Some simptoms of dissociation/depersonalisation/derealisation

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Bogomil

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#1
I thought it might be useful, maybe, to some people, to know some simptoms of dissociation, depersonalisation and/or derealisation.

I will put here my personal experiences, some of them lived exactly how they are related in speciality books, some not. I am not a specialist in this field, so these are my personal experiences, to be taken as that. Sometimes there were more simptoms amalgamated simultaneous, sometimes I experienced just one simptom. Some of them were interlocked with simptoms of PTSD.

The most horrible simptom of DDD (disociation/depersonalisation/derealisation, as I will abreviate this from now on) was that I am loosing my mind. This simptom occured when I was in extremelly stressful situations, repeated and of high intensity. Usually, the situation looked so desperate and without chances, that I felt I will go crazy. It is very hard to describe better what I felt, otherwise that to say that I felt I am loosing my mind. One is for sure: is extremelly painful. A lot of mental pain, unbearable. The most appropiate comparison would be with driving on the snow or sand and loosing control of the wheel at high speed and the cars is steering out of control. But the comparison stops here, as the mental pain cannot be describe and is awful and unbearable. General level of anxiety was extreme.

Visual hallucinations were other simptoms. They appeared suddenly, with no previous sign and looked very, very real. For seconds in a row I couldnt discern between reality and hallucinations, so vivid were the last. In these visual hallucinations I saw people and objects (for example trucks on the road) or other entities I cannot define (as a black tunnel, by night; or dense blackish fog, also at night when there was nothing, but the sky was clear; or animals passing the road by run - these I verified that didnt existed in reality as I checked with fellow traveler and he said there was nothing outside on the road). The people and objects from these hallucinations were with defined forms and colors and seemed 100% real. So real, that when I saw a truck, for example, I hit the break in order not to collide with it. The visual hallucinations had a duration of several seconds and dissapeared as sudden as they appeared. I never had auditive hallucinations of any kind. General level of anxiety was moderate.

Living in a movie. One of the most frequent simptom of dissociation was that I was living in a movie. Everything around me looked like was part of a movie which was playing in front of my eyes. All, the colors, the people, the landscape, the clouds, the light from the sun, everything looked like a stage from a studio and I am just a visitor. At the begining I didnt knew what is happening with me, I just felt bad, but latelly, when I found what is it from my psych, I didnt felt so bad anymore, I learned to identify the trigger and the simptom and not to be scared anymore by it. The sensation of being in a movie persisted, but I learned that it is an indicator that my level of stress went above my acceptable levels and learned partially to handle it and to try to relax and reduce the level of stress. Sometimes I was able to identify the trigger and to avoid or explain it to myself, as the sensation of living in a movie appeared suddenly, form a second to another. In this second I was ok, the trigger appeared and in the next second I felt like in a movie. General level of anxiety was high.

Being invisible. Some sort of living in a movie, but a little different, I felt like I am invisible to others. It was not very different from the sensation of living in a movie, but actually it was. I cannot describe the sensation entirely, I can only say that while when I felt like living in a movie I felt like I was a kind of observer, of a spectator, observing almost everything surrounding me, when I felt invisible I related somehow only to people around me, usually on the street. I felt that even if I bump into someone, that person it will pass through me as I was made of vapors or a fog, not from flesh and bones. The dangerous part at this sensation I believe that it was that I felt invulnerable, so I risked a lot, for example not paying attention to life threatening issues, like crossing a street and not paying attention to the cars speeding on it. General level of anxiety was high.

Living in an armored glass bubble. Somehow similar to being invisible, but I felt that I am living in a reinforced tranparent glass bubble, a glass bubble which protected me from anything surrounding. The suposed glass bubble was enveloping me for a radius of 1-2 meters around me, in all directions, like its name, a bubble. As I moved on the street, the bubble moved accordingly with me everywhere I went. General level of anxiety was moderate.

