Depersonalization and derealization disorder

the_scream
Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is thought to have been inspired by depersonalization disorder.

I originally posted this article in 2007. At the time, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my story online. Over the past few years, I have been amazed at the number of people who have found this post and either commented or emailed to let me know about their own struggles. Although I try to reassure them things will get better with time, I feel like those words would be more meaningful if I shared my own experience. With that goal in mind, I am rewriting this post from scratch almost seven years later.

I should probably point out that I have never been officially diagnosed with this disorder. Based on the symptoms I have had over the years, the commonality with so many who first experienced DPD after drug use, and various articles I have read online, I definitely believe I have had or continue to have depersonalization/derealization disorder.

Wikipedia describes the symptoms as follows:

The core symptom of depersonalization disorder is the subjective experience of “unreality in one’s sense of self”, and as such there are no clinical signs. Patients who suffer from depersonalization also experience an almost uncontrollable urge to question and think about the nature of reality and existence as well as other deeply philosophical questions.

Individuals who experience depersonalization can feel divorced from their own personal physicality by sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions and behaviors as not belonging to the same person or identity. Also, a recognition of self breaks down (hence the name). Depersonalization can result in very high anxiety levels, which can intensify these perceptions even further.

Common descriptions: Feeling disconnected from one’s physicality; feeling like one is not completely occupying the body; not feeling in control of one’s speech or physical movements; and feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions; experiencing one’s self and life from a distance; a sense of just going through the motions; feeling as though one is in a dream or movie; and even out-of-body experiences. Patients suffering from depersonalization disorder have also certain visual stimulations such as hallucinations and rapid fluctuations in lighting. While the exact cause of these hallucinations has not yet been determined, it is generally accepted that patients suffering from them is caused by previous drug usage. These hallucinations differ from true hallucinatory phenomena as they are closer to being optical distortions or illusions rather than psychotic breaks. Individuals with the disorder commonly describe a feeling as though time is ‘passing’ them by and they are not in the notion of the present. These experiences which strike at the core of a person’s identity and consciousness may cause a person to feel uneasy or anxious.

First experiences with depersonalization may be frightening, with patients fearing loss of control, dissociation from the rest of society and functional impairment. The majority of patients suffering from depersonalization disorder misinterpret the symptoms, thinking that they are signs of serious mental illness or brain dysfunction. This commonly leads to an increase of anxiety experienced by the patient which contributes to the worsening of symptoms.

My experience with some of these symptoms started one evening after smoking marijuana and having a panic attack while still under the effects of the drug. I freaked out, vomited, took a cold shower, and went to bed. From that point, it felt like time stopped. I literally thought I had died and entered the afterlife, because it felt like I had been suspended in time. I would look at the digital clock beside the bed, close my eyes for what seemed like forever, then reopen my eyes to discover a single minute had passed.

I was distraught to still have the same feeling when I awoke the next morning. Over the next several weeks, I had severe issues with depersonalization/derealization. My body felt foreign to me. I felt like I was living inside of a dream. I felt completely disconnected from the life that was continuing around me.

Several days after the initial onset of symptoms, I sought medical attention at the emergency room. The doctor there sent me for evaluation at a local rehabilitation facility. After explaining my symptoms, they recommended that I enter an outpatient program immediately or they felt I would be hospitalized within two weeks. I decided to try medication instead.

My doctor placed me on Paxil, and I believe it saved my life. I had never even heard of depersonalization/derealization at that point, but I remember reading a sentence about feeling disconnected in the informational brochure the doctor gave me about Paxil. I felt so relieved to have a description for what I was going through that I wept.

Although some of my symptoms lingered for a few years, they gradually subsided. The problem that hung on the longest occurred when I was driving at night. I would suddenly get a feeling that the world outside my windshield existed only in 2D, like playing an old-fashioned video game. It would cause such a surge of panic in my body that I would have to pull over and let someone else drive. Having conversations about eternity and space would often have the same effect.

The first time I ever heard of depersonalization disorder was while watching the very disturbing film Tarnation several years ago. I immediately knew there was a relation between what the director was experiencing and my own symptoms. It was nice to have a name for what I was going through, and it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone.

Today, I have little to no residual symptoms. I usually don’t even think about it. That’s why I wanted to take the time to update this post and let visitors know that even when it seems overwhelming and impossible to endure, there is hope. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your parents. Don’t suffer in silence. You will get better!

A quick footnote about marijuana

Much as been said in my post and in the following comments from others about DP/DR starting after use of marijuana. While it is easy to make the assumption that the two things are connected or that marijuana played some role in causing depersonalization, this article by Ronnie Freedman, Ph.D. concludes that marijuana is simply the trigger. He believes a combination of personality, fatigue, worry, and other mental/physical problems are the true cause of depersonalization/derealization disorder. I wish I had found his article a long time ago, because it makes a lot of sense.

It’s the same story over and over again.  Someone smoked marijuana with a group of friends and within 24 hours, usually sooner, they begin feeling unreal, depersonalized, foggy and detached. They are convinced that the marijuana had to have been laced with something that created this uncomfortable and distressing sensation. They worry that some sort of  “damage” has taken place inside their brain. When they contact the people they partied with, they are amazed to learn everyone else is feeling fine. Now they become very confused, worried and fearful…

…There is a simple explanation for this chain of events. Once understood, recovery is not difficult. It requires a simple yet specific process.

Continue reading Dr. Freedman’s full article on marijuana and depersonalization disorder here: http://www.anxietybustersblog.com/?p=344

Updated 11/22/2014

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 11 years and three fabulous felines.

247 thoughts on “Depersonalization and derealization disorder”

  1. I am 20 years old and I suffer from this. I accidentally ate a weed brownie about a year ago and had a terrible reaction and a panic attack. Ever since then I have had DPD (not officially diagnosed) and I have had other panic attacks. It is really terrible and I wish there was a way I could make it go away. I am so glad I have found people who have had similar experiences.

      1. Brian I need your help what do I have exactly ?my symptoms are using the Bathroom a lot ,slight loss of memory, slight depression, feeling bad about yourself, loosing away from God,and I mess up my sentences sometimes when talking and slur my words.What do I have I need help

        1. Lucas: I have no idea, but since you are having physical problems (frequent bathroom use, slurring words, etc.), I would recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible. Good luck!

          1. I first got depersonalization at the age of 15 after drinking a lot and extreme stress I believe. Im now 18, and going through high school with it had been such a roller coaster. I feel as if I feel depersonalisation 99% of the time, however I forget about it some of the time and just feel like it’s what’s normal. However I have these episodes Id say once every week or two where I absoltly feel as if I cannot see straight, so out of reality, in a dream and unable to even talk or look around because my eyes are so sensitive. Due to all of these symptoms I have really bad migraines all the time and havent felt not tired in 2 years. I have never talked to anyone else with depersonalization although I’ve always wanted too, i really don’t know what to do anymore. Will it ever go away?? Is this just me.. I don’t even remember what normal is anymore so I really don’t think I’ll be able to get over this.. What do I do :(

            1. Poppy: It definitely isn’t just you. I would suggest seeing a medical professional to rule out any physical causes. You might also want to read through some of the comments on this post for coping mechanisms. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, this is great, doesn’t seem like a scam at all.

      I had this for a year, everything was made out of plastic, depressing feeling. Assumed it was from ssri medication, was misdiagnosed with major depression due to “being tired of living”, turned out I had narcolepsy. Anyways I did smoke tons of weed before that and had a traumatic experience; after that trauma my high was almost always accompanied with a panic attack. Still took me over a year to quit the junk, I hated what it did to me, but it was my crutch and escape from reality for so long.

      Anyways the plastic, 2d, etc., disassociation goes away. Really it’s not that bad though, don’t feel so sorry for yourself. There are much, much, much worse conditions, try narcolepsy for a week lol.

      It’s not that bad, your mind can handle it; don’t give up on yourself. Please don’t give done crackpot doctor a bunch of your money either; you’ll want that when you realize it’s not plastic,. Lol

  2. Hai…after a very long time 18yrs now I have found out what my problem is and am so surprised that they are people out there who have the same problem.Who am I…cutting away fromreality…Ughhhh…and I have a family to take care of.2 beautiful kids great Hubby…what triggers this?I gotocd when I was 15 and eventually it started fading away.But when stress started flaring arthritis set in ,anxiety and ocd returned.DP was arnd always and people said it was spiritual..until today when i saw this website thankfully..I really know what my problem is.
    I have never had any weed etc so what triggers it..any oneknows?Are all the wires in the brain disconnected… :-P
    I amtrying been trying to han in balancing my family and this..and it has been sooooo hard…the worst thing a human suffer is i think mental disorders rather than physical ones.
    God bless you all.And thanks to each one of you for sharing your story.

