When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

By August 4, 2015Blog

Depersonalization disorder is, by far, my most challenging disorder to live with, as I have previously explained in another post. This is partly due to the psychological symptoms – feeling detached and unreal, feeling numb, and feeling as if I am living my life in a cartoon or movie. I am a Simpson – there, I said it. However, there is also the lack of medical understanding behind the disorder. I swear half of the professionals that I have seen have had to turn to Google for answers, just as I did. The blank expression on their face when I speak says it all. They don’t have a clue.

“We’ll try you on antipsychotics, they should help”

“How will they help though? I’m not psychotic”

“Depersonalization is so under-researched and misunderstood, but we have every faith in these”

It is because of this limited understanding that it has taken four years for me to be formally diagnosed with the condition, despite my desperate pleas. In the beginning, when my mind sent me into this ‘alternate world’, all I had wanted was for one medical professional to have the answers, to be able to pinpoint exactly why this is happening to me. And they couldn’t/wouldn’t.

They were like a record on stuck, reciting the two phrases “Oh it’s just anxiety” (just anxiety? really?) or “it’s childhood trauma”, repeatedly. I am now twenty five years old, how is it even possible for my mind to still be in protective mode over the death of my mum at ten? I knew that something wasn’t right, but, before seeing my current psychiatrist, not one therapist chose to listen to or believe me. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? One therapist even went as far as to say that because I can keep eye contact I can’t be depersonalized. My instant thought at that moment was to grand slam her head on the table, but I refrained from doing so and cut the session short.

Do they even know how challenging this is? How terrified I am? Each night I dread going to bed because I know that, before long, I will be going in to a new day like this. I will spare a little prayer numerous times a day in the hope that it will take this all away, but it never happens. I am told that I need to ‘accept it’, but how do I do that? How do I learn to accept a condition that is severely impacting my everyday life? A condition that is preventing me from forming relationships, socializing, and gaining employment. A condition that never lets up.

Oh, and trying to explain depersonalization to a non- sufferer is about as possible as teaching a dog to recite the alphabet.

“I don’t feel real”

“Everything is in 2D”

“What do you mean?”

Cue the awkward head tilt.

I can understand their confusion though, to an extent, although I am slowly losing patience. It feels as if I am being silenced with medication. I have had four years of therapy, and still I am no further along in my recovery. My days will be spent searching for new resources, for that one person with lived experience whom truly understands what this feels like. I will access support forums, read books, and have even written this blog in the hope that someone will reach out to me and share their own experiences. I am clinging onto my sanity here by the skin of my teeth.

While I am fully aware of how difficult it is to be honest about depersonalization, fearing that you’re losing your mind and will be sectioned indefinitely, you don’t have to suffer in silence. As with any mental illness, find someone you trust. This is too heavy a burden to be carried alone, and I speak from experience. I am lucky in the sense that my brother remains an amazing source of strength and support throughout this. He has joined numerous Facebook groups and will talk to members in the hope of gaining a first hand account and a better understanding. He will wipe away my tears, FaceTime me from work as a ‘grounding’ technique, and buy me flowers when I am feeling low. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you for believing me.




  • Matthew M says:

    Here with you till the end, a lovely blog and thank you for the lovely words about me, it’s my job to keep you safe and support you through your struggles. You continue to amaze me every day with your strength and determination. Never let go. God bless, love you always xxxxx

  • Sherry S says:

    What a difficult thing you are going through. My husband has suffered with ” disassociative disorder”. I don’t know if it is the same or similar, but it has been very difficult his whole life and our whole marriage. I always knew he wasn’t fully present and there were times when I could see the vacant look in his eyes. For him it was his life for as long as he could remember. He got some “tapping therapy” that helped him not ” leave” and stay present. It helped him recognize when he checked out and what stressors prompted him to do so. It wasn’t until he had EMDR therapy that his life changed. Amazing!!!! I don’t know if you have tried that but it is life changing for everyone that has it as long as you have someone who is certified very highly in it. Something to look into if you haven’t already. I am bipolar and it has helped me tremen with abuse issues.

  • Richard says:

    Cried reading your blog. I am 40 years old and suffer from O.C.D. Not the bs ocd on tv. The pain and lonliness is all to familiar. Godbless and keep fighting. We may have different issues…but love conquers all.

  • Ariana M says:

    The first relief I’ve found since my struggle with mental illness began in 1993 with clinical depression that was worsened into a bi-polar condition by years of trying to resolve the condition (which never was improved) with pharmaceutical meds has come from a natural product formulated by a Canadian company called True Hope. The product is called EMPowerplus and I’ve used it for about six months now. Sleep has improved a bit and also my moods do not as completely overwhelm me, I feel some traction against them for the first time in over 20 years! Just learned they have an advanced formula now that’s been giving better results for people who struggle with a bi-polar condition. Controversy abounds with this product on-line. But it has helped me more than ANY of the failed-to-heal pharmaceuticals and you can find a lot of information on YouTube about the product and the trial in Canada the company won when Health Canada (equivalent of US FDA) banned the product and suicide rates rose in the country during the time, leading to pubic pressure to reinstate the product, which did occur, and I’m grateful!

  • George says:

    Thanks for sharing. Bipolar and never knew it I’m 64. started getting help when I was 17. Bitter very bitter. Don’t give up. You’ll make it.

  • Jason says:

    My life often feels like the world’s most boring, yet realistic video game.
    I think there are multiple factors that cause this feeling in me. I’ve had a horribly traumatic life. I’ve worked for years to try to return to the point of being able to participate in society (being physically healthy enough and having enough money to have friends and girlfriends and a job etc..). I am physically different (I am taller than most other people). I am mentally different (I am smart, and I’ve also been working on improving my life to rejoin society for years and years, so I think about different things than most people around me). I feel like an alien or something at times when doing things like grocery shopping. I feel completely different from everyone else in the room and detached as I am not involved socially with the surrounding room, and bored as I’m basically just navigating my body and cart around the store to get basic items for food. Life feels like a pointless video game at those times. After 13 years of being without friends or a job or health, I’ve recently recovered from my 3rd heart surgery and with the help of family who has recently stepped up to help I’ve also begun working a low-paying job. In a few months I should be able to do some of the social things that I could 13 years ago before the onset my health problems. Hoping that life will get better then and that I will feel more involved with my surroundings as time goes on.

  • Teri says:

    I believe I am suffering from this. Its very frightening. I haven’t seen a psychiatrist yet but have an appointment in Dec. Also have my first therapy appointment next week. It totally disables me, I am afraid to be alone ever. Terrified of driving, and constantly think I’m going nuts. My family is getting sick of trying to understand and be with me. I’m in school full time and feel like dropping out. Wish I knew someone who had this so I can feel somewhat normal.

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