My Experience Dealing with Depersonalization

It’s hard writing about mental illnesses, especially when you’re going through them yourselves, but don’t think that you’re the only one who feels like this. For a few years, I have been through extreme forms of anxiety and depression as well as going through an existential crisis. So, in commemoration of National Mental Health Day, I want to say that I am dealing with something called Depersonalization and Derealization.

I haven’t told many people that I am dealing with this because I don’t want them to know this unhappy aspect of my life, but the reason I am writing about it is because it could help people who are or could be dealing with the same thing.

Depersonalization is where you feel detached with either your body or mind. Your surroundings can feel like you’ve left reality, you can also become detached from your feelings and emotions which can make you think that they are not your own. You can feel numb to your thoughts and feelings and sometimes you feel like you are not in control of your own thoughts. Derealization is where you feel like you are not aware of your surroundings; you feel like you’re not in reality and in a dream-like state. Having depersonalization can be because of many things: anxiety, panic attacks, depression, PTSD or any mental trauma. My experience with depersonalization stemmed from my anxiety and panic attacks. 

I have only gone through it three times in the last three months. The first time it happened I was eating and watching a video when suddenly, I felt my heart beating really fast, I was dizzy and disorientated. I didn’t know if I was actually even going through this or if it was just my mind playing with me. Long story short, I had a panic attack which snapped me out of it. I then ran upstairs and told my brother that I was feeling nauseous and strange and I described the feeling as if I wasn’t in my body, feeling like a ghost. He told me to lie down and drink some water while he searched my symptoms online. He told me that I might’ve had a really bad panic attack and that was it, but I knew that it was slightly more than that. When I have panic attacks, I am usually able to slow my mind down and sometimes get rid of the negative thoughts but with this, I felt like I couldn’t do anything, like I wasn’t in control of my body or of my feelings.

All three times I’ve been through this, I had to have a panic attack to snap myself out of it so I could feel something. I went to a counselor who told me that I might have something called depersonalization, as she knew that I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks.

There are many treatments and medication to help the condition, but since it is rare there are not many solutions. The side effect of medication is that it can sometimes annihilate your emotions and feelings. However, there are much more options medically, such as brain analysis. If you go to a hospital or doctor, they can tell you more about it. One treatment that is well known is trauma-based treatments, or doing memory tests and going through any traumatic memories to work through them.There is also something called Magnet Therapy that can be used to treat depersonalization. 

I think the best thing I can do while dealing with this is being connected to healthy friendships and relationships, I like to socialise more and talk more to people and not keep to myself because I think the more I hide away the more this problem is going to come up. Mind you, I’m still getting used to the whole thing so I’m not an expert, but if this can help anyone know the basics of the condition then I want to talk about it.

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Juie Chowdhury
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Juie is an 19 year old writer & poet based in London, England. She likes to read books written by celebrities and watch mystery dramas on TV

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