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Thread: Existential time warp. Need Help

  1. #1

    Existential time warp. Need Help

    Hi all,

    I guess I'll get down to it and say I'm not looking for a direct match of my condition as it seems to be very rare, but I am looking to find people who've experienced extreme and chronic existential ruminations, DPDR and come out the other end.

    About a year ago I experienced a mental meltdown which lead to two weeks of DPDR. By the time this left me my thought processes devolved into a constant state of existential rumination to do with time. My mind began to think 'how is time possible?', and I became absolutely terrified of time for no reason, and I could not stop this descent into madness. The way this has manifested is I feel like I'm trapped between past and future, I'm constantly thinking things 'I was just at the shops, now I'm not. that's just a memory that no longer exists', I freak out after speaking to someone, as thats now ended and is in the past, I get wierded out during conversation as well as I'm not really focussing on what is being said rather where the time is disappearing too. Even doing simple tasks like going to make a coffee requires force of will... I cannot look forward to anything or be in the flow. When I look at a clock I cannot comprehend what I see, I have to look at it with extra effort to internalise 'what the time is'. In short, my mind sees past and future as a terrifying abyss, it has destroyed my 'present moment' and I'm completely unable to break free from this thought loop. It is like my brain is rebelling against nature and reality itself, and is happy with nothing anymore. I feel oppressed by the laws of reality, not free to use it and act at will. I have additional existential fears:

    I somehow developed a fear of being a different person in the evening compared to who I am in the morning, not sure why this stuck, but it did and wont let go.

    constant intrusive thoughts of molecules and synapses, things like that doing the 'sciencey' stuff

    fear of time moving forward marked by anything. I can be lying in the dark completely still and still be reminded of this anxiety by my heartbeat and shallow breathing.

    A big problem for me is that I'm not wrong. Time is arbitrary, it is disappearing before our eyes and the past and future do not exist outside of being a mental concept. We are indeed also subtly different in the evening compared to what we were in the morning. All my stuff is true, and so I find it hard to express the degree of horror I feel every morning as I wake up feeling completely spun out by something real that my mind can no longer accept, and I do not have good days, bad days, or periods of normality. This is life for me, this is 24/7. Sleep feels like an eye blink between horror.

    Last summer this got so bad that I developed psychotic and clinical depressive symptoms... I could not look at someone moving as the sight of this irritated my perceptions, but this seems to have gone. My only victory against this condition has been in reducing the physical feeling of rampaging anxiety through use of mirtazapine and Valium. I'm now able to do stuff like drive, exercise, act normal in public, but the 24/7 existential terror remains.

    This is all very hard to explain, the mental torture, very hard to explain. A healthy person, or those with another mental state would look at what I described and think that's crazy there's no problem with time, but my logical mind already knows that. This has been, and is, very real for me, and has cost me a career, a relationship, but more importantly my sense of self, peace of mind, self respect. It's been so long since I felt anything like normal, the old me, that I don't even know what I'm looking to get back to anymore. All I know is that I was once a person with some great, some dubious qualities, who knew how to enjoy the small things and enjoyed what he did. I'm only kept going by a fantastic mother who tells me daily that today is a day closer to being well, I would not be alive without her.

    Can anyone relate? I feel as though my psyche has been so warped by these thoughts and ruminations that I don't believe in my own recovery any more. Has anyone ever felt the same? I'm desperate for some light at the end of the tunnel but at the moment all is dark.


  2. #2

    Re: Existential time warp. Need Help

    This forum is dead

  3. #3

    Re: Existential time warp. Need Help

    Wow man, I feel terrible for you. You sound very intelligent and like you’re keeping your sanity and perspective through a difficult experience. I can’t relate In that level of dpdr, I just know that the brain can become entrenched in concepts and feelings irrationally when extremely stressed, sort of like ocd. Just try to remember that the fear you’re feeling is not rational and is a part of ocd in my opinion. The past and future are not arbitrary and not concepts. The past is observable through evidence, and the future can be determined through evidence. You know an egg will boil if thrown in boiling water, and if you had all variables, you could calculate the future of anything.
    Try therapy and meditation. I had a couple years of daily dpdr triggered by people talking to me, I also had overwhelming feelings of minor events being significant events..which is hard to explain. I would go to take a bite of food for example and get a strong sense that what I was doing was a big important event..sort of a deja vu feeling but different. Eventually these things just stopped, and I would’ve sounded crazy trying to explain them.
    I feel for you, message me if you want to talk

  4. #4

    Re: Existential time warp. Need Help

    Thank you man. I'm not sure I feel like I'm actually going mad but my head is so wrapped up in anxiety it's very hard to function. I mean I don't know how I can go from this, now, to being in total harmony with life again like I was. I worry I'm going to have this stuck on my perception forever and every day is going to be an uphill battle. It's been pretty much a year and I still get the same thoughts over and over, but you're right it feels like OCD in that the thoughts have an 'elastic' quality to them, but there's also significant anxiety because of just being alive. I don't know what happened to my brain because of DP but it got completely bent out of shape and hasn't gone back into its' original mould.

    My only success in this time is that I don't get panic attacks anymore probably because of my medications regime.

    No matter how hard I try and reason with it, it just doesn't cut through. It's like my logical mind knows that there's no problem with time and all the things I'm obsessed about but something in my brain is very broken and I can only wait and hope that one day I'll be healthy enough to see past and through all this rubbish. It's like I know that the past exists, every time I do something I'm made very aware that I'm following a course of action that has been defined by my previous actions, but for some reason that thought completely spins my brain out. It's illogical and weak but it feels like I was exposed to some sort of truth about reality that my brain was just too weak to comprehend, and now I'm totally stuck in anxiety and fear, morning to night.

    I know the anxious mind can totally play tricks on your brain and I get when you say you experience small events as a big important event... it seems like going to make a coffee is like that for me now and I'm completely obsessed with the intricate mechanics and interaction of consciousness that it takes to even do a small thing.

    I'm sat here writing this reply and just thinking about all the complex neuromuscular actions it takes to actually write this message. When I finish this and go do something else my mind will find it so hard to accept that I was just here doing this, and now I'm doing something else. It all causes me uncontrollable anxiety and I just do not get it

  5. #5

    Re: Existential time warp. Need Help

    Hey. Did you recover from this? Or are you feeling any better at all?

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