My name is Robert (Bob or Rob for short), and I am a 26 year old man, married to a beautiful wife, and together we have two beautiful children. But that is not why I am here today… I am here because I have to share my depersonalization story with all of you in hopes of finding comfort and most importantly….a form of closure. When I was 6 or 7 years old I remember waking up after having a nightmare and this feeling of my parents leaving me was so overwhelming that I was in total fear for weeks. Then when I was about 10 years old I was laying in my parents bedroom (because that was the only room in the house with an air conditioner) when I started thinking about life and death, God, and the infinite mass of outer space. A feeling of shear panic began to fill my entire body, and it was as if a bolt of lightening hit me and I was forced to get up and pace the hallway a million times to calm down and come to grips with the fact that someday I am going to die. Someday I will no longer exist and feel what I feel now. The feelings and thoughts suppressed themselves for years until I turned 17 years old, and then again at 20. Still I sought no help because I was scared to death that I was losing my mind, and that would let everyone I knew down. I was a social maniac in high school, dated constantly, and didn’t portray that of a young adult male with mental problems. My biggest fear was growing old, and I was scared to live life because of it. Still I told no one. When I was 24 years old, my wife became pregnant and that is when the true feelings of depersonalization began. I found myself crying for no reason, and scared that I was going to kill myself even though I had no suicidal tendencies. My wife walked in and I confided in her about everything. I didn’t feel like “me” anymore. I felt like I lost my identity. I couldn’t feel joy, and happiness nor could I feel at all. I tried to call my friends and go out to play a little baseball but nothing worked. Life just was not satisfying to me anymore. I didn’t feel like I was actually participating in the world around me yet I was able to hold down a successful position and provide for my family. I then decided that perhaps I would have to voluntarily commit myself in order to get better and live a productive life. So I did…and that was worse than anything that I have ever done before in my entire life. To be surrounded by all of those people who have true problems, and suffer from a vast amount of different conditions was enough to throw my mind into overload and the stigma I placed on myself was more damaging than anything else. Doctors who I spent 5 minutes with and never have seen before began writing prescriptions for Prozac, Klonopin, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, and Elavil…all with no positive effect on my condition. Finally I went to a Psychologist who had the rights to prescribe, and after three 45 minute sessions I began taking Effexor XR with Ativan. I took that combo for almost eight months and still I never felt like myself. The medicine began to numb me out and I had to stop it. Taper off of it really…Ugggh. Today…I am still on the Ativan, but I am still living in someone else’s body, living someone else’s life, and at times very close to suicide. I don’t feel happy anymore, and I don’t really “feel” anything. I get this tingling in my head, and then my soul pulls back from my body and I can literally see myself from the outside. I sit in meetings at work and it becomes hard to grip the fact that it is me in those meetings, it is me talking, and it is me that is married with two children. Yes I am 26 now and it feels so unreal. I remember when I was 15, kind of normal, and could feel the “magic” of Christmas and “warmth” of love. Now the only feeling I get is that of emptiness and void. Why did this happen to me? Why now? Will I ever be normal? Will the scientists or pharmacologist’s ever discover something to make me…us…fell whole again? These questions linger and continue to race through my mind most of the time and I can’t seem to find the answer…nor can I find hope. Everyday it is as if the time is flying and I can never just sit back and enjoy life. I am constantly panicking, and “out of it”. I don’t know why I am still here, because I died a long time ago. My children, and their smiles, and their laughter keep me going. So for those of you who are out there suffering from this hellish condition: I know your pain, I can relate like you wouldn’t believe. The only thing is…what do we do and where do we go from here? Please feel free to e-mail me. In fact please e-mail me and keep me sane.