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Thread: Depersonalisation

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    Default Depersonalisation

    Has anyone experienced this? If so, what triggered it? It's like when stress causes you to come out of your body and feel as if you're not really in control of your actions - like you're observing yourself from outside of yourself.
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    I experienced this sort of lofty detachment during periods of great loss, and also for a brief time in my incarceration. It's like there's a buffer between your conscious self and your emotions. As you indicated, it was triggered by the extreme stress of my circumstances.

    I consider it a useful defense mechanism so long as you're not maintaining this "attitude" consistently and for prolonged periods of time. It can become unhealthy and counterproductive to your survival in the end. I believe it can also manifest as a symptom of depression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Has anyone experienced this? If so, what triggered it? It's like when stress causes you to come out of your body and feel as if you're not really in control of your actions - like you're observing yourself from outside of yourself.
    I experienced this or something like it on and off for two years, accompanied by derealization. I still have it to some extent.

    One experience I recall is that I was looking at myself in the mirror and I didn't realize it was me. It felt like I was looking at a stranger I didn't recognize or was only vaguely familiar with.

    Even when I breathed air felt like it wasn't going into my body, but into a strangers that I was inhabiting. I couldn't derive satisfaction from doing anything.

    Derealization feels like reality is a blur. Like if you can imagine your senses working at 20% efficiency. You can only experience the 20% of reality that registers. For me that included sense perception and abstract ideas.
    You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

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    I've been like this for many years... To me I suppose it feels like hibernating until there are better resources available I guess. It was\is caused by not feeling accepted and subsequently not living life so satisfactorily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    I experienced this sort of lofty detachment during periods of great loss, and also for a brief time in my incarceration. It's like there's a buffer between your conscious self and your emotions. As you indicated, it was triggered by the extreme stress of my circumstances.
    Did you feel disconnected with your physicality as well at those times?
    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
    One experience I recall is that I was looking at myself in the mirror and I didn't realize it was me. It felt like I was looking at a stranger I didn't recognize or was only vaguely familiar with.

    Even the extent to which I breathed air, felt like it wasn't not going into my body, but into a strangers. I couldn't derive satisfaction from doing anything.
    Wow, that's intense. :-/ I've only experienced it a few times for about 5 minutes (because of emotional stress), and that was surreal enough. It was like I was behind myself, watching myself do things/ say things... I found it amazing that I was doing things 'properly' .. like enunciating lol.. because I didn't feel like I was inside of my body. Weird.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Did you feel disconnected with your physicality as well at those times?
    If you mean something like I felt as if I were outside my own body, yeah I suppose you could say that. It was as if I were relegated to the level of an observer, as opposed to living "in the moment" as I normally do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Wow, that's intense. :-/
    I have epilepsy and a number of other problems, so that may be why.
    You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
    I have epilepsy and a number of other problems, so that may be why.
    Ah. That sucks. :frown:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    I've been like this for many years... To me I suppose it feels like hibernating until there are better resources available I guess. It was\is caused by not feeling accepted and subsequently not living life so satisfactorily.
    Dammit.. this thread should be sealed with a massive sad face. ()
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    It perhaps may only be equilavent to "zoning out" in the short term, and may not actually seem like a bad thing. But over a longer period of time, it gives a more numb feeling, added with a sense that it's not going to go away anytime soon. This is combined with the body and the mind not coordinating so actively together, which seems to lead to moments where sensations which should have been felt over a period of time are felt all at once - maybe akin to getting pins and needles.
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    I believe it has something to do with your own identity not being pampered.

    I feel this way a lot during home and at starr, both places where I'm not really respected for who I was. When I lived in a city that complemented my 'insides' better, it was a non-issue. It's like you get too objective, in a bad way.

    It's like people who have no inner life of their own, have to look down on what they view as somebody's 'ego' or inner life, that they can only gauge you by looking at you objectively, and not understanding what makes you 'tick.' And so your own identity isn't supported socially by others enough, so it makes you act out in depressive/slow suicide ways. My theory.

    Starr, like prison- are both places where your own individual identity and your own sense of who you are, in relationship to everybody else is skewered- because it fears people. They want to believe everybody is the 'same' that everybody has the same desires, but that's just not true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Has anyone experienced this? If so, what triggered it? It's like when stress causes you to come out of your body and feel as if you're not really in control of your actions - like you're observing yourself from outside of yourself.
    When I was growing up, from about 10yo - 17 1/2yo, this was my main survival mechanism at home. I was moving, I was going to school, I was getting good grades, etc, but the majority of the time, there was too huge a buffer between what was me, inside myself, and what was doing the moving and functioning. I basically had had to suppress such a huge side of myself.