Forgeting things. Another simptom it was that I forget different issues. Sometimes I forget what I had to buy or what I had to do, even the simplest things. Sometimes I forgot where I put things or I didnt remembered if I worked with them. Another times I was forgeting was I was told by different people.

Time missing. There were situations when I observed that for certain periods of time I didnt knew what I did, like that time never existed for me. For example, I was looking at the clock and it was, lets say, 15:32 hours and when I looked again at the clock it was 15:37 and I couldnt tell what I did or thought in the 5 minutes elapsed. I could tell where i was, in what place in those 5 minutes, but otherwise it was like those 5 minutes never existed for me or were erased from my life.

Lack of concentration and coordination of movements. Frequently I could concentrate to the most easiest tasks, as grabbing a spoon and eat a soup without droping repeatedly the spoon. Sometimes I couldnt process the simplest information given to me. Other times I heard what one told me, clearly hearing and knowing what each individual word meant, but being completely unable to understand the meaning of the entire proposition or fraze, even if it was about the simplest things or ideas.

I will come in another post with other simptoms I experienced regarding DDD.
 
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Bogomil

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#4
Other simptoms of DDD that I experienced:

Foreign body or foreign person sensation. In some cases of stress, I observed that stress during some longer periods of time, I felt like I didnt recongnised myself when looking in the mirror or looking to different part of my body (hands, feet) they dont belong to me, but to another person. My faced looked like it is not mine, in an odd way, it was not totaly unknown or totaly foreign, but in the same time it was not my face. My eyes were not my eyes, looking in them I saw nothing familiar, like they were not mine and never saw tham before.

Lack of sensitivity. Taking a shower, for example, bring a sensation which was like I didnt feel on my skin the full sensation of water running over my body. I could feel that the water is hot, warm or cold, but I some sort of not feeling its touch, I didnt feel it running over my skin.

Missing words and seconds when writing. There were a lot of cases when I wrote even the shortest or simplest sentence or fraze and I was sure that I wrote every word I intended to write. At a second reading, I saw that I missed a lot of words, although I was sure that I wrote them all, as I was sure that I thought what words I want to write. Couldnt figure out how is that I thinked what words to write, that I processed the, in my mind, was sure that I wrote them, but actually they were missing. I dont recall what happened in the seconds when I supose I was writing them (or at least I suposed I wrote them, as I cant figure out how that they not appearing on the text).
 
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failingsanity04

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#5
I hope you don't mind me asking, when you blackout completely and have these gaps in time, is it like going to sleep? Do you feel like sleep is coming on and your consciousness fades or do you not know it is happening and there are no warning signs that it maybe about to happen?
 
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Bogomil

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#6
Hi! Yes, I experienced quite often simptoms like quite suddenly falling asleep in the most various moments of the day and different type of activities, doesnt matter how much I struggled not to fall asleep. I didnt called them blackouts, I am not familiar with the term, if you would be so kind to detail the term "blackout", please do. The moments with time missing or when I fell asleep were without any warning. All that I am concious is that I was under a great deal of constant stress and rumination in that periods. The need to sleep I felt that it was not a healthy one, I felt like my mind was not mine, was very heavy, like lead and it was like someone turned off the switch. Also, my eyelids were like made from lead, very heavy. Doesnt matter how I struggled to stay awake (strong coffee, energisers, a little sport, staying out in the cold weather, music very loud in the car), I felt in a very heavy sleep, with horible nightmares (usually I dreamed people I dont know who wnated something from me, I dont recall what they wanted from me, and I struggled to please them). During this time of unhealthy sleep, I often experience heart troubles as tachicardia (bery fast beats of the heart, usually above 80 beats/minute such as 90-100-110 beats/minute) which usually woke me up because I felt very bad physically (a sensation like knots in the throat or feeling my heat beating in my throat). Normally, a healthy person has 60-80 heartbeats/minute.
 
