Stress of exams triggered depersonalisation Watch

asvpbecca
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So I got diagnosed with GAD + harm OCD 3 years ago and had managed to deal with my intrusive thoughts well for the past year now due to CBT treatment from CHUMS. It was almost like I forgot I had OCD from how quick I was to dismiss intrusive thoughts! During the time period of me doing my GCSE'S, I had pushed everything aside in order to focus on my exams- including my mental health. I would have up to 3-4 mini panic attacks that I would have to sit through in that exam hall for the full four weeks of my exams. I didn't really let it get to me though as I ignored my symptoms and went on with my papers due to the fact those papers hold my future. All the pressure from the exam stress must've crashed onto me as a few days after my last exam happened I started to feel myself slip into a relapse as I started to get unusual thoughts of death- which I recognized them as my OCD thoughts as one of my fears revolves around dying. I get sudden thoughts where my thoughts tell me that I don't want to do anything or that I'm too lazy/worthless to do anything- self deprecating thoughts- which these thoughts scare me so much as I don't want to be depressed, so my mind plays tricks on me by saying the opposite of what I want. It's been weeks now since I've had this and the constant overthinking has lead me to be in this spaced out state where I just don't feel like myself. I've also become very self aware of my body, questioning every little feeling in my body and noting it off as something wrong with me rather than telling myself that it's the usual anxiety symptoms I get when anxious. It's almost like the anxiety from the exam hall has stuck with me as I'm constantly hyperaware and in this flight or fight mode. I've also been focusing on my vision recently, something that I used to be able to push aside, finding it weird how I can see and then that hyperawareness in itself would lead me to think up one big existential thought process where I start questioning human life and existence itself. I used to be able to push aside my fear of going blind but recently I've been so caught up in it, it's the only thing I can think about. Sometimes I'll get distracted from the thoughts but then my brain will end up reminding me of the uncomfortable thought of seeing. The thought linked to it is something along the lines of "You don't want to see anymore" which scares me as I do wanna live my life but my OCD tells me different. This overthinking has made me feel disconnected from the world, nothing seems real. When I'm not having the thoughts, I almost feel this empty, floaty feeling within me. I did my fair share of research and soon found out that these were all symptoms of depersonalization, an anxiety condition where it's almost like your brain puts a mental blanket over you to protect you from the anxiety from the overthinking.. but that spaced out feeling just makes me feel even more anxious. One of my friends mentioned how it could possibly be me subconsciously worrying for my exam results, also the fact that I am finally out of school and my life will start to change- getting a job, sixth form etc. This could be it but one of my main problems is accepting that this is all just one big anxiety relapse, it feels like I'm going crazy- I haven't had as extreme anxiety as this it's lead me to be housebound as well as all this. I just wanna go back to normal, not thinking about everything at once plus how I feel every waking second! Hope someone can relate
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Anonymous #1
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I can completely relate. I have never been clinically diagnosed but am pretty sure I have OCD which I hide from everyone. I also to have this floaty feeling sometimes. And have panick attacks when noone is looking. I understand what you're going through.
In exams I tried to push the OCD away until I started obsessing about OCD!
I also have anxiety every day.
Stay strong,
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DaisyAV
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Hi, I've dealt with this problem myself last year, I had a really intense panic attack which triggered depersonalisation symptoms and I was convinced at the time that my vision was going or I had a brain tumour or something! After a couple of months this went away and i think it was because i just stopped thinking about it. I know this is so difficult when you feel like your in a dream-like state and spaced out, it's so scary so I definitely sympathise. What also helped for me was yoga, for however long I was doing it I felt like myself again and like I was actually 'here', so maybe trying that wouldn't hurt? That's the only advice I can give really but i'm so sure that once you understand that this is normal and get your brain to understand that nothing bad is going to happen, things will start to improve Best of luck!
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Blimpwater
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I feel you fam

I had strong symptoms of depersonalisation every day for a long time.

For me, talking to mental health professional made all the difference; could you talk to a mentor or a wellbeing officer through your school?
Externalising your experience through speech gives them a reality - which is exactly what depersonalisation deprives you of.

Doing regular exercise really does make a difference. I started running, rowing, swimming, lifting. I felt a little weird when I was doing it - slightly psychically dislocated - but it brings the anxiety levels right down.

Diet is another factor - I avoided high sugar intakes and all caffeine and alcohol.
I'm still teetotal now, it's a nice way to live.

I really got into baking and cooking in order to deal with my panic and derealisation. Having something physical you need to work on made me feel grounded for a couple of hours. Years later I would work as a baker.

Exercise, diet, - the most important part of these approaches is that they make you feel like you have some contorl over you situation, that you can prevent or minimise the possibility of an episode. Building a relationship with the causes of your mental alarm is the way forward I think. This is what I have attempted to do, and I am no longer crippled by my mental health.

It is strange to look back on that part of my life. Those symptoms demanded more of me than I had to give. They completely exceeded me, I could not survive them. I really felt like I couldn't go on.

Many people go through what you are going through, and it is unspeakably horrible for all of them.
I found it so isolating, a struggle all the time that no one else identified with.

You know that song by Grimes, RealiTi?

"...every morning there are mountains to climb
Taking all my time
Oh, when I get up, this is what I see
Welcome to reality"

Waking up to a world in which these symptoms are the only thing on the horizon was lumpy potatoes.

But it was as Beckett said: "I can't go on I'll go on."

You become the one who survives this by surviving it

The struggle to break through into the real unites you with everyone else
but you are at the bleeding edge of being!
Vibrating with the vertiginous urgency of presence!

Har har
That's no help maybe
But that's how I think of it now

I think spending lots of time with others in a structured activity (making posters, cycling, playing a sport) is a Good Thing To Do. Being with people is what brought me back to a feeling of normality. Bahktin says the self is a gift of the other

I say exams are bad, and prove nothing.
School's a macerator.

But I'm sorry you are in rough waters.
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asvpbecca
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thank u all ! it makes me feel reassured knowing that others have had to go through similar feelings to me and managed to break free. Daisy, I’ve actually tried yoga recently and it really does relax things for a few hours, I’m definitely gonna keep it as a every day routine. The only thing that i’m really struggling with right now is the hyperawareness of my eyes which I guess is what’s causing the depersonalisation and uncomfortable feeling but as u guys said, as soon as i stop thinking about it as much i’ll start to improve (:
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LaVieEnRose...
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Hi there I know this post is quite old but thought I'd ask anyway! I have been going through the exact same thing ever since I had a massive panic attack on christmas and ever since then I have been feeling this way constantly. I have had panic attack since i was 12 and I am 18 now. I just started CBT this week and doing yoga and I was wondering if you are back to feeling like yourself yet? I am worried ive been feeling like this for so long that I will never feel like me again. How did you overcome it? I havent been able to go to school or leave my house which is adding even more feelings of anxiety due to being in the final year of my A Levels! Do you have any advice or reassurance to settle my mind that I am not going crazy!
(Original post by asvpbecca)
thank u all ! it makes me feel reassured knowing that others have had to go through similar feelings to me and managed to break free. Daisy, I’ve actually tried yoga recently and it really does relax things for a few hours, I’m definitely gonna keep it as a every day routine. The only thing that i’m really struggling with right now is the hyperawareness of my eyes which I guess is what’s causing the depersonalisation and uncomfortable feeling but as u guys said, as soon as i stop thinking about it as much i’ll start to improve (:
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