Depersonalization Forum

Please use this forum to discuss information directly related to Depersonalization Disorder. We welcome you to share your own personal experiences with others as well as any treatment or study programs you may know about. We have been forced to restructure the Forum so we could have editing access as needed and be able to Archive older comments once they disappear.  Sorry for the temporary inconvenience, but now we will able to post older material for reference.

Depersonalization Forum
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Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

I will try to answer carefully and honestly. It forces me to look back and remember the stream of events, the symptoms, the search for help, and eventually, effective help. But remember, I am an anecdote, a single case history, not a clinical study providing proof of anything.
Like you, my DPD was triggered by pot, many years ago, before SSRIs, before people even knew what panic attacks were. It began with an extreme panic reaction and the fear that I had wrecked by brain. In the morning, incredibly, I felt fine, thankful that I hadn't done permanent damage. But then, inexplicably, these severe panic attacks came back at night, for several days. Within a week or so, I settled into pure, hardcore DPD. Periods of nervousness, and the complete feeling of a disintegrated mind followed for months. I went to a doctor who thought I had mononucleosis. Time passed, the panic attacks subsided, but the extreme discomfort in my head, the feeling of separation of mind and body, and the loss of "self" persisted for years, even as I adapted to it and finished college. This went on, to varying degrees for years, as I said, but, I soon found, every few years I would hit a crisis point—a point at which I could no longer cope with it. At that point the panic attacks would resume. Panic had caused the DPD, and living with DPD in turn threw me back into panic disorder. Whether any of this involves "depression" is a matter of who you ask. At no point did I feel down or "depressed." I only felt that my head/mind was fractured, ruined, a place of misery, even thoigh my intellectual skills were in tact.
Ultimately, during these low cycles or the worst misery, fear and inability to function, I went to more serious doctors. One prescribed TRIAVIL, an older antidepressant. Within a few weeks I was much better and improved to about 85- 95 percent "normal." It was good enough for me. Then, after a few years weaned off the Triavil, A crisis came again. Only this time, it didn't work. Nothing seemed to as I tried drug after drug. In time I wanted to kill myself—not because I was depressed, I wasn't—but because I was no more than a container of anxiety and unreality in human form. I could not live that way another day. I feared what my brain would do next, and what I might do as a result. By some miracle, a friend referred me to Oscar Janiger, (who is mentioned in our Overview). He knew exactly what I had and for the first time I heard the words Depersonalization Syndrome. He prescribed a powerful monoamineoxidase inhibitor called marplan. Within a few days, I improved. Within a few weeks I felt better than I had in years. I remained on this med for many years. Then, a few years ago, the company announced that they were no longer going to produce it. In a panic, I tried Nardil and Parnate (two other MAOIs) and they didn't work. I thought it was all over again as I sank into a whirlpool of anxiety and dysfunction. Luckily, before long, i was able to receive a "compassionate" supply from the drug company, and after a strong grass roots effort, Oxford Pharmaceuticals stepped in and began manufacturing it again. Patients, it turned out, knew something that the durg companies themselves didn't even know—that there are subtle differences between these drugs, despite their generic overall category. In this case, marplan helped some people when other MAOIs did not. So, what do I recommend? I really can't do anything except relay this, my story, and tell you what the most recent research seems to indicate In clinical trials, the newer tricyclic called Anafranil has probably had the most success. DPD clearly involves much more than serotonin levels, so SSRI's have shown to be pretty worthless, unless you have mild depression. Anafranil, like marplan, affects several neurotransmitters at once, and there's good reason to think it will help. Marplan is a suggestion if all else fails, because of my own experience, and because of a trail of anecdotal case histories going back many decades when Sir Martin Roth, a British expert in DPD, began trying it with some of his patients. In some cases it worked. I myself have recommended it to a number of people, for some it helped tremendously, for others it had no effect at all. There is a lot of thinking among the people who study and treat DPD that something that "wakes up" a patient to some degree may have more impact that meds that "deaden" them, like benzos. The MAOI's will indeed make you manic if you take to much. Anyway, I hope this helps. You will not find any rays of hope about marplan in the book I co-wrote with Dr. Simeon (Feeling Unreal). Trials using MAOIs as a treatment for DPD indicated they had no affect at all. My contention is that the proper MAOI was not used. Ultimately, I reached of point of nothing to lose. Perhaps you feel the same. Maybe try Anafranil first, then let's talk.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Anafranil. Marplan.

Anafranil. Marplan. You should mention more about these medicaments, it could realy help many people. I know that you don't want to miss direct people.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

Jeff,

Thank you so much... I told my therapist about this site, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't really believe in anything that can't be cured by talking. I need to see a new person, who is willing to listen to me *and* put me on meds so that I can be alive again.

