Depersonalization disorder occurs when you persistently or repeatedly have a sense that things around you aren’t real, or when you have the feeling that you’re observing yourself from outside your body. Feelings of depersonalization can be very disturbing and may feel like you’re losing your grip on reality or living in a dream.
This is my “go-to” method of dealing with stress. It hasn’t always been, but it has been for a while now, and I’ve only recently become stable enough to even notice what I’m doing.
For me, there are varying levels of depersonalization. I’m doing it right now. It’s been a rough day. Luckily, I can form sentences right now, and be fairly comical. About an hour and a half ago, I had glue in my brain. An empty look in my eyes, a quiet, monotone, emotionless voice, and couldn’t finish a thought, much less hold a conversation. I was trying. Pillars and I were out on a date, and I was trying to talk about today’s therapy session, but as soon as I found a thought and spoke 3 words of it, I lost it. After some mental constipation, I found my thought, spoke 2 words of it, and it was gone again. It was embarrassing.
I think that if someone was listening in on our conversation, they may have thought I was mentally handicapped.
After a few minutes of this, what little bit of me was in me could sense my husband sitting there next to me. Wearing his nice business casual clothes, arms propped up on the table, concentrating on listening and piecing together whatever-the-hell I was trying to spit out. While I’m sitting there hunched over in uncertainty, at least one tiny hole in my shirt, another hole in the crotch of my pants, and greasy hair from not having showered in a couple days.
What does he think of me? Does he think I’m faking any of this? Is he tired of my troubles?
He asked if the music was distracting me. I couldn’t figure it out, so he suggested we go sit outside and talk. As soon as we were outside, I could form a complete sentence. I wasn’t fully there yet, but in a much better place.
I should add that on the way to this date, I got lost. Turns out that having a smart phone doesn’t actually make you smart. Damn.
So after talking outside for about 15 minutes we head home. I insisted I follow him…didn’t want to end up lost again. Har. I struggled staying present the whole drive, finding myself slipping in and out, and maybe even coming close to falling asleep a couple times. I don’t know, that’s what it felt like to me.
We come home, I step out of the car, and I’m back. Immediately. Not 100%, but at least 80%. How did that happen, when I was gone just a mile ago?
My therapist told me to keep an eye on this, that it may be a coping mechanism, may be something else, but that we need to track it. She told me not to let myself do that. But I couldn’t help it. Id been dying to do it for weeks, since earlier in the month when my Mom was here and I had done it when I was visiting with her. Who wouldn’t, when you hold conversations like this?
She visited, I checked out of my mind for the visit, then climbed up into a hypomanic episode, and managed to bring it down with an increase in Lithium. Since she came into town, I could feel the nagging sense in my mind, wanting to go away, disappear, check-out, leave my body…whatever. I guess the feeling just got too strong for me to be able to ignore it. It wasn’t a conscience choice, or thought, like, “Hey, I’m tired of this shit, let’s bounce.” It was that I was stressed out, trying desperately to cope, and then all of a sudden I’m not there. I’ve turned from frantic on the inside to calm. My face is emotionless. I can smile, but it’s not my smile.
It serves a purpose – the stress is gone. But it leaves me as a bumbling idiot. I’m not good for anything that way, and I can’t function. At it’s worst, I actually need someone to hold my arm to guide me while I walk. So…what’s the sense?
Either way, I’ll write it down and discuss it with my therapist for sure next time. It was definitely disturbing.