Today I felt just slightly off-balance, a little less than completely out of sorts, but a little more than a little. I was rather disconnected from myself, not entirely, but sort of.
It’s a strange and disconcerting thing that sometimes happens to me. I feel like I’m peering through a dusty window, watching myself, observing my movements, eavesdropping on the thoughts of the me on the other side of the glass.
Sometimes I am back where I am meant to be, no longer watching, though still feeling separate, or at the very least, different. It’s dreamlike and odd and I don’t much like when it happens. It feels like nothing is real.
There is a slight emotional detachment from the rest of the world, from the ones closest to me, from myself. I know I am awake and present, but I’m not. Sometimes by limbs feel like they must surely belong to somebody else, my legs still move, my feet get from point A to point B even though I don’t feel like I am the one in control.
It never lasts long, this strangeness; it can feel like forever until it subsides. Realistically only minutes, sometime mere moments have passed, but the lingering memory of the spell takes as much time as it pleases to let me go.
None of this is new to me, sharing it is, however. I have had these happenings since I was a child, they often accompany or visit shortly after an anxiety attack or a melancholy mood has paid me a call. I always attributed it to my innermost self attempting some sort of escape in a less than pleasant moment.
I’ve recently learned this departure from self has a name, depersonalization or derealization. Fascinating. I always thought I was just weird, which I realize I am, but I found a sort of comfort in knowing this actually happens to people other than myself.
Depersonalization can be a syndrome, one so intrusive it is disabling to some, it can also be a symptom associated with other mental disorders such as schizophrenia. For those like me, it is generally linked to anxiety and stressors.
The most susceptible are those who have experienced past traumas, severe illness, or have witnessed or been subject to abuse. In some ways it sounds almost like a form of post traumatic stress.
For the time being, I am back to being me. I’m not entirely certain what triggered todays departure from reality, I’m not going to pay it much thought or attention, there are far too many wonderful things to fill my mind with.
Crystal R. Cook