A Powerful Way to Deal With Depersonalization (or Any Anxiety Condition)

Anxiety. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you.

You can be doing all the right things – eating well, exercising, meditating. But still, feelings of anxiety can just appear out of nowhere. Suddenly you have to deal with racing thoughts, heart palpitations, maybe even a full-blown panic attack.

The symptoms and conditions that anxiety produces vary greatly from person to person. For me it was depersonalization, a sense of being cut off from reality, like you’re dreaming all the time. It was horrible and the symptoms were particularly frightening.

And like all anxiety conditions, what was most frightening was the lack of control I seemed to have over it. But here’s a great tip I found incredibly useful:

You may not always be able to control the anxiety.

But you can always control your reaction to it.

And that’s a lot more powerful than you might think!

Take panic attacks, for example. The initial scary thought that sets it off might be something really small. A thought that for most people would last a few seconds and then fade away naturally.

It’s your reaction to it that sets off the spiralling thoughts and eventually, a full-blown panic attack.

But if you can recognize that initial scary thought for what it is (just a thought!), you automatically change your reaction to it. And by not overreacting to it, you can reduce the anxiety and even stop the panic attack completely.

Let’s look at this from another angle. Let’s say you’ve just had a panic attack. What’s the most effective thing to do? Sit around, feeling sorry for yourself, dreading the next panic attack? Of course not. That’ll only worsen your fear and increase the likelihood of another one happening.

Instead, don’t overreact. Distract yourself. Keep your mind occupied. Stay busy. Play an instrument, take a walk, meet up with a friend. That reaction teaches your brain that even though the panic attack has just happened, it hasn’t affected you.

 When your brain registers that these feelings can bring your day to a halt, it confirms that anxiety is ‘big’ and ‘important’. But when you go about your day regardless of any panic attacks, depersonalization or any other form of anxiety? Your brain registers that anxiety is not ‘big’ or ‘important’!

Think of anxiety like a spoiled child. It throws tantrums to get attention. And the more attention you pay to it, the more attention it demands. But if you just let the tantrum happen and go about your day? The child sees that tantrums don’t get him anywhere — and will eventually stop using them!

The same goes for all feelings of anxiety: Don’t overreact to them.

Accept that the feelings are there. Let the ‘tantrum’ happen. It can’t hurt you. And then immediately focus on something constructive and engaging.

This technique is especially useful as you start to recover from any anxiety. You’ll find that you have some good days and some bad days. It’s a natural part of recovery!

 But again — the trick is not to overreact.

When you have a bad day, don’t be disappointed or feel sorry for yourself. Just accept that you feel a little anxious, and stay busy. And it may seem counterintuitive, but when you have a good day, don’t celebrate!

This teaches your brain that anxiety is not important, in either positive or negative terms. That puts the unwanted thoughts and feelings into perspective and allows them to fade away and disappear — which is exactly what they’re supposed to do. 

This simple technique was invaluable in my recovery from depersonalization disorder, but can be used with any anxiety condition. It teaches your brain that feelings of anxiety, no matter how intense they might get, are ultimately not that important.

There’s a great saying in mindfulness: “Engage with useful thoughts, disengage from the others.”

 Anxious thoughts are not useful. So disengage from them by not overreacting to them.


About the Author: Shaun O Connor

Shaun O Connor is the author of The Depersonalization Manual, a book which details his recovery from Depersonalization disorder and provides a complete guide to recovery for sufferers of the condition. First published as an ebook in 2007, it has since expanded to become a complete recovery package and has sold over 9,000 copies worldwide.

Shaun is also a multi award-winning television and film director whose work has screened around the world, including at the Dublin, Helsinki and Boston Film Festivals.

Twitter: @DPManual

63 Comments

Zemira

Hi. I just turned 15 in June 19, 2021. I recently had a panic attack about 3 days ago. I had this sudden feeling that I can’t breathe and that I’m going to die. But the day after the panic attack, I was at the mall with my family and I just got this sudden feeling that I wasn’t there. I used to have spurts of this prior but I would always get out of it after a few seconds. But now it’s there all day and I think I have derealization. My senses are heightened and I can see my surroundings with an outstanding clarity i never had before. It also seems like a trance or a dream. Typing right now feels like I’m not here. I want to go back to normal and I haven’t gotten treatment for it because I haven’t told my family yet. I told my sister though.

