Going through something so terrifying and painful has brought me so much happiness and knowledge. When you are in the depths of it, you don’t see anything good that could possibly come out of the experience. But as time passes, things start to fall into place and you realise why you had to go through what you went through. To become the person you are today.
One year ago, I was a mess! I was depressed, anxious and experiencing a very scary feeling called depersonalization/derealisation (dp/dr). I felt like I was living in a dream and felt very detached from my surroundings. My mind just felt like it had shut down and that’s exactly what happened. From what I have read about dp/dr, it is caused by ongoing anxiety that just exhausts the brain to the point where it can’t handle any more information. It shuts down as a way to protect itself, as if it’s saying ‘hey, I’m extremely tired from all of this worrying and stress, I need some rest.’
I’m nearly 100% free of this feeling right now, and I have got to this stage through just letting it be, not fighting it and doing as much normal stuff as possible. A lot of the ways I have dealt with the dp/dr and anxiety applies to everyday life, so I thought I would share the most valuable lessons I have learnt through this experience.
Let it be and let it go
As I said, letting the dp/dr be and just going with the flow is really what has made it pass. Fighting against it and giving it more worry and stress only makes it worse and keeps you in the cycle, so learning to live along beside it and not letting it control me has really helped. There are some things that you just can’t control, so by letting it be or letting it go, you can free yourself from a lot of stress and pain!
Feel the fear and do it anyway
It is hard to do things outside of your comfort zone, but what I have found is that you feel so much better after you put yourself out there and do something that scares you. You feel good about yourself and it builds your confidence. With the dp/dr, I had to feel the fear and just do it anyway, especially when going out and interacting with others. I wouldn’t have gotten better if I just sat at home, being afraid of how I felt. I needed to go out and do things that made me uncomfortable, which told my mind that these things I was doing were not scary at all and would not hurt me. A great book called ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers is amazing if you want to kick fear in the ass!
Embrace change and look for the light when you are in the dark!
Change is inevitable so rather than dread it, embrace it. Change can be a good thing! It can be cleansing, refreshing and exciting! If you have a positive attitude towards change and new things, they will be so much more enjoyable than if you fear them. Change can bring new opportunities and new lessons to be learnt so why not just embrace change when it comes! When things change and it creates negative emotions, know that this will pass and that there is always either a blessing or lesson in every experience. Train yourself to look for the light when you are in the dark and a lesson in everything you experience.
It’s so important to look after your mental health, so make it your top priority and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, or just have a chat with a loved one! It’s the best thing you can do if you are feeling a little off.