De-personalization and De-realization


Hi everyone,

hope you are having a great day.

I have had some experiences that I would like to learn more about it from others. I am trying to grasp it.

Can anyone share if you feel comfortable how do you know you had de-personalization or de-realization or both before therapy?
Have you ever recover from one and how do you know you have?
Can you have one but not the other? Can you become conscious of it and keep it? Is it worth it for you?

I feel I have had de-realization and it sort of manifested as fear of people which will make sense to me as probably not being attached to my mother as I also feared her in terror so I sort of as animistic level closed off to her but in closing off to her - I closed myself to outside world - the reality and now that I am recovering from it, it is like an open dam....but significantly I allowed my therapist in and felt so paranoid and anxious and came to recognize how much time and energy I spent to keep her out of my mind...but the beauty of noticing this become like a double-bind.
I do not want her in my mind but yet I want her in my mind (open and accepting not intrusive and challenging) and that wanting and not wanting created a high anxiety bordering on paranoia and triggered avoiding of panic - and when I notice the double-bind ---I let it go the prevention and the avoidance and felt I can handle her in my mind cause I am capable of having that- boom the fog is lifted, the vision is improved, and the clarity I have is like wow! I am in different dimension. This feeling has happened before but not as conscious as I can write about it now.
I shared this with my therapist and she said I had a partial dissociation because I notice it happening. I told her it was not partial and I did not notice I am just remembering the difference of before and after the moment more clearly. I was not outside of myself looking in. I was inside looking out and seeing clarity of the reality and others but also I can hold the memory this time not suppress it.

So I am wondering if this makes sense to anyone to who can relate to it.

Thank you for sharing any information you find it useful to partake on this issue.


Can anyone share if you feel comfortable how do you know you had de-personalization or de-realization or both before therapy?
Derealization - The world isn’t real
Depersonalization - I’m not real.

Have you ever recover from one and how do you know you have?
How do you mean?

Disassociation is a spectrum.. not being able to dissociate at all? Is actually an indication OF either a disorder in and of itself, or something being seriously wrong.

In normal life? People don’t pay attention to everything at all times, nor does everything affect them to the same degree. Their own child dying? Is far more real/ has a greater priority / far more profound an impact on them than a child on the other side of the world dying. The conversation they’re having, has priority over the 50 other conversations happening in the background, even if all 51 conversations are equally audible. The scratch on their hand? Is not as important as not falling to their death, so they don’t let go of the cliff edge. As well as the other way around, sliding from more dissociated to less. The professional distance they maintain at work is relaxed at home with friends/family. Bumping into a table hurts more than getting hit 50 times in the boxing ring. They set the book down in response to something happening IRL/off the page. They can set a plan in motion before being completely through formulating it, continuing to think through the problem as they walk/talk/act rather than having to stop the world every time they need to see something in their mind’s eye.

Depersonalization & Derealization are just two types of disassociation. That have healthy applications, neutral applications, problematic applications, pathological applications.

So it’s a little like reading “How do you know you’ve recovered from breathing”? Well... hopefully I NEVER recover from breathing, but failing immortality, that’s not likely. ;) Same token, if we narrowed it to no longer struggling to breathe or being out of breath? There will be times I’m struggling to breathe/being out of breath that are “good” (like when running, and pushing myself to my limits, increasing my stamina by placing higher demands upon myself), and times when it’s expected, even if not ideal, and need to be monitored (like when I’m sick).

So when you say “recovered from depersonalization/derealization”... what does that mean to you / what would that look like? // Do you have a good idea of where those 2 things are healthy/useful in your life, as well as where they may be creating problems? If not, it would probably be a good idea to flesh out your spectrum a bit. Because if they’re in the pathological range? They undoubtedly got there for a reason / it was a useful or necessary thing once upon a keeping your sanity whilst being attacked... that is probably not the case, now. Just like kicking into fight or flight mode whilst shopping for oranges is a bit useless, unless someone happens to be shooting at you.

Can you have one but not the other?
For sure. In point of fact I’d be hard pressed to think of times where they’re both in play at the same time. I would guess that there are times when that’s happened, but can’t think of any, offhand. The CLOSEST I can think of would be IN a life or death situation, when anything & everything falls away and there’s only this exact moment. But even then? No matter how much the world has fallen away, and how little I am aware of anything about myself, if I’m still conscious? There’s some awareness, some shred of reality, if not one whole whomping lot of reality.

Can you become conscious of it and keep it? Is it worth it for you?
My experience says that it takes so much work to even alter, much less shift, anything in my life that I get to keep EVERYTHING that I want to keep. Purely on the basis that it takes work alter or eliminate already existing systems.

But, again, when you’re talking disassociation-stuff? There’s a great big whomping area of “normal & desired”, followed by “irritating but not particularly problematic” before we even get to “problem” much less “problem so severe it’s pathological/symptomatic”. To reduce disassociation all the way to nil? You’d be eyeballs deep in a whole ‘nother world of problems.

Moderating any existing system down to an are I WANT it in? Not just in the fewer problems, zone, or less annoying zone... but to where I actually desire it??? Hypervigilance to vigilance, dissociating randomly (or seemingly randomly) for giant swaths of time (wildly out of my own control’ to dissociating on command or when useful? Et al? That’s the artform.

But, then... I’m inherantly lazy. So I prefer to think of life as perfecting an artform rather than “work”. Physical, mental, emotional... being my BEST? Who I want to be? That’s pure art. Takes mad skill.
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Thanks @Friday.
I am learning that I experienced deraelization in therapy and become conscious of its clarity. Then my therapist said this is the reason people go to therapy. And I responded but what difference does it make for me if it is fleeting clarity like that. My job requires high concentration so I could see now where I am in a fog but mostly present.... So as you said clearly it is spectrum. Now I am even better at my job and got recent promotion... Obviously in the works prior.
I feel maybe it is exaggerate how it is presented. I felt like hypnosis rather than the world is not real... It is complicated as you really stated.

Not sure what I need to know other than I can see it now as distraction rather than complete loss of the world and it is another layer of consciousness not bad...
Maybe the biggest surprise is I am visualizing art pieces I like to create. My depth vision improved...


I've experienced this in different ranges. A weird sensation of not having any sense and not being inside my being of flesh, or not knowing what was there. Not feeling like my body and thoughts belong to myself, but observing it as if from outside. A consciousness trapped inside a single consciousness, but what guarantees that I'm myself every day?

That one was fleeting, mostly happening when alone.

Another sort of dissociation was much more consistent during 4 months of 2019, but it sort of arranged itself around work. I could sense I was present while working. And I do remember work. And I remember having met my now ex partner. But all the rest is lost in a blur. There are things I have written and conversations I had that I should have remembered and I had exactly 0 memories of it. They're on my phone. I can tell it's me. But I don't remember.

Another type of dissociation happened when the situation was so out of hand that I feel there is someone else who's gonna be in charge and that person reasons very well and fast in critical contexts. Feeling very capacitated, but somehow not there. And again apart from the immediate problems and the actual trauma of it, I don't remember much. I remember finding my shoes next to me once the cops arrived but not understanding how such a thing was possible. It is curious to notice that that particular state is very much associated to a fight mode, at least in my experience. Also experienced that in raging moments or in moments I had to do something that was just above my capacities. And in that state, indeed your body finds bizarre super resources. And true that being hit in that state doesn't hurts but rather further fuels energy. If there isn't anything to do, the shut down didn't happen in this obliterating fashion.