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demar_desol t1_ixs08y3 wrote

At the height of my depression, my dissociation was so intense that it was actually the more severe symptom of the two issues. I didn’t talk, I wasn’t processing any sensory information for hours at a time. It was like I was in a coma. Contrary to common belief, Xanax is not just used for panic. My doc prescribed it three times a day to get me into/started at an IOP. Xanax saved my life, allowing me to actually wake up because my threat level was decreased by the medication, making my brain/body feel safe enough to basically come back online in a safer scenario. I was disappearing for years. I was gone at that point, my amazing doctor make an amazing and seemingly counterintuitive call that really changed the course of my life and got me feeling safe enough to check back in with the world around me.

Dissociation is like living in a fog for all of your senses. It’s a long term issue people struggle with, being that it’s a limbic nervous system response to danger (perceived or real). Just like fight, flight, freeze, fawn- but it can sort of lock you in that state. Just like panic disorder or panic attacks. It’s not just feeling groggy or sleepy or daydreaming. you get stuck in (or often cycle in and out of) your own body. It’s terrifying, but in depression, it really does the job of self preservation to stop the pain. It’s the body trying to help you. It’s responding to a threat. Goes hand in hand with PTSD and cortisol production. So wild. Very happy I don’t struggle with it as much anymore, but it still comes back sometimes when I hit overload.

Read the body keeps the score if you’re interested in learning more about trauma - it’s a great book to get started on if you are dealing with complex trauma and mental health issues of any capacity.


theblacklabradork t1_ixsu51o wrote

I had severe dissociation that started after having a 10mg edible at the end of August (live in a state where recreational THC is legal). That, coupled with my depression (must have been severe) kept me in this state for almost a month. I felt like I was never going to be "myself" again. I actually wanted to be my depressed/'normal' self I was so desperate. I had panic attacks at the idea that this was my new normal, which was so weird because I don't suffer from generalized anxiety. It felt like I was watching myself do things, have conversations, and have a hypersensitive taste/smell where things disgusted me and I had no appetite. Very terrifying 0/10 would not recommend.

Anecdotally as well, I was put on a high dose course of steroids a few years ago for an injury and wasn't weaned... this messed with my cortisol and gave me horrendous panic attacks for the first time in my life. Mid 20s was the first time I experienced anxiety/anxiety attacks. Holy hell that's rough. I can manage my depression for the most part, but anxiety to me is a whole 'nother level.


TerpenesByMS t1_ixsxnnb wrote

Yes, THC isn't for everybody that is for sure - even though CBD helps to hold back the psychosis-like bits. THC seems to act like an amplifier for the subconscious, so if there is something under the surface it comes roaring out. Especially with edibles, where it lasts for a long time. I'm sorry to hear it affected you like that. Likewise for steroids (probably prednisone), there is a direct interference with cortisol there.

How are you with exercise and/or meditation?


theblacklabradork t1_ixsz6zo wrote

Thank you - I realize now that I'm currently not in a good headspace to use mind-altering substances. I may try CBD, but am even hesitant right now to try that.

Consistent exercise actually helped tremendously. About a week after I started a routine, my dissociation started to lift. I remember the last thing to ease back to normal was the hyperosmia. I honestly thought I had a brain tumor, it was so troubling and I was terrified that I was 'stuck' in this third-world view of my life forever.

I can't say I've truly tried meditation aside from guided sleep meditations from time to time - but would absolutely be willing to try them.

Yes, the steroids were prednisone (I should have mentioned)


DisastrousClothes t1_ixtakt0 wrote

How did you get past this/what helped?


theblacklabradork t1_ixtficn wrote

I scoured the internet looking for the answer to your question. The consensus was "it happens, bro - chill out! it'll be over soon..." yet day in day out it dragged on. I really thought at one point it might be a good idea to institutionalize myself but after talking with my partner, she reassured me that I was going to be okay.

I came across a comment on reddit about someone who experienced something similar to me after an edible, and it took them 11 days to get over the dissociation. This gave me hope.

For days 1-5 I was in denial it was happening on, coincidentally on vacation so I thought I was being simply lighthearted and 'care-free'. I actually drove with my mom two hours out of state and cannot remember a single moment of that drive nor the way back. It was like my brain was on autopilot and thankfully nothing happened to us. In hindsight I should have pushed more for her to drive but she insisted. Dangerous and stupid, imo. I would be at the table having a lighthearted conversation with my parents, laughing at their dumb jokes and just being... happy? But in a definitely-not-myself way. My parents noticed but assumed I was in simply a good mood from being on vacation... Maybe they even thought I was using edibles during that time because of how silly I found things. I felt like the words I was saying weren't mine - I would be thinking one thing and responding the opposite. Same with my body's movements. One minute sitting down at the table, the next working on something in the yard without a care in the world - even (relatively) dangerous stuff like fixing a riding mower without really knowing what my actions were. I'm a mechanically inclined person, but I absolutely was not of sound mind when making the repairs I did and working on things I did. I really could have put myself and my dad in danger with my carelessness during that time period.

