What Do You Do When Anxiety Makes You Feel Unreal?
I've been having a horrible time with anxiety. It still affects almost every area of my life. And although I've certainly gotten lots better at coping, my anxiety seems to be developing a new wrinkle: walking around feeling so alienated from the world that nothing feels real.
Oh, I still go through the motions, of course. I sleep, work, eat, blog, etc. But much of the time, it all feels like it's happening to someone else. It's like I'm not even there and have been replaced by a stranger who looks, talks, and acts like me but is actually not me.
I've had days lately where I feel like I'm losing my grip on reality. It's a terrifying experience. How this internal nothingness can cause so much pain is not something I understand at all.
When Anxiety Makes You Feel Unreal, What Do You Do?
Like I said, this is a new experience of anxiety for me. I've heard of dissociative disorders. I even knew feelings of depersonalization were common with anxiety disorder. It's just it was never more than intellectual knowledge -- until now.
I very much welcome your thoughts and suggestions about what you do when anxiety makes you feel unreal. This week, I need your help too.
Weber, G. (2014, August 6). What Do You Do When Anxiety Makes You Feel Unreal?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2014/08/what-do-you-do-when-anxiety-makes-you-feel-unreal
Author: Greg Weber
i cannot explain because of other weird feelings.i prefer dying than living like this.
to sum it up i feel like my body is old and outdated.
HealthyPlace can't give medical advice or mental health diagnoses. If you have been going to the same doctor/clinic and are unsatisfied with how they examined you, you definitely have the right to see someone else at a completely different clinic. Also, if you think that your symptoms might be mental health related (such as anxiety disorders or other conditions), you might consider visiting a therapist to share your symptoms and medical history. It's frustrating to feel unheard, and you really do have the right to see other doctors/professionals.
However, for the first time in a week or two, I get to feel like I'm finally 'me' again. No need to search through my past memories trying to piece together what is 'me' and inevitably ending up with the conclusion that 'my mind is completely fucked.'
Do you have a map of the world in your head? A way things are meant to 'feel' when you look at them; like no matter what happens, reality can't change, so it's all okay? Well, I felt like that at some point. Certainly not during this month. It doesn't feel like I'm a different person. For me, someone who became obsessed with computers and games from a young age, it feels like I'm behind the screen and I can't get away. That's the definition of 'unreal' we're dealing with here.
Everything feels like it's spinning, nothing feels the same, everything feels completely weird and different, or rather, I feel completely different.
Yesterday, I had a very annoying experience. Mind fog - that thing that prevents you from thinking clearly - overwhelmed me. I didn't know how to think, my thoughts were lost, but I was still fundamentally rational; somewhere inside. Like I was constantly asleep, or constantly not real, that my thoughts are completely mismatched with reality. That last one is the one truth. It's the worst feeling ever. There's nothing worse. It's the absolute worst I've ever felt, and I know it's the absolute worst I'll ever feel.
Disassociation. When nothing feels the same, nothing feels familiar, and you can't calm down know matter what. That's how it was for me. That chronic feeling of pointlessness shows up as well. No real 'sense' of anything; completely out of it; completely out of whack. So afraid to let go of my now-fragmented understanding of the world that I can't get better. The feeling that I'm awake when I'm asleep and I'm asleep when I'm awake.
But at any rate, I feel much, much better right now. Fog has cleared up 75%. Mental faculties still there. It was never like they were disabled, after all.
The wonderful bit of irony is that it is, of course, entirely my own fault. I didn't want to lose whatever fragmented sense of self I had left, so I became inactive, and the only thing I tried to do was 'remember how things were'.
But, of course, that didn't work too well. All I succeeded in doing was consciously crippling myself, slowly shrinking the things that I can do while anxiety slowly erodes my consciousness. I won't say that 'depression is a victim-less crime' or anything of the sort, but in my case, it was entirely my fault for responding in completely the wrong way.
