Depersonalization started for me when I was about 12. I had been smoking weed with my friend Jes for about 3yrs, and the first time I experienced DP we were sitting in her back yard on a picnic table smoking out of a home made can pipe. My friend dropped the weed, as I went to grab it I got a horrible feeling through out my whole body and mind. There’s no really good way of describing DP except that it feels very wrong, everything’s wrong, with me and the whole world around me.
Right then I got up without saying anything (I don’t know if I could have spoken if I wanted to.) I started walking towards the house. My friend Jes later told me I started to grab a black berry bush and I told her “it‘s not real”, I don’t remember this. As I was walking I remember wanting to take off my clothes so that I would feel that my body was more real. I started to but stopped myself when I saw my friends little brother. I went through the back door into the bathroom were I put myself into a cold shower for the same reason. I just stood there awhile letting the water run over me, trying to wash away whatever was happening to me because it was too awful to think about how I felt.
My friend then got in the shower asking me why I ran off and cursing me in a friendly manner about the cold water. Again I just left. What happened next is a little more difficult to explain. I now that I lied down on my friends floor, I didn’t want to lie on the bed. I also now that I scared her pretty bad because she didn’t smoke pot for years after. She tried to make me feel better I was crying and freaking out I told her I needed to leave, and finally my mom came to pick me up. The rest of that day is totally lost to me, and after my life was totally changed.
My DP defers in severity in the years that follow. Directly after my first, I call them episodes or freak outs, I went to see a doctor were she did blood and stool tests to see if the weed was lased with any other drug, it wasn’t. She told me that I had vergo and that it should go away in about two weeks. Awhile later I found out that she told my mother that she thought I was going through the early stages of schizophrenia, and that maybe I should be institutionalized, thank #^&$ing god that she didn’t take that advice. I was counting down the hours of the two weeks finely two weeks passed than three than four it was then that I slipped into utter despair.
I will try to describe my state of mind during the year that followed, and the feelings I had at that time, and many times after. I started off thinking that I was dead or that I was in a dream. Sometimes I would think that if I killed myself that I would wake up, but this idea scared me, what if I woke up and had a totally deferent life, deferent family, deferent friends, deferent world, even if this family, and world were fake I still loved them. I longed so much for things to be tangible again. Also another scenario I thought of obsessively, what if this was what death was like, this idea urged me not to off myself, and it also created a new paranoia of death for me. I felt terrified, and panicked all the time, it seemed as though the whole world was going to just flicker out at any moment and I would say to people I felt like I was going to die, but in reality I already felt dead this was something worse as if all of eternity, more than just the universe, was going to disappear, because it didn’t really exist it was just a dream. I thought of my life like a TV show that I was watching, all predestined to were I had no control of my actions. I would sometimes tell myself what I would do before I did it to try and prove I was really in control of my body, but I didn’t even know if I was in control of my thoughts. During this time it was very hard for me to concentrate and my memory would fade in and out like one that remembers there dreams. I started over analyzing everything till I would make myself dizzy and sick; I still do this often. I would think back on things and my memory would be often distorted, were the pictures I had in my mind I was looking at myself from outside my body rather than throw my eyes, sometimes I think that’s how I really saw things. When I did feel within myself I still didn’t feel right, it didn’t seam like my body that I was born into. It was hard for me to talk to or be around people, because I was so sad and scared that I couldn’t feel their presence, and I felt as though I looked so crazy in their eyes. I started to become extremely introverted because of this. Other things that bothered me were watching TV, it felt like I could just drift off into the show and never come back or that the world would turn off because I wasn’t paying enough attention or that when the show was over I would be 60 instead of twelve. Also bright light, I hated going out during the day, it seemed that the sun just passed right through me because I wasn’t really there, and that if it was bright enough it would wash the whole world away. I also started having problems with the night as well, it was so quiet and my mind would be able to think about the awful ideas I had concerning that which was happening to me. My dreams became exceedingly vivid and I had many in each night that I could remember perfectly clear the next day. My dreams were so much clearer than my wakening life that I couldn’t sleep for fear that they WERE what was real, and that this life was the dream, I’m sure this is when I formed my insomnia. I was an extremely scared little twelve year old. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to any living creature. I wished for anything else, I didn’t care what kind of problem, it had to be better than not believing in ANYTHING, not having any kind of certainty in the things that I loved, as well as my own being. I lost all emotion towards all that I cared for; all I had was fear, doubt, and despair. How can one love when they don’t think the things they love exist?