I will inquire of those drugs you recommended, once I can find someone who knows what DPD is *or* someone willing to entertain the thought of something they never studied in college.

Again, thank you so much. I wish there was a list of drugs which seem to help vs. drugs that don't (or make it worse)... One thing that has detured me from medication, is the fear of meds making my symptoms worse to a catatonic state. But my niece turned 11 and I realized, I've never known her without my DPD. I just want my life back... I want to do all the things I was supposed to do, but didn't after having to base my life around my DPD.

Thanks again - Thank you for sharing your personal story and thank you for the recommendations. I want to feel at least 90% better than I do now. I've forgotten what life was before DPD.

P.S. - I notice it when I'm distracted. It's constant. I help care for my family... I do a lot. I'm distracted. And at the end of the day, I feel like I wasn't even there. I really don't like when people write it off like it's something that can be ignored. DPD truly ended my life, and I want it back. I find solace in my days *somehow* but I will never dellude myself into thinking this is as good as it gets. There was a time I was highly intelligent and there in the moment... I was going place. If I could just distract myself away from DPD, I wouldn't be seeking medications. I understand what you're saying, but I've been doing that for years... I've been just finding enjoyment in life... the thing is, I know that I'm not even part of it. So, that always makes it very difficult... to feel like I faked a day. No one knows I have this. People always laugh that I'm so "spacey" and that I forget immediately what they told me... it isn't funny to me. This is how it has been for over a decade. Distracting myself is not an option. Fixing my brain is my solution and my only hope. Yes, I guess I could live the rest of my life like this - I've learned how to. But I'd much rather be "alive" again and truly live my life. My entire adolensence was lost to DPD... I'm not in my mid-20s and really, really want to be normal again

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

Cognitive behavioral therapies can be helpful as well and are discussed the new book by Anthony David from the UK. The goal of these therapies is to change thinking patterns, and often this can change actual brain chemistry. But in general, it seems to take a little of this and a little of that (medicine) to put together the best package tailored to an individual's own symptoms. I do understand what you say about getting your life back. But the fact is, you never left it, nor did it leave you. Your PERCEPTIONS of that life and all the activities therein is what changed, and the biochemistry necessary to regain the perceptions you once had are certainly within reach.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

hi highly suggest finding a psychiatrist, not a psychologist ,that specializes in anxiety disorders. most people dont know that there's a big difference between the two. here's the low down : psychologist is a talking doctor and a psychiatrist is a pill doctor. when you have dp, its behavioral but its also very much neurological. a psychiatrist can prescribe you medication that will act on the neurotransmitters. psychologists cant prescribe medication,(at least they cant here in Canada) so they rely on therapy to "fix " you.

and from my own experience,your best bet is to ignore it.i know its easier said then done, but you dont really have a choice.Just because medication works for someone, it doesnt mean it will work for everyone.unfortunatly our brain chemistry is unique to each of us, which means different meds act differently from person to person. Right now im on prozac and seroquel, and its helping me to the point where i can live a somewhat normal life. i also suggest zyprexa.

hope that helped

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

Jeff,

I do believe that it is completely possible to be DP-free. If the chemistry was not compromised before drug use (and then was after use of drugs); I don't see why it can't be altered back to its normal state. It's just that I've had this for over a decade and even though I'm here and have been here all along, I'm not really with it. And I miss being with it. I hate reading a page of a book and not even remembering the paragraph just read. I hate having to ask people to repeat themselves over and over, and then having to repeat it to myself despite its how simple a task it may be. I used to be highly intelligent and now, I feel below average due to my "spaced out" perception. Nevertheless, I do believe there is hope to change back to normalcy - with a little research and a lot of patient follow-up study.



Anna,

Where I am (New York), they advise you to see a psychologist before seeing a psychiatrist. The psychologist evaluates your behavior and *if they determine it necessary* they send you to the psychiatrist who then prescribes the appropriate medication(s). However, my therapist doesn't believe in DP and thus, doesn't believe I need medication to alter the brain chemistry. (Ugh!) She told me not to self-diagnose and basically, keeps insisting that I'm just depressed and with "a little talking", I will miracuously be cured from all that is foggy. Which is why I need to see someone else. Otherwise, I'll probably never see a psychiatrist, and will never be allowed to have a chance to see which medication would help alleviate symptoms. As long as I no longer have severe fatigue and don't feel like I'm not reall here, I will be happy with the results. But first thing is first: Finding a doc who is willing to hear me out and see me through.

Thanks for the responses. I am currently researching all suggested treatments and am trying to find a more qualified doctor.

Anyone heard from Maureen?

I just wondered if anyone has heard from Maureen. I wonder what her test results said and if she's had any success....

Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

I have to say, the idea that a medication may be my best bet out of the hell of DP/DR is truly depressing. I would like to believe that it is possible to get free of it all by way of insight, feeling and - finally - understanding via psychotherapy, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. I have to admit, therapy hasn't worked yet.