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Karen Young

Zamora I’m so pleased you’ve told someone. What you are experiencing makes a lot of sense. I understand how awful this feels for you, but there is a way through this. It can be a frightening thing to have happen, but it can also be a symptom of anxiety which is very manageable and happens to so many people. Please speak to an adult you trust – someone in your family, a teacher, a school counsellor so they can guide you towards ways to feel better.

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Shaun

I’ve had it for about 2 months now youvwull be better what’s I do to help is try and do normal things like still going out with friends I know it’s hard as it feels like your in a dream but it’s helps and think positive take your mind I iff it the more you think of it or even saying to your self don’t be think about it is making you think just take your mind off it watch a film or something

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Mackenzie

Hi my name is Mackenzie,I was only 12 years old in 2019,when I tried pot,I had really bad friends at the time,so they were forcing me to smoke a lot of blunts from them,I got really high,and then the next day later I woke up I felt like a stranger to myself,I seen things different I’m still going threw this and I’m trying my best to stay positive but I can’t,I’m scared to tell my parents this cause what if they think I’m mentally ill,I’m so scared I wish this could stop because I don’t want to live my life with this..this is really hard to deal with and I’m scared… but I’m going try accept the fact that I will always be like this and I’m scared to tell anyone. I’m age 14 now

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Karen Young

Mackenzie I love that you have reached out for support. It shows how strong and brave you are. This can be caused by anxiety, which is a very real human experience that we all feel sometimes. Sometimes it can happen in a way that feels scary – but you are safe. It’s important to speak to someone though to make sure this is what’s happening for you and to learn strategies to feel better. A doctor or counsellor can help with this. Please speak to an adult you trust to help you get the support you need. You are strong and amazing and there is a way through this.

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Julie

This is such good advice and has brought me out of feeling anxious today. I’ll keep this page open on my phone and read it whenever anxiety pops up. I purposefully haven’t read any of the comments because I don’t want any negativity coming in to interfere with the positive vibes I have. Thank you!

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Amily

Hi, I am a 16 year old girl and I live in Italy.
I sometimes felt depersonalization even when I was very little, but it lasted for a few minutes and I thought it was just normal. But recently it started being more present and I have been feeling depersonalized for 4 months now. I even spoke to the school’s psychologist, but i am quite sure she can’t help me, because she doesn’t understand what I’m dealing with. I don’t know what do to, I even talked with my parents but I don’t want to worry them. When I read all the other comments I felt less alone, I really hope everyone stays better.
Amily

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Angel

Hi my name is angel from San Antonio TX and i am (17) and i suffer from depersonalization, when my first experience occurred it was when i was smoking with my brother, it go so bad I couldn’t feel like myself , i had felt that everything around me went to a dream . Than the next morning i had thought it went away but i was still aka high or something thats what my brother had said but i knew something was off , next days and few weeks nothing had change and it was still the same it was pretty bad , i was always crying and sad trying to find someway to stop it i tried telling my family they looked at me crazy , i felt so helpless cause no one would believe me , my DP went on for a damn year . My DP had gone way i had felt like myself and normal was able to talk more with friends and i had a girlfriend everything was good , but than i had gotten in drama with my girl at the times and when you left kinda felt bad yk , but okay this is were im confused myself , i had put on oculus quest 2 right to play with my friends and from there , that triggered my DP and ever since of that to this day rn as im writing 03/12/21 i still have DP now I understand it more and i try not let it control but its really hard i have a new gf now , and im glad she helps a lot , but for everyone out i know how its feels love you all it will get better , i hope so but if you got any tips please lmk ❤️

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Melanie

Hey I’m 17 and I myself have been dealing with an anxiety disorder and about 2months I bought my self the aculus quest and once i took of the headset my hands didn’t feel real my surroundings felt fake even when I looked at my parents I felt like they were fake ever since I played with that vr head set I’ve been dealing with DP DR I feel like I’m going crazy can someone please help me also I started talking medication for my anxiety and depression

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Rutendo

Hi,I thought I was the only one feeling this bad feeling.i have been encouraged slot by comments from people.

