Unreality – Depersonalization and Derealization
Recently, I’ve read about depersonalization disorder. For the longest time, I was convinced I possessed some deeper insight than most other people and that the state of mind I entered into was special. Even though it is isolating and depressing, it seemed and still seems to me that I just know something unique.
I asked my psychologist about this strange sensation I get every now and again… where I feel a very intense connection to something or someone. I feel in that moment that I’m about to realize something amazing and terrifying, and if I accept it, I will die… maybe physically. I will at least never be the same again. She suggested that what I described was a panic attack. During a panic attack, one feels like they are going to die. Before this suggestion, I believed I was on the verge of ego death. The ego death explained in Buddhism that’s necessary to attain enlightenment. So, curious, I began a google search that led me to where I am now.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt that life is a dream, or a hallucination. When I was a little kid, I’d imagine that aliens had me hooked to machines to project the image of Earth directly into my brain. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I recognized reality as unstable and dream like after having intense lucid dreams. Now I’m 25, and I’ve felt for a while now that life is just like a virtual reality, and that we are all just organic machines with no control over our thoughts or actions.
This sounds to me, even writing it now… that I’m just more aware of the true nature of things. But instead of opening up and finding peace, I’ve become so isolated and closed off that I can’t even maintain eye contact without my eyes glazing over. Everything is shallow and fake. Everything is meaningless and I long to see REAL meaning. Life seems like it’s a game and everyone’s just playing along, they dress up their avatars and go through life trying to get the most points. I don’t want to play the game, I want out.
I can see that I’m not in control of my thoughts or even my words at times. Sometimes I look down at my body and it’s like I’m seeing it for the first time. My reflection is always changing drastically in appearance. I know what I look like, but at the same time I have no real concept of what I look like. And I feel that I know absolutely nothing about anything.
Another disturbing thing I’ve encountered is the feeling that there is absolutely nothing that makes me an individual. All of the things I could argue that make me “me,” someone else possesses, too. So I understand that there is no “I” or “you” or anything. If there is no “REAL” driver in this vessel, aka a soul or independent will, then I can’t be an individual. This is what I believe ego death is. However, instead of making me feel a blissful connection and unity with all beings, it has served to further disconnect me from my body and leave me feeling distant and out of control.
I’ve read this disorder can be induced by a traumatic childhood, or by drug use. I’ve read it’s often linked to marijuana. It can be brought on by stress, as a part of an anxiety disorder. I meet all the criteria, though I haven’t smoked or used drugs in over 5 years.
Does anyone experience similar feelings? Do you see it as positive or negative? Any feedback into my own situation would be appreciated. I’m definitely going to talk with my psychologist about this and I now feel the need more than ever to get back into meditation. I’m still conflicted on whether or not this is spiritual progress or if this is my anxiety justifying itself. I’ve read that true ego death and enlightenment would be peaceful, not painful.
I have felt this way before, yes. But this is what I think now…
hope that helped and made sense, peace out cub scout.
@antu, Yep, that sounds a bit like depersonalization. What you have done is disconnected yourself from the life experience. Think of it this way: you are looking at life through a telescope, your not actually living it. Your thoughts are so incredibly powerful that your affirmations have created this reality for you, that’s all it really is. It’s not special or un-special at all your just another person that’s creating her reality (which we all do). If you feel its an un-reality and a simulation then that’s what it will be for you. Start changing your thoughts to the opposite positive of how you think and your reality will soon follow. Take up meditation and don’t be so attached to your thoughts (it will help with the feeling of justification for the reality you have created) and this feeling will ease for you.
@antu, yeah, yeah I hear you man. I’ve experienced this and am still dealing with it today. I think that was sparked it for me was the abundance of spiritual knowledge on the internet, but also the abundance of foolish writings and half-truths. I took all of this information, rolled it into a ball in my head, and there it stayed. I based my whole life around these absolute truths and ‘higher insights’, knowing that I would be better off for it.
A wise man once said: “Once, long ago, we pulled ourselves up by the roots because we seemed a little higher. Now look at us, our roots are dangling in the air.”
Find your roots.
What you need to do is take your current mindset and just throw it out the window. Go out and look forward to life’s surprises! Face your fears and then stand up to them. Find what rings true to you, and work to heal yourself. In the end, it’s your life and your problems. I’ll be rooting for you mate! <3
Whoa, I thought maybe it was just me who felt like that, but i guess it is more of a common thing than I thought.