The constant mental discomfort I felt is alleviated somewhat now, and I can at least accept the depressive feelings currently attempting to topple me. Well, it's anyone's guess whether I can return to the way I was before, but since I like to think of myself as a person who has been pretty well-linked to reality, I'm sure "I'm" out there somewhere. I've recovered my ability to feel positive feelings, so there's a step in the right direction. Concentration still incredibly low. Still pretty depressed, though. Still feel like a complete shell of myself. Can only hope that I'll improve after sleep.
Yep, I'm venting. Meh.
Depersonalization/derealization can be frightening experiences. You likely already know that dissociation involves a disruption in the way things like emotion, perception/sensory input, etc. -- basically any psychological function can be involved -- are integrated in the brain. It's not widely known outside of the psychiatric community that dissociations can be "positive" or "negative." These don't imply judgement like good or bad. They refer to whether the dissociation involves an intrusion or a loss of something. Intrusions are “positive” because they are added to the person’s normal psychological experiences. The experience of watching yourself talk, move, etc. is considered an intrusion. It’s extra. Dissociations can be negative, too, in that they involve the loss of something. Memory is the most common – amnesia. But having difficulty talking can definitely be part of depersonalization. Of course dealing with the difficulty talking, of watching “someone else,” is highly anxiety-provoking and can worsen the symptoms. Knowing that your experiences are part of dissociation might help you decrease your anxiety a bit. Keep seeking information! That’s an important part of reducing depersonalization and derealization.
I went to paramedic school and had no real issues except for the fact I was diagnosed with light sensitive painless migraines, which sounds great but my migraines would replicate a stroke, I would get a numb right arm, problems seeing, dysphagia, couldn't control my thoughts. once I found out I had these I took precautions wearing sunglasses and learning breathing techniques. So happily I haven't had a migraine in about a year. Anyways I am married now to a new great lady and she knows I deal with this stuff sometimes. unfortunately my paramedic career didn't last long for reasons that have nothing to do with my derealism problems, and I went to doing security, a job I did in my early 20's.
About a week after my wedding my wife convinced me to go to my doctor and he put me on escitalopram, I've been on it for about 2 weeks and I feel a bit better, minus some asshole side effects. A friend of mine told me I might have started getting worse because my job is dull and all I do is work, for years I've been in a fast paced high stress jobs that makes me feel more alive, my panic would help me focus on the job at hand but now I sit and watch a computer, so my mind might be possibly trying to have panic responses because it's used to it. Time to get back into the shit I spose ;).
Keep strong people, lets get help and get our voices about this in the public. I love you all. don't suffer in silence.
I play baseball and I sometimes get attacks during practice or games. These panic attacks have truly overtaken my life. I refrain from so much in fear of getting another attack. I've learn that sleep and meditation help, as well as, not consuming a lot of caffeine. Please... if anyone has anymore advice let me know.
Jilly I relate most to your comment. You described it the same way I do. Twilight Zone is exactly right!! It's petrifying and I've had multiple panic attacks recently because of it. One being at work...that was fun...not! I travel an hour and a half to and from work 5 days a week and since starting this job in august, that is when the anxiety got bad. I've dealt with anxiety for a while, but mostly mild. I struggle with obsessive thoughts as well. And everything has just gotten worse recently. I think the job and commute has been a big trigger. I've never been good with change.
Thank you so much to everyone on here for sharing.
It first began in high school in class settings. Something would trigger the attack and I would suddenly had feelings of u reality or like I was in a "dream state". I would be having a conversation with a student next to me and feel as if they were not even there and everything would sound differently.
After analyzing myself during theses attacks, I noticed I would become sensitive to sound, such as the rustling of people moving in their seats, pages turning, etcetera.. At this point I would begin to freak out and the panic attack would begin.
Through the years, I've learned that breathing techniques have helped me cope during the attack and have helped bring me back to a more normal state. I also learned that caffeine increases the potential for these attacks.
I also learned that going with the flow of the attack has helped me deal and cope with it as it prevents my mind from "feeding" the attack with fearful thoughts this increasing the anxiety. Also focusing on a topic at hand and not the symptoms of dissociation has helped to decrease those feelings.
I hope this helps you guys as much as this thread has been beneficial to me. I'm just glad I'm not the only one dealing with this. I always felt alone in this battle.
Stay motivated and fearless!