Derealization is the feeling that nothing around you is real. It is a very dreamlike, surreal feeling. Perceptions can be distorted. Derealization can be a symptom of many different mental illnesses, but also can be brought on by certain drugs or even prescription medications. It can also be a symptom of temporal lobe epilepsy. It is often brought on by anxiety.
I have been having on and off episodes of derealization for about a year. It started after my most recent psychotic episode and hospitalization. I didn’t know what was happening for a while. I thought I was going in and out of another world. My psychiatrist diagnosed me as having derealization, and I learned I wasn’t the only one with this bizarre problem.
Usually it happens for me when I am having anxiety and stress. Sometimes during panic or anxiety attacks. One time it happened while I was out shopping, which is normally stressful to me because I don’t like to be surrounded by a lot of people. Mostly it happens at home though, luckily for me. It can last for a few minutes to a few hours for me. It starts with a pounding in my chest, and then suddenly everything seems “weird”. Almost like I’m in a dream, but not quite. I sense that something is wrong. I know my consciousness isn’t normal, and I’m not in consensus reality.
There isn’t a lot I can do to deal with it when it happens. I try to slow my breathing if I am having an anxiety attack. I try to find things to do, and just keep on my normal routine. Some of the time I can only sit there and wait for it to go away.
My psychiatrist recommended I start therapy for this problem. To deal with the anxiety associated with my derealization. I kind of like the idea of seeing a therapist anyway. It will give me someone to talk about all this weird stuff with.