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Zara

I love the article. Sadly, its not so easy to do when youre so deep in DP and general anxiety. Ive been dealing with it for almost a year now, and theres still a long way to go. When I first felt DP I felt like im losing my mind, I had no idea whats wrong with me. After a while I started to look up for the symptoms and realized what im dealing with. DP makes you disconnected from everything around you, you can hear yourself and feel like a stranger is talking, you can look at something you know but deep down will question yourself why does it feel strange to look at, situations will feel like a dream. Its living but not really living – it disconnects you from all your surrondings. When I looked for the disorder I was happy to find out that im not the only one who deals with it and was looking for people to hear their story and their way of handling the situation. I hope all DP sufferers will find the strength to win the battle, also for myself.

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Pam R

I feel the Same way. I have been experiencing the same thing for 1.5 years now, it’s a daily struggle !!
One weird thing I feel if that there is not enough space for everything in the world. What is that about?? I’m thinking it’s a form of claustrophobia? I just hope someday I will be well again

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John

Hi I also have the same symptoms, do you know anything that has helped you? I started feeling like this only recently( two weeks ago). Feel very lost

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Janie

Hi my name is Janie and the same is happening to me it’s my 4th month feeling off this world and makes me feel so much better knowing am not the only one feeling this way, am so happy to reply on this and hope we keep in touch hope we both get better soon only we know and deal with this everyday

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Dr mirza

Hi I am Dr mirza and I am anesthetist .i feel depersonalised when Iam addressing huge gathering and when I am doing some critical work like intubation .but then I recover spontaneously after seconds of being disconnected and this is happening repeatedly when I do some critical work or when I am being watched by masses .this temporary discomfort is hampering my confidence otherwise I know I am best in my skills and my thinking is very appropriate and intelligent .please help

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sam

Hi, I’m also a 15-year-old and wanted to do more research on depersonalization and anxiety and came across this article. I agree, it really did help me look at this in a different way and I’m glad I was able to find it. Anxiety can be a really scary thing for me and sometimes I don’t know what’s happening to myself so articles like this really help me analyze what going on inside of my head. I hope you know you aren’t alone and staying positive is one of the best things you can do. 🙂

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Cameron

Hi guys well I agree dp sux Iv had it twenty two years I awakened or elightment occurred once in that time which means I become present in spiritual terms.after triggering this state from smoking cannabis creating massive anxiety which basically made the mind shut down due to severe stress.the only thing iv found that works is meditation and focusing on something long enough with your eyes in the sun like a bird or a tree.this is what I found works as you start to do it slow all your thoughts down and you will start to see again the fog will lift the key to awakening is to slow the mind down and focus on the present moment after all it was all those fast and worrying negative thoughts that got you here so now reverse them and watch yourself come back into reality , remember this doesn’t just stay locked in to this state it’s something that you practice each day.exercise good food helps avoid smoking drinking coffee and especially drugs and alcohol it may take up to a year but once you return remember everything in moderation. Be grateful and positive I know it’s pretty hard when your living your life looking through sheets of glass everyday but the overall key is slow the mind down.a good book to read is eckhart tolle the power of now .the guy experienced this everyday then he awakened many Buddhist monks and others go through this Jesus went through it in the Bible he states but after fasting for forty days in the desert he awakened fasting equals meditating 🧘‍♀️

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Daphne L

I am 15 and I have struggled with anxiety and depression for the last year and a half and I have gotten help which has made me a lot better. I’ve only just noticed I seem to have depersonalisation and I will be seeing my psychiatrist about it soon. I really do not want to self diagnose but seeing all these comments really helped me feel less alone about it and I’m glad there’s a way to help me feel better. Reading this article helped me understand better to not overreact and try distract myself. I’ve been in an episode for a week now and I really hope I am able to overcome it.

