Depersonalisation is a condition that I suffered from, and occasionally still experience to varying degrees but far less than I ever did in my younger years because of how I have learned to manage it.
It is characterised as a dissociative disorder which made me feel detached or disconnected from my own thoughts, feelings, and sensations. I often felt as though I was observing myself from outside my own body or that I was in a dreamlike state or VERY hungover. This was a very distressing experience, and it interfered with my ability to function in everyday life.
The causes of depersonalization are not entirely clear, but it is thought to be related to stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, which I had never had.
The good news is that there are things you can do to manage depersonalisation, and one of those things is mindfulness and reading what the mindful baker has to say about it!
In case you didn't already know, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with a non-judgmental and accepting attitude. It involves being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without getting caught up in them or trying to change them.
When you practice mindfulness, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, which can help you recognize when you are experiencing depersonalisation. You can then use mindfulness techniques to bring yourself back into the present moment and reconnect with your body and surroundings.
Here are some mindfulness techniques that I use on myself and give to clients who come to me looking for relief from this terrifying condition:
Grounding: Grounding is a technique that helps you connect with the present moment by focusing on your surroundings. You can do this by using your five senses to notice what is happening around you. For example, you might focus on the feeling of your feet on the ground, the sound of birds singing, or the smell of freshly cut grass.
Breathing: Focusing on your breath is another way to bring yourself back into the present moment. You can do this by taking a few slow, deep breaths and noticing the sensation of air entering and leaving your body. This can help you feel more grounded and connected to your body.
Body Scan: A body scan is a mindfulness technique that involves systematically focusing on each part of your body and noticing any sensations or feelings that arise. This can help you become more aware of your body and reconnect with it.
Acceptance: Mindfulness involves accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This means acknowledging that depersonalisation is a part of your experience right now, without trying to change it or make it go away. Accepting depersonalisation can help you feel less anxious and more in control.
Self-Compassion Finally, practicing self-compassion can help you manage depersonalisation. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would treat a friend who was going through a difficult time. This can help you feel more connected to yourself and less alone in your experience.
Depersonalisation can be a distressing experience, but there are things you can do to manage it. Mindfulness is one tool that can be helpful in managing depersonalisation. By practicing mindfulness techniques such as grounding, breathing, body scan, acceptance, and self-compassion, you can learn to bring yourself back into the present moment and reconnect with your body and surroundings.
If you are struggling with depersonalisation, I encourage you to give mindfulness a try and see if it can help you manage your symptoms. I was so scared of it as a child that I daren't even speak about it for fear of its reprisal, so if you are in a similar boat, do NOT be afraid to talk about it to someone who can help you. As part of my life coaching services I often help people to confront and manage the depersonalisation that they are experiencing so if you would would like my help, please sonata me here.