it would hit me again – about every 15 minutes for the next 2 hours or so.  I thought there must have been something in the reefer.  My friends, when I asked them about it, said they had gotten good and stoned but could function just fine.  It scared me to the point that I wanted to go to the hospital because I just knew I was going to die but didn’t want to have to tell anyone I’d been smoking pot.  It finally passed but I haven’t felt the same since – the DP is always with me.  It is such a strange feeling – my voice sounds strange, things look strange, I’m not real, what is real? all of the things I’ve been reading about on this website.  It’s just amazing!

I’ve been going to doctors for the last 3 months and haven’t told them anything about the DP feelings only about depression and anxiety.  My father died a year ago and we were extremely close. I quit my job that I loved due to bad interoffice politics and have had a couple of other stressors so I guess I have good reason to be depressed and anxious. 

I am now taking Paxil and Xanax but only for the last month.  They might be helping I’m not sure.  I feel the Xanax is probably helping the most because it keeps the anxiety at a bearable level.  I would like to try the Paxil – Valium combo because I think Valium is a better anti anxiety agent – it’s hard to get prescribed though.  

Maybe now that I know there are so many people with the same feelings I can approach my physician.
It’s a bad thing to have to admit to yourself that you’re mentally ill – it invokes pictures of homeless people muttering to themselves on the street.  But there are many types of mental illness and they are actually PHYSICAL illnesses.  I keep having to remind myself of that.  Also it’s comforting to read that I will NOT go insane and the illness is not progressive.  I’ve had several physical symptoms also – vision disturbances like an impending migraine, tingling on my right side, heavy limbs.  I now know they are part of the disorder, probably from the anxiety.  The fear with DP is amazing!

Thank you for all of your stories.  They have been so comforting to me.  I was afraid to be alone before finding this website for fear I WOULD go insane.


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