Do you feel as if you're not real?
Like you're living in a dream?
Like you can't connect with reality?
If so, it's very likely that you have developed the anxiety-based condition known as Depersonalization and Derealization (or DPDR). I’ve heard these complaints time and time again from DPDR sufferers over the years.
I feel like I'm in a dream
I feel like I'm not really here
My life doesn't feel real
Or asking scary existential and philosophical questions like:
Why do I feel like I'm dreaming when I'm awake?
Why does nothing feel real?
Why does my life feel like a dream?
Why does life feel fake?
Why do I not feel real?
When life doesn't feel real it can be a very frightening sensation. But the fact is that Depersonalization and Derealization are scientifically recognized as being part of your body and brain's natural response to stress and trauma.
It's a bizarre feeling, and thoughts like 'I feel like I'm not real' or 'I feel like I'm in a dream when I'm awake' can be very disturbing -- Especially when you're at work, socializing or generally going about your daily life.
Of course, these feelings of disconnection, coupled with generalized anxiety, can make your mind ask scary philosophical questions like "What is reality?", "Why does life feel fake?" and "What does it mean when nothing feels real?"
But at its core, Depersonalization and Derealization have absolutely nothing to do with philosophy, existentialism, solipsism etc.
Remember that the only reason you're having those thoughts is because your mind is frantically trying to interpret a strange -- but perfectly natural! -- reaction to stress and anxiety.
Depersonalization and Derealization have about as much to do with philosophy as heart palpitations or muscle tension do. They're just symptoms of anxiety -- that's all!
So now that we understand what the feelings of unreality are, the big question is:
How Do I Feel Real Again?
Let’s break it down in 3 simple steps!
1. You Can and Will Feel Real Again
This simple fact is the most important thing to understand and accept.
Possibly the most frightening thing about experiencing Depersonalization and Derealization is not the feeling itself - but the fear that you may never get out of it.
You worry that scary thoughts like 'I feel like I'm not here' or 'My life feels like a dream and I'll never wake up' are never going to go away.
But the fact is that DPDR is absolutely not some sort of strange mystery condition that we don't understand.
In fact it's quite the opposite! It's a well-understood, common, and typically very transient feeling.
And most people who experience it do so at times of trauma or intense stress, for a few seconds or minutes at a time.
In fact, when nothing feels real anymore it can seem scary but it's actually part of your brain's natural defence mechanism. It's an evolutionary tool and it can be very useful to get yourself out of dangerous situations (a burning building etc) without being emotionally overwhelmed. It's like an airbag for your brain!
It is literally designed to be a temporary measure.
It is meant to fade away and stop once you're out of the perceived danger, regardless of what caused it to happen.
The only thing that makes it stick around longer than that is intense analysis of the feeling, which can often happen as a result of a bad drug experience, panic attack etc.
I'm certainly not diminishing the difficulty of the experience of DPDR -- Having thoughts like 'I don't feel real', or 'I feel like I'm dreaming when I'm awake', on top of the feelings of being behind a pane of glass, stuck in a dream etc can be extremely difficult to put up with -- I know this all too well!
As I've said, DPDR and the resultant feeling that 'nothing is real' or 'life doesn't feel real' - as scary as it can be! - is a perfectly natural defensive function of the brain - and one that's designed to be temporary.
So don't forget: You Can and Will Feel Real Again!
2. The Thoughts + Feelings Are Just Anxiety
So the feelings themselves are a common and normal symptom of anxiety. But still -- Having a thought like 'I feel like I'm in a dream' or 'Why don't I feel real?' can seem really scary, right?
Especially when you're trying to go about your day; working, socializing etc. In fact, it's specifically because you know the thought makes no sense that it feels so scary!
Your rational mind (which is working just fine!) knows that you shouldn't be having thoughts like that.
And that anxiety about the thought turns into a feedback loop where you become hyperaware of the thoughts and feelings, monitoring them constantly, worrying if you're going crazy etc etc.
This feedback loop between anxiety and the symptoms of anxiety (DPDR) can feel very frightening and overwhelming.
But again -- just remember that it's your body and brain's protective mechanism, it's temporary, harmless and you can and will get 100% back to normal once it fades away and stops.
3. The Key To Recovery Is In The Question
So the BIG question is:
How Do I Feel Real Again?
And that word is the core of the problem. What you're saying is "I don't feel real."
You feel like nothing is real.
You feel like you're dreaming when you're awake.
Your life doesn't feel real.
You have thoughts like "Why does life FEEL fake" or "Why does my life FEEL like a dream?" or "Nothing FEELS real anymore"....
Which shows that you actually know that reality itself hasn’t actually changed. There’s never actual visual or tangible changes.
Your anxiety levels may be through the roof but crucially, your reality testing remains intact at all times.
Sure, it’s very frightening at times -- but your experience of reality hasn’t changed and all you need to do is change how you feel and you will get back to normal.
You haven't 'flicked a switch in your brain'. You're not 'seeing reality differently'.
All of these thoughts and feelings are happening because of Depersonalization and Derealization.
And what is DPDR?
It's a temporary, natural and common reaction to stress and anxiety.
The only reason it's persisting longer than it should is because you have inadvertently gotten into a feedback loop with the anxiety