Derealization and Depersonalization: The Destructive Mental Disorders

Photo: The Ojay's

It isn’t depression, or anxiety, though it can sometimes appear as symptoms such as these better-known conditions. Often it emerges wit cruel ferocity as a chronic disorder completely into itself. It’s destructive impact on an individuals sense of self is implied in its very name — depersonalization. — Daphne Simeon, MD

Disconnected yet affected by the detachment. What happened? What’s happening? It’s madness and in addition to what’s actually occurring, you can’t subtract it. It divides you and multiplies your reasoning to believing none of this is real, which can equate to you not being, well, you.

Derealization: what’s real and what’s not?

Depersonalization: detachment from self.

Over the course of many years, I stopped watching so much television. I summed this up to be the result of my life being busier, but I don’t know anymore. Over the course of the last quarter of the year (2017), I’ve found myself watching myself, almost literally. It was as if I were sitting next to myself, watching ‘I’ make decisions and interact, yet I’m still in full control. Someone challenged me and said “well, if you know you’re not your mind, how does it still get to this extent?” Well, for me personally, it wasn’t so much as a mental disorder as it was physical. Although it starts off as mental, the end results were physical, because I would feel certain ways physically that I had never felt before. Imagine going through the motions without emotions and physical focus. You can’t tell someone they’re not their mind if they haven’t tapped into that part of their evolution, spirituality or meditation work yet, because they deal with it differently. Lack of understanding created for a more traumatic experience with DP/DR.

Most of the time, I felt empty, nothing around me was real and that there was no way that this was “reality.” My perception became a blurred line and my dreams and reality were too closely related. I instantly stopped smoking weed and I cut down my alcohol consumption.

There was a lot to take in: new romance, shift in outlook on life, new motivation, the loss of people and new scenery. The events and scenarios were not situations that I was accustomed to — whether good or bad — there was pull on each end of the spectrum.

At anytime I may have broken; unaware to what Depersonalization/Derealization was at the time. The anxiety, trauma and depressive feelings had finally caught up to me and led me to become a spectator of my own life. Only advantage was, I still had full control. Or did I? Breaking down DP/DR to someone who has never experienced the disorder proves to be a task in itself, but it isn’t a disorder that I want others to know the feeling of.

I’ve been experiencing DP/DR for roughly six months now. It wasn’t until the first week of May 2017, that I found out what it the disorder was. I felt insane until I found out millions of others experience this very same disorder, even Maryland native Logic.

“How could anxiety make me physically off balanced? How could anxiety make me feel like I was fading from world and on the brink of death? Derealization: the sense of being out of one’s body. I’m not here, I’m not me, I’m not real, nothing is,” —Logic breaks down during his song “Anziety.”

After learning Logic went through this disorder and also explained it during his Zane Lowe interview, I broke down into tears.

Suicide felt like it would be easier to do while experiencing the effects of DP/DR. If my reality wasn’t real, then what pain could possibly be felt my “demise”? It’s a scary feeling to be able to distinguish what’s a dream or what’s real.

In December, I wrote about alleviating my fear of death and how I related to J. Cole — that was my biggest fear. Shortly after, DP/DR took over my body and that became my biggest fear. For those that deal with it, it can be short-term or it can be long-term. 50% of the world’s population have had at least one moment of this disorder and 2% of the world’s population go on to suffer from chronic or short-term effects from the disorder. While it’s a mental disorder that isn’t often talked about such as depression or anxiety, it is just as important.

Traumatic experiences, depression and anxiety can cause DP/DR and heighten it in many sense.