We have more ways to stay in touch now without any in-person contact, and it can make you feel depersonalized, like you’re on autopilot. If this sounds familiar to you, it could be a sign that you have depersonalization disorder.
In an era of automated devices and advancing robotics along with electronic gadgets that are supposed to be for social purposes, but really end up keeping us apart, we can easily feel robotic as we move through our lives. Let’s look at some common signs of depersonalization disorder.
5 Signs You Might Have Depersonalization Disorder
1. You might have depersonalization disorder if you can’t remember the last time you were mindful of your body.
In a study of patients diagnosed with depersonalization disorder, psychologists found significant correlations between a measure of mindfulness and symptoms of depersonalization, depression and anxiety. Being aware of your own physical form and its wonderfully complex muscles and organs walking around in the world is something we sometimes stop paying attention to.
That’s perfectly normal, of course, but for depersonalized people, they feel like a mannequin more often than they feel human. The researchers believe that mindfulness may serve as a valuable component in the treatment of such disorders. This can be achieved in a number of ways, for example by self-massage, meditation and via isolation chambers and floatation chambers.
2. You might have depersonalization disorder if you suppress your emotions.
That late delivery of something you needed hours ago might have made you livid, but no one would ever know it. They see someone keeping their cool. On the inside, you’ve managed to stuff those curse words down inside and although your heart is pounding and you’re perspiring, you’re ignoring it.
Hypoemotionality is the under-expressing of emotions and people with depersonalization disorder may intentionally repress their emotional responses. It is possible that people with this disorder may be incapable of the typical emotions that normal people have. It is also possible that they don’t recognize that their body is responding physiologically to a stimulus.
Researchers studying depersonalization disorder and emotional response found that the ability to regulate emotion in depersonalized participants was increased. In other words, depersonalized people are really good at leveling out their blood pressure and heart rate. They calm themselves down quickly.
The depersonalized patients were not able to increase their heart rates when they tried, but they could decrease them. This discovery gives hope to people who feel numb because if they can learn to respond physiologically to emotions, they can improve their mental health as well.
3. You might have depersonalization disorder if things seem unreal to you.
You’re moving through your world on autopilot. At times, your life seems like you are watching a movie, not living the events of your life. If you feel like you’re watching your own Youtube channel, that can be one of the signs of depersonalization.
4. You might have depersonalization disorder if you feel a little depressed.
Unfortunately for those with depersonalization disorder, due to the suppressed emotions that we mentioned in #1, feeling a little depression could actually be a major depressive episode. You might be numb to your actual feelings of sadness.
If depression is a concern for you, it is a great idea to seek out a counselor to talk to. Counseling is now available in remote video or text sessions as well as through apps on your phone like Talkspace, so finding help is easier than ever. You don’t even need insurance to see a counselor, but it can help pay the cost of your visits, especially if you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
5. You might have depersonalization disorder if you have a high tolerance for pain.
Numbness is often associated with being depersonalized. You may actually be a superhero when it comes to your tolerance for pain. It might seem like a good thing, but it is normal for humans to experience pain.
Physical as well as emotional numbness is possible for people who feel separated from their bodies. They may be able to lift more weight at the gym, run in spite of an injury or brush it off when they twist an ankle playing basketball.
Risk factors for depersonalization disorder:
* Alcohol dependence
* Stressful work
* Relationship breakup
* Caring for a family member
* Not using vacation time
* Too many responsibilities
What helps depersonalization disorder:
* Spend more time in natural sunlight – Absorbing Vitamin D is good for your mental health as well as your physical health.
* Avoid crowded, stressful places – too many people means even more stress
* Get frequent physical exercise – activity seems to help those who feel dissociated from themselves because they can see the movement of their arms and legs.
* Avoid overindulging in alcohol or other substances – those who feel numb have a tendency toward self-harm
* Do a self-massage, meditate or try an isolation tank to quiet the mental noise and become aware of your body again.
* Seek counseling – a counselor can help you talk through the normal and appropriate emotional responses