      1. I’ve been suffering from DP for 6 years, now it has become an unwanted part of my life, I was 12 when I first had Dp and now I’m 18yo, the very first symptoms started to appear when I used to play with my friends in park, I used to get shocks like I’ve been given electric shocks and soon as I get these shocks I enter in a strange world where I feel nothing, whatever I see is a scenery or a movie, I felt that I am not me, I’m dead, I’m a ghost, I talked about these symptoms to my parents, friends and doctor but I was too small as I was only 12 years old nobody took me seriously they all thought I’m just kidding or lying, I had no other alternate rather than just ignore this DP and continue living my de-personalized life. I had some kind of attack while in school prayer where I felt symptoms like blackness in front my eyes, heart beat increased, sweatiness etc. I was never taken cared, meanwhile I distracted myself from this DP…I was screaming within me for some help but I was helpless as day passes I become used to living with DP..I ignored it for several years but sometimes when I see things near me I wish I was normal. As day passes symptoms became worse I isolated myself, I left the school in middle, I just want to be alone all the time, whatever I eat, whatever I see, wherever I walk whatever I read….all seems unreal besides I afraid of sleep…whenever I fall asleep and dream something..the next day when I wake I feel attached from what I saw in my dream and what I’m seeing in my waking life..every morning I feel exhausted like I had heavy tasks last night and I want to go to bed again. I’m so reluctant of doing any tasks in my waking life no matter if it’s easy or hard. I feel alienated…people around me aren’t one of me, I’m different from ’em. This Dp has made my life hell i really don’t know why I have it as I never smoke, No drugs at all… I was a kid afterall. Sometimes I behave like a mad I touch things like door, pencil, computer to check whether it’s real or I’m just dreaming of it, or every stuff of mine doesn’t belongs to me. I sense things around me like an Alien, I tried to commit suicide several times but I’m afraid. Hopping a reply. Thank you.

    1. Yeah I think not. I’ve had DP before and now I have bad back pain that would make that DP go away.. You should tell that to those burn victims in your local Trama Center.

      1. Hi Brandon I have the exact same experience as you did and I did one session of mdr which is cognitive behavioral therapy and have seen traumatic difference just after one session I highly recommend it!

  3. Hey Engee

    Thanx for replying to my post.. I jus took Steve’s advice and I m jus living life now.. I don care anymor..n m already feeling betta.. Jus keeping myself busy, doin d things I luv.. Jus distracting myself . I no in time it ll get better.. Taking Brian’s advice and hanging in Der.. :D n wenever I feel it creeping in, I jus go watch a sunset o meet n laugh wI’d my friends.. m goin look up for pranayam n wot do u recommend in homeopathy? N thanx for d advice:):) rely appreciate it..

    1. Hi there ! Am as well from India ! I hav Been suffering with this derealization shit for the last four years nd this has completely ruined my life And marijuana triggered this thing in me ! !

  4. Hey everyone, on the 16th December 2013, I was put on an antidepressant called sertraline, and took only one pill and had an adverse reaction 5/6 hours later. This left me with horrible Depersonalization and other physical symptoms, and because of this I have increased anxiety. It is the most terrifying thing anyone could go through and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! it’s as if you have been re-born and learning to be a person again :/ I don’t even feel comfortable in my own home anymore, I’m always pacing around the house looking at everything and touching things but my mind just cant connect at all, even looking at my family it’s like I don’t know who they are but deep down I do know who they are, and because of this I panic ALOT which I know doesn’t help the situation but it’s uncontrollable. I’ve been suffering from this for a month and a half now and don’t see an end to it anytime soon :( . Even my memories are distorted like they aren’t mine or they never happened :/ my vision isn’t very good anymore due to sensitivity to light and my hearing isn’t good, sensitive to sound. I just want out of this. I’m tried of feeling like I’m going insane/dying. DP got worse last night after I didn’t sleep the other night and slept through the day yesterday and woke up feeling so much worse, I started feeling I was out of my own body much worse than before and that triggered a panic attack. I start CBT next Wednesday and hope this will help a lot. It is good to know I’m not alone but like someone has said, in my head I still feel alone. :(

    1. Hi Hayley,

      I was just looking back over some of the comments on this post, and I realized I hadn’t responded to your comment. I always try to reply, so I just wanted to let you know that I did see your comment and I hope you are doing better.

    2. This exact same thing happened to me in May (2014). And no one believes me that the 1, 10mg citalopram i was going to try could have done anything. But i know it did, and I truly feel like my life has been ruined ever since. I had such hope for my immediate future, I recently graduated and had plans to move ect. Everything ruined. Life just feels terrible 24/7 even though everything else is good. I never comment on these things but i do read them and every symptom you described is exactly how I feel and what bothers me the most as well. I was wondering if you had any suggestions, insight, anything at all. I’m really confused what to do. Thanks!
      -caroline

    3. Hi hayley I have just seen your message now an going through the same thing.i can relate to what u said about feeling reborn an not recognising family and not remembering any of the memories in your life.

      Are u stil goin through this? Did u find out what it was?

    4. Hi Hayley, I was reading your post and everything you’ve said is exactly how I’m feeling. It started on Halloween night where I drank alcohol and I woke up the next day feeling sort of drunk still and I had very little sleep that night. And I noticed that I started to feel funny a few days later and to this day, I still feel weird. I feel like my brain is half asleep and half awake which is affecting the way I see, feel, and think. Plus my hearing is awful, kind of like distorted which I have to really listen. My vision is also sensitive to light and I see as if I was in a dream. My thinking and emotions are everywhere, I lose track of time easily and it’s hard to remember things that I have done throughout the day. I also feel alone even though my family are around. I barely eat, I’m lonely, sad, and it’s getting hard for me to sleep because I think a lot. I feel sort of detached from reality, I feel like I’m trying to get used to being a human. I just want this to be over. I hope you can get back to my message and tell how you’re doing.

    5. Hello people I’m so relived that it’s not only me who feels this way , but I just want to know if anyone got really better or went back to normal , please suggest something to do . Thanks alot

      1. Farah…. did you get any responses? I couldn’t see them…. I too am wondering the same thing… I don’t suffer with the disorder but watching my son suffer with it may be just as bad…..

  5. I’ve been living with this for about 6 years after a massive panic attack during a ugly divorce.

    the best advice I have is know your triggers for dp/anxiety.

    mine are driving long distances. About more than an hour and my right arm feels foreign and it spikes my anxiety levels to near panic.

    epic hangovers. I mean from a night of heavy partying. I know the next day will have DP.

    nit sleeping well. If I get less than 4 hours if sleep I wake up very detached and the world feels ethereal.

    I have learned some coping powers though.

    physical contact with my wife always calms me.
    petting the cats or dogs.
    any activity with my hands..playing guitar, home repair, gardening, drawing. Anything that focuses your mind on a task rather than constant self monitoring which increases anxiety.

    sometimes I go 6-8 months without even a thought about it. Its been pretty bad the last week when I really screwed myself by trying to drive home with a hangover..reached panic level and I haven’t been right since but its subsiding day by day and I know if I can just stop self monitoring I would be back to normal.

    1. I’ve been dealing with DP for 5 or 6 years now, and some of the things you mentioned are so identical to me. The long driving, foreign arm feelings. And then also having physical touch from my wife, or distracting myself with tasks like yard work, or cleaning. Anyway it’s great to hear I’m not alone! Xanax is great for the moments it becomes too much, but it’s not something you should take every day unless you wanna be a sleepy zombie.

  6. Hey Brian, I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and doing this post. It really does help to be able to relate when you are experiencing it and it’s nice to see others being able to relate and feeling better about it too. I’m 18 years old and smoked weed for the first time a month ago and haven’t been the same since and from my own diagnosis, I know I have depersonalization and anxiety. My doctor prescribed me 10mg generic paxil after I told her what happened and how I feel, but I’m not sure if I should take it. Some days I feel good/normal and then other times I feel like I’m really losing it. I wanted to know if you think I should take the paxil and if you have any advice for overcoming anxiety and fear of death, which I had before smoking, but my fear seems to have increased since then and I wanted to know if you have any advice on how to help/overcome it. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Trevor,

      If you are having days where you feel overwhelmed, I would try to take the Paxil for a month or two to see if you feel better. Paxil definitely helped with my anxiety and panic attacks, but it takes a few weeks to build up in your system.

      As far as coping mechanisms, I have found that trying not to dwell on it makes it better. I know that isn’t easy, but try doing something that distracts you from constantly thinking about how you feel strange and disconnected. Just remember, this will improve with time (at least mine did), so hang in there!

    2. Trevor I’m with you man im 20 and in the same boat if you ever need anyone to talk to just shoot me a text I’ll be more than willing to relate with you.

  7. Hello. think I had my first DPD crisis on my pre-teens, back in 2004. I don’t know for sure what triggered it, I guess I spent too much time on the computer, which might cause you to question reality. Another theory I have is that I experience DPD whenever I deal with death, I remember that during that time I was very worried about whether there was afterlife or not. Ever since that period, every now and then I would start to feel disconnected from the world once in a while.
    And then, three months ago, a friend of mine committed suicide and that got me thinking all the time about afterlife, what is real and the whole point of existing…Two weeks ago I had a major anxiety attack and ever since I haven’t been able to think about anything else for more than two minutes. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks. I’ve considered suicide, but I always try to think about how everyone (including me) was miserable when my friend killed himself. I also think about how devastated my family would obviously be. The worst thing is thinking that there is absolutely no way to prove life is real, and that makes me feel incredibly alone and curious about death. I’m determined to not seek it as a way out, though. Reading all those articles about DPD helped a lot because I thought no one else had this condition. It’s good to know I can approach this problem clinically. I’m definitely going to see a psychiatrist, and I hope it helps, or else it’s going to be really hard to live.

    1. Hi Lucas,

      I am so sorry of the loss of your friend. I know that must have been a terribly difficult thing.

      Your feelings of having DPD when thinking about the afterlife and whether life is real are familiar to me, as I have had DPD/panic attacks while pondering both. I remember one night in particular when I was driving with three others in the car and we were discussing heaven/hell/eternity. I started having a DPD episode, but was too embarrassed to say anything. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to drive, but I took it slow and managed to make it back to their house. When I arrived at my own home later, I had a really bad panic attack.