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Sayla

Hi Shaun,
I’m a 15 year old from Australia, and have been battling with anxiety and quite bad derealization and depersonalization for about a year now. My parents are getting me to see people, and i’m trying so hard to keep living my life as usual, to ignore the anxiety. But alas, it can be so hard when one week your mind decides you have a brain tumour, and the next about to have a heart attack. Anxiety is so weird, and so unlogical. It scares me, so much. But i’m working hard to stay positive no matter what, and i’m extremely glad i’ve come across this article as it really helped me look at the way i feel from a new perspective. Thank you so much, keep doing the work your doing on this stuff. Because sometimes just a random article online that a teenager in the midst of a panic attack finds, can really really help. ty <3

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David P

If you haven’t checked them out, he also has a fantastic series of videos on YouTube. They were absolute life-savers in the first few days I experienced it. It puts everything into perspective, and within about a month everything was much better. I’m in month five now, and the episodes are MUCH fewer and further between, and WAAAAAY less intense. It’s mostly anxiety now, and it can be difficult, but it gets better.

I’m not prone to anxiety, so this whole thing hit me extremely hard–and I’m an intensely philosophical thinker, so it just absolutely ravaged me. If I can make this kind of progress, you can too.

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sam

Hi, I’m also a 15-year-old and wanted to do more research on depersonalization and anxiety and came across this article. I agree, it really did help me look at this in a different way and I’m glad I was able to find it. Anxiety can be a really scary thing for me and sometimes I don’t know what’s happening to myself so articles like this really help me analyze what going on inside of my head. I hope you know you aren’t alone and staying positive is one of the best things you can do. 🙂

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Tara

Hello! I’m 17 years old, I have been dealing with Depersonalization since I was 13. At first it started off as small moments to where i felt disconnected from my body, I felt like I was dreaming. As time passed by the feeling became stronger.. it started lasting longer, one day I woke up it just started to take over me. Today I feel disconnected, I am physically okay, I can feel pain, but mentally I feel lost. I have had so many nights to where I have laid in bed crying myself to sleep, asking god what I did to deserve it. At first I thought I was the only person to experience it.. but then I researched, and researched. I understand the symptoms, the anxiety, the depression, the feeling of being alone. I started taking medicine, it helps me sleep, it deals with depression, and anxiety as well. I want to get help, but I’m afraid to open up, you know? I have told my mom once about the way I was feeling, she said it was normal, but after a year and a half of feeling this way something clicked in my brain, and I realized.. it’s not normal, something was clearly wrong. I’ve been trying to keep a positive mind set, but it’s so hard, and so scary. My sister is experiencing the same thing, she’s 11, although hers is not constantly. No one in my Family other then my sister knows about what I’m going through.

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Bareena J

Hey, how are you feeling now? I’m going through the same situation but I feel terribly lonely because I live in a country where they don’t think problems like these exist. I don’t think I can stand this anymore-especially cause I can’t tell anyone.
The world seems as if its my imagination-and the only way to see if its true seems to just die.
I cant stop crying.
I feel like I’m going crazy and there’s no cure.

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EN

How are you now Bareena? I’m going through it now too, however mine is wearing off (4th day today), it becomes persistent but much less intense every day. How long did yours last?

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Christine

Hello let me thank you frist after reading your article how to over come anxiety I just developed blood pressure 150/90 I was ask to take medicine stamlo 5mg thought it help my bp come lower but my anxiety thinking about my bp it’s difficult to except like normal n thinking many other things feeling low as of now don’t know how to handle ,after reading your article lots more are there who also went through this but come out reading their reviews it’s giving positive enlightenment toward life thank you so much From Christine india

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Maeve H

Shaun,

Thank you so much for writing this and other helpful articles about anxiety. I have always suffered from fear and anxiety disorders as well as OCD. Growing up in a stressful, controlling home situation and becoming a young adult and recently getting my first full time job has made me more stressed than ever. I recently tried weed for the first time because my boyfriend said it might help me calm down, but instead I guess I tried it and didn’t like this new feeling of losing control because my whole life has always been controlled. I had a panic attack and he was there to hold me and comfort me (I don’t remember it at all), and I have been unable to sleep for two days. But I feel as though I am slowly getting back to myself and getting back in touch with reality. It was an extremely stressful experience, but I am learning more and more about myself through it. I was feeling like someone else and feeling physically numb and in a dreamlike state for two days, but reading this and other articles from other people and help sites has made me aware of my own reality and regain control and confidence. Thank you for helping me. It has changed me for the better and forever.

