Q: I’ve suffered with anxiety for about 5 years now and some days I don’t feel like I’m in my own body. It feels like my mind is detached from my body, like an out of body experience. It happens to me a lot when I’m around other people. I put it down to my social anxiety, but it keeps getting more extreme. It’s really scaring me and I’ve not left my house for over a month because of it. I’ve done a bit of research on depersonalisation and the symptoms match my experience. Have you had experience with depersonalisation and does it sound similar?
A: I completely understand what you’re going through, and yes, I’ve personally experienced depersonalisation. I had varying spells of it throughout my anxiety, with a particularly bad episode when I was away from home in a hotel. Like you, I found it affected me the most in a social environment, which is very common.
I know it’s one of the most frightening symptoms of anxiety you can experience, but the key thing to remember about depersonalisation is that it’s nothing to be afraid of, and it’s not going to do you any harm. It’s just your body’s defence mechanism for dealing with things you find distressing (in your case, being around people). Your brain uses the option of shutting down to protect you, which is why it feels like your mind is detached from your body. The reality is, it’s not detached – it’s just your brain doing its best to protect you.
Like all the other anxiety related symptoms, depersonalisation stopped when my anxiety was reduced and balanced. My brain stopped thinking it needed to protect me, so over the weeks and months of my revival, depersonalisation became a distant memory. The same thing will happen to you.
ARE YOU DEALING WITH ANXIETY?
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