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“The real body shows itself only in exceptional cases: for example, when depersonalisation occurs, which always amounts to some sort of desymbolization. In such a case, a part of the body becomes unrecognisable because the signifier has been withdrawn from it. As a consequence, the subject is confronted with the real of the flesh, with something anxiety provoking and uncanny. The very same process can be recognised in hysterical revulsion: if the body (my own or another's) loses its erotic investment (Freud), or its signifier (Lacan), then the hysterical subject reacts with disgust to this emergence of the real of the flesh.”—Beyond Gender: From Subject to Drive (2001) - P. Verhaeghe
“Something was also happening to my perceptions of people. When I looked at someone's face, I often did not maintain an unbroken connection to the concept of a face. Once you start parsing a face, it's a peculiar item: squishy, pointy, with lots of air vents and wet spots. This was the reverse of my problem with patterns. Instead of seeing too much meaning, I didn't see any meaning. But I wasn't simply going nuts, tumbling down a shaft into Wonderland. It was my misfortune - or salvation - to be at all times perfectly conscious of my misperceptions of reality. I never "believed" anything I saw or thought I saw. Not only that, I correctly understood each new weird activity.”—Susanna Kaysen - Girl, Interrupted
Dear Depersonalization Disorder
You are the veil between me and the real world. You make it so everything I see, everything I experience, looks and feels unreal. You make me treat life like a movie, and more specifically a movie that I can’t control and have no role in. I give off the impression of being attentive but it’s all a facade; it’s not real. It also doesn’t feel real to me. Life is nothing more than a movie, and I am just a powerless observer. Other times life doesn’t feel like anything at all, simply nothing, yet it’s a nothingness I am aware of. How does that make any fucking sense? How do you explain that to others? How can they believe you? Living in a nothingness that you are somehow aware of? This nothingness is, to say the least, numbing. You make my body run on autopilot while going through all the motions that make me appear “normal,” while my mind is numb, completely numb to everything my body does, sees, hears, smells, whatever. But there is this part of me that can see through your bullshit, and knows that my mind and body are not connected. Through the numbness in my mind you created there is this one part that keeps reminding me of my distance. You’ve made it so my words are not my own, my movements are not my own, my life… Doctors don’t really know you the way they should. But then again how can they? You are the ultimate paradox.
I was just reading some blogs about depersonalization, and derealization and I became inspired.
I had DP from January, until probably a couple months ago. And it still comes back to me sometimes. I’ll be in class and just see everything around me become really animated. And my heart starts to beat faster and my thoughts race. “Is this real?” “Am I here?” “Is this really happening?” “If I scream, will people react?” But a lot of this has to do with other things I suffer from. That’s beside the point.
I know how scary DP is. I KNOW. Trust me. I thought I was going insane. I told my mother, “Nothing feels real. I want to die. I need to go to the hospital.” I did not have hardly any support from her. And I don’t want any of you to feel like no one understands, like I felt for so long.
It’s a very serious and scary thing. But I promise you, it is temporary. Some people have it for days, weeks, months, years. It all just depends on how you cope with it.
Ways to prevent it:
- Breaking out of your regular routine. Do new things, and FOCUS on them. Committ and TRY.
- Remind yourself that this is all in YOUR head. You are in control, regardless of how helpless you feel. This is your mind.
- Distract yourself. If you start to feel panicked or unreal, focus on something else. Reading is not a good alternative, at least it wasn’t for me. But being with friends, watching TV, watching movies, talking to someone on the phone, ANYTHING to divert your mind.
- Do not stop socializing. I know that your first instinct is to lock yourself up in your room because you feel weird and don’t want to be around anyone. But the best thing for you is to be around people you are comfortable with. They will brighten your mood, even if you don’t feel like that initially.
- Breathe. Fucking breathe. DP and DR result from anxiety. So no, the world is not ending. You are not dying. You’re anxious and it is causing all these other things to happen.
- Lastly, medication. I know that idea is scary and not very appealing. But if you feel like none of the other options are working, medicine can be a very great thing for this. Granted, it takes a little while to kick in, but it will help you help yourself over time.
I’ve never done anything like this before. I usually do not give advice. But I know what it is like to wake up every day and not want to get out of bed. To feel like everything around you is falling apart and you are forever going to be stuck in this hazy dream of what is real and what is not. But I PROMISE, it gets better. I know I said I still get it from time to time, and I’ve grown accustomed to it. It does not scare me anymore and I can handle it because I know how to stop it before it gets worse.
I don’t care if I don’t know you, inbox me. I’ll try to help as best as I can.