Depersonalization and Derealization

ProPenguin's picture
Submitted by ProPenguin on
Printer-friendly version

Before I start my reboot in 10 days, I'd like to talk a little about some of the problems I have and the emotions I feel. This is to reach out to anyone else who may be experiencing similar problems but haven't read much about it or would like to offer/ask for advice.
I'm going to start with a bit about my battle with depersonalization and derealization, which I believe stem from my porn use.

Depersonalization is a mental state in which a person feels detached or disconnected from his or her personal identity or self. This may include the sense that one is "outside" oneself, or is observing one's own actions, thoughts or body.

Derealization is a form of dissociation in which the sufferer experiences a subjective change in his perception of the outside world. Feelings of looking at the world through a veil, distortions of time and space, and déjà vu are common. Sufferers may experience changes in hearing and smell.

Derealization is related to depersonalization, in which the sufferer experiences distortions in the experience of her own body or self. Both may occur as a symptom of SSRI discontinuation syndrome, and may be experienced during times of intense anxiety or panic attacks.

While I am not an expert on these (or any) disorders, I can tell you about the symptoms I have and what I DO know about them from talking to others online with similar disorders.

1. A feeling of not being "there"

This seems to be more from the derealization. The thing about these disorders is you usually have symptoms from both; they go hand in hand. When I walk into a supermarket, restaurant, store, or any place with a lot of stimulation my brain function seems to...shift. I feel like I'm not really there. Some compare it to a dreamlike state, others say they're looking through smoke or clouds, I'd say it's like a mix of both. My head is foggy, I can't take in all that is happening. I may not respond to people as quickly as I normally would, I just feel out of it.
Tunnel vision occurs - your peripheral vision is foggy or blacked out completely but it isn't true tunnel vision for you really can see if you focus. A therapist told me this is due to your brain shutting down secondary functions when nervous. Peripheral vision isn't as important as seeing straight ahead so it shuts down. Sexual function also shuts down...this could have to do with a lot of anxiety related ED?

2. Not feeling so "sharp"

I used to feel really whitty before this. Now I can't even think hard enough to come up with clever retorts when conversing in a nervous conversation. I usually just laugh or talk...or I force myself to talk. I feel stupid just standing there. I feel like I just look awkward. I feel small, sometimes seethrough. In class, everything is foggy and it is often hard to pay attention. I have no clever questions to bring up like I once did because I can't even focus on the lecture.

3. Out of body experiences

Since this is an anxiety based disorder, it worsens in anxiety-filled situations. It can come to an extreme during bad panic attacks: during such attacks I used to feel like I had no control over myself whatsoever. I would get up and pace around my room while breathing rapidly. I actually dunked my head in a toilet during my first one after a HOCD-induced anxiety attack when I was 14.

When a professor or someone random comes up by surprise and starts a conversation with me, I often feel like I am watching myself talk. I feel I can see my awkward motions. I really am not that awkward, it's just paranoia. Sometimes you may feel like you are floating about your own body, or really attempting to make words come up correctly. It's like your body is on auto-pilot and you're there watching to make sure everything comes out ok. This is no fun and it makes it hard to convey your personality and have nice talks because you're too focused on...everything else.

4. Déjà vu

As stated in the defintion, I get a lot of deja vu. If you didn't know, deja vu is French for "already seen." People who haven't really experienced it often think it is just a situation that seems familiar. But really it's like a 2 second flashback in your brain where you actually BELIEVE you did this exact same thing before, maybe in a dream or a long time ago. For example, I watch a lot of videos. When I watch a video for the first time it's normal. Then the next day I think back on the same video and I get this vision of my watching the same video like 5 months ago. I don't think I really had watched it before, I would have remembered it. But why would I remember watching it the day after? Also sometimes I'm just hanging out and I get a vision when someone says something. Like I felt I had dreamt this situation before. It seems so familiar. Scientists have multiple Theories on this. Some think it's because different parts of your brain receive information faster than others, and your brain looks back into your brain and sees one part already knew that memory...or something like that. That one makes the most sense to me.

5. Watching Porn: A different type of Depersonalization

Oftentimes when I start watching porn, I can't control myself. I'll start searching things in google just to get excited to see that there actually IS such a porn. So it isn't even really watching's just knowing that it's there and that people DO watch it. I start googling things and clicking videos I KNOW I shouldn't and I KNOW I WOULDN'T if I could just control myself. I get this "fuck it I don't care" attitude. It's like the chemicals in my body are taking feels like a drug addict would when they see a pipe or a cigarette. They just do it without thinking. No matter how badly they want to quit or how much they KNOW they shouldn''s not them doing it anymore. It's something else controlling them. This lust for satisfaction. Your brain rewires itself JUST for pleasure.

Anyways, the depersonalization feels like I'm not there. My head gets really fuzzy and light, my surroundings fade, and it's just me and my computer. Anyone else feel like this at times?

Any questions, comments, or similar experiences? I would love to hear that I am not alone in this. I may be, but I think that's doubtful. Depersonalization usually comes about with a tramatic experience and can be induced my drugs. The anxiety and depression from watching porn can cause that and the anxiety from OCD can really get it going. And porn is like a drug, so why not? And speaking of drugs, marijuana does not really help it. It may at first...but prolonged use will make it WAY worse and the day after smoking I always feel like SHIT and totally out of it. Alcohol actually makes me feel a little less depersonalized at times, but obviously too much is not good.


Your story made me remember

Your story made me remember something from the past. There was this phase about 8 years ago where I had issues with reality. Back then I had this feeling of "not being myself", not feeling truly awake. Everything felt like it was in a dream.. I kept wondering if I somehow "fell asleep" at some point in time...

I am unsure if it has to do anything with porn use. It could be. So far I've catched some glimpses of a more 'awake' state when abstaining for a few weeks.

Any particular reason to wait with the start of your reboot? You could already get 10 days in if you just start right away..

Yes. That is probably

Yes. That is probably depersonalization. I forgot to mention it can last anywhere from a couple second to a couple years! I explain it more in my first post...I have a girlfriend so I've been having frequent orgasm. I'm moving for 5 months so I'll unfortunately have to break up with her (at least for a little bit). It just makes more sense to have a complete fresh start.

I was just reading this account again today

[Posted on a "depersonalization" forum] I have had DP for 1.5 years, however My DP has since gotten a lot better as of about 3 months ago. I am about 65% back to normal. I noticed that when I developed DP, my porn use increased quite a bit. I had begun watching porn every day or every other day, and I was watching quite extreme stuff. In that brain-fog state, I wasn't really aware of anything in my own life. Everything felt like a dream so I wasn't noticing this pattern. I read something about excessive porn use being linked to social anxiety and depression. I decided it might be a good idea that I stopped. Initially I only lasted about 3 weeks and then caved, getting back heavily into both (I had to make up for lost time :P).But I noticed something during those 3 weeks. Although I still found it hard to connect with people, my social anxiety had decreased DRAMATICALLY. I could have conversations with people no problem and I was generally more excited about life. I remember my brother telling me something that made me laugh for ages, and it felt incredible to really feel that amidst DP.

Also, how old are you? Not long ago a Dutch researcher found that these episodes are not that unusual during teen years.

Let us know how it goes.

Thank you for posting that! I

Thank you for posting that! I am 19 so I guess it can be normal...but it doesn't feel too normal since it's nonstop. I have friends say "yeah I feel like that once in awhile" but this can really be 24/7 and affects the way I function. I'm going to start meditating which can help almost any brain illness I believe...I'm going to write a post about that soon!