All of the symptoms I mentioned above still exist, they seem to come and go, and are for the most part more mild. I’ve learned how to cope with them a little better. I guess you could say I’ve been depersonalized desensitized, I’ve known it so long now, and even if I don’t feel that things are real I’ve convinced myself that they are, because the other option is just to much to handle.
After that first day I freaked out things were pretty bad for awhile. I missed the first half of my 6th grade year and when I did return to school I felt exceedingly awkward around my class mates. It was hard for me to concentrate on my work, and I didn’t like going out side at recess because of the light, I felt utterly alone and helpless.
One of the things that helped me out immensely at this time was my friends’ dad who was also my teacher, he was strict but he never gave up on me. He forced me to be active and to interact with other people. I feel he always believed I could rehabilitate myself, and, with his help I did for awhile. I still had some small reoccurrences of DP, but for the most part I was ok.
My life went on for a good long while, I can’t say I was a very happy person, but for about five years I didn’t have any severe episodes. During those years and, basically up to this day I will not touch any kid of drug, I don’t even like to take aspirin. The only two drugs I will use are birth control and alcohol, and it took me awhile to try either. As for alcohol however once I learned that it wouldn’t bother me I drank quiet a bit, now though I barley ever drink.
Directly prior to my next major episode I was 19 and going to school in San Francisco. Things were really bad for me at this time. I was dangerously depressed, and seeing a school councilor, who I might add was one of the worst influences on me at the time; I was also cutting myself daily. The councilor immediately wanted to put me on anti depressants, but I was still very scared of drugs and wouldn’t have it, but after are therapy was through, and I felt even worse then when I started I said f*#@ it, I got nothing to loose. When I took the pills I started feeling weird I could feel my self leaning towards that depersonalized state, it scared me, but I was so desperate, so I kept up with the pills. A week after I started taking them one morning after a night of feeling exceptionally terrified of death I woke up and it was there or in other words I wasn’t there anymore. It was like someone snatched my sole along with the world’s essence. I say it’s when I relapsed, but at the time I said it’s when I finally went crazy. Once again the same torturing feelings, they were just as awful. There were only three things that kept me from jumping out of my window right then, I had gone through this before so I new what to expect, and that there was a chance I could feel better, my older brother has the same problem so I wasn’t alone, and me phobia of death, other than that I was in utter pandemonium, I felt like my life was ending, and I had no clue how to stop it.
Prior to my relapse when I was very depressed I had decided I was going to run away. Not your kind of movie run away but a much more planed and conventional escape. The relapses did not change the plan; I still left to travel on my own with my dog. This was one of the most therapeutic things I think I could have done for myself at that time. Being in completely different situations helped me feel less like a robot and more within myself, I had to keep on my toes, use my head, and interact with new people which I also feel was good for my state of mind. I’m 21 now things have changed very much, and I still feel very detached sometimes, but I do have hope that some day I’ll come back into my true self.
Things that I have thought about more recently; I feel that I was already more prone to DP. The reasons being my Dad is schizophrenic, and that I have read one doesn’t have to be schizophrenic to posses DP, but many do have the symptoms. Also I’ve read that being prone to anxiety, as well as depression can make DP worse. I wouldn’t have considered myself an anxious or depressed child but I do know that it runs very deep within my family, and that I strongly pose them now. During my child hood I remember dealing with my problems by detachment, not the kind I feel now were I become terrified, but a kind where I would “put myself in another place” As my Mother says. As I stated early how can one care about what’s around them if they don’t really believe its happening. This detachment I used as a defense mechanism. Maybe all of it finally cot up with me while I was going through puberty, and the pot was just a trigger to the problem I already had inside.