Days 6-9 panic day in and out. Worried that i was going crazy, not being sure of what was real or not. Finally realizing something deeply wrong was happening and I was not getting better. Started panic researching online for cures. Nothing seemed to help and I was getting desperate. My dad (back at home) was asking me to help him with the car and wanted to jack up his car but I flat out told him i was NOT comfortable doing that because it was dangerous and I didn't think I was in my right mind... he seemed to understand what I was hinting at and backed off. Panic attacks while walking the dog, didn't want to drive anywhere (took time off work), and felt nauseous at smells of foods I normally love. I really thought at this point it was a brain tumor. I was agitated more than usual, emotional and did a ton of panic crying at random things. My heart would race from fleeting thoughts, even walking the dog. It was like things were becoming aversions but I could at least recognize it.

Days 9-23 I still had mostly time where I wasn't sure if I was really doing things. Pain still seemed not real. I wasn't sure if I brushed my cheek from a rogue hair or scratched my face raw - it's as if touching my face at all never happened and I was unsure. I would ask my partner if I truly did things or if I imagined them. I had to be careful with what I did and take things one at a time.

Day 24 the dissociation started to lessen. By ~day 28 it got substantially better yet I was still sensitive to smells/taste.

Sorry for the long reply, but I'm hoping someone can find this if they ever find themselves in my position. It was truly terrifying feeling like I was trapped in some sort of other dimension, watching my body do and say things that I had little cognitive control of. It was scary, felt dangerous, and made me extremely cautious moving forward with mind-altering substances. I am not a drinker, don't take any drugs aside from THC (which I have since stopped) and was a light user (one a month or so) at relatively low doses with a low tolerance.

What helped me:

  1. exercise. physical activity that I could 'just do' without focusing too much on (walking on the treadmill), lifting light weights without risk of hurting myself, recumbent bicycle, etc

  2. staying hydrated. I drank probably 96 ounces+ of water a day (three of my hydroflasks) to make sure I was well hydrated at all times. I did this religiously

  3. using more fresh ground black pepper on all my food - some people claim that the terpenes can help with paranoia (anecdotal, but again I was desperate)

  4. browsing the internet to try and get my mind to focus on things other than panic (thanks, Reddit)

  5. letting myself feel the emotions I was feeling without fighting them (panic attacks) but also letting myself out loud say "this is temporary, this will pass"

  6. being able to take time off work/responsibilities (honestly I was LUCKY with this happening when it did)

  7. being completely honest with my partner about what was going on/telling my folks that I was dealing with panic attacks. My partner is my rock and has been for ten years - she's the best. My parents are old-school Eastern european immigrants that don't believe in mental health, so the fact that they were *somewhat* understanding, was a miracle. I didn't disclose everything to them, but they understood that I was having a rough time, so they gave me space when I needed it

  8. telling myself it would pass, eventually - and taking deep, calm breaths. I don't meditate per se, but this helped ground me a bit

Honestly this was an awful experience. In hindsight, I should have asked my partner to get me some CBD to try and counteract the effects, but you live and learn. It was a relatively recent time in my life that I am not interested in using edibles for now, but still have nothing against them nor people who can use them. Hope this helps anyone out there.

YOU WILL BE OKAY! I promise!!!


cthuluwamp t1_ixt66r6 wrote

reading your comment I just realized I was starting to disassociate. My first sign is that my hands feel reeeally far away, like i literally couldn't tell you if they were on the desk in front of me or literally an infinite distance away, even looking at them with my eyes where I can see they are right there, I can almost "choose" whether to believe that or not.

It makes me feel like we are in an illusion universe, like I'm plugged into some matrix computer somewhere, my brain could be on one side, my remote controlled hands on the other and I am seeing through the veil by letting my mind go.

If I let myself keep going my day and night would disappear and I'd find myself sitting here in the same spot sometime tomorrow.

This always happens when I am alone.

Weirdest thing is I can totally navigate society, yet I realize just how insane what I just wrote sounds.


Birkeland1992 t1_ixtni2g wrote

Dude I've been doing that all the time lately, where your hands/arms feel far away and everything starts to feel like an illusion. I literally didn't know other people experienced that stuff too. So, is this caused by depression?


cthuluwamp t1_ixwti0m wrote

I have so many problems that I couldn't begin to help you diagnose. Mine's kind of a trauma response which presents as depression. The symptom is depression, the protective technique is disassociation.


Batmansbutthole t1_ixtemel wrote

Man I’ve been struggling with this feeling lately and couldn’t quite pin down what I was feeling… Or not feeling. I got into a car accident where I broke my back, nose and collarbone. Had a spinal fusion and full body cast. Cancer on top of that. Definitely going to make a therapy appointment so thanks for writing this. Seems so obvious after reading your words, but the mental fog that comes with PTSD can make things so murky.


snake-eyed t1_ixth0j5 wrote

Thanks for your comment. I wonder if my dad might have this. He has some some pretty serious health issues, but five years ago (when he retired) it seems like he just sat down and never got back up. I wonder if this might have something to do with it. I hope you’re doing better now!