    By the time I was almost 16, I had a strong feeling that forced itself through the haze that if something didn't change, I wouldn't live to see 16. At the point where the feeling got strongest, and there was absolutely no future to envision, nothing but a nothingness, I made a sudden switch. This was the point that the psychiatrists believe that I made the 'borderline switch'. It was also the point where the bipolar issues began kicking in. Due to hormonal changes of growing up or due to the home environment and the 'switch'...we're not sure.

    So from this point, it was the zombie me at home, who had to shove any sense of self and rely solely on survival mechanisms kicking in whenever they did...vs the one at school who more than made up for all that stuffing.

    After I ran away from home, I still had issues with feeling "not me" varied with tons of "many parts of me trying to break out". I was not a stable person at this time. In fact, I didn't start gaining some kind of stability until I had my daughter. But that little bit of stability came at the cost of isolating myself from various triggers...which then created its own issues. Finally, with Richard, I've got much more stability, but there are still times when I feel like I'm ....gone...or have been gone.

    My sense of self is still such a huge fucking mess at times.

    That one major point of my 'life'... I remember hearing the song "Never Surrender" playing. Me finally able to cry, releasing all that pent up tension that had built up over those nearly six years. And a feeling of...um...like a guardian angel watching over me. This was the sudden point of change. Even to this day, I often wonder if *I* was the guardian angel watching over *me*, and that I had thought that maybe if I stepped in a bit, get *her* through this hump, then everything will be ok. Well, today this day I still wonder how the hell do I get out of this body, and did I kill *her*? And why the fuck did I DO such a thing??? (if I even did it)

    This is such a common thought of mine, that even at 16 I stopped going by my given name and began using my middle name at school. I never retook my given name, and have since been known either by my middle name, or by a favored screen name. In fact, the nick 'anndelise' or 'ann' is much closer to the real me, and is probably the most consistent 'me' there's been.

    It's like...I 'know' I'm here, but I feel like I don't belong here, that this isn't my body. Even when I look in the mirror I'm constantly taken aback. The image in the mirror isn't *me*, it's just a casing that I'm trapped in. My "bag of water" so to say.

    (sorry for the tangents, it's still difficult for me to sort through the mess to find only the relevant info asked for, and I even left alot out, lol)
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    A lot of institutions and places emotionally abuse people.

    Instead of fostering your own sense of self confidence and emotions, they will just talk down at you, condescend you, tell you your feelings don't matter, bully you, exploit you interpersonally. They will just flat-out treat you poorly, and think two wrongs make a right- even if you had some 'issue' in the past. They will make you 'share your feelings' with others when really it's nobody's business how you feel unless the person with the feelings tells them. It is very quite icky, and non professional.

    And because you're so disconnected with your own emotions and inner life, because it was bullied out of you- you're then easy control for them to do what they ever want to with you, you become a puppet. You don't even know what you feel any more, you're just dead and numb inside and that's the way they want it.

    Feelings are NOT the enemy, they are the source of all power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    That one major point of my 'life'... I remember hearing the song "Never Surrender" playing. Me finally able to cry, releasing all that pent up tension that had built up over those nearly six years. And a feeling of...um...like a guardian angel watching over me. This was the sudden point of change. Even to this day, I often wonder if *I* was the guardian angel watching over *me*, and that I had thought that maybe if I stepped in a bit, get *her* through this hump, then everything will be ok. Well, today this day I still wonder how the hell do I get out of this body, and did I kill *her*? And why the fuck did I DO such a thing??? (if I even did it)
    That's fascinating..
    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    (sorry for the tangents, it's still difficult for me to sort through the mess to find only the relevant info asked for, and I even left alot out, lol)
    Nah... thanks for writing what you did! I'm wondering though what it feels like not to be acting out of a sense of self. Talking of 'survival mechanisms' kicking in.. you mean that you didn't have control of the behaviour your were exhibiting during those times? Gah, I feel like such a sensor reading this .. :-/ I find it really hard to relate. I don't think I even know what a sense of self feels like lol.. I just either do or don't do, let myself show my feelings or not show them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    A lot of institutions and places emotionally abuse people.

    Instead of fostering your own sense of self confidence and emotions, they will just talk down at you, condescend you, tell you your feelings don't matter, bully you, exploit you interpersonally. They will just flat-out treat you poorly, and think two wrongs make a right- even if you had some 'issue' in the past. They will make you 'share your feelings' with others when really it's nobody's business how you feel unless the person with the feelings tells them. It is very quite icky, and non professional.