      I wish I could give you an easy solution, but I can’t. My coping mechanisms were medication, trying to distract myself with other activities, and even grounding myself while having panic/DPD episodes by smelling of my cologne or touching something close to me. Another person on this thread said if you can simply stop thinking about it, it will go away. Sounds terribly simple, but it might be true.

      I will be keeping you in my thoughts. Good luck to you!

    1. Hi, Angel,

      I stopped taking it after my anxiety and DR/DP symptoms subsided. I tried it again a few years ago when I was having some problems with depression, but I couldn’t live with the side effects. I felt like I was living in a fog.

  8. I’ve taken Paxil a few times throughout the years to conquer severe dp and it worked like a charm. Well I quit about a month ago and I was getting really irritated with everything so I figured I should go back on. This time it triggered anxiety and dp so bad. I’m so confused cuz this is the Med that has always helped me but this time it brought the dp on! I’ve only been back on it for 6 days and I’m wondering if I should stop, or keep going in hopes that the dp will go away. If I stop and the dp doesn’t go away, I’m afraid I don’t have any other ways to get rid of it because paxil has always helped in the past. Well klonopin helped quite a bit one time so maybe I could try that. Sorry for the long message I’m just so scared and don’t know what to do and a lot of people don’t undersatnd at all what dp even is. Are you in any meds at all anymore? Do you still get dp? Thank you in advance for your response. -angel

    1. I am not currently on any medication for depression, and, thankfully, I haven’t had any major problems with DP in a few years. I do still have problems with anxiety/depression from time to time, but it is usually short-lived.

      If you are having problems on-and-off of Paxil, I would suggest talking to your doctor about changing to another antidepressant. There are much newer ones on the market now with fewer side effects, and it’s just a matter of finding which one works for you. Paxil helped me years ago when I needed it, but I didn’t seem to tolerate it well the second time I went on it.

        1. I felt like I was in a foggy, dreamlike state all day. And there were negative sexual side effects, too. I just stopped taking it after a few days and depression eventually got better on its own.

  9. Hello Brian, I am using your story for my psychology class. We have been studying mental disorders and this is the one my group got assigned. I am sorry you had to go through something like this, it seems like a very scary experience. If you don’t mind though, I would like to ask a few questions. How long did you have this disorder? How long were you on Paxil? what do you think the main cause of your disorder were? Thank you for allowing me your time. Sincerely, Julia.

    1. Hi Julia,

      My experiences started in August of 1997, and I still had occasional episodes with it until 3-4 years ago. The early episodes were debilitating (crying, terrified, calling parents for help, seeking medical attention, etc.), but the more recent ones typically occurred while driving at night. I no longer seem to have any problems with it, which is why I try to encourage people who are suffering with it to stay strong.

      I believe mine started from a combination of things – depression, stress, and smoking too much marijuana (from a water bong). My family history is rife with depression and nervous disorders, so perhaps I was prone to having those problems whether or not a drug was involved. I personally know others who have had similar problems from using illegal substances, but their symptoms didn’t seem to hang around quite as long. People who have commented on this article also frequently mention marijuana, so perhaps there is some connection.

      Paxil was wonderful for me, because it slowly caused my panic attacks to cease. I believe panic disorder and DP/DR are closely connected, because I almost always had a panic attack when my DP/DR flared up. I can’t remember the specifics, but I would guess I took Paxil for close to a year. I tried Paxil again a few years ago while feeling depressed, but I couldn’t tolerate the side effects.

      Feel free to use my story, but please remember that I have never been diagnosed with this disorder. I had no idea there was even a name for what I was experiencing until I stumbled across it while watching the film Tarnation. I kept having “aha!” moments while later researching it online, and I can see so much of myself in some of the comments people have left on this site.

  10. Im only fourteen and I experience this and I have never tried drugs in my life. Pretty much everyday I get panic attacks and waves of nausea along with this. All the doctors ive seen dont know what to do and I have had pretty much every test done imaginable. Im pretty much hopeless /: .

    1. Carolanne,

      You are definitely not hopeless! Just hang in there and I promise things will get better. I know that seems like meaningless advice to you right now, but I believe it is true. I will be thinking of you!

  11. Hello! Thank you for writing your post. I have also been experiencing this for the past few months now, since smoking weed for the first time. I think it is getting better recently, but it is sometimes hard to tell. I just started therapy last week and I think that is definitely improving the situation. I still constantly feel like my hands aren’t really there, and I feel like that’s never going to go away. I can work myself into a panic by focusing on it, and then it just escalates from there. Because my hands don’t feel real, sometimes what my hands just did (like brushing my hair away from my face) won’t seem real. I am incredibly scared that this will never go away, I am so mad at myself for even trying marijuana. I want to feel like myself again so badly. Also, sometimes when I am watching TV, or even glancing at another person, and I see them do something, it’ll sort of feel like I did it? It’s a very weird feeling to explain, but I think it’s related to my depersonalization with my hands. Any thoughts or advice? thanks!!!

    1. Hi Sierra! It sounds like therapy is helping, so I would just continue with that. Because your problems started with marijuana usage (like mine), I believe the symptoms will improve over time. I understand when you said you can work yourself into a panic when you focus on the symptoms, so I would suggest trying to keep yourself occupied with something that distracts you from it. Hang in there!

  12. Thank you for writing this article, it is helpful. I have been experiencing derealisation and depersonalisation for 5 months now, since a panic attack when smoking weed and a bad trip. I became obsessed with big philosophical questions about life and existence for a while which really scared me – but I have found out that they are a normal symptom of the condition which made me feel better on that front. However I am now experiencing really terrifying depersonalisation – I feel like I don’t recognise myself and I have no idea how I got into my own body. When I speak I barely recognise my voice which makes it difficult to socialise and distract myself. Words sometimes sound funny too and I often find myself repeating them in my head. I have the illusions too, sometimes where I feel like the whole room is moving (but don’t actually believe it is) and sometimes just struggling to focus on small images or objects so that they move a bit. I have been terrified throughout that I am developing psychosis or schizophrenia, but everyone says the fact that I’m asking that means I’m not. I keep trying to tell myself that I would be the only person ever to worry intensely for months about developing a psychotic disorder before it actually happened. I have been on citalopram (I think celexa to you) for about 4 weeks but honestly can’t tell if it’s making it better or worse. I go to university quite far from home and keep thinking I should just go back to my parents because I’m so scared I’m about to lose touch with reality or forget who I am. But then I think that would only provide temporary relief and I need to stay here to realise I have nothing to fear from myself. I guess I am trying to ask what is the worst that can come of depersonalisation? I feel like I am constantly on the edge of losing my mind, but everything I’ve read and heard says I’m not. I just don’t understand how something that feels so scary and crazy can be harmless. Sorry this is a long post but your article and replies have just been really reassuring.

    1. Hi Izzy!

      Thanks for your comment. I can sympathize with what you are going through, as I had some of the same symptoms. Due to the number of comments on here that have mentioned marijuana as the catalyst for developing DP/DR disorder, I wonder if we could simply be experiencing some perpetual state of “high?” That is certainly how I felt for several months after my experience. I, too, felt I was losing my mind. I also had all of those questions about life/death/the meaning of it all going through my head. I literally thought I had died and entered some kind of afterlife where everything feels different and time moves slower. And aren’t those the same kinds of things people think about and feel when they are high? It is all rather intriguing.

      I would suggest staying on the medication for a bit longer to see if your symptoms start to improve. I know most antidepressants take several weeks to build up in your system, and as long as it isn’t making your symptoms worse, then it’s worth a try. I also agree with those who say you aren’t going crazy because you are very aware of what is happening. To put it a little less tactfully – most crazy people don’t seem to realize they are crazy. =)

      Anyway, good luck with everything. It actually hurts my heart to read comments like yours, because I have been through it and I know it is overwhelming on the best of days. Like I have told others, please just hang in there and know that things will get better with time. The brain is very good at healing itself, but it takes a while.

    2. Hi izzy I am experiencing the same thing as u in terms of asking philosophical questions,not recognising myself,and it sounding funny when I talk.i experienced a whole load of other things too and when I looked into it it sounded jus like a spiritual awakening although some of it also sounds like depersonalisation.spiritual awakening also talks about your old ego dying am becoming a new spirit so I thought this is what happened and maybe I had really become a new person.

      Are u still going through it?
      Please reply as I don’t kno what to do

      1. Hi Brenda, I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing all these things. As Brian said above, it hurts to hear about other people feeling as awful as I know I did. The good news is that I am much better now, which proves that in the future you will be too. Depersonalisation is 100% something you can recover from. I’m not saying that I feel perfect all the time now, or that it was easy getting here, but I can assure you from personal experience that you won’t feel this way forever. I think the spiritual awakening thing is interesting – I definitely that dp/dr was the catalyst for me to really look at my life and accept that I had issues that needed dealing with. In that sense I guess I am a new person, and certainly a much happier one than I was when all this began. I don’t know what has triggered your dp, but I would advise you find a good therapist who can help you work through things. Dp/dr are side effects of anxiety and/or depression, they are your brain’s (very counterproductive) way of trying to create a safe space in order to take a break from stress. They are NOT a disorder of their own, as some internet pages would have you believe, and therefore I think therapy will help you realise what it is your brain is trying to protect you from. This doesn’t have to mean that you have any sort of serious problem – it could just be every day stresses weighing you down. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to talk to a doctor or therapist, lots of doctors are relatively clued up about mental illness now, and if yours isn’t then maybe try going directly to a therapist. I know what you’re experiencing sounds crazy to you but I promise more people will understand than you think. I would also strongly advise staying off the internet – this is one of the few helpful pages I found, many others just scared me into even more of an unnecessary panic. A final recommendation (if it is anxiety that you’re experiencing) is to download the app ‘Anxietynomore’, even now I keep this in my phone and find it comforting to flick through it in a bad moment. I want to reiterate that NO MATTER WHAT has triggered your dp you CAN and WILL recover – believing that is half the battle. Keep strong, you’re not alone!!