Sincerely,

Maeve

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M

Yes my son has weed induced anxiety. Therefore it is probably better to be careful with weed if you are having anxiety issues.

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Angelina

Just a tip! Weed can trigger depersonalisation so it’s better to stay away from any intoxication!

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Soulaimane

Hey Valencia the same with me here and even worst cuz my doctor dont even know what is Derealization! So i learned to cope with it by myself i now go outside and see people but im not really comfortable, i feel like im underwater i started to seen a neurologist he gave me some Benzodiazipin to calm my anxeity and panic attacks and it successfuly did, but i still feel so derealized and cut off from reality! Idk what to do.

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Keri

What has helped you? I’m going thru the same. Legit feel like everything around me is not real and it’s psyching me out. it’s becoming chronic. Like even seeing my environment triggers me!! This usually causes severe panic episodes which can last all day.
Hope you’re doing better! Any advice is helpful! I feel hopeless.

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Roland

Hi Shaun,

I had my first panic attack more than a year from now and I have never been the same. I have always thought my entire life that I am a bit more anxious person compare to others. I always think its normal and other people are the same. After my first panic attack my body started paying attention to it and so I have bad days and good days. I cant afford therapy so I have been learning bits of coping mechanism. Thank you for this article. I learned another lesson that it cant hurt us, dont pay attention to it and we have to tell our self that anxiety is not important. And all the feeling associated with it will go away. Another eye opener for me. God bless you!

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Isabel G

this really helped in so many ways honestly .. I’m 17 and I’ve never had this happened to me and even texting this makes me feel weird.
honestly it’s scary but what caused this was smoking weed it’s never happened to me until I started smoking more and I’m going to stop because looking cool isn’t worth these horrible panic attacks that make my anxiety go off the roof . Anyways I’m glad to know I’m not alone 😞

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Brad R

Shaun….

I recently have had hellish attacks of anxiety/panic….Stress from my job and losing family members has pushed me over the edge. I even ended up in the ER with blood pressure 165/110. I have resorted to Klonopin which seems to have given me Depersonalization along with this as well… I’m also a Hypochondriac and am dealing with TMJ at the moment which has caused me to be dizzy/lightheaded sine September 28, 2019….Needless to say, I’ve dealt with a revolving circle of hell. I have done a lot of research and have found there are natural ways to fight this Anxiety. Seeing that my father ha sever anxiety and fought it his whole life, I to have been stricken with the symptom. However, he had no help. But he did offer me good advice through life… ” son, don’t let any thing have FREE RENT in your mind” Little did I know, he was talking TO ME and seen that I was suffering from the same thing he was. Up until he died, he constantly told me to calm down, don’t worry about things… to prepare me for where I am now….. I am so glad I found this article and you have shed some light that this is not a permanent disease; but rather something I CAN control and not feed….I want to thank you so much….SIDENOTE: I am a kick ass Chef and Drummer, so I am not completely nuts…. Cheers Mate: Brad

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Valencia M

I always feel I’m in a dream state and I see a bit distorted. Happened after a simple surgery. I believe it’s derealization. But my doctors say no. How can I convince my Therepist who I been seeing for anxiety? And this derealization started 20 months ago. I’m afraid to go outside bc of this!! What can I do to help myself to make my providers believe me?!

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Soulaimane

Hey Valencia the same with me here and even worst cuz my doctor dont even know what is Derealization! So i learned to cope with it by myself i now go outside and see people but im not really comfortable, i feel like im underwater i started to seen a neurologist he gave me some Benzodiazipin to calm my anxeity and panic attacks and it successfuly did, but i still feel so derealized and cut off from reality! Idk what to do.

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Jadyn

Hey Shaun, recently I have really struggled with my anxiety and some depression here and there. Recently it has gotten so bad to where it started my relationship with depersonalization and derealization. It’s has taken a big toll on me and I have really been struggling with staying hopeful. I’m somewhat young and feel like I’m not strong enough to fight it being so ripe in age. This is the first thing I have read that has given me hope that I can overcome this. Thank you!

