There are days I wake up feeling as if everything around me is not real. I am just watching myself live my boring, everyday life and wondering why I can't connect to anything. I remember being able to do that yesterday. I know the person in the mirror is me, but I don't feel like it is me.
I know everything around me is real, but I don't feel it.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you may be suffering from Depersonalization-Derealisation Disorder (DDD).
DDD is a form of dissociative disorder. It is when you continuously have an out of body experience or you feel as if nothing is real. It makes you feel as if you are living in a dream or experiencing the world through a fog, and this can cause anxiety.
Having this feeling does not necessarily mean you are suffering from the disorder. It is only a problem if it is happening continuously for long periods of time such as hours, days, weeks or even months. About 50% of the population has had this experience, but only two percent of them are actually dealing with the disorder.
The person experiencing it is aware that it is only a feeling and not the reality of the world. The symptoms start mainly in mid to late teens or early adulthood. The chances of experiencing it at a later age are very rare. Only five percent of the cases happen after the age of 25.
This disorder is common with people who have had a traumatic experience like assault or accident. It can also be caused due to the individual being under a lot of stress or experiencing depression or anxiety.
It can be due to genetic factors that make you more predisposed to this disorder. It can also be brought on due to the use of recreational drugs. Maybe it's a symptom of another disorder like schizophrenia, acute stress disorder, which is another dissociative disorder. It can also be due to medical conditions such as temporal lobe epilepsy or a migraine.
The symptoms include out of body experience, feeling as if you don't really have control over yourself, emotional or physical numbness, disconnection to your own memories, feeling alienated from your surroundings and people you care about, things appear to be blurred, colorless, two dimensional, distortions in perception of time, size, distance, shape.
It can cause a lot of problems in the individual's life with work, daily activities, and even relationships. It is also hard for the individual to describe the symptoms, but it is necessary to get help if it is affecting the individual's daily life.
There are a few treatment options available.
They include talk therapy and sometimes even medication. There are also cognitive techniques, behavioral techniques, grounding techniques, and psychodynamic therapy. The best way would be to talk to a therapist to find the treatment that is best as it is a very individualized disorder.