        1. Thanks for the reply.how did u overcome this?i have gotten over that stage of asking questions and hearing myself however I am still in some kind of altered state of mind or consciousness as I stil don’t recognise myself or feel familiar with people around me,I am also seeing the world differently as if I’m like an observer in the world an some other strange stuff,I feel like mine has gone too far an there’s no way back

          1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this Brenda. I can promise you that there is a way back. I remember feeling the exact same way – everyone told me that it was just a symptom and that it would go away, but I felt sure I was experiencing something that couldn’t be reversed. I thought I had crossed a threshold and I would never regain my normal perceptions, and would float in this weird non-reality forever. But it wasn’t true. Once I got the proper therapy and really started addressing my issues I was able to understand why I had been feeling the way I had, but more importantly realise that dp/dr is nothing to be afraid of. This is definitely the biggest hurdle. Dp/dr is a reaction to anxiety and stress, your brain detatches itself when it feels life has become too much. This is obviously a scary feeling, which makes you worry more, therefore exacerbating the dp if you see what I mean? Once you accept it and no longer fear it, your brain will have the rest it needs and eventually return to normal. No one can put a time limit on this – it will probably take months and won’t be a straight road. Once I started feeling better I still had days of intense dp/dr, but it’s important not to let those days throw you back into despair. To be honest I never could have achieved any of this on my own and therapy was necessary for me, but everyone’s different so you need to find your own path. I hope this helps, I haven’t been keeping up with this page recently so I’m not sure if you’re feeling better anyway! Take care, Izzy

  13. Hi Brian,
    I would really appreciate a reply back from you as i am so terrified out of my mind. I’m 17, and 27 days ago i smoked a joint which caused me the biggest panic attack of my life and haven’t felt the same since. I try to talk to my family about it but i feel like they are all going to think im crazy. Everything feels different and im afraid i don’t remember what normal feels like, i feel so foreign in my own body, even looking at my hands freaks me out.. i have such bad anxiety on the daily and i just dont know how to deal with this. Ive been to the doctors multiple times thinking it must be something else, but i really think its what you experienced. Everything feels so unreal and i cant stand feeling like this anymore, i just want to feel normal. What do you think i should do?

    1. Brian,

      The I did the same thing as you. I smoked a joint about 5 – 6 months ago and had a major anxiety attack. I do also feel foreign in my own body from time to time. I do not feel the same. It bothers me. But I push forward. Maybe my brain will heal itself over time.

  14. ~ Its causing such a change in my life, i can hardly sleep and waking up is terrifying because i just dont feel like myself. No appetite and i just avoid everything.

    1. Hi Jen,

      I am so sorry to hear that you are having problems with this. Since you have been to see the doctor (and assuming he/she ruled out any physical problems), I am afraid there isn’t much to do except ride it out. I know that probably sounds pretty bleak to you right now, but I know from personal experience that it will get better. It just takes time.

      Do you think your doctor would be willing to prescribe some anti-anxiety medication for you to take until your symptoms improve? That certainly helped me in the early stages. Also, I believe there are some OCD-style tendencies with this condition (the more you think about it, the more you exhibit symptoms), so try to distract yourself by engaging in activities where you won’t be as apt to think about DP/DR.

      Whatever you decide to do, just keep telling yourself that things will get better. It’s like the old saying, “Once you’ve hit bottom, there is nowhere to go but up!”

      I hope your start feeling better quickly, and I will be sending positive thoughts your way!

    2. Jen,

      I just had a conversation with my partner about your comment, and we did some research online about the connection between marijuana and depersonalization. Apparently, the marijuana only acts as a trigger (there can be many other triggers like stress, sugar, etc) and not the cause of the symptoms. I found the following article by Ronnie Freedman, Ph.D. wherein he describes why so many of us attribute our problems to marijuana and what the true causes of depersonalization are. I am going to add the link to the original post, but I wanted to make sure you see it as well.

      http://www.anxietybustersblog.com/?p=344

  15. Can this state of mind occure even without drug use? I am about to go to my final psychological examination very soon (for autism) and all shrinks were sort of surprised after I described me as the content of my head with rest of my body being irrelevant, sort of a machine to carry me around. I don’t feel like it belongs to someone else, it just doesn’t feel like a relevant part of me. I don’t feel or seek physical stimuli of any kind, the only ones I am interested in are mental ones. I don’t drink, don’t do drugs, never had sex or a relationship as both are just ridiculous ideas.
    By all accounts I have Asperger’s and thankfully 130+ IQ, so I am able to live relatively normal life. It is theorized so far, that my detachement is side-effect of the dimmed emotions and high intelligence. However, it is just a theory.
    Through observation and study I managed to learn how to act around which people, I created my own personal masks and just change them in response to the situations, with my ‘cold’ self hiding behind them.
    It just boggles me, so I’ve hit the net and came across this page. Perhaps it is just a side effect. Perhaps I just get two disorders for price of one… Perhaps someone feels the same?

  16. Hello Everyone!
    I am sooooooo glad I came across this feed. I suddenly feel like i am not alone in this, and its not me just going crazy. . . I hope i am not going crazy.
    Anywhooo a little about me- my name is Jillian. I am 23 years old, I am from Pennsylvania. All of these feelings started a few years back. What would happen would be the light blinding me so much that i felt my sight went black- it would lead to an anxiety attack. I would jump out of the car or bus because i felt as if i were to have die on it. My hearing also worsen- i hear crickets and chimes most of the time, sometimes i have to ask people to repeat what they say. Most the time it is because I’m lost in my own thoughts that i wasn’t paying attention. i went to the doctor and he gave me medicine for anxiety- i hated it. it was called Lexapro (sp?)…. anyhow it made me feel High and out of my body so i stopped taking it.
    It wasn’t until this year where I’ve been feeling my body doesn’t belong to me. i get lost in my own thoughts at a dinner table with friends, and then when i come out of it – its like a shock to me- like i forgot where i was. I could be walking around and feel I’m not controlling my foot movements, my life, my breathing, my thoughts. THIS IS TERRIFYING! I often decide not to go out to social gatherings anymore, ill call out of work, and ill just lay in bed all day to avoid these things and feelings at all cost.
    I have no one to talk to about this- i tried talking to my dad but he just yells at me saying its all in my head and theres no such thing as mental illness and to “knock it the fuck out”….. oh, how i wish i could just “knock it the fuck out”….
    I don’t know how much this has affected everyone else life on here, but it has completely ruined mine. I haven’t smiled or laughed or had fun in 5 years. I try to stay strong hoping that this would go away on its own. it is just such a scary feeling…. its ruined everything.
    Im scared to do things like have children, get married, see the beautiful things life has to offer like oceans and mountains…. why?- because when i look at these things my mind doesn’t register is as real and i have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not asleep…. that i haven’t gone off my rocker.

    Im not saying I’m going to kill myself or anything that serious, but i would be lying if i told you i haven’t thought about ending my life at least once a week. i never actually will go through with it. Most of the time i just put on some headphones, listen to some tunes, and cry. I just don’t know what the purpose is to keep on living a life like this. Its like I’m so scared to live, be happy… I’m a prisoner in my own skin,

    This is not me. This was not me years ago.
    Can someone who may know wth is going on or can relate please reach out to me ???
    please tell me this all gets better because i just can’t handle it any more.
    you can even email me at fetzerheim[at]gmail.com

    anything would help and would be appreciated. please don’t be shy and share your story as well if you want.

    Thank you,
    Jillian

    1. Hi, Jillian!

      Thanks for your comment. I can promise you that it DOES get better. Please read the article I attached at the end of my original post that explains in more detail what may be causing your problems. I would also recommend that you talk to a licensed therapist as they may be able to help you with some coping mechanisms. While you may actually need anxiety/depression medication, some of the side effects can actually mimic symptoms of DpDr disorder. Good luck to you and hang in there!

      P.S. I edited your email address to help prevent spammers from getting it.

  17. Hello my name is Tyler. I must say this is one of the better threads I’ve seen. I too suffer from Dp/DR. My dad passed away in front of me at age nine so my therapist thinks it started from PTSD. But as most of you I tgink it was due to weed. Same thing happened I smoked and then all of a sudden the world turned into some type of Alice in Wonderland effect. I have always suffered from panic attacks and I use to think it was fun to depersonalize myself late at night just to see if I could get the feeling. I did it too much and now I’m stuck in it. For about 4 years now just feeling like I’m a complete alien in my own skin. I look at friends and family and there faces just look different. I question many things in like, god, existence, how the hell we all got here or if we’re just a figment of someone elses imagination. None have any factual answers for me and that’s hard for me to cope with. I like having answers to questions, like a math problem having the answers in the back of the text book. Unfortunately that’s not an option. The symptoms are terrifying feeling like I don’t know where I am or like I don’t reconize anything around me. Like I have been air dropped from another universe into this one. But the worst is not really being able to acuratly describe the way I feel. Like I don’t know myself or that my brain doesn’t belong in the body I’m in. But even still that’s not even spot on. I wish I could just find the right words to 100 percent describe the way I feel. Sometimes I start to feel better but then I even question that, like do I even feel better? What would feeling better even feel like? It’s so confusing and it’s like I have a pinball machine of emotions going on in my head at all times. I just want it to go away. Thanks for the thread it’s really informative.

    1. Hi I have just seen your post and I am going through the exact same fing..I feel like I am an alien in my own skin,I don’t feel familiar with my friends or family anymore it’s like I never knew them,I also feel like I don’t know myself and like I never existed and my body has been taken over.i also experienced the questions about existence and life but when I looked up about the questioning and also some other experiences about feeling like a new person and other things I Experienced it sounded like a spiritual awakening as it talks about your awareness changing,becoming a new creation and perceiving things and the world differently but now reading about dp and Dr it also sounds a bit like this what u an I are both going through so I’m confused

      Did u find out what was wrong?r u feeling any better?

  18. Hello Brian,

    I was wondering if DPDR has something to do with not sleeping. I haven’t slept in 2 weeks. I have practically been bed bound for 2 weeks. Sometimes I believe I faint and suddenly I’m aware of myself and I’m panicked and very confused and scared. My thoughts are very random and confusing and weird it’s like I’m dreaming. And when I’m out of bed I feel dizzy aand that I ccan’t hear. I’m always talking to myself in my brain and feel that my brain is empty and if i stopped talking to myself I’d die or go crazy.

    This has been hell for me. I don’t know what to do. I feel so cold and isolated and I don’t care about anything in this world. I also keep searching for my symptoms and different diagnosis that I could relate to. I can’t find a way out of this. I never did drugs I’ve only been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

    I would really appreciate you replying to me.

    Regards.

    Youmna

    1. Hi Youmna,

      I am truly sorry that you are going through this. Going without sleep for two weeks would definitely be reason to see a doctor. As a longtime fan of Michael Jackson, I know he went without REM sleep for several weeks before the end, and he had many of the symptoms you describe (feeling cold, brain won’t turn off, dizziness, confusion). Please make an appointment and see a physician about your lack of rest. There are many physical and mental disorders that can contribute to sleep deprivation, so you will need to discuss things with someone who is much more qualified than I am.

      Good luck with everything, and please check back in to let us know what the doctor had to say!

      1. Hello Brian,

        Thanks for getting back to me. Actually I went to the ER last Wednesday and they said that I do not have anything it’s just anxiety “as always”. I took a blood test and “as always” came back normal. so I don’t really know what is the problem with me :( Can you suggest what kind of a doctor I should visit, and what kind of tests I should take? because I have no Idea.

        Thank you again. xx

        1. Do you have a physician that you see regularly outside of the ER? If so, maybe they will have access to your patient history and have more of an idea what is going on. I’m not sure what kind of doctor deals with sleep issues, but I know doctors often order sleep studies (where you are hooked to monitors and watched while you sleep). Maybe that would tell them something. I’m sure anxiety could be keeping you awake, but most anti-anxiety medications will make you drowsy.

  19. My name is John I’m 24 sadly I’m just now learning that this is a real disorder. All these years I felt I was insane. My story is much like the others here. My childhood was very tragic filled with abuse and I was raise around drugs. At age 13 I was smoking weed and was use to it. Except for one night something different happened. I smoke a joint with my group of friends. I was fine until I rose up from the couch. Suddenly it hit me.. my vision became like I was wearing a scuba mask.. or like I was looking down tunnels. I freaked out and my heart was pounding. I thought I was dying. Later I realized it was a massive panic attack. After that the smell of weed became a trigger for my panic attacks. As time went on it only got worse. I felt like nothing was real. I couldn’t even recall what normal feeling was. Soon I developed more triggers and became so withdrawn. My panic attacks turned to paranoia. At age 16 I was at my worse. I would barely leave my house. I would only drink bottle water and eat food I made. Becoming high was my biggest fear. I feared losing control. I developed nervous ticks so I became a target for bullies. Also teachers didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me. My family didn’t understand and my therapists had no clue. Socially I can’t function normally. I dropped out of high-school because of my illness and the bullying. Though around 20 I slowly overcame much of my problems. Though I do still have episodes. In fact what brought me here was an episode. I still have issues finding a job and handling social situations. But I’ve learned how to manage my panic attacks and I rarely have them now. I use to have multiple attacks a day but now I may have one every few months. When an episode of feeling not real or not myself. It only lasts a few days tops and it only comes once in a while. With time you learn it’s just what it is and you get use to it. So far I’ve gotten my G.E.D. and Driver’s License. I did work but now I’m out of a job. Point is I’m slowly taking my life back. So there is hope for those who suffer with this problem just as I do. Never give up hope and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    1. Hi John! Thanks so much for your comment. I am sure it will help others who seem to have lost hope along the way. Would you mind expounding on how what mechanisms you used to help overcome some of your problems with DP/DR disorder? I think it would be great information to share with us.

  20. Well the best advice I can give. Is patients be patient realize there is no cure for this illness. There is simply learning to cope and manage the symptoms. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. I know when the symptoms are at their peek at least for me. Are before and after panic attacks. Usually I’ll start feeling very out of touch with myself, like physical sensations seem numb or not as I feel they should. The look and feel of my body or part of it seem strange. I feel as though I’m trying to leave my body behind or something like that. It’s very scary and you can never really go use to that feeling. However what I’ve done over time is develop an awareness. The moment I start feeling my symptoms I try to remain calm. I think or sometimes if necessary I speak it. That, “I know what this is. I know I’m ok. This is all just in my head. I’ll be ok.” Something like that I also try to find somewhere to be alone and calm myself. It’s all about conditioning yourself and coming to terms with your problem. It does take mental discipline and determination. You will have to want to beat the symptoms and not let them control you. No matter how scary the feelings get just keep in mind you will be ok. There worst thing that can happen is you have a panic attack and even that will pass. If you find yourself unable to just calm down or think clearly. Develop a small ritual to calm yourself down and to take your mind off of the problem. When I’m at home my ritual to calm down is to wet a small hand towel with hot water. Then place that around the back of my neck. Then I sit down breath slowly and remind myself that this will pass and then I read something or watch tv. The towel help relax you and gives you a sense of security. The meditation of the fact that I know what this is and I’m ok. Helps to calm the mind and then placing your focus on reading or doing something helps you not to concentrate on the feelings. Eventually they will fade away and you blessed fine. Though if you are out in the world it’s best to learn how to meditate and find a quiet place to just calm down and refocus. Just be patient, meditate, develop a strong will to beat this and just keep on living your life. Don’t let this illness stop you from doing what you love.

  21. Hello! A few weeks ago, I had a massive panic attack while with my friend and I don’t know if it had to do with weed because it had been a few days since I smoked any. I did drink NyQuil though so I don’t know if it has similar effects. It resulted in derealization to the point where I thought I had died and entered an afterlife.My perception was bad to the point where things didn’t look right, as in they were too far away or too close. I don’t know if I’m still undergoing derealization as my perception is normal but I keep questioning life and existence. I try hard to relax and not overthink but my mind won’t relax and for some reason, I don’t register people around me as humans, or people that I grew up with. I know who they are but the attachment is no longer there and I my brain keeps asking if they’re real and wondering what they are. It almost feels as though they’re alien to me.. I had short bouts of depersonalization where I felt like I was floating and my hands and feet weren’t part of me, as in they were moving automatically. I want to feel connected to the world again because this is very crippling and it’s as if I cannot stand to be near people anymore because they scare me and look unnatural. It’s like, I can’t wait to go to sleep because it’s the only time that I feel normal and like I can relax. I feel more normal in my dreams than when I wake up. I don’t know if the derealization that I had just changed my view on everything or if I’m still experiencing symptoms. I’ve also noticed that my sight isn’t as good as before. Sometimes it becomes blurry and unfocused. I just want to go back to normal.. I want to stop overthinking about where I came from or what I am and just live a normal life and focus on things I used to love. This all started a month ago so I’m hoping that it isn’t permanent. Please, if you know of any way to come back to the state of mind that I was in before this whole ordeal or ways to be able to overcome it and co-exist with it, without it crippling me then I would love to hear it. I was on some anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication called zoloft but it made me feel worse so I had to stop taking it. My sister is considering hypnosis to help me overcome this. If you have similar experiences or found a way to overcome and cope with this, you can email me here: JHopkin4@gmail.com

  22. Hello everyone! i’m an italian girl and i’m 20, until now i was sure that i was the only one who has experienced DR in this world. The first time was in novemeber 2012, i’ve smoke a lot of weed with some friends and suddendly i felt like i was into a dream and i woke up every 5 seconds. Environment was like a painting, and my perceptions were completely fucked like alteration of sounds and time and other feelings dued principally to the drug, like my eyes burning ecc.. i vomited, DR lasted about 2 hours and after I slept it finished. So i came back to reality and i wasn’t scared about this experience not at all. I have smoke weed other times and first it doesn’t appear, but the next month i felt again DR so I decided that I would never smoke weed again. And so i did, But on february 2013 during a big festival in my city I suddendly felt again DR, i had not smoke, i was pretty drunk, but like many other times, i think that weed smell reminded me that feelings and DR came back alone. this time I was very very scared because I realized that Dr could return even without smoking! the next weeks i was depressed, I didn’t know if the world was real or not, if dr was went away or not, i could not get out, i was very confused, so i decided to talk with my parents and with a psychologist who knew nothing about DR, she didn’t understand what i was talking about. Then i was very angry, nobody could understand me, my fears, everyone undervalued my problem, i was completely alone with the constant fear that DR would come back. i started to avoid crowed places because they remindes me the last experience. but slowly, in 2 years, i almost won. now i can go out without paranoia even if i prefer avoid cowded and noisy places, but i think i’m in the right way. i work hard every day, that’s not easy at all, but there’s hope for everyone! I have succeeded totally alone!
    so, that’s my story, i’m sorry for my english :D but if someone want to write me, my email is: floreale94@hotmail.it

  23. Brain I know in one of the first commits that were made about a spiritual battle in my opinion are true I do think weed is a trigger of it and achool doesnt help but I do find going to church and being born again did help me I have dpdr it’s diffently scary especially before I thought it was just me I thank you for posting it helps me a lot I pray for the people that have this it has diffently change me life it has also made me appreciate the small things in life. If your not in a church and still have symptoms maybe try my foot steps each person is differnt
    meds can only help so much.
    Maybe something to think about.

