I am 15 years old, and recently I’ve been having these “attacks” where I basically feel like I’m not real; like I’m just a dream, and so is life, and that nothing is real. After a minute I’ll start just grabbing at my legs or my arms or my stomach to see if I can still feel, and I can, but that seems to only make the feeling worse and I start to break down hysterically crying. It gets really hard for me breathe during these and sometimes I can’t move anymore. These last for about 45 minutes to an hour. It really scares me because each time this happens it gets more intense, and last time (last night) it got to the point where I cut my thighs over 150 times impulsively just to make sure I could still physically feel things and so that I could try to calm myself down. It’s been happening more and more frequently and I feel like I’m going insane. I just really want to know what’s happening because I’ve searched and searched for things this could be so that I could try and get help but nothing I’ve found really matches this. Any help at all would be amazing, thank you!
Well, for one thing: You're not insane. Another thing: I'm not a trained psychologist, or therapist, but I go through the opposite of what this appears to be. What you seem to be explaining is called depersonalization. This is where you feel like you're not real. Derealization is where you feel like your surroundings aren't real. When you feel like you want to cut yourself to make sure you're still real, hold an ice cube and remember to breath. Tell yourself "I am real. This will pass. I am okay."
Just try and relax and know that you're not going insane. A lot of people go through what you're going through. Some of what you say also seems familiar with panic attacks, and depersonalization can also be a sign of panic attacks. But you're not going insane, even though it feels like that.
First of all you are not going insane. Derealization isn't exactly common, but you are not alone. Before or while you're waiting to get help from a professional you need to learn the safest way to get through your episodes. Instead of going down a violent and harmful path like cutting, focusing on something tangible around you. Feel it, smell it, scratch it and listen to the sound it makes. Focus on your senses.Also it might help to find a totem. Keep this totem at all times. This totem represents real life. Find a way to move or interact with this totem. If you feel yourself slipping into an episode, focus on your totem and interact with it. Focus your senses on the totem. A pair of dice or a charm is an example.I hope this helps. Remember you not alone. I strongly suggest getting professional help as soon as possible due to the fact that you are physically harming yourself. It wouldn't hurt to tell someone about this either. Maybe they can help you throughout this process of self-discovery and recovery.
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