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Hana

Anxiety is not the only factor though. I don’t feel anxious at all but instead, completely emotionally and physically numb. The therapy for anxiety induced dp/dr didn’t work for me. Also, my mind is blank, so quiet I can’t hear any thoughts. No thoughts and no emotions= not human= dp/ dr’d af

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Ayi

My also started when someone closeto me died since 2019 till now I feel like dieing,crazy,like I’m out of the world hmm,what do I do

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Francis

At age 16, I smoked marijuana for my second time and suffered my first and only panic attack. That panic attack left me with DP/DR disorder. I’ve struggled with DP/DR for seven years now and can’t seem to shake it off. At this point, I’ve accepted that there is no cure.

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Charles C

Hey Francis, I was/am in the exact situation you are, I smoked pot and had a bad experience one night, it sent me into a spiral of “uncontrollable fear and thoughts” I was convinced I was not real or was in a dream state, thankfully I had a dad who I could share this with and he truly comforted me as I ddI genuinely cry out of fear. We decided to sit down and talk and to some mindfulness exercises together every night, slowly but surely I did see change. One day I realised I’d lived a few weeks completely depersonalised free, I hadn’t noticed it leave and didn’t see how i could of possibly felt that way, then it clicked that my mind was just playing tricks on me out of fear for being out of control, as soon as I started doing things in my life that took my attention away and showed these feelings no care, my mind must’ve seen that it was not important for me to feel these things and let go. I song lie, currently I am going through similar stuff and yes it’s scary having it happen almost 2 whole years later. But I am realising small causes like stress in life and me being scared for my future. I believe my brains using it as an attempt to “protect” or “flee” these issues that I need to take on with a smile. I have faith I’ll get through the mud of it once again and believe that if you let others in to help and find a purpose it will leave you feeling better than ever! Good luck and know that I’m cheering for you!
Charlie
PS I know this was posted awhile ago but still wanted to say my piece!

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Gracie

hey francis, charles. for a few months i smoked weed without any issue, but then i had two bad highs that really messed me up afterwards. the first i hallucinated footsteps (i was alone), and had a panic attack after thinking i was having a heart attack due to my quick heartbeat. the time after that i became very paranoid and anxious, and since then, i’ve sworn off weed and drugs because of the lingering anxiety they’ve left me with. it’s been going on for a few months, ups and downs, but i’d pretty much gotten a hold of it using a book on unwanted intrusive thoughts, and the practice of meditation. however, some derealization has crept in these past few days which has thrown me into more anxiety because the root of my fears is psychosis/schizophrenia. however, i’m learning that derealization can be treated just like any other unwanted, intrusive thought – that is, if you let it be, it will subside, and the less attention you give it the more it’ll fade (just as shaun’s article talked about). it is no easy feat and i still have a lot to work on, but i truly believe it’s the “cure”.

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Phumelelo

Hii My name is Phumi and I live in South Africa and I’m 17 years old. I’ve done some online tests and have been diagnosed with depersonalization disorder. It’s been like this since the month of October 2018 and nothing has changed. In fact things have gotten worse.
I’m writing my prelims soon and I’m really scared that this is gonna affect me in the future.
Please help!!

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Gift

Thought I was the only one suffering from this condition is South Africa???

Did you manage to get help

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Kayla K

Hey, Shaun. I am a 16 year old girl who had been diagnosed with depersonalization disorder just a few years ago when I was 12. And for a few years I never had a single attack. I felt fine. I was relieved because I had suffered with this disorder for so long. However, now that feeling is returning in a most inopportune time because now my mother is not in the position to pay for my treatment. So here I am begging for any means of coping with these feelings as they are becoming more and more common in my everyday life. I am overwhelmed by this feeling and it’s now taking a toll on my day to day life. Please help in any way. Please.

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Shaun O Connor

Hey Kayla,
Thanks for your comment!
Firstly, please make sure that you’re speaking to your parents about what’s happening. It’s very important that they know what’s going on. Secondly, I know DP can be frightening but remember that it’s just your body and brain’s natural response to stress and trauma. It’s not permanent and it can’t hurt you. You can and will recover!