    1. Hi john I am going through a lot of experiences mentioned above of feeling like it is not me in my body,feeling like I am in a dream,and many other weird experiences.i also had a phase where I was questioning about life and existence and when I looked this up it sounded like what I was going through was a spiritual awakening and it talks about becoming a new creation and perceiving things differently so I agree that it sounds like a spiritual thing that many has described however there are some symptoms which I have not come across in a spiritual awakening so I’m very confused.

      Did u go through something similar?

      Do u have an email I can contact u on pls?

  24. I have always had an immense reaction to weed, one time, i passed out and fell out of a window and fractured 2 vertebrae.
    Despite this over-reaction to Weed i have continued to smoke it. I can only smoke literally a puff at a time and even that can cause me to feel extremely wasted.
    The other week, while at home, i smoked a single puff out of a pipe and sat down to watch a movie. I suddenly realized i was completely wasted, worse then ever, and because hardly any time had passed i knew it was about to get worse.
    I sent me into a complete breakdown where i felt like i was about to die. I felt like i was drifting from existence and the sensation was so overwhelming, beyond description. It was the detached feeling that effected me the most. Looking at my arms and feeling like they were just something i could see and not feel.
    I did everything i could do basically survive (thats what it felt like) until this moment passed. It took around 4-5 hours. I finally was so exhausted it put me to sleep.

    Since then i have several occasions where completely sober i have experienced the same sensation, not as dramatic, but enough to put me into panic and fear, and experience that same feeling that my body/arms are gone and that i myself don’t make any sense and i can’t figure out who i am. I almost feel like i am just the spirit of myself floating.

    About an hour ago i realised my left hand was very weak, i could move my hand but when i clenched my fist, squeezing it was hard. My index finger was the worst.

    This sent me into panic and the disconnected feeling increased dramatically and my perception of everything became so warped. I feel like i am high (in a scary uncontrollable way) and its impossible not to focus on and i get so scared and it gets worse.

    I am still feeling the effects of all of this which lead me to the internet to find some answers (to try and remove this anxiety that i know is fueling it to some degree) and this is how i found this page.

    I’m so relieved to see the exact problem i am having written by multiple people. I thought i was showing symptoms of pre-stroke or SOMETHING. I still feel like i need medical help so that it is noted.

    This has only been happening for a few weeks but is getting worse everytime and i am about to break down in fear that this will be my life forever.

    I read the article about how weed is simply a trigger and that factors like anxiety/depression and an under productive mind are huge contributors so…. yeah….

    I’m glad i am not alone… :( thats all i can say.

    Time to completely stop smoking weed because even if its just contributing and not the cause, this feeling is enough to frighten me off it for good.

    Thanks for listening…any comments are appreciated :(

    Danny XX

    1. Hi Danny,

      Thanks for your excellent and descriptive comment. Like you, I decided to completely stop smoking weed. I was still around it and tempted from time to time for a few years afterward, but I never touched it again. As far as the article about marijuana being a trigger, I also found a lot of truth in that. I don’t believe the sensations are imagined, but I do think they are worse when we compulsively think about them. Good luck with everything!

  25. Thanks Brian, while travelling and living in a foreign environment with people I do not know for the past week my symptoms were greatly exaggerated. I felt like I was peering out of my body and I had a very strong sense that time was simply washing past me (being an adolescent with many changes happening, particularly the loss of my brother to suicide). Alone in a large industrial building used for arts (I was in one of the metal working areas next to forges etc) for a little over two hours I became very aware of the metal chain dangling from the ceiling with a stool underneath. I was very aware that I could hang myself with this and had an uneasy panic attack-esque (I have suffered panic attacks in the past which I very actively got over) feeling until others entered the building – other dangerous items around caught my attention but did not linger like this. At one point I had to cling on to a safety mechanism I have had since the death of my brother which is knowing the effect it would have on my mother were I to end my own life. I have always had a curiosity for self inflicted injury – I might see a metal fan and have an overwhelming urge to stick my finger in it.

    Backstory (marijuana – possibly synthetic due to intense effects from tiny amounts; it was semi popular at the time): The experience was many months ago in a friends shed. We were intending to smoke some marijuana which we’d bought a few days previously but his brother offered us a “warm up joint”. *Side note: I always feel particularly depersonalized for days after smoking marijuana and while “high” have a tendency to lean in, covering my face with both hands, while feeling intensely disassociated with reality – “the giggles” feeling extremely hollow*. My memory ends with placing the spent joint in an ashtray but I am told I remained silent and motionless in the usual position until falling forwards off of my chair. What followed was intense fear and desperation with matching hallucinations: My back was repeatedly broken while I was blind, I experienced intense waves of pain which were in time to blinding white light and utter darkness, at one point hallucinated that I was acting violently towards my friends and also hallucinated being taken up the garden on an ambulance stretcher. The whole time I felt like I had a noose around my neck and somehow knew I was no longer on the chair causing me to feel as though I’d hung myself. I awoke to different degrees slowly first rolling onto my front then kneeling before being helped to a chair and so on. I felt extremely peaceful for the weeks following as if I’d had some epiphany on the nature of consciousness. The usual feelings of disassociation with reality soon came back far more intensely.

    The man I was working under had repeatedly drilled into me that the code for turning off the security system was Valentines Day. This was my brother’s birthday and I think this had stuck in the back of my mind the morning on which I entered the building on my own.

    The effect of all this is that I googled my feeling and came across this helpful article – will do further research.

  26. Hello..suffered the same too for four months now and have not seek medical help again since I went to one clinic and they adviced that i drink alot of milk and water and av done so still no change…av suffered nausea,insomnia,fatigue,loss of appetite,DR,DP,stress and up to date m still not in my real world…this started after I ate 2packs of weed cookies and drank hot tea which i believe acted as a catalyst…so what do i do though am relieved m not the only one going through these..what is the best advice?

  27. Thanks for posting this man.

    I had a very similar experience after smoking weed and bouts of depersonalisation/derealization afterwards, not to mention before. I’ve always had anxiety, and I was scared of losing my mind. I came here after panicking while lying in bed, questioning reality. It’s very scary when it happens, but it always passes. I’m improving all the time, but sometimes it can get you down.

  28. I don’t feel real and existence feels like a thin blade that I am constantly slipping from. It’s like I am high all day. Every morning I wake up and feel like it is the first day of my life. It is the most uncomfortable feeling.

  29. I’m trying to figure out if this is what I have. It didn’t start after taking drugs (well apart from alcohol), but I’ve noticed during my bad hangovers for the last two years i feel disconnected to my arms, like i can control them, but like they aren’t mine. I don’t know if I’d describe it as a numbness or a awareness of them, i guess in a way both.
    I suffered from panic attacks during a pregnancy plus am prone to fainting anyway as sometimes my blood pressure just suddenly drops (family condition). But what you’ve written above describes how i feel about my arms when hungover or when having a panic attack, could this be it?

  30. Sorry for any mistake because my English is not so good
    Last night I was sitting with my friends and I was very curious about the thing they were smoking a joint and inside the joint was ganja and tobacco I decided to try it and I was going to smoke ganja for the first time
    I smoked 8-9 times but nothing happened to me after sitting with my friends for about half an hour we all left for the metro station,I was very confused after smoking ganja nothing happened to me then why are so mad about ganja
    Real trouble started after 1 hour of smoking when I was in themetro,I felt very sleepy so I closed my eyes then after opening eyes after 2-3 min I was not able to differentiate whether I am in a dream or in real world I tried to talk to my friends but I was not able to listen their voice and could not understand what they were saying,even I did not listen my voice in my head I know what I am going to say but when I spoke a word I was not able to listen what I was saying when all these things was happening I felt like that metro was moving but when I asked to my friend whether metro is moving or not,he said by moving his head that metro had not moved past 15 minutes,so to know whether I am in a dream or not I told my friend to slap me he slapped me 3 times back to back but I didn’t feel any pain then I said hit me again then in the fourth time I felt a little bit of pain
    After that I was feeling very very thirsty due to peak hours metro was very crowded after that I felt like I was suffocating in the metro and came into panic and told my friends that I am going to left the metro whatever the station comes
    All these happened to me 2-3 times and once a thought came that I am going to die because everything was so strange
    I think I had cut myself from the real world because I was seeing everything with my open eyes but still was not able to process any information in my brain and I was feeling very light weighted.I felt like my brain was saying that everything around you is fake and you are the only one
    When I reached home I slept instantaneously and slept for 9 hours and when I woke up everything become normal
    Anyone knows what was happening to me please tell me in the comment box I am very worried about my experience
    Anyone having the same experience please write in the comment box so that I can know whether it is normal or I am the only one having this type of experience

  31. I smoked weed for the first time a few months ago and it was great! but i’d also taken a bunch of painkillers the night before and assumed that was why my body felt numb-ish and foreign for a few days after. When my skin got wet, it didn’t feel wet it just felt a little cold. I told someone that my body felt numb and automatic so they pinched my face real hard and it hurt so we just had a laugh at that.
    But now the feeling is back again and i’m not afraid and it’s not affecting my mind i think, it just feels unreal. I haven’t done any behavior/mind-altering drugs recently so it’s not that. Is this depersonalization?
    I just rubbed my eye–my hand felt the texture a little and there was a cold feeling on my eyes for a few seconds, but it didn’t feel like i touched my eye myself. does that make sense??