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Bogomil

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#7
Once I went to psychologist and she help me to understand upon which great deal of stress I was and get rid with a part of the stress, the unhealthy sleep disapeared. I was and I still am only under talking therapy, with no medication at all, following the recommendation of my psych. This, of course, it is not mandatory to everybody, some might need medication, which is ok.
 
SunnyDaze

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#8
I think maybe dissociation can be an individual thing and different for everyone.

I used to have a dissociative disorder but no longer fit the requirements for the dx.But when I did have it,some of the things I experienced were:

Dissociating pain. I couldn't tell if I was injured or not because I couldn't feel it.There were times I accidentally got burned and didn't realize it until someone pointed it out.I showed up to therapy once,my therapist telling me to go get my arm checked by a doctor,that it was obviously injured,but I thought he was wrong.Also couldn't tell when I was sick,whether I really was sick,fever,etc or not.(I learned to block out pain/illness in childhood)

I had out of body experiences.When I got too overly scared or overwhelmed,I left my body and would hover above,below,beside,behind,etc.That made it difficult to do some things,such as driving.

I would go completely numb,no feelings,like a robot,going about my day on autopilot.

I never had hallucinations or anything like that.I thought I did but it was actually flasbacks I was experiencing.

I experienced time loss but didn't realize that's what was happening.Instead I thought I was being abducted by aliens or something.Would sit down to smoke a cig but then it would be down to the filter instantly.It was confusing.


There's so many other things I experienced too that I may add later.
 
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failingsanity04

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#9
I would define a blackout as what you describe as missing time. When you lose the time, the period between is what I would say you blacked out. This is what happens with me when I earlier described the myoclonic jerks. I lose time for like a split second and am woken up with a little palpitation. My concern is that my blackouts are going to become more severe and render my sanity unmanageable. I think we may be misunderstanding each other though. I am not talking about going to sleep as in the conventional sleep land of nod type thing.
I mean more like blackouts where you are still awake but an altered state of consciousness has taken over.
For example, lets imagine a man who is under a lot of stress suddenly blackouts and kills his wife. When he recovers he has no recollection of it. He is not asleep he has "blacked out".
 
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Bogomil

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#10
Sunny, I am sorry who went through those traumatic things and stress that made you feel like that ... :(
 
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Bogomil

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#11
I would define a blackout as what you describe as missing time. When you lose the time, the period between is what I would say you blacked out. This is what happens with me when I earlier described the myoclonic jerks. I lose time for like a split second and am woken up with a little palpitation. My concern is that my blackouts are going to become more severe and render my sanity unmanageable. I think we may be misunderstanding each other though. I am not talking about going to sleep as in the conventional sleep land of nod type thing.
I mean more like blackouts where you are still awake but an altered state of consciousness has taken over.
For example, lets imagine a man who is under a lot of stress suddenly blackouts and kills his wife. When he recovers he has no recollection of it. He is not asleep he has "blacked out".
Yes, it looks like what you call blackout I didnt experienced. I was in many instances in some sort of sensation like on autopilot, like surviving each day at work only because of the reflexes I aquired during many years, but never happened to me not to be concious like you describe in the hypothetic example with the man who commits a crime. I experience missing time, but this was more like my body remained still in a certain place, and my mind just disipated, disapeared somewhere else, in a totaly diferent place or world for a number of seconds, up to 1-2 minutes. Then suddenly, my mind reentered my body and I resumed the previous activity. But nothing as dangerous as the example with the criminal.

The good point is that this sensations disapeared after CBT, even without medication.
 
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failingsanity04

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#12
See, this is what worries me the most. There ARE people who have blacked out and committed serious crimes while their time is missing. I know personally a man who burned his house down with his family still inside.
When you describe your mind dissipating, this is what would call a blackout.
 
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Bogomil

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#13
Well, as it is true that human nature is complex and one has no guarantees and cannot take all for granted, the percent of deeply unpleasant things are mathematicaly reduced. On the other hand, when under great pressure, stress and anxiety, we, as humans, tend to overreact and see things more in black than it is the case. Maybe when your level of stress will go down, this kind of thoughts will leave you. I also had this kind of fears when I was under huge stress and I even told them to my then psych and I have no more thoughts like this since I am in the process of recovering. Also, I was terified by the thought I will have cancer, but it was also only an ideea appeared and exacerbated by stress and nothing more.