yes im in this boat too
@antu, Thank You For This Post. Very Informational And I Was Able To See Many similarities Between Your Story And My Story :D
Hey you I’m the same way lol thank you for being with me like this. Don’t doubt youself this reality type (realization of maya) has traveled me almost 10 000 miles without a steady home (traveling in a car) I even.had a baby orphan coyote come to me and tale me to my next step. Massive crazy synch has happened because I see the maya dissolve and the connection of my.mind and the matrix. Follow it don’t give into the dumbass people please they’re not realized. They live here we live ‘there’
I agree with finding your roots. I’ve had to remember even though its a dream and isn’t my ‘home’ it still exists and I can make.it what I want lol dreams come true! I’m pondering turning my house into an atrium lol
And.keeping up with my art thats the biggest thing as a shield for the majority making me feel lost, art IS life fellas where would we be w/o imagination
Oo Ooo one more thing sorry 4 spam already got yelled at for that on this site lol
If you are everything than you are nothing
I have always felt somewhat like you do, however I generally “snap” out of it when life confronts me. It gets bad when I’m alone though. Sometimes I feel like if I didn’t have the people in my life grounding me, I’d go nuts. I am self diagnosed with derealizaton disorder. I’ve always felt underwhelmed by reality, and thought that there simply must be something beyond this, something I’d really much prefer to graduate to. I look at everything in life so objectively that I never really emotionally experience any of it in a meaningful way. Sometimes I just laugh at negative emotional experience and situations thinking how silly it is that all these people are playing this game of life and that they are all so involved with it that they let it affect them so strongly. I very often feel “above” others in this sense, which can sometimes be borderline grandeur. I don’t like that about myself.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with you. You have just come to a realization. And I think that following this realization through, you will begin to connect with something much more meaningful that brings everything you are experiencing into perspective.
There’s always something greater ahead. Just keep your head high.
@antu i will tell you 1 true thing… psychologist lie….its their business.
@antu 1 more thing believe in god. not jesus , not krishna, not allah but the source of all of them. THE CREATOR.
@antu I’ve had strong senses of depersonaliztion – where I am an observer of my body, and have no control.
I’ve had trips on DMT where I was about to be given an answer to all questions, and I was, but they gave me a choice to forget what I was told forever, or to retain it. I asked them to please take it away, and as I came back down I couldn’t remember what they had told me. Just a man in a business suit…
I’ve had panic attacks that feel like I’m going to burst. The universe itself becomes too small for me – I become claustrophobic no matter where I imagine myself.
Some quotes, songs, sounds, even smells can bring about this.
My deepest fear is that all of this is just some kind of cosmic play, being shown to my consciousness, somewhere in reality, but none of this has any value. When I think about it, it makes no sense to be so fearful of this, but when it comes on, it really comes on.
In my worst years I started confusing dreams with reality. My memories were becoming sporadic and I couldn’t remember if I had just talked to my dad or if it was a dream I had the day before. I started having entire conversations, trips to places, and whole days where I couldn’t remember if it was real or a dream I had previously had.
And yeah, it was the weed that got me there. Marijuana is a fucked up plant… so useful, but few ever experience its true nature.
“I;m not sure if this is spiritual progress or my anxiety justifying itself”
Haha, isn’t that the kicker of a question. You can’t prove it either way, but I want to give you some insight. You probably have your up and down days – sometimes you don’t give a shit about any of this and you feel great, other days you seem like the world, reality, is 15 feet in front of you, and there is this emptiness between “you” and what you’re seeing. Not exactly fitting, but I hope you can relate.
At any rate, these “ups” and “downs” are two sides of the same coin, and in fact, the coin has an infinite amount of sides. You are simply seeing reality through a new veil, a new filter. Once in a while all the filters are removed, and it all makes sense, but most of our life is filtered.
Sometimes we have rose-colored glasses, makes it nice, but you can’t enjoy a rose!
@antu, When I was coming into an understanding of Nihilism I was thinking like this, nothing has meaning, but instead of seeing this as a disparaging thing, which many people believe about Nihilism, I seen it as an opportunity. If nothing has meaning then I am free to give it any meaning I want and I can’t be wrong.
@ijesuschrist i couldnt agrre more about the marijuana plant. Do you know scientists have found out that the visions or trip you get when you take lsd or mescaline or the aztecs medicine is for a short time maybe for 1 day but the long term users of weed feel that after they use it and not for 1 day but the visions become real later. and there was the templers linked with marijuana..interesting , huh!!
You are simply putting too much weight on your physical mind.
Enjoy the ride.
i. ” For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt that life is a dream, or a hallucination. ”
these two statements suggest emotional detachment, which,
iii. can be induced by a traumatic childhood
these three are commonly linked, in your post you mentioned,
” I’ve read this disorder can be induced by a traumatic childhood, or by drug use…. I meet all the criteria, though I haven’t smoked or used drugs in over 5 years .”
you specifically brought up ( traumatic childhood ), but did not mentioned it further like you did with the marijuana use, understandably this is a touchy subject, so i will not press if it makes you feel uncomfortable, but i have a sense that, if yours was traumatic, it is the source of all your current confusion,
” For the longest time, I was convinced I possessed some deeper insight than most other people and that the state of mind I entered into was special. Even though it is isolating and depressing, it seemed and still seems to me that I just know something unique. ”
this is not ego death, this is ego acceptance, this feeling of superiority is used to justify not doing anything, isolating yourself, see, superiority in spirit, that is, superiority that controls your actions, is a danger sign, your brain is tricking your into a false sense of security that is created by the isolation you are surrounding yourself with, everything makes sense because everything is small, and the smaller you make it, the more secure you’ll feel, this is a brain trap, it is trying to create a box to make up for your inability to understand your emotions,
and again, i am often wrong and usually fairly blunt, so please don’t take anything i say the wrong way.