  32. I’ve had this for years now, I was officially diagnosed about a year ago and the only treatment that I’ve found to work is marijuana. My case wasn’t caused by anything and I never used before I developed it. Sometimes it gets to the point where I will space out for up to 6 hours at a time in a trance that nobody can wake me from. Marijuana helps ground me and prevent this from happening and has so far been starting to relieve some of the symptoms little by little. If anyone else out there is going through this, the first thing I suggest doing is seeing a psychiatrist before you try to self-medicate.

    1. Brian,

      Seeing a psychiatrist is good advice for others. I am intrigued that marijuana is helping your symptoms when so many here report marijuana as the trigger for their problems.

  33. I have never been diagnosed or even spoke to anyone for that matter besides my sister and husband briefly… I need help. This first happened to me after drinking and smoking a joint nearly 10 years ago. I am only 27 and a mother/step mother of 6 children, wife, employee, student.. I can’t live with this feeling anymore. I feel like I am going crazy. I have even hallucinate in the past, saw things that weren’t there… This is ruining my life. . I feel like I am slowly going to end up in a crazy place. My husband doesn’t really understand. My hands feel foreign,my heart is changed, my head feels heavy, I’m temperamental, my once fun loving self is gone I am disconnected and afraid unless keeping totally occupied.. I am lost, scared and can’t imagine having to deal with this shit for the rest of my life. .. I really appreciate this blog. ..

  34. Hi all.

    Before my panic attack off a combination of weed and alcohol,I used to love the feeling of dissociation.Alcohol,cough syrup and weed used to give me that feeling.However,all that changed when i had a mega panic attack on weed and alcohol.This resulted in a brief psychotic episode.What followed was constant dp/dr which made me believe even more that i had pushed myself into psychosis.Constant guilt and self-blame led to a deep depression.

    I visited a psychiatrist and was prescribed 25mg amitriptyline before bed.It calmed me down(it greatly reduced my dp/dr to a point where it was almost gone) but after a while i got tired of its side effects.I have now been off it for 2 weeks and the dp/dr is BACK.

    Constant fluctuations in lighting caused by dp/dr leads to panic,which in turn leads to anxiety,and lastly depression.It seems to be a cycle which seems impossible to break from. I just hope that the dp/dr is a withdrawal effect from the amitriptyline because i don’t think i can live like this.

    I have two questions:

    1.For those people who say that their effects wore down,did they use medication?If they did,what medication was it?Brian,how long did you use paxil?

    2.How do you cope with the constant foggy brain,lack of motivation,sensitivity to noise and light and all other symptoms of dp/dr?

    It has been 2 months since the panic attack. Thanks.

  35. Hey, I’m not sure if this is what was going on with me but as soon I felt better I started doing research to try and find out what happened to me. I honestly surely feel I experienced a case of DP last night. Everyone around me just made it seem like my anxiety was acting up and u was hyperventilating. I keep trying to tell them someone was going on it my head. I was here but I wasn’t there at all. I’m 20 years old and a female. I tried to smoke week and I definitely know smoking is not for me. In my opinion is knewe something was wrong with me pretty quickly. I instantly knew I was not going to be able to drive; but I just figured that mustuff be how it feels to be high. I kept trying to tell my boyfriend how I felt, but couldn’t stop laughing during it. I told him to get my keys because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to. I thought the way I was feeling was that make believe way people always felt on tv. (You know all the pretty colors, swirls and mushrooms) I didn’t have the pretty colors nor mushrooms but my vision kept on blurring together. The ground wasn’t staying leveled, poles and trees kept moving. I figured if I stayed perfectly still I could get everything else to too. I described it as feeling heavily tipsy. I felt like all that happened in rushing seconds. Out of no where I felt like a computer shutting down. Everything was getting real dark but I could see my car. I grabbed my car and started to walk around in circles holding on to the car. I felt no matter what I could not stop moving. I was so scared, I didn’t even smoke a lot but I know I had to call my dad. I got my phone and didn’t see my dad in my recent contact screen. I almost freaked out because I didn’t know how to get into the phone. As well as the phone kept moving around everywhere. The phone was in my hands but seem to be everywhere. I managed to get to my dad contact and hit call. The phone kept ringing over and over it felt like forever. My boyfriend the whole time kept asking me “baby are you serious” & I couldn’t answer him. I kept looking at him but couldn’t answer. After the phone range for like the thousandth time my dad picked up. Before hand u thought I was going to go to voicrmail. I told my boyfriend. “Bby something is wrong, Idk what is but something is wrong. If I drop this phone and my dad doesn’t pick up I need you to keep calling my dad until late he picks up” my dad picked up and I was trying to tell him what was going on. I was trying to get it out quick I thought I was running out of time. I told my dad my direct location. Told him I couldn’t talk. Told him I needed him to come to something wasimilar wrong, I smoked something daddy, come get me daddy” over the phone I could hear my dad running through the house grabbing keys. My dad had to hang up and I kept begging him not to. I needed to hear my father’s voice. He told me he had to hang up and call 911. I finally let him off. I kept walking. The grass had disappeared, the sky began to seem like it covered everything with like grey litttle markings going through the air. I no longer felt the ground but I knew I washould walking. I couldn’t stop walking. If I stop walking I may never have woke back up ever. My dad felt my pulse I was at about 170. He was trying to calm me down, I ran to my dad and just hugged up. He had me slow down. From a fast paste to a slow paste. He kept talking to me the whole time. The ambulance came out. I could talk, we’ll hold a decent conversation from my point of view. They were having me sign stuff, I was asking what I was signing. I was in my right mind but my mind was gone. I wanted to make sure it was okay with my dad with what I was trusting. I was signing paper work saying I understood I was saying I did not want to get in the ambulance. It was my decision to let myou family take me to the hospital. I thought I should have been went took them over 20 minutes what others said. To me so much longer. I was tore between getting in the truck or getting in the ambulance. I was crying to the ambulance person because I said I wanted to be with my dad but what if something happened to me on the way to hospital. My dad truck doesn’t have what your ambulance has. Although I went with my dad, I refused to me parted. I told my boyfriend to get in the truck. Sometimes he doesn’t talk much, especially when he doesn’t get what is going on. So when he got in the car I told him “bby I need you to talk to me, okay? Talk to me bby don’t stop? So bad the whole time I wanted it to be a dream and I wanted to be asleep. But I kept telling everyone around me don’t let me go sleep. I kept talking to my mama; who passed away 5 years ago and told her I missed her but it was not God’s will for us to be together yet. I started singing gospel. I hated when the lights went off and I hated when the lights were too bright. My feet and hands were freezing cold. It was cold outside but not like that. My temperature would change in seconds to freezing on and off again. I heard themail lady in the way tell my dad it was okay. She was like the mother of the hallway and she sees a lot of trouble teens. I kept thinking to myself I tried this one time and never again will I. Normally I’m a good girl and don’t do anything wrong and now the hospital thinks I’m a troubled teen. They stuck patches all of my chest and stomach. Had wires hanging all off me that they had to unconnected everytime I went to the restroom. Lawd. I hate needles they had to put a needle in me, an IV. They were putting fluids into me. The lady told me she was putting something in there to make me sleepy and I felt like bursting out in tires. I felt why was she trying to call me. I didn’t want to go to sleep. If I went to sleep I wasn’t going to wake up. WOW didn’t realize I wrote so much until now. Hopefully someone reads it all

  36. I have been having intense anxiety and DP for about 1.5 years. I need an opinion.

    In May 2014, I fell and hit my head in my house (due to dizziness from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), sustained a concussion and was hospitalized for about 2 weeks. After 2 months they did an MRI, and said I had no brain damage, REMARKABLE recovery.

    HOWEVER – while in the hospital they gave me a combination of gabapentin, modafinal, and some antibiotics. I have had DP ever since I got out of the hospital. Do you think the meds could have triggered the DP?

    Past history
    I tend to think the concussion DID NOT trigger the DP – simply because throughout my life, I have fainted many times throughout my life (from dysmenorrhia, nausea, stomach ailments, and bumped my head head a few times. I hever developed DP before.) I’m 60.

    I don’t smoke weed or drink alcohol (although I did smoke some weed decades ago, mostly in college). I gave up alcohol after my last hospital stay (when I hit my head). I never drank much throughout my life after college, just a couple of drinks once in a while.

    I suffer from chronic fatigue and depression. Those have gotten a little better lately – I have found some natural OTC things that seem to help. I have a low-stress lifestyle – retired at 59, I’m married, husband still works, and really have no bad problems, compared to most people I know. I have many friends who have very complicated and difficult problems, but I have nothing like that.

