Depersonalization is like having amnesia.  You don’t know who you are, you’ve “lost” yourself– your identity or your personality.  You try to jump-start yourself.  You pray, make deals with God, but it doesn’t help.  You are stuck.

There is a pervading feeling, like doom.  It saturates your thinking, flavoring everything with a sense of finality.  It is as difficult as you can imagine, to lose yourself– to become unreal to yourself.

Depersonalization is a symptom of an anxiety disorder and not a stand alone condition. How do we know this? Because depersonalization cannot exist without anxiety BUT anxiety can exist without depersonalization.

Depersonalization is caused by a shift in the part of the brain that provides us with a ‘real’ awareness of our environment; this part of the brain is directly linked to the Amygdala, the organ in the brain responsible for anxiety.

Terms commonly used to describe the symptoms and sensations of Depersonalization:

  • unreal
  • disembodied
  • divorced from oneself
  • apart from everything
  • unattached
  • alone
  • strange
  • weird
  • foreign
  • unfamiliar
  • dead
  • puppet-like
  • robot-like
  • acting a part
  • like a lifeless person
  • two dimensional
  • ‘cardboard’ figure
  • made of cotton-wool
  • having mechanical actions
  • remote
  • automated, a robot
  • a spectator
  • witnessing ones own actions as if in a film or on a TV program
  • not doing one’s own thinking
  • observing the flow of ideas in the mind as independent.

Treatment is to deal with the anxiety, depersonalization, although disturbing in itself, is not harmful. [Although the experts have never had to go through it].

As a Christian believer I reach out for the presence of God in this mental state.  Even though it is hard, I reach out in faith on the basis of His word; He will never leave or forsake me, He has forgiven me and not abandoned me.  That He understands my thinking from afar off.  These truths all strengthen me.