Searching for an “I” or “Me” as reflection of our ego is one of the biggest struggles all people face…I, too, have felt this way before many times. However, is the beauty of our world (or “un-world,” if you will) is as humans if we were to all to separate our egotistical notion of insisting we must be someone or have purpose to represent ourselves is a social construction.
As people we are one connected consciousness – if everyone else was perhaps thinking a little less about “me” imagine where humans could be. Maybe take yourself literally back to nature. Real solid organic beauty will do a world of good. I, personally, went hiking into the mountains for some ground unmolested by society. Change the outlook from a negative un-reality to a positive. Flipping the switch will attract a whole new host of opportunities you may float through. Although, on the surface it may appear shallow and meaningless this life is a rarity in our universe and given the opportunity to live it we should explore every part of it.
Can anyone help diagnose an experience I had a couple years ago?:
At the time, I’d never felt anything like it before and tried to do a lot of research to come up with a reason. I concluded that it was some kind of depersonalization/derealization, but I haven’t research it since then and the experiences people are sharing here seem a little different. What I was feeling lasted for about 2 weeks and entailed strange, fleeting moments of no sensation. Like, I would reach for a door handle and know that I was turning it, but could not feel the handle in my hand or being turned. This happened randomly and similarly for many actions during that time, like not feeling my feet touch the ground for a few steps, or not feeling myself pick up an object, etc. I was always aware of the change when it happened; and out of surprise, only by focusing my attention or eyes on my hands/area of no sensation would it then return to a normal state, the action realized by my brain and senses stimulated. It was like I had to consciously choose to feel my body, it wasn’t just normal, automatic stimulation. So I didn’t really view this as a positive or negative thing that was happening to me, just very strange and unexpected.
I’d describe it as a very physical experience, not an enlightening, emotional, imaginative, thought-patterned one like others are describing. I would feel out-of-body in those moments, like the world perceived through my senses was disconnected from my brain stem and was all fuzzy like pins and needles. I was aware of my behavior but not receiving any feedback from my reality. I have never experience it since, but do credit the triggering to a bowl of weed I had smoked like a day before these moments began to happen. I was a little afraid to talk about it to anyone because it’s such a foreign sensation and difficult to describe.
The only time I’ve ever felt something like this is when finishing running the mile in gym class as a kid. I normally jogged it consistently in about 7 minutes, and would sprint the last 100m or so. Always during the final sprint when my body is totally exhausted but I push it harder anyway and would then feel out-of-body. All sensation would disappear, I’d look down at my legs and arms pumping in silent auto-pilot, not even the sound of my feet hitting the ground or my panting could be heard. I always suspected it was my body saying I was about to pass out, but I never did nor ever have before. So the two experiences are pretty similar in that it feels like I’m watching a movie, my body being the actor in this temporarily desensitized reality. But that’s about as far as it would go, the physical sensation.
Would any of you also relate this to depersonalization? Cause that was the closest guess I could come up with at the time, but it’s since gone away and doesn’t sound quite like the beneficial experience people are associating it with here. I wouldn’t say I’ve gained anything from it at all, except curiosity in other states of consciousness. I suppose it was what first fueled my research that led to my pursuit of DMT and wanting to experience ego-death. But having had both experiences now, those couple weeks were still completely different from drug induced ego death.
I had a truly bizarre experience, one that I want to regain actually. I entered a derealized state at a VERY young age and never left (until recently) I assumed that was normal, feeling like you exist in and out of your body at the same time, I got used to it because eit let me dull and enhance my senses as I saw fit. It augmented my memory and made thoughts feel tangible, like an aura of data around my head. It was nirvana, I was very clever, and was able to dive into memories, to remember sensations and such perfectly. My imagination was always working, it was like this great insight. Feelings (joy, pain, boredom) were all tactile, synesthesia in a sense. In addition this state made me a kind of empathic sociopath, so drowned in others feelings, that I had to block them out. I spent my entire life like that never seeing it as a problem, more a blessing. And then, one day after I had been having strange memory loss, tangible memory loss, like a razor in my head that left the world shaking, and the next day at school, it was like it all just burst, and I heard it, my aura, my ego, my memories my mind, it all just burst. I could no longer walk out of my body, no longer feel every nerve and cell work, my near perfect memory faded, all the knowledge, pride and certainty built up over years was drained away, slowly and painfully after that. I felt like a small child, and still do not understand what happened. It was like all the world was unfamiliar, my own skin was strange to the touch, my emotions felt hollow, my mind no longer rushed, I felt heavy, weak, my mind slowed, the inner monologue I had, the inner discussions, all of it just stopped, and I began to forget them along with all my passions. It was like this person existed within me all along, but was just a body, and the real me, the passionate, clever, numb and imaginative me, was torn away. I feel side it is like learning how to eat after waking from a stroke. demeaning. I would give so much to be that person again to regain all that was lost. Life feels hollow without it
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