    I eat a gluten-free, auto-immune Paleo diet, no alcohol, hypoglycemia diet to control blood sugar. I take thyroid medication. I have experimented with a number of OTC supplements for fatigue, thyroid, adrenals, and depression. I take B vitamins, D3, magnesium malate, vitamin C, ferritin, B12 tabs, selenium, curcumin.

    This is a great blog.THANKS!

  37. I am not an advocate of smoking pot but I have a many times in my life.blaming your emotions on a substance like this is a cop out. I know all people react different to substances but also believe that the prescribed medications by doctors are way more harmful than helpful. Compared to pot they can end up harming people way more. If the medicines help you then that is a great thing. But to have a medication alter your anxiety or mood for massively extended amounts of time is to alter your perception of life all together. People are way to quick to think that anxiety and negative thought patterns are bad things. They are built into us. If you can avoid suppressing your natural brain functions with medication you may just realize that these feelings are meant to be let out. Medication is just another form of bottling your emotions and I personally hated the way I dulled and sometimes nullified my emotional state all together with medication. Everyone will argue and disagree because they think that these scientist have it all figured out with anti depressants. We are over pampered and over prescribed. Get help when you need it. Not forever. We cripple our minds ability to develop and grow emotional strength by blocking our natural reactions to the world around us. We give our children these chemicals? Sadly later in life they will never be able to cope without these substances because we didn’t let their minds keep up emotianally with the world around them and how their bodies should naturally respond to anxiety and depression. I am willing to bet that 1 out of 10 people diagnosed with mental illness or anxiety are actually in need of serious help. The other 9 are just people with mild issues that could easily be resolved naturally. The true creation of the problem stems from all people these days wanting a quick fix to something that would pass soon anyways. To those one out of ten of us I truly sympathize with your situation and hope that your doctors and medications work well for you. I suffer from massive depression spells and I also have high anxiety and 10 other things that would be diagnosed as some crazy acronym. But I also don’t take the easy way out and I realize that being an emotional person is not a disability. It is who I am and when I was on medicine it may have helped me cope but it also stole a lot of my natural happiness and perception of the world around me. Pot goes away fast. Medicine goes away as well. Beyond that we just dig our own holes in our mind and feed into the thought that we all have mental issues. And guess what. We do! It’s natural. A true mentally unstable person is less common than we are led to believe and thier issues are much more dramatic
    And pronounced than a simple dream feeling real. Or a mild anxiety after smoking pot that we freak out about and call severe. Don’t let your doctor tell you four crazy. Give it time and see the world as raw as you can. Even if it hurts a bit. Atleast you know it’s real

  38. I’m so thankful you posted this, I thought these feelings were caused by my anxiety and depression, and lately it’s gotten worse and scared the crap out of me, now that I know what it is and that i’m not alone I feel so much better, thank you;also, i’m 18 but I can not really remember a time save early grade school that I didn’t feel like this, anybody else?

    1. Also(couldn’t figure out how to edit), does anybody else find that it goes away briefly sometimes when interacting with others?

  39. Hey I’m just wondering if someone also get a wierd feeling while talking or heavily breathing? Like someone else is saying something for you.

  40. The last time I smoked Mary J I over smoked and it messed with my head and I had a panic attack. Now everyday I feel my body numb I can’t feel it it doesn’t feel like my body I over think to much and this happens and I can’t feel my lips or tongue of anything unless I pinch my self hard or something it freaks me out cause ur story is exactly what happened to me and I just want this to go away it’s stressful and scary I can’t stand it

  41. I have overtime thought I am literally losing my mind coz I have experienced these symptoms…two days ago I was hallucinating and these effects/symptoms have been bothering me cause I have felt that I am losing touch with the reality that I have known. My speech is now affected and I cant engage for long in conversation like I did before. I thought I had to look this up online since I had suspected I am having a serious mental disorder. What might have caused me DP/DR disorder is the trauma and shock I have experienced and I am pretty sure MJ worsened the situation. I really want o reconnect again with nature and reality, be as normal as possible . I swear I miss the ME that ive always been

  42. is there any parents out there that have children going through this? I am so lost on what to do and I feel so helpless! My 17 year old son has been suffering with anxiety for a long time he started Zoloft for it in jun of 2015 but the anxiety got worse it started turning into depression he rarely came out of his room…. the mere thought of going to school was causing him to be nauseated. He started drinking and smoking marijuana with his friends he told me it made his mind stop for awhile and it helped. In January….. nothing helped. He had described every single symptom listed here. He thinks he is going crazy…. he worries about things that don’t make any sense like why do we speak the way we do how did society form in the manner it formed…..etc…. he is a presidential award winning scholar and now I can’t get him to even do anything! He went impatient in January and then spent most of February in an outpatient program. We are still not any better and I feel constantly like I’m running out of time…. he says he feels like his “dream like state” is more of a reality than reality is…He has not been diagnosed with this however after reading it I KNOW that’s what it is…. he has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder with agrophobia (think I spelled that wrong)….he’s on 3 different meds (Lexapro, Buspar, and hydroxine) we keep upping the dose but to no avail….. he’s still in therapy now….but I will take any and all advice especially from anyone who has been through this….. does it get better or am I lying to him? How do you live with it? does it go away completely? will he lead a normal life???

    1. Amanda – It does get better. He is in a cycle that will be hard to break out of; trapped inside his head by his inactivity and refusing to be active because of his mental state. I would suggest trying to engage him in anything else as much as is humanly possible so that his mind can stop dwelling on all of this heavy stuff. Good luck to you all as you go through this.

      1. Thank you Brian! That is exactly what I am working on with him….I just made him join my softball league lol and told him he needs to get some kind of job to make him get out of the house….I hope the cycle does break soon :(

    2. My son is 24 and has been hospitalized 4 times, (is now in again) he speaks of the same things that are in this article, he is a senior in college and should be graduating in May but has had to take the last year off of school because of this. My son has been diagnosed with several different things, has been on 16 different medications over the past six months and nothing has worked for him. He also isolated himself in his room, when he did come out to eat dinner maybe if we were lucky we could get 2 words out of him. He was a pot smoker for 2-3 yrs but has not touched the stuff for almost four years now, is not a drug user, not a drinker…. and I do not pretend to be a doctor but we are trying ECT treatment, he has had two so far and is in-patient at one the worlds best facilities in Belmont Massachusetts , I have all the confidence in the world that this will help him, already just after two treatments his thoughts are better. I know as a mother what you are going through and the roller coaster ride is horrific , my heart goes out to you but don’t be afraid to seek different types of treatment for him, my son has had this for almost a year now , has had no life, cut friends off, and nothing that used to be important is anymore, he cant work, cant go to school, and has become socially awkward. This is the scariest feeling and the most traumatic for us mothers because we want to just rip it out of them and take it on ourselves , but we cant and we feel hopeless. Please also get help for yourself, you are no good to him if you are a mess yourself. I also signed him up for social security disability to help him pay his car loan and insurance. Seems like a small thing but when he gets out of the hospital I don’t want any unnecessary stress put on him. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  43. I have been dealing with this lately, I have to admit I smoked alot of weed when I was younger. I noticed this feeling started when I stopped my anxiety meds, I kept being admitted to the hospital for over doing it with my anxiety meds and since my doctor found out she suddenly and abrumptly cut me off my meds. Being a doctor I understand her worries of losing her license but at the same time, as a doctor who was giving me the meds in the first place isn’t it her responsibility to ween me off? I have been feeling this uncomfortable feeling, almost as if I’m not in my own body, my actions feel odd, forced and alien as if I feel the world is watching me, I’d describe it as a “Truman show effect”, simply standing around is akward, I feel displaced and odd as if I have the word retard written on my forehead and I constantly feel uncomfortable, in fact I’m only comfortable when I’m home alone, even then I still feel like the dogs and cats I have as pets are looking at me. I noticed alot of people on here are saying this started as an effect of Marijuana I wonder if that is true, I did smoke alot, yet it didn’t start until about 2 years after I stopped, then again I was on various benzos around this time, perhaps that stopped me from feeling the sensations I now feel. My mom thinks I am suffering from depression and when I try and describe to her what I’m feeling it’s even hard for me to interpret, I’ve suffered from various psychological illness at one time or another throughout my life and my family has always suffered from these issues, I just thought it was an effect of being from a communist contry I never thought it was genetic until recently, my mom has been dealing with depression and anxiety issues, and it has effected my entire household she stress’ out over the smallest thing, I just dont know how much longer I can deal with this feeling.

  44. hi i suffer from sever anxiety and panic attacks. i was told by my doctor when i went on the sixth of this month i dont leave my house i often feel like im going to forget my self and everyone around me when i went to the doctor i was so scared my heart got up too 193 i get mostly scared of having a tumor or going to have a heart attack also the memory scares me a lot too i dont want to forget anything im 24 years old and my life has been nothing but hell since i was 5 years old but i think my attack are caused from pot because a friend of mine smoked around me and since then i have had panic attacks is seems never ending plz help.

    1. Amanda: I can’t be sure, but it would surprise me if second-hand smoke caused you to have panic disorder. What really struck me was when you said that your life as been “hell” since you were five. I would think that would be much more of a trigger for anxiety and panic attacks than a contact buzz. But, again, I am not a professional and certainly not qualified to diagnose anyone. Panic disorder is very serious, and I am pleased to hear that you are under a doctor’s care. I wish you much success with your treatment.

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