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kartikay d

hi,im now in 10 grade and i am 15 year old this derealisation thing started just a month ago i just wanted to know how to get rid of it and will it affect my studies please reply soon i will be appearing in a very important exam i have to focus on my studies,thank you.kartik

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Matt

I’ve been dealing with the same thing for 4 or 5 days at the moment, and it has been one of the weirdest and unnerving weeks of my life. The best thing to remember is that it is a feeling, and no matter how uncomfortable, feelings ultimately cannot hurt you! Good luck on your exam bud, everything will be ok!

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Momina

Hi I just recently started suffering from anxiety and depression and derealization. Just one question does it ever go away? Coz I’m really freaked out by it I have a small kid and nothing seems real I’m really scared. I hope it just vanishes this feeling is horrible.

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Charles C

Heyo! Same boat, and I know it can be scary, just know it is ultimately your mind being scared of things and there is not real threat, the sooner your mind is at ease the better. Try to focus on all the amazing and beautiful things in life!! In all honesty, smiling, laughing and no joke, crying really helps me to come into a centred mind! Also try mindfulness that stuff really does help!
Good luck
Charles

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Julie

Hi Shaun, I suffer from a form of anxiety that is terrifying, horrifying & controlling. It began when I was 27, just after the birth of my second child. It’s a genetic disorder on mother’s side of the family. My mother suffered with it, 2 of her sisters, cousin, my great auntie (who suicided late 1800’s). Then, worst of all, my youngest son become extremely unwell with it starting May 2016. He tried to cope with it for 9 months, doing all & everything he could to become well. He saw dr’s, 2 psychiatrists, psychologists, did a CBT course, tried many medications – nothing helped him. Sadly & shockingly, he suicided on 27.2.2017. As far as I know, all members of my family who have suffered with this severe form of anxiety have been female. My son was the first male to be affected by it. This type of anxiety does not need anything to “set it in motion”. Everything can be going well, nothing wrong – then IT HITS! Suddenly, without warning. I become extremely unwell with this in approx 10 minutes once the feeling begins. I still suffer from it sporadically. I am extremely well at the moment, but I must stay on medication. I take Nardil (phelelzine sulphate-monoamine oxidase inhibitor) MAO. I have found this to be the only effective medication for me & I have been tried on probably everything on the market. Have you heard of this type of severe anxiety? It’s like having a constant panic attack, but it lasts every second of every day! Thank you, Julie

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Shaun O Connor

Hey Julie, thanks for your comment and I’m very sorry to hear that your family has been so affected by that condition. I must say that I’m not personally familiar with any form of anxiety as a genetic disorder, but I’m not a medical practitioner so my knowledge of anxiety-based conditions outside of Depersonalization would be relatively limited. I’m very glad to hear that you’re doing better at the moment though, and that you’ve found a medication that works for you. Stay in regular touch with your doctor, and keep up the good work!

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kathy key

i have suffered from anxiety all my life now my husband has cancer an i have to deal with rude family members plus all of his care im shutting down so tired all the time so filled with worry,

Reply
Shaun O Connor

Hi Kathy,
Thanks for your comment and I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve been having a tough time lately. People react very differently to difficult situations, so don’t worry if you feel stressed out at the moment.

I would advise that you take some time every day to relax and meditate. I have found this invaluable at times of stress, and I try to set aside an hour in the mornings so that I’m as prepared as possible for the day.

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Diane w

Hi Shaun

My 25 year old son has been suffering from DDD for about five years. We only learned about it a year ago and since then he hasn’t had any luck with a therapist. It has been a nightmare for the last five years. But since we have found out what he’s been suffering from he’s been getting better on his own and figuring it out. He is in a better place but has more work to do. He had been non functioning during this but has gone back to college on line and did get a part
Time job. He feels like he is coming to the end of
This but husband who is a physician still thinks he should see a therapist. Would love to get your opinion on this. I am a desperate mom looking for answers

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Rachael C

Hi Shaun, I have recently purchased your e manual and have found it extremely useful and helpful and for the first time in a few months I am starting to feel better after reading it.
Thank you

Reply
Shaun O Connor

Hey Rachael,
That’s great news, I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been finding the book so useful! 🙂
Shaun

