View Full Version : Will i come out of this derealization???

04-07-10, 22:40
Hi everyone,

I am a 21 year old male medical student. I already have a degree in pharmacology and am scoring very high grades in my current med school exams well on my way to qualifying as a doctor. I am physically healthy, have a great family, girlfriend and a great set of friends. Others say have a brilliant life and that i must feel top of the world, but its far from it................

When I was 15/16 i started feeling very strange. I felt depressed, anxious and felt completely out of myself, like everything around me seemed unfamiliar. I was so scared and felt like i was going mad and was developing schizophrenia or that there was something seriously physically wrong with me??? I had blood tests and nothing showed up so i was referred to a psycologist. After a few session they said that i was far from having anything seriously wrong with me and that i was suffering from anxiety. They said the symptoms I was having were very common with anxiety and high adrenaline. After having some CBT (which didnt seem to help much), a psychiatrist prescribed 40mg fluoxetine to take. After a long year or so of struggling i started to feel much better, nearly to back to 100%. Continuing on the fluoxetine the next 4 years were very good, i went to university and got on with my life. At times I had my lows (especially the after effects of alcohol) but times were good. 2010 has taken a turn for the worst however :(

After returning home from uni i started to feel bad again. Completely out of myself, like i did when i was 15. I felt like everything around me was unfamiliar and unreal, i felt anxious and depressed once again. Although it sounds crazy i felt like I didnt understand the world, questioning things, existance etc I got myself in an absolute state and layed in bed all day just thinking and thinking over and over. Every thought i had just scared, worried and depressed me more and more. Luckily through the support of my family I managed to pull myself together and get back to a functioning level.

I started searching the internet and textbooks trying to find an explanation as to what i was going through. Although almost adamant i was going mad, i meet none of the criteria for having a serious mental illness; schizophrenia etc. I dont hear voices, i dont see anything thats not there and dont have any weird or strange beliefs. My behavior and personality is the same as it has always been. Everyone around me thinks i am completly normal!!! That in itself is frustrating enough, lol. Although i feel absolutely detached from everything mentally and physicall i know everything is real, it is such a strange feeling/experience. When typing in my symptoms, the words derealization came up immediatly. I have done much research and this phenomenon/condition explains my current state. Finding out that there were thousand of others experiencing this and that i was not going mad gave some relief but did not help the way i was feeling.

So where am i now?? Although i have got on as normal and have not avoided anything my life has almost become a living nightmare!! I am derealized/depersonalized almost 100% of the time and it is depressing and scaring me beyond measure!! I have read a few self help books to little avail. I have frequently seen my very supportive doctor and he prescribed me mitrazipine a week ago. The drug felt me feel like crap for the first few days but now the side effects are starting to go.

I am hoping that the meds will start to make me feel better in a couple of weeks but i am not feeling positive. I have never been suicidal or thought the derealization so bad yet that i cannot go on but i am so scared that this is gonna get worse or that i will never be better again. I just want more than anything to be back to my old self and know that i am not losing my mind (which is seeming further and further away) and enjoy life like i should be.

I know i have massivly rambled on but i needed let it all out to people who might understand. Any advice, support, help on gettin through this would be MUCH appreciated!! much love to anyone else suffering from this!

04-07-10, 23:10
Thanks very much. Its good to know that other people have felt the same and are getting through it! Did u find that meds helped at all?? Did anything else help u wrekon? Exercise, diet etc??

Much love

04-07-10, 23:19
Oh, such a familiar story! You know that it's actually very common for people with seemingly perfect lives to suffer from this sort of thing. I went to private school and our lifestyles are pretty fabulous - yet half of my friends suffer from depression, or have done, and that's just the ones that have told me.

Just because people don't talk about it doesn't mean they don't suffer in the same way you do. When I eventually told my parents, they both owned up to having been depressed in the past. Sometimes you have to open up before other people will admit to having problems.

Hope the meds work for you! x

04-07-10, 23:54
I haven't taken any long term medication for this. I was planning too but am unsure of it. Everytime it seems to get bad it lightens up and I forget about it. Time is the biggest cure just ride it out. Diet was important and proper sleep management aswell. Go to bed at a good hour and give the body as much rest as possible to recover quickly

05-07-10, 01:19
I felt that way alot when I was younger, I had severe GAD, Pure-O and was depressed thru highschool, I still dont know how I past because it was hell for me. For me the derealization went away when I attended university and maybe because I fell in love the first day in school.

Something that used to send me back to reality was doing math problems in my head (I suck at math so it would keep me busy for a while) and/or going for a run. You need to understand that derealization is caused by anxiety, not the other way around, it then becomes a vicious cycle.

I know you study medicine, but I believe that anxiety is not caused by a physiological problem. I believe the conditioning/anxiety causes the clinical condition. There can be triggers in food like sugars or caffeine, and they will help to make it worse, but not cause it. Experts seem to have all kinds of different opinions on this, but I (and some of those experts) really believe it's a behavioural problem, something you learned yourself to do. I believe this even more because understanding the psychological cycles/manifestations of anxiety disorders helped me to reduce my symptoms with at least 80%.

I have a minor in philosophy and now study psychology (just past the first year so def not an expert as of yet) and I have a lot of information available to me, sorting it out has helped me a great deal. I'm still working on that last 20% and I think keeping myself busy with things I love to do, just to keep my mind from conditioning, will eventually do the trick. Atm i'm to busy with things that have to be done, so it will take some more time but thats fine as it really became managable. Every time I feel shitty I try to realise that I am not a victim of a disease but rather an observer of the complexity of my own mind and that I have or will have control over it by continuously challenging it.