    And because you're so disconnected with your own emotions and inner life, because it was bullied out of you- you're then easy control for them to do what they ever want to with you, you become a puppet. You don't even know what you feel any more, you're just dead and numb inside and that's the way they want it.
    What do you think they get out of you being like that? Is it just easier for them that way?
    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    Feelings are NOT the enemy, they are the source of all power.
    "Language is the Rubicon that divides man from beast."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    That's fascinating..Nah... thanks for writing what you did! I'm wondering though what it feels like not to be acting out of a sense of self. Talking of 'survival mechanisms' kicking in.. you mean that you didn't have control of the behaviour your were exhibiting during those times? Gah, I feel like such a sensor reading this .. :-/ I find it really hard to relate. I don't think I even know what a sense of self feels like lol.. I just either do or don't do, let myself show my feelings or not show them.
    The early years had been blatant suppression. If I didn't suppress myself, I risked major physical harm. But I still had to survive the environment I was in. Basically, what I think had happened was that there was no consciously doing things, just running on automatic pilot. Part of me had to reach out in a way, expand my awareness of my environment and any sudden changes in it, as well as be aware of any tiny cues my father's body might leak out; and respond appropriately. My father's moods could change before a pin dropped. This unnatural awareness of my environment for me leaves me highly reactive, as well as with a difficulty of sleeping at night. I'm not as hyperaware as I was, thank goodness. But if I attempted to be consciously aware of all that, I'd screw up big time, which had bad repercussions. So I had to let my subconscious take over for the most part.

    A small example, one time I was washing dishes and something must have attracted my mind's attention as next thing I new I was about 3 steps away and facing a very red faced hulking father. I had just enough time to 'see his face' and next thing I knew I was one large step sideways. I remember looking at the counter where I had been standing, and seeing a large hole in the wood. I remember gaping at the chunk of counter missing, trying to figure out what had just happened. Then before I realized it, I had bent down to pick up our large cast iron pan. I didn't realize I was picking it up until after I had it in my hand and was staring at it. It had a big dent in it. It took me almost a full minute to realize what had happened. My father had gotten mad about something with my sister in the other room, he'd come in the kitchen during his fit, picked up the pan and thrown it at me. My subconscious had moved me away from the target area, making the pan miss me and thus hit the counter.

    This is what I meant be allowing survival mechanisms to kick in. If I had been consciously aware of it during all that, I would have been too slow to respond. But by allowing my subconscious to take over, I avoided some pain. (Unfortunately, he then immediately got mad at me for fucking up the counter AND for denting the cast iron pan. It was, after all, MY fault that these things had gotten damaged. If I'd stayed there and taken it like a good little girl, he wouldn't be having to pay for those damages...which he later made me work to pay off. You know, to teach me a lesson of valuing other people's possessions. )
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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    ...
    Fucking hell. We're amazing pieces of work.
    "Language is the Rubicon that divides man from beast."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Fucking hell. We're amazing pieces of work.
    yes, we are!
    It's amazing the kinds of things a person can survive through and/or do under times of stress. Sometimes, the "ego" can get in the way of that.

    Not all depersonalization is bad, or triggered from stress.
    Many people mediate to reach a similar state. Of course, without the environmental stress acting on them, the meditative state of depersonalization is perceived as calming, spiritual, losing one's sense of self and become "one with all", looking down on the world as if from an above all knowing place, etc.
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    It's called dissociation. Pretty common symptom of abuse victims.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Fucking hell. We're amazing pieces of work.
    Yeah following a nuclear apocalypse only two species would survive, humans and cockroaches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    I experienced this sort of lofty detachment during periods of great loss, and also for a brief time in my incarceration. It's like there's a buffer between your conscious self and your emotions. As you indicated, it was triggered by the extreme stress of my circumstances.
    I hope everyone can do it consciously or bring themselves to do it consciously so that they can look at their own personal situation objectively. I have to remind myself to take a step back and look at everything without my physical involvement so that I can get a better perspective for what's going on, especially situations where my emotions are involved.

    Yes, I do it often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
    Yeah following a nuclear apocalypse only two species would survive, humans and cockroaches.
    mmm, cockroaches...yummy
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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    mmm, cockroaches...yummy
    It's good we can laugh about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Has anyone experienced this? If so, what triggered it? It's like when stress causes you to come out of your body and feel as if you're not really in control of your actions - like you're observing yourself from outside of yourself.


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    It's happened to me about twice in my life, lasting for about a few months (this recent one was maybe a bit longer, like over a year), and it was pretty much like how CPig described it.
    “Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly
    You've done yourself a huge favor developmentally by mustering the balls to do something really fucking scary... in about the most vulnerable situation possible.

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