Reply
Damilola

hello, i have recently come across your article & i have a few questions which i would genuinely love some answers to. please.
i experienced dp after a ‘bad trip’ from smoking weed a few weeks ago, it was horrible the first few days but now i understand that i am real & present, most of the major distressing symptoms of dp have faded or do no longer apply to me as of the moment. my biggest issue right now is my mind. my conscious mind. i am now overly aware & always comparing how i was before the dp & how i am now. basically like there is still a disconnect between my mind & my body/ actions. i need answers please, could it be my mind just playing games ( is it all in my head), or am i overthinking, or do i still have dp ( although i do not feel ‘unreal’ ). i just want to get back to normal normalcy without thinking about every single action. i don’t want to be like this forever. please help me, i do not have access to therapy or doctors at the moment.

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Faces so often say so more than our words ever could. Even more than words and behaviour, faces tell the story of where we (and our nervous systems) are right now. Receive their joyful faces and their brave faces. Their scared faces and their sad faces. When their words are spicy and big their behaviour is bigger, receive their faces. Their faces won’t lie. And neither do ours. By receiving their faces it will open the way to show them, ‘I see you. I feel you. I’m with you.’♥️
Parenting was never meant to be about perfection. Neither was growing up. The messy times are so often where the growth happens - theirs and ours - but this can only happen if we can be with ourselves through the mess, with an open heart and an open mind. But this can be so hard some days! 

Let’s start by shoving the idea of perfect parenting out the door and let’s do that with full force. Perfection. Ugh. Let’s not do that to ourselves and let’s not do that to our young loves. It’s okay for them to see our imperfections, and it’s okay for them to lay theirs bare in front of us. We won’t break them if we yell sometimes. They will learn from our mistakes, and we will learn from theirs.♥️
If the feelings that send them ‘small’ don’t feel safe or supported, the ‘big’ of anger will step in. This doesn’t mean they aren’t actually safe or supported - it’s about what the brain perceives. 

Let them see that you can handle them in all their feelings. Breathe and be with - through their tears, or confusion, or lostness. Just let their feelings come, and let them be. Feelings heal when they’re felt. Big feelings don’t hurt children. What hurts is being alone in the feelings. Your strong, loving presence, your willingness to be with without needing them to be different, and certainty that they’ll get through this will hold them steady through the storm. If they don’t want you near them, that’s okay too. Let them know you’re they’re if they need.♥️
Brains love keeping us alive. They adore it actually. Their most important job is to keep us safe. This is above behaviour, relationships, and learning - except as these relate to safety. 

Safety isn’t about what is actually safe, but about what the brain perceives. Unless a brain feels safe, it won’t be as able to learn, connect, regulate, make good decisions, think through consequences. 

Young brains (all brains actually) feel safest when they feel connected to, and cared about by, their important adults.  This means that for us to have any influence on our kids and teens, we first need to make sure they feel safe and connected to us. 

This goes for any adult who wants to lead, guide or teach a young person - parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches. Children or teens can only learn from us if they feel connected to us. They’re no different to us. If we feel as though someone is angry or indifferent with us we’re more focused on that, and what needs to happen to avoid humiliation or judgement, or how to feel loved and connected again, than anything else. 

We won’t have influence if we don’t have connection. Connection let’s us do our job - whether that’s the job of parenting, teaching - anything. It helps the brain feel safe, so it will then be free to learn.♥️
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#parenting #parentingforward #parentingtips #mindfulparenting
The stories we tell ourselves influence how we feel and what we do. This happens to all of us. These stories can be influenced by our mood, history, stress - so many things that are outside of what’s actually happening. 

When our children are in distress, this will start to create distress in us. The idea of this is to mobilise us to protect, but when that distress happens in the absence of a ‘real’ threat, it can throw us into fight or flight. This can influence the story we tell ourselves. This is really normal.

Whenever you can, pause, and be open to a different story. It won’t necessarily make the behaviour okay, but it will make it easier to give your child or teen what they need in that moment - an anchor - a strong, steady, loving presence to guide them back to calm. 

When their brains and bodies are back to calm, then you can have the conversations that will grow them: what happened, what can you do differently, what can I do differently that would help?

The truth is that they are no different to us. In that moment they don’t want to be fixed. They want to feel seen, safe, and heard.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting

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