Demystifying the DSM-V: Depersonalization / Derealization Disorder

This is one of the dissociative disorders, and in the same category as dissociative identity disorder and dissociative amnesia (which I’ve already posted about for this series!)

Your character has to experience EITHER of the following, for a decent chunk of time, and on multiple occasions:

1. Depersonalization, which is a weird feeling of unreality, out-of-body experiences, and/or being kinda on the outside looking in on their own thoughts, feelings, body, or actions.  Sometimes this is described as feeling like a ghost.

2. Derealization, which is a similar feeling of unreality, but this time they feel like their surroundings aren’t real.  Everything might seem dreamlike.

They also MUST be able to tell that what they’re experiencing isn’t completely real.  This means they have to describe it as “it feels LIKE the world isn’t real”, not “Nothing is real.”

As with many other disorders, this disorder must cause the character stress or make their life much more difficult in some way.

Interestingly, around half of adults in the US have experienced depersonalization or derealization at some point.  So there’s a good chance you may already know what this feels like!  But what separates depersonalization / derealization from a normal experience is how frequent and how intense it is.

11 facts tag

i was tagged by the lovely @almightybarnes thanks boo

rules: tell your followers 11 random facts about yourself and tag 11 people. tag backs are allowed, but if you get tagged again you must not repeat any of the facts you mentioned in the previous rounds. the facts can be absolutely anything, whatever you feel like sharing and whatever comes to mind first.

1.) i wear black and only black

2.) i want to be an actress or go into the film industry

3.) i know a lot of card tricks.

4.) i am allergic to gluten (celiac) so i can’t eat wheat, barley or rye or i’ll get sick

5.) i love puppers

6.) i love learning about the science behind what happens after death/ ghosts/ souls

7.) i am reading a book called spook regarding those said subjects

8.) i like to write my own poetry  in hopes to create music someday

9.) i have been diagnosed with anxiety and depersonalization/derealization disorder

10.) i like to write (obvs)

11.) poppy seed muffins are my jam

tagging: @team-spidey, @buckobarns, @festiveseb, @fqntasticbeasts, @httpbarnes, @kingtchall, @paarkers, @sebandchris, @soldatsass, @punkpeqqy, @thirstychris

Types of dissociation

1. Amnesia - this is when you can’t remember incidents or experiences that happened at a particular time, or when you can’t remember personal information.

2. Depersonalisation - a feeling that your body is unreal, changing or dissolving. It also involves out of body experiences, such as seeing yourself as if watching a movie or floating above.

3. Derealisation - the world around you seems unreal. You may see objects changing in shape, size or colour, or you may feel that other people are robots or generally unreal.

4. Identity confusion - feeling uncertain about who you are. You may feel as if there is a struggle within to define yourself.

5. Identity alteration - this is when there is a shift in your role or identity that changes your behaviour in ways that others would notice.

It’s so weird when you had a “considerably mild” traumatic experience as a child and end up developing dissociation and bfrbs and others as coping mechanisms, but you never felt like there’s a reason to have them. Even if you never remember anything that has happened to you, but your therapist says you’ve endured trauma, and you’re still like “nope I’m just overreacting, my brain is overreacting. Others survived much worse things, but you’ve had one small thing happen to you and your brain is acting all like it’s the end of the world”. Internalised ableism is painful. Although I still feel like I’m faking everything.

I have to remember that trauma is not a competition.
tiny moments that come with derealization
  • cold coffee
  • muttering sorry, bad memory instead of sometimes i don’t know how i got here
  • avoiding mirrors at all costs
  • binge eating until you can taste again
  • a floaty, tired feeling as you drive home
  • shaking hands
  • constantly checking the time
  • small extisential crisises 

Schizophrenia needs awareness. Dissociative identity disorder needs awareness. Obsessive compulsive disorder needs awareness. Dementia needs awareness. Depersonalization needs awareness. Tourette’s syndrome needs awareness. Kleptomania needs awareness. Bipolar disorder needs awareness. Dermatillomania needs awareness. Trichotillomania needs awareness. Schizoaffective disorder needs awareness. Selective mutism needs awareness. Borderline personality disorder needs awareness. Narcissistic personality disorder needs awareness. There are so many things that need awareness. Don’t preach advocacy for the well known disorders or conditions and then shove everything else to the side. Please, don’t limit your knowledge to just a select few.

Some effects of dissociation

- gaps in your memory

- finding yourself in a strange place without knowing how you got there

- out-of-body experiences

- loss of feeling in parts of your body

- distorted views of your body

- forgetting important personal information

- being unable to recognise your image in a mirror

- a sense of detachment from your emotions

- the impression of watching a movie of yourself

- feelings of being unreal

- internal voices and dialogue

- feeling detached from the world

- forgetting appointments

- feeling that a customary environment is unfamiliar

- a sense that what is happening is unreal

- forgetting a talent or learned skill

- a sense that people you know are strangers

- a perception of objects changing shape, colour or size

- feeling you don’t know who you are
acting like different people, including child-like behaviour

-being unsure of the boundaries between yourself and others

- feeling like a stranger to yourself

- being confused about your sexuality or gender

- feeling like there are different people inside you

- referring to yourself as ‘we’

- being told by others that you have behaved out of character

- finding items in your possession that you don’t remember buying or receiving

- writing in different handwriting


VIDEOS *you need to watch these*

What Does Depersonalization/Derealization Feel Like?
How I Healed from Severe Depersonalization/Derealization



Body Scanning- This is a method of relaxation where you mentally scan your body, noticing each area to help expand mind/body awareness, release tension, and quiet the mind. 
**CAUTION for body image issues- if you’re not ready body scanning can be very upsetting!!

Grounding Technique- The purpose of grounding is to gain to regain connection with your body, mind, and spirit in the present moment so as to feel safe, calm, and in control.

Muscle Relaxation Technique- This exercise is used to relax your mind and body by progressively tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout the entire body to create awareness.