LE: also, maybe the people who commited crimes during the so called blackout had different disseases as yours, maybe were more mentally affected or in other life circumstances, so maybe what they did is not appliable to you, so you dont have to worry so much.
 
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failingsanity04

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Well, as it is true that human nature is complex and one has no guarantees and cannot take all for granted, the percent of deeply unpleasant things are mathematicaly reduced. On the other hand, when under great pressure, stress and anxiety, we, as humans, tend to overreact and see things more in black than it is the case. Maybe when your level of stress will go down, this kind of thoughts will leave you. I also had this kind of fears when I was under huge stress and I even told them to my then psych and I have no more thoughts like this since I am in the process of recovering. Also, I was terified by the thought I will have cancer, but it was also only an ideea appeared and exacerbated by stress and nothing more.

LE: also, maybe the people who commited crimes during the so called blackout had different disseases as yours, maybe were more mentally affected or in other life circumstances, so maybe what they did is not appliable to you, so you dont have to worry so much.
Well, I sincerely hope so. Thanks for your advice.
 
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Bogomil

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#15
Well, I sincerely hope so. Thanks for your advice.
Please dont take anything what I say as an advice, I am not in the position to give advice to anyone. I am just a simple human. I am just trying to help with a good word if I can, as when I was in my lowest, I had no one to help me and I know how it feels like, I went to the brink of suicide back in those days, which are not so distant.

Take it easy, even if I know is easier to say than to do, at least when stress is still huge. But there must be a little thing you can cling on and from where to build your recovery or improvement. I know it is d*mn hard and fear and anxiety might be seen as overwhelming, but it can be done and is realistic. The percent of those who does not succeed is small by comparison with those who have success in this matters. It will be ok, it will be fine. As you joined this forum, you are not alone anymore, people here I saw that they try their best to help and in my vision, this is an important thing. Everyone need help from a certain point beyond, no one is made of steel, and it is ok to be helped.

We can talk anytime you feel the need :) Hugs! :) :hug1:
 
SunnyDaze

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#16
Failingsanity,have you been to the doctor and had any tests done to rule out things like seizures or any other physical causes for what you experience?
 
Cazcat

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#17
A lot of this is sounding very familiar. My attention and concentration were appalling at one point I struggled even to make a cup of tea because I couldn't keep my concentration on the task. I kept zoning out. I would suddenly realise I'd been stood staring at the same spot for ages and didn't know how long. I couldn't join thoughts together in my brain, thinking was like catching fog. I did the auto pilot thing too a lot. Thank goodness I have an understanding boss who gave me basic tasks I couldn't cause any damage with when I first went back to work!
 
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failingsanity04

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#18
Failingsanity,have you been to the doctor and had any tests done to rule out things like seizures or any other physical causes for what you experience?
No, I haven't. I will, although I really don't think it's physical because these episodes run in conjunction with severe increase in DPDR.
 
SunnyDaze

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#19
No, I haven't. I will, although I really don't think it's physical because these episodes run in conjunction with severe increase in DPDR.
It's always best to get checked,it's better to be safe than sorry.

I said what I did after reading your other thread again about developing blackouts.It made me think about my son when he had seizures when he was little and all the research I had done.There's a type of seizure that sounds similar to what you describe,I can't think of the name right now though.But it's a type without convulsions or anything that don't last very long at all.You could Google types of seizures to find what I am talking about.

I could be,and probably am way off on this but it was what I thought of when re-reading your thread.
 
SunnyDaze

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#20
Focal seizures,that's the name I was looking for.Becoming frozen,as you described in your other thread can be a symptom of them.

Whatever is going on,I hope you find some answers and I wish you well with it.