If you really want to confuse yourself ask 5 different people about depersonalization disorder and you’ll get 5 different answers. Actually, you won’t get answers rather theories. Unless you ask someone who’s actually gone through it themselves and can pinpoint practical answers based on finding the cause of this bewildering symptom.
Yes, I do believe depersonalization disorder is a symptom.
So then the next question would be ‘what is this debilitating state a symptom of?’ The answer to that isn’t as simple as you’d like it to be, at least in my opinion. But if I absolutely had to simplify the answer it would come down to 5 words…
Compounding traumatic events causing overwhelm
Let’s be honest here, to understand trauma (this episode will help) we have to change the meaning of it first. In many cases trauma is not a life threatening event, rather it’s anything that your own nervous system becomes overwhelmed by, causing a freezing feeling.
Why freezing? Because running or fighting back is deemed an escape and not as much of a trauma. Therefore the experience doesn’t get stored at the emotionally intense level as a freezing experience does.
What can cause the nervous system to freeze, therefore be deemed a trauma?
- Having your toy taken away from you when you were a kid. This can lead to the belief of ‘why bother?’ Anything you do in life will just be taken away from you anyway, right? At least that’s what your own subconscious mind thinks.
- Being yelled at as a child because you didn’t live up to the expectations of an authority figure. Again, not a life threatening experience in itself but certainly one that the infinite storage system called the subconscious mind and body take note of. This experience can lead to the belief that you’re never good enough no matter how hard you try.
- Having your favourite bike get stolen as a child. Your parents probably told you that you can just get another one. But the truth is that you had a deep emotional connection with the old one! This traumatic event can lead to the belief that anything you emotionally attach to will probably just be taken away from you anyway, even people.
So you see, if a person experiences enough trauma in their lives the nervous system becomes overwhelmed and eventually depleted. This leads to depersonalization disorder. This state of being didn’t magically appear at your door step (or mine), and you definitely didn’t consciously let it in either.
It grew within you over time based on the challenging situations you found yourself in.
Some people will never justify the idea that their traumas could cause depersonalization disorder. The deeper truth to that is possibly a fear of looking directly at the truth, and cognitive amnesia where the person simply forgets (here’s why).
As Bessel Van Der Kolk brilliantly put it in the title of his book though…
The Body Keeps The Score.
Although the thinking mind may forget, the body never does.
A person gets to a place in their lives where they become so numb to trauma that they don’t even realize they’re in one anymore. Suffering become so habitual (sound health being so foreign) that overwhelming experiences don’t overwhelm them as badly.
A fascinating and most definitely a horrifying state to be in if I could say so myself, because I’ve lived through the depths of depersonalization disorder.
This brings us to the next point on this journey. That is, the biggest component that maintains this numbing, freezing, foggy, bewildering, and detached state. And that would be directly connected to your conscious mind. You see, the conscious mind is a vital component to healing anxiety for good, and yet it tends to work against us many times. Why?
Because we overdo the necessity of the conscious mind and believe every problem must be thought out. This can fuel depersonalization disorder further.
- What happens when a car runs out of gas? it stops.
- What happens when a human runs out of life energy? it tires out and gets depressed (depression and depersonalization disorder go hand in hand many times).
We look to think through every problem because we were never taught to feel the answer. The language of the heart doesn’t get any attention because we don’t trust it, but we trust our thinking, and yet here we are.
The more we look to think through everything the more energy we use up and the more confused we get.
As mentioned earlier, thinking is a vital part of the healing journey, but you must understand that it’s not the only part. Changing your thoughts (this YouTube video will help) many times is a result of trust. Trust is a result of letting go, and letting go is a result of listening to your hearts voice.
It’s a leap of faith, and anxiety sufferers have a difficult time leaping.
Leaping is uncertain, thinking on the other hand comes with certainty and a sense of control, but is not used properly. You can think about how to re-perceive a situation in order to bring about a new meaning, but you must feel the answer for example when it comes to understanding your anxiety symptoms.
Thinking is a voluntary act, feeling the answer is an involuntary act.
Knowing which one to use at what time can only arise as you become open to new beliefs. The more stubborn you are towards change the less likely it will be that you will trust in your intuition. When intellect and intuition are in harmony there is balance within.
When this level of harmony arises not even the idea of death can scare someone, nothing can anymore.
To understand this version of trauma, the over thinking habit, and depersonalization disorder more deeply watch the video below. New insights will arise. You’ll be able to look at the present moment and connect this insight to your own experiences. I’m excited for you to take on this journey warrior, together we will become more than anxiety.
One more thing, after you watch the video below share a few comments in the comment section below. Express the people you haven’t forgiven from your past, the emotions you’ve been suppressing, and anything else that connects to your anxiety today.
Let’s get to it!