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Gut disorder w/ severe depersonalization/brain fog



New member
May 15, 2019
Hey guys! I'm new here - 21 year old college student from Minnesota! It's a relief to finally be a part of a forum and conversation with people struggling from the truly indescribable confusion and horror of dissociating. I began writing this thinking that I would try and get advice or solutions for my health but I think I can really only find answers for what happened to me in the physical health field. I think it's important for me to share my story and feel validated by others who are experiencing the same thing when doctors don't always believe me. I want to help others with anything beneficial I have learned the past 15 months in case that could make a difference in someone's life.

Here's my story (I apologize for the length, I try and keep it brief but it always feels like I'm omitting important details):

I’ve been dealing with a strange and awful undiagnosed gut condition for the past 15 months. I took the last semester off from school but I feel like I haven't really been there since the first half of my sophomore year, before this all began. My classmates are going to be seniors in the fall yet I still feel like I should be in my second or third year because it's all just a blur of pain and depression. I have struggled with social anxiety since age 4 and had selective autism in preschool and kindergarten. It improved in first grade, although it wasn't until college when I felt comfortable contributing to class discussions or asking questions. I was always shy and introverted, and didn't have a huge amount of friends, but I guess I didn't realize how much of my behavior was rooted in anxiety. In 7th grade I lost most of my friends and also experienced bullying for the first time and this really set my anxiety off. High school I did well academically, but struggled making friends or joining clubs until senior year and I missed out on a lot. I was always extremely tense and never seemed happy but I never considered going to a therapist or taking medication when I now wish I had. Beginning college opened me up in a lot of ways and I finally initiated more relationships, but I didn't realize that my social anxiety/mild OCD was turning into more generalized anxiety. During the school year, there was truly never a moment when my shoulders were relaxed or that I felt I wasn't being watched and analyzed by others, and my heart would beat at random times. I felt unsafe when working a fairly simple office job at my school.

This all continued to build up, and I finally experience derealization/depersonalization for the first time two Decembers ago. During winter break, I saw something upsetting on my phone that made me break down, and suddenly I felt numb and I laid on the bed for 3 hours, texting friends that I was scared and didn't know what happened. It went away, but a month later came back post wisdom tooth surgery when I was on antibiotics and had my most severe anxiety attack yet. I felt nauseous, had no appetite or energy, didn't feel like a human being or like myself, felt sad and confused. I then got a case of the flu which set things off even more. Since the flu January of 2018, I have had extreme stomach pain/burning/cramping/lack of appetite/acid reflux, and the worst symptom has been brain fog. My brain fog takes the form of extreme dissociation with no mental or physical health doctor has seemed to understand. My therapist believes my dissociation is all anxiety based and not related as much to my gut, while my GI drs know what brain fog is but have never seen it be so extreme as it is in me. My head and gut have become completely linked, I cannot have a clear mind or escape the feelings of depression when my gut is in pain.

My condition got increasingly worse after the winter and I wasn’t able to function, I couldn’t think or do schoolwork, I had no emotional connection with friends or family and was scared and paranoid most of the time. While I have struggled with anxiety for a large part of my life, I had never struggled with depression before or had any serious health concerns. I developed some asthma when walking, I lacked the energy to do anything, and I was scared of all foods thinking it would worsen the pain somehow. I have been to multiple GI doctors, Mayo Clinic, Infectious Diseases dr, Psychiatrist, Neurologist, and physical therapist. All of my friendships are struggling or falling apart because after 15 months it's too exhausting and painful to fake my existence and voice and laugh with friends. I struggle carrying on conversations with my parents, let alone strangers at coffee shops, relatives, teachers, or friends.

I have been tested for truly everything - Celiac, Lyme's, Sjogren's, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, had an endoscopy, MRI, etc. I am now on my fourth anti depressant, which is Effexor. I have tried acupuncture, massage, epsom balts, teas, walking, sauna, and have found no relief. The only things that have helped are Probiotics - they seem to get my system moving and create a reaction that clears my stomach for maybe a week, and also my mind (I can laugh again, make plans, listen to music) and suddenly my body gets used to them and I go back to the fog.

I've really lost hope and can't think of any other tests that could be done. Talk therapy and mental health strategies have not helped me because this is all rooted in my gut and not my mind (although I have developed depression on top of this.) I guess I'm wondering if anyone else with dissociation struggles has also experienced gut pain or IBS. I knew the gut and brain were connected, but it feels like my gut is controlling my soul a lot of the time. I want to go out and live a normal life but I just can't force myself to care about anything when this fog is surrounding me at all times, along with extreme pain.

Sorry again for the length of this!! It's hard to relive in some ways, but I also think it's important to put my words on paper as I really lack any kind of identity and solidifies that I still have a voice in a way. Any tips/similar experiences/coping techniques would be hugely appreciated, thank you :)


Well-known member
Jul 24, 2019
Blooper Land
Hi mickie27.

I don't know about if there is a link between dissociation and IBS but I do suffer with both. But my IBS started years after the dissociation for me.