Finally Taking the Time to Write it Out - Recovery Story
By - drewdrums1997
Amazing recovery story! Allow me to crosspost this to r/DPDRecoveryStories. It's great to be on the other side!
Can I ask for some advice? Mine was somewhat similar, I was exhausted one day and then my girlfriend said something to me which triggered a huge wave of anxiety, uncontrollable that spiralled. I had what I believed was a panic attack, but didn’t know at the time, I just had this unbelievable sense of dread, fear and panic, like I couldn’t shake it at all. It was frightening, I can only relate it to ‘greening out’ on weed (hadn’t smoked in years and barely ever smoked) anyway, the next day came and I just remember being so confused at what had happened the night before, in hindsight it was a panic attack I believe but I was so scared I remember calling my dad saying how weird I felt.
The weeks after that was hell, it’s like everything felt ‘off’ and I’m not sure how much of that was contributed to the 24/7 anxiety fact. I used the word disconnected but I’m not sure if that’s the right word looking back on it; I just felt like everything felt off? Like I didn’t want to play video games or watch movies, just nothing felt right. Most people say immediately DPDR but tests and experts don’t seem to think I have it? I can’t really resonate with what people say, whatever I have though is very unsettling and only happens after the same similar type of panic attack as what started this 3-4 months ago.
Since then most people I talked to said it would pass, and tbh it did once my anxiety went and I was accepting it, sadly however I’d get the same type of panic attack through obsessive thinking / anxiety and it seems to spark it again. I’m not sure if it’s my health anxiety or OCD or whether I do have DPDR, it’s all very confusing and I’d love some advice / feedback.
Most people say DPDR is like feeling high, but I don’t feel that way, I feel connected, things feel real, it’s just this unbelievable distressing feeling of everything feeling off. Of course, with health anxiety I do read DPDR symptoms and panic I have them or feel that way but it always wavers when my anxiety goes, knowing it’s not a real symptom but just my OCD. Just not sure what’s wrong with me, I absolutely hate nighttime now, I feel fine and don’t mind the mornings / daytime but night makes me feel overwhelmed, I just hate it, hard to describe, never cared before this.
Also, you aren’t going to just feel better one day. Even if you don’t feel anxious anymore, or at a specific time, you have to retrain your brain to recognize that you are “okay”, and don’t need to be in a disassociated state anymore.
Healing looks like having one good moment in the day, to having a whole good day, to having a couple good days, so on and so forth.
On top of that with your reply I’m absolutely terrified of it getting worst, getting physical symptoms or really experiencing terrible DPDR. Even though it’s been the worst months of my life compared to what some people say I feel like if I have it it’s very tame. I probably couldn’t cope if it was as bad as how some people say, and I hope that if I get it it stays how it’s been every time I’ve had it, not get worse.
I feel fine most of the time, but when night hits or I’m not socialising... jheez
That’s a lot to unpack, but DP/DR can manifest in different ways for different people. Mine was more of a physical feeling of not being able to focus, everything just felt blurry or that I was looking at it from far away, and just generally...not there.
With that being said, at its core DP/DR is just a result of extreme anxiety/stress, and is your brains coping mechanism to combat that amount of stress. It’s essentially disassociating you away from what is going on. This is an incredibly unsettling feeling, and can absolutely lead to feeling “off”. Before my physical symptoms happened I just felt off too, but let it spiral into much worse. What I would suggest is tackling the anxiety, and letting the DP/DR go with it. Focus on healthy nighttime habits, and try to find a therapist in your area that can talk to you about mindfulness if nighttime is where you struggle most.
Something I did too, which didn’t seem like it would help, is to write down what I felt stressed about in my life. Given the pandemic and 2020 as a whole, it was hard to pinpoint what I needed to work on since there was SO much. Writing it down helped me organize a better plan to take my life into a more positive direction.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the reply. It’s really confusing for me because while DPDR is different for everyone there seems to be a general consensus with what people can resonate with. A lot of people seem to get visual effects, a lot of people seem to say the same thing about feeling like a spectator, feeling fake etc; and mine doesn’t feel like that at all. Not going to lie though, this feeling is very, very unsettling and tiring, part of me just wishes I had a car so badly so I could just drive wherever and feel more free. I hate not being able to drive.
That being said, in the 3-4 months I’ve experienced this feeling, I’d say after 2-3 weeks I’ll feel fine (but not realise it) until I have a panic attack again and then boom, this horrible feeling of everything being off. Not sure if anxiety or OCD is making me feel this way.
\-do you believe anyone can recover? I got this from a weed-panic attack and obsessed over it for 1.5 years. when I am fully distracted I don't think I feel it because I'm not thinking of it. it's mostly when I look or am outside and look around something feels off or eerie but not necessarily like in the beginning when it was a full-on dream world. did you experience that?
\-my biggest fear is 1. how will I know its gone? I'm thinking maybe I forgot what normality feelings like so how will I know that its gone. 2. if I think of dpdr now I can kinda feel it, does it get to a point where you can talk about it or read about it without being triggered?
\-i feel a 24/7 sense of general anxiety in my body did you also have that? i also often feel off balanced and like a swaying sensation. did you ever have 24/7 anxiety symptoms.
Absolutely anyone can recover. For me I was the same way, I felt fine when I was at a desk, in my home, working from home, then when I got outside everything felt weird and spacey. This actually lingered on for me for a little bit after I felt about 75% recovered.
This is when I started going on walks, partly to exercise, but mostly because I wanted to go TOWARDS the things that made me feel weird. How are you ever supposed to get over the weird feeling of being outside if you don’t ever train your brain that it is normal to be outside? Go outside as much as possible in this time.
You won’t know it’s over. You will begin to forget about it for so long, that when you are pressed/asked by someone or see something wit DP/dr you will just be like “oh shit”. This is a terrible explanation I know, but I promise that’s how mine went both times. It’s gone when it’s gone and you’ll know it. You won’t wake up and realize, it’ll be over a period of time that you just think about it less and less because real life gets in the way of you obsessing over it.
The general anxiety is also a lingering issue on the tail end of DP/DR. My therapist actually helped a lot with the lingering anxiety. Simple things like a good diet, plenty of sleep, reading, and some exercise helped ground me and the general anxiety ended up going as well after that.
Good luck, and keep fighting
wow thanks so much, this is so encouraging
Thanks for your encouraging post! May I ask if you still take L-Theanine? The thought of taking a supplement to help with dp almost makes me feel like I’ll check if I “still have it” more often. How did you get around that?
Also— during your recovery were you able to drink coffee or alcohol and not feel that it pushed you back in your progress? I initially didn’t want to have caffeine or alcohol but refraining from that again made me more vigilant of how I was feeling.
Did you ever consider medication for anxiety? Why or why not?
Thanks again. I appreciate you not wanting to say how long it took you because that could give unrealistic expectations to others.