Thursday, March 17, 2011

Derealization and Depersonalization © Megan Snider

"One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from the unreal. Soon we'll need a new definition."
--Alvin Toffler

I have a mastermind plot for this blog in the next coming weeks and we will see how I manage to expound upon it due to my reading load and my other writing responsibilities online. To get to this master goal of offering more self-help articles for people who are suffering and may not have access to any other resource except the internet, I am going to have to do some back-tracking.

The catalyst for this site is Panic Disorder with Derealization and Depersonalization commonly abbreviated as DR and DP. Now, from what I’ve read derealization is not a stand-alone order, but there is a disorder called Depersonalization Disorder which does encompass derealization. Together they are holy horrors and eat up everything of value in your life and mind. 

Let’s start with basics. I am sure I have stated this before on the site, but let me give you the brief definitions of these disorders before we move any further along. Derealization is the sensation that the environment or your world is not real while depersonalization is the sensation that you are not real. They are dissociative symptoms by themselves but can accompany other mental illness such as Panic Disorder, Affective Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder. 

Not much is known about these two phenomena because the brain so eludes our science and they seem to be such mystical states of being. They have varied effects on people; some people go numb to the bone with them and some are terrified out of their skin with them. They frequently cohabitate and occur together because they are related disorders. I have heard them described as symptoms of psychosis and dissociation so I guess the jury is still out on that one. 

In my mind dissociation makes the most sense for these unnerving altered states of consciousness because they literally remove the association from the self and from the world.

It is very important that you keep them separate in your mind, however, because they are two different sensations. It is important to be able to differentiate between the two when describing them if you have a problem with them. Depending on your description, psychiatric treatment may take varied courses of action.

We definitely need to do more to look into these disturbing conditions. It is hard to function under the stress of these sensations and it is even harder to relate them to other people despite the fact they are a common stress and illicit drug response— meaning that other people do have these sensations— they are simply afraid to admit to them. When they become chronic states of being and begin to interfere with the normal obligations of life is when you start to feel the crunch applied to the marrow.

I’m preparing a blog on self-help techniques if you suffer from derealization or depersonalization in addition to the ones I have already completed. Hopefully these blogs will delve deeper into self-help and really electrically jolt the heart of the matter so we can get to some soothing and healing for this frightening condition. Have heart and have hope if you chronically feel “not there”, “unreal” or “lost in a fog.” 

I recall reading that 50% of people with severe Panic Disorder have “derealization” or “depersonalization“.I’m not afraid when I’m so depressed I can’t move. I’m not upset when I want to write, but I’m too depressed to pick up a pen. I’m not upset when I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I’m not upset when I feel the familiar moan of depression radiate through my body when I no longer want to wake up in the morning. I’m afraid when I have a panic attack and I “don’t feel real.”

Just pinch yourself to tell it’s not a dream...

I hear this phrase all too often from psychiatrists themselves who are simply disinterested in their patients and interested in money. This small anecdote does any of us with "DP" or "DR" any good whatsoever. We need concrete plans on how to best this demon.

This is why I will be sharing some help help techniques on my blog.

The coming blogs are intended to help you weather the storm and give you much needed shelter.

© Megan Snider