Maybe whatever happened or didn't happen in my childhood has wired my mind in such a way that the best to hope for is a medication that will allow me to approximate a level of wellness that I used to know.

Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

Which of these medicaments (SSRIs, MAOIs, tricyclics, benzos, anti-seizure, anit-psychotic) are the best to mix. Which combinations might be most succesful? What about safety? Did you combined and drink them by yourself, or allways with doctor suggestions? How fast did you felt better, recovered when you found right pills combination? It's wonderful that you cured yourself. I will try to find my cure from dp/dr. I hope i will be cured from dp/dr as soon as possible.

Re: Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

See my response above. Rather than push any particular med or cure, I feel it's best just to tell my story as I have therein.

Re: Re: Any Recoveries?

From what I have been reading while studying Depersonalization in myself and others. We usually all have the same goal. To cure ourselves since no physician is able to do it. Notice from the post above.

"Credible stories of recovery are hard to find. People often disappear when they feel normal again,..."

There is much truth to that statement. Me still suffering, with hope that one day I wake up and its gone sees where the answer lies for a cure. The cure is to actually find enjoyment in life. This is why when distracting ourselves we do not notice it. It's like we have been bored with what we are dealt. I have smoked Marijuana for years without an issue until this become a mental-state that I can not overturn. If you look at people who smoke weed, most will always be the first to ask "Why" or will think "Outside the box". That meaning when your high, you are already over analyzing things as information passes through the brains highway of nerves and vessels. No drug is going to change our thought processes. As a child we already were thinking outside the box, asking why but we weren't afraid of the unknown. The racing thoughts were filled with the excitement of the unknown. Most DP patients (myself included) have now become afraid of the unknown, and most have a history of some sort of anxiety/panic issues. All of which makes what we feel even more "unreal". I am with everyone waiting for the day that this "disorder" or I like to smile and call it "Intelligible-Thinking" will disappear. When I no longer "care" that the trees blowing in the wind look digital, or things just aren't looking like they once did. Everyday I tell myself, but never believe my conscious when I say that the world is the same as it was by appearance and feel. We need to stop looking for the solution, because "we" are the solution. The search is what continues the pain, loneliness, and anxious minds believe what we all see is feeling unreal.

I need to talk

I am on ritalin, and became agressive, zombie=like after 2 hours. I am rustrated, depressive when I don't take any dr is worse.

My psy prescribeit for me anyway. I also take klonopin for anxiery but it doesn't help anymore. And sleep pills just calm my nerves.

Please tell me that a med can help for dp/dr, depression, and energy. I and at the end of my rope, my bf is tired. I am tired. I see no life in the future, my psychiatrist don't know...

I have a new job, and I feel so stupid. I don't know what to do. My emotions goes roller coaster. And nobody give me a chance.

They talked about Lamictal, maybe, or Anafranil..... what should I try? Push? How to stop this ****ED ritalin?

I am sad and lonely. So lonely.

I just want to come down, have the sense of time, orientation, and feel calm in my head, almost happy. Maybe Anafranil help.... but for my mood changes, I don't know... I am always tempted to return to my old lover, old habits.... I don't know who I am anymore, Who I was before this RITALIN crap.

I am so afraid. SOOOOO afraid. At least benzos and zopiclone calms me, because at the end of the day just want to die.

Please help me :(

Re: I need to talk

Hi Katherine:

First. get off the ritalin. Obviously it is not working for you. Second, read my post of May 24th above. We can on this board, together, offer support and opinionated advice, but we cannot diagnose or prescribe meds. Do not be afraid to begin again, to drop all of the shrinks you are seeing and search in earnest for a professional with experience, superior knowledge of psychopharmacology, and experience with patients who have symptoms like yours. This is not easy, I know, but often the best doctors are affiliated with major university medical centers and a little investigation might lead to you to better specialists. Getting an accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment tailored strictly for you is your job now. Everything else is secondary. And yes, there are effect meds out there and there is no reason why you can't get better. Read everything you can about depression and/or DPD and make sure your new doctor has done the same. Then keep keeping us informed.

Re: Any Recoveries?

I've had dp for quite a while, and it seemed to come to the forefront(my memory is hazey) from quite a bit of drug use. Unfortunately, I can't remember quite so much before then.

Recovering has become just learning to deal with it, though the underlying nihilism and introspective hell seem to be an up and down and not necessarily a symptom of the disorder now but a symptom of the underlying problems that become rooted in ones mind from the perspective the disorder might give.

coming to terms with the disorder was definitely not an easy thing, though learning what the anxiety i was feeling was caused by helped me quite a bit. The other thing is that being a philosophy major perhaps has aided me in reconciling much of what i feel.