What Depersonalisation Feels Like - Deepstash

What Depersonalisation Feels Like

Apart from trauma or panic attacks, a bad drug experience can trigger depersonalisation disorder, as a feeling of dying or going mad can cause extreme, lasting anxiety.

The most common cause is cannabis usage, where a bad trip can cause a feeling of losing one’s mind. 

Some people also report:

  1. Seeing the world from outside their bodies
  2. A feeling of extreme dizziness.
  3. Being stuck in a dream.
  4. Seeing everyone around them as robots.
  5. Altered time perception.
  6. Philosophical insights.
  7. Emotional withdrawal.
  8. Forgetfulness
  9. Blankness.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to cope when life seems unreal | Psyche Guides

Just like heart palpitations can be assumed to be heart attacks, the feeling of unreality can be misinterpreted as losing the mind or going crazy.

Not everyone can handle the strangeness of the meta-awareness that is experienced. One has to realize that meta-awareness isn’t a bad thing.

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To treat depersonalisation, one can focus on the sights and sounds around them, grounding themselves to reality, like watching TV or reading a book. One can be aware of their breathing and even start to learn something new, channelling the increased awareness.

Regular exercise helps a lot and one has to avoid caffeine, cannabis, and other stimulants. There is no need to panic!

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  • Some people experience a feeling of detachment from the self, a kind of unreality, something known as depersonalisation.
  • Severe and prolonged depersonalisation creates an anxiety loop and becomes a disorder, where the brain shows reduced activity in emotional responses.
  • Some factors that can lead to transient depersonalization are jetlag and sleep deprivation.

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Intrusive thoughts can be problematic if they are resisted. Psychologist Daniel Wegner coined the term ‘ironic process’, where the attempt to suppress certain thoughts gives them more power.

Example: If we try very hard not to think of a pink elephant, the image of a pink elephant keeps forming in our minds.

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Depersonalization is common

If you’ve ever been severely jetlagged or sleep-deprived, there’s a good chance that you have experienced transient depersonalisation. Think of it like an airbag for the mind - part of the body and brain’s natural response to stress.

Depersonalisation is feeling like you’re ‘in a dream’ or ‘not really there’. Up to 75 per cent of people will feel so at least once in their lives, but it will mostly be fleeting and usually at a point of stress or fatigue. It's a normal response.

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Experiencing Panic Attacks
  • Around 15 to 30 percent of us experience a panic attack at least once in our lives, which is essentially our body’s emergency response system.
  • Symptoms include more blood being pumped into our muscles, narrow vision, faster breaths and auto-shutting of the digestive system.
  • Side-effects may include sweating and dizziness, and the commotion usually lasts a few minutes.
  • The body is now primed for a ‘fight or flight’ response, and if there is a real danger, a panic attack can be life-saving.

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Do you shake while angry?

Tremors caused by anxiety aren’t dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable. Sometimes losing control of your body when you’re having anxiety can quickly escalate into other symptoms.

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