My experience with depersonalization/derealization
Start writing a post

It was my first year out of high school. I was working at McDonald's for almost my second year. I remember it being a decent morning. I came into work, dreading my shift. I made my morning coffee, and started my day. The customers were slowly starting to diminish my good spirit, and it wasn't even mid day yet. It first happened around 11:45 am, while we were in the middle of a big sea of customer lunch orders. I was standing in the drive thru window handing out the bagged food. All of a sudden, everything just stopped. My hearing vanished for a few moments. There was just a ringing. There was a loud ringing, that was getting more, and more persistent with each second. I tried to ignore it at first. Maybe the sounds were just too ear-splitting in the restaurant, and my mind needed a moment to focus. It took a bit, but my hearing came back, and it returned full force. Everything was BOOMING. I could hear people yelling inside and outside, the customers car blaring rap music next to me, the whooshing sound of the drinks being made in the machine, the dinging sound of the fryers, people chewing obnoxiously, the wind rustling past the window, and making a terrible creaking sound. It was all way too much. My heart started thumping erratically like it was trying to fight it's way out of my chest, because it didn't want to stay for whatever was about to happen. Every individual sound was piercing my eardrum, every light was too bright, everything felt fuzzy and funny, and something was wrong. I started panicking. I was full on pacing behind the counter. "I don't feel good. Somethings not right.", I told my boss. She proceeded to tell me that she couldn't do this right now, and that we were in the middle of a lunch rush. I tried to suck it up. I went back to my post, stood there, and started tapping my foot to distract myself. Everything felt off, like I was surrounded by a bubble of water, and someone kept taking a needle to it, and was purposely letting little bits of everything I had slip away with each second. My reality felt like it was riding away from me on a dirt road in the back of a truck, and I was running after it, barefoot and crying. And then the weakness came. My legs started shaking. I could feel every ounce of my strength inching away, and for some reason, I couldn't ask for help. The only communication I had, was the endless scuttle of terrible thoughts, and they wouldn't cease, or slow down. How could no one else feel the floor shifting beneath them? Suddenly, my body collapsed. I knew it was happening. I hit the ground with a thud, and everyone started rushing over. I can't really remember it all anymore. It was a blur. What happened to the customers? Who helped me up? How long did I lose consciousness? What about the food i had to hand out? What about the other employees? Soon, an ambulance arrived, and the first question they asked me was if I was pregnant, to which I answered no. Basically, they figured nothing was wrong with me. I was a healthy 19 year old. I went home early that day. I went home, and I couldn't stop crying. I had never felt that terrible, and scared in my life. Was I psychotic? Was I sick? Over the course of the next few days, I had that same odd episode a few more times. I later found out that it was anxiety. Anxiety that had never showed its face before. Anxiety that was giving me symptoms that I didn't even know existed. Anxiety that was giving me attacks that were angry, ugly, and brand new. In the next six months, everything began falling apart. I would call my boyfriend everyday, huddled in the corner of my room in the fetal posterior, and I would cry to him, saying that I was going crazy. For six months, I felt like I was watching myself from a helicopter that flew circles above me. Like I just wasn't there anymore. Everything felt fuzzy and off. I couldn't sleep. Right as I would begin to rest, and fall into a slumber, I would jump out of bed, heart thumping, and thoughts racing, with that same detached, panicked feeling. I remember laying in bed for hours, limbs buzzing, and I would wonder what was happening to me. Why did it feel like nothing was really there in front of me? I'd reach my hand out, and it felt like my fingers were in a different dimension. It felt like someone was living my life instead of me. Like I was in a snow globe that they carried in their pocket, while they walked around, and did everything that I used to do. I started getting angry. Pounding my fists, and having full on break downs each day, because EVERYTHING was different. Eating dinner felt strange. Going to the beach felt strange. Laughing felt strange. Every activity felt strange. Sometimes there was so much pressure, it felt like my brain was pushing against my skull, asking for release. Nothing was the same anymore. No one believed me. But how can you explain to others that you're living inside an empty shell of yourself that's being kicked around and piloted by another being, without sounding a little crazy? I wanted to yell at everyone. I wanted to tell them that I was still inside that lost girl, that someone, or something, was pushing me further, and further into myself and soon, I wouldn't be there anymore. Some days were better than others. It felt like someone would finally decide to take the cord out of my back, and I could walk, and talk, and just be, without feeling like there were screws underneath my skin scratching away each time I moved, or hammers banging against my brain, and taking off pieces at a time. It felt okay. Like I was normal again, and maybe I wasn't going insane. And then, I'd wake up the next day, and there was that feeling again. I always called them my "bad days." My family didn't understand. I would say "I just don't feel good today". And it was because I didn't. It wasn't a headache, or cramps, or a sore throat. It was a constant feeling of uneasiness, helplessness, sadness, fear, and an untethered reality. Life felt fake. It was as if someone was digging inside of my brain at night while I was sleeping, and they were changing everything I knew, like how to talk, to see, to walk, to hear. I was a zombie, walking through life. Was it even life? After six long months, things got a little better. My head cleared up a bit, my body stopped locking up, I could breathe, and see, and think my own thoughts. I later found out that what I was feeling was depersonalization/derealization. It is a common symptom of anxiety. It has many forms, but it can make you feel a string of symptoms such as feeling like you're an outside observer of your own life, feeling crazy, feeling like things aren't real, numbness, memory loss, blurry and colorless vision, distortions, and so much more. It was the worst year of my life, and no one understood. It's such a typical symptom of anxiety, yet no one talks about it. With medication, my symptoms aren't as bad as they used to be. They're still here some days. I'll wake up, and I know it's one of those days, but my mind is a bit more at ease. I know that I'm not going crazy, I know that I'm still me, and I'm here and I'm living, and it's okay, and someone... believes me. Anxiety hits hard. If someone tells you that things aren't okay, then believe them. Wouldn't you go a little crazy, if you were slowly losing yourself?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

New England Summers Are The BEST Summers

Why you should spend your next summer in New England.

Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

Keep Reading...Show less

Fibonacci Sequence Examples: 7 Beautiful Instances In Nature

Nature is beautiful (and so is math). The last one will blow your mind.

illustration of the fibonacci sequence

Yes, the math major is doing a math-related post. What are the odds? I'll have to calculate it later. Many people have probably learned about the Fibonacci sequence in their high school math classes. However, I thought I would just refresh everyone's memories and show how math can be beautiful and apply to physical things everywhere around us with stunning examples.

Keep Reading...Show less
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments