I was healing so well. I mean, I still am, but I haven’t felt like myself lately.
I would “wake up” in class, not knowing how I got there. I would be eating lunch and start freaking out because I didn’t realize that I was actually eating. I was watching a movie for a film class and I started to slowly “fade away” and “wake up” with a jolt.
It wasn’t until I “woke up” that I’d realize I’d been “asleep”. I wouldn’t know I wasn’t experiencing full awareness until I actually came to. I used to be able to snap myself out of it immediately, but the past few months have been quite a challenge. I find myself trying to wake up, but I can’t completely re-enter my body. It’s a weird and terrifying experience.
I practice Zen Buddhism, so I wasn’t sure if I’d experienced some form of “ego death” and was on my way to Nirvana. I then thought to myself-this can’t be the blissful Nirvana I’d read about in the sutras…this is Hell!
It wasn’t until two days ago that I finally realized I was experiencing some sort of dissociative disorder. I knew I didn’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder because despite my lapses in awareness, I still was myself and I still had memories from being unaware.
A Google search led me to conclude that I most likely have moderate Depersonalization/Derealization disorder. This may sound strange, but I was so happy to finally figure out what was “wrong” with me! (Note: Seeing as I haven’t had an actual psychiatrist/medical professional diagnose me yet, I can’t say for certain that I actually have full on DP/DR. However, my symptoms match those of DP/DR and I finally feel as if I’ve pinpointed the source of my anguish.)
What should I do now? was the first thing I thought.
I attempted to meditate, but to no avail.
I then discovered some grounding exercises that have helped some. I’m having 3-4 ten minute sessions of partial awareness each day and it’s beginning to increase a little bit each day.
If you suffer from DP/DR, know that you can be yourself again. Just spend some time doing things that define you and make you happy-for me, it’s writing or playing music.
Here are some helpful links:
I now view this disorder as a stepping stone to full recovery and happiness. It’s just my body’s way of telling me I need a break and I need to be easier on myself-happiness doesn’t come in a day, it takes time. I’m doing the best I can do and that’s all that matters.