After letting go of the familiar numbness... tips for depersonalization?

A little background: I have depersonalization as a result of trauma, which has led to severe anxiety and repetitive panic attacks. Because of this, I developed a fear of travelling and being alone. This in turn led me to move back in with my parents, which has been a blessing. They are very understanding and allow me to prioritize healing (as long as I'm helping out around the house (: ). After a little over two months of intense healing, I am happy to say that I am no longer experiencing day-to-day anxiety and panic attacks! However, the depersonalization is putting up a fight.

While I am dissociated 24/7, driving is by far my worst trigger. Each time I get in the car to drive the short distance to the store, I dissociate almost immediately - everything I see becomes flat and warped, and it feels like I'm in a movie prop car with green screens for windows. I can't comprehend what's coming around the next bend, even though I've done the drive hundreds of times. The feelings are incredibly distressing - and while I am doing my best not to panic, in the moment it feels impossible to rationalize.

My question is this: when healing from depersonalization, how can I do better with bearing the transition? I truly believe that I am inching closer to recovery every day, but as avoiding the intense emotions and fear is no longer an option, I am now being constantly bombarded with feelings of unbearable sadness, self-doubt, and general discomfort in addition to the persistent out of body experience. I hope this is normal, to be feeling all these emotions while the dissociation is still a part of me, and I just need to wait out the storm. I am doing everything according to the recovery plan I created with my therapist: daily yoga, breathing exercises, driving every day to dissolve my fears, CBT & EMDR therapy, healthy lifestyle... I even took up skateboarding to reconnect with my mind & body!

I try my best to stay positive, but it almost seems worse now that I no longer have the numbness/avoidance to fall back on. I just have to be so incredibly uncomfortable every day and... wait for the symptoms to ease up? My life is slowly becoming more and more beautiful every day, but so much more confusing. I haven't even made a dent in easing the worst of the depersonalization. It feels like everything is being taken away, like all of this hard work isn't actually real and I'll never be able to stray too far from home.

Does this sound familiar to anyone healing from DPDR? Any tips on how to deal with these big feelings on top of the depersonalization?

Apologies for the long post, I appreciate all advice!
 

Ireusa

Confident
Woah, it sounds like you are making SO MUCH progress!! Kuddos to you and your hard work. I believe that now that you are less numb, it is completely normal to feel more raw and for emotions to start coming back. Even though it is uncomfortable, it is progress!!

I am sure you have tried, but driving with loud music and singing to it while my windows are down or the ACis on at full blast helps ground me a bit while driving dissociated.

You are doing amazing and pushing through 💜
 

Huxley

New Here
Self-compassion is good. Heaping piles of it when you need it. Embracing the hurting parts of yourself as you always should have been embraced helps you move through the experience and complete the cycle.
 

Gibson

Policy Enforcement
While I am dissociated 24/7, driving is by far my worst trigger. Each time I get in the car to drive the short distance to the store, I dissociate almost immediately - everything I see becomes flat and warped, and it feels like I'm in a movie prop car with green screens for windows. I can't comprehend what's coming around the next bend, even though I've done the drive hundreds of times.
(...)
Does this sound familiar to anyone healing from DPDR? Any tips on how to deal with these big feelings on top of the depersonalization?

Yeah, it sounds familiar. But your reaction to driving is way worse than mine. I am in a permanent DPDR state, and driving makes it worse. Like the feeling of unreality will intensify, and my ability to concentrate afterwards is way worse. Long ago since I've tried so I really don't know how it is now.

Anyways. Hope it's fine if I ask you: After you've driven, how fast do you recover back to your prior state? For me it could last anything from hours to couple of days, tops, for recovering. And does any other stimuli also worsen your symptoms? Such as intense computer games or such.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
I try my best to stay positive, but it almost seems worse now that I no longer have the numbness/avoidance to fall back on.
I can relate to what you say here. When things are bad I wish I never got EMDR and could coast on avoidance and numbing the rest of my life.

If you are doing daily yoga you might find it helpful to look into bandhas. Mula bandha in particular, when activated, can help with grounding (but could be a potential trigger due to location depending on your history).

I agree with self compassion and just really honoring yourself for doing hard things.
 
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