I am pretty sure that the antidepressants will make you feel better after a few weeks, so dont worry. Meds do good work because they more or less stop the anxietytrigger to cause the imbalance in hormones/neurotransmitters. They break the vicious cycle and have given me some great relieve in the past. But they didnt learn me how to cope with the triggers, they had some nasty side effect and withdrawal is hard because it causes anxiety in itself. I can strongly recommend to try some cognitive therapy next to the meds because it could come back if you dont learn how to respond to the anxiety triggers yourself.

Some people find great help in eating better/reducing sugars and caffeine etc. Some people find great help in meditation, others in sports. Just try to see whats best for you, maybe the searching for that itself will keep your mind from going in the wrong direction.

Good Luck!

12-07-10, 15:51
Thank you so much everyone for you advice, its great hearing from others who are also experiencing these strange feelings, doesnt make you feel so alone!!! Its been two weeks since I started taking the mirtazipine/remeron. No change as yet, in fact i have felt a bit worse. I broke down crying to my mum last night for the first time in months. I think everything just came to a head and was 2 much to bare. I have been reading and researching and it just seems that little is know about dp/dr or treating it, even though sooooooo many people suffer from it. I am so scared I am not gonna come out of this and will have to live the rest of my life suffering in this world that doesnt feel real!!

I have read that remeron/mirtazipine can make you feel worse at the start of treatment and it takes 4 weeks to get to therapeutic levels so am gonna carry on for another few weeks with it, see what happens.

I am just at my wits end with this!! I am trying my hardest to ride this out but just cannot see the end of the tunnel. Any recovery stories would be MUCH appreciated and any more advice

Love to everyone suffering from this


12-07-10, 21:46
It is awful, and oh so frightening! I have had this for months now... started off just every now and then, but now it is pretty much constant. The problem is, when it is at its peak it is so frightening that it triggers yet more anxiety, which in turn heightens the sensation. Vicious circle, but it can be broken Im sure, Im just yet to find the way to break it!
I feel constantly drugged or drunk.... spaced out, away with the fairies is how I describe it to people.
Im studying psychology and am trying to avoid meds as I want to get to the root of the problem and deal with the issue, but if I do not improve soon I will certainly be giving the medication a shot.
Sorry I dont have much advice, but just wanted to let you know you're not alone x

12-07-10, 22:00
I have had this twice for a bit of a long period in the last 21 years, the first time i had it for so long as i didn't understand it, i got through it and when it came back to me again, i knew exactly what it was and i excepted it.

Now this sounds like it was really easy to do, it wasn't really, i just wasn't scared of it second time round, so i never fed it by fearing it.

Try to remember, as scary as it feels, it is only a feeling, i wish i could explain how i overcame it easier than i am.

Once you except it as a feeling, and not something to fear, it leaves you.

i hope i've helped.

di x

13-07-10, 07:32
Listen, when I say time, I don't mean a day, a week or even two weeks. At minimium your looking at a month of derealization, well that was how long it lasted for me. Don't expect instant results and fast recovery because that just can't be done. If you give it time it will pass, trust me. I was just like you, I kept asking "will i get stuck like this forever?" "will i ever feel normal again?" This was all talk in my anxious brain and the derealization was caused by the overflow of anxiety so my brain decided to take some time off. I know derealization is scary and I know its a horrible feeling but IT WILL PASS! I know when I had it I felt like it would never go but it did. Took about a month, but it did. Best thing for you is not dwell on it although it is hard. Try to ignore it and let it do its thing and just try to live life normally.

13-07-10, 08:23
Derealization, I think, is one of the worst symptoms of anxiety as it really makes it question your sanity. During my first panic attack, I suffered immensly from derealization, so much so, I tried to throw myself in front of a car! This wasn't to hurt or harm myself, but just to get some reality back into the situation, as I was absolutely terrified.

This happened 7 years ago, and although I still suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, the derealization I now feel is more under control. The things I have found that have helped me control this are: limited caffeine, more exercise, and reading up on anxiety to understand that what I'm feeling is a completely normal (but horrible) symptom of anxiety. Have you also tried any relaxation techniques? These may help.

16-07-10, 00:49

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who has this. I never knew there was a name for this until 2 nights ago. I've had derealization since March 1997, the month before my 11th birtday. I was fine and all of a sudden a strange feeling popped in my head and I felt like I was dreaming. I've always been able to control my derealization and if I ever had a panic attack because of it, it only lasted for a few minutes. In December 2007 while I was preparing for my semester exams (stressful) away at school I suffered a really bad derealization attack and had to go to the hospital. I had also had a bad break up two months before. The doctor prescribed wellbutrin for me. I wasnt able to drive home, I lived two and half hrs away so my parents had to come and get me and take me home. All of december 07 I felt out of it. By January 16 2008 I started to come out of it and began feeling like my old self again. I was never thought I'd experience anything like that again and prayed every night that I wouldnt go through that again. 3 weeks ago I suffered another derealization attack and haven't been able to shake it since, it's been on my mind constantly non stop 24/7 since June 26. I feel totally out of it, my head is full of pressure, and I can't eat or sleep. I havent had a good nights sleep in almost 3 weeks. I'm on edge 24/7, i'm staying with my parents now because I don't want to stay by myself at my apartment. I was recently laid off from job in the school system last month so I know that has something to do with it. I went to the doctor tuesday and she prescribed me citalopram (celexa) and metoporol. I wish I knew that derealization was a real disorder at the time so I could tell her exactly what was wrong with me, she said it was anxiety. I have faith that I will get through this because I've gotten through it before. If anyone wants to talk about it, you can email me at queencity86@aol.com.

02-09-10, 18:01
Will Mirtazapine help me properly overcome my paranoia & anxiety, because I personally don't think I am depressed, so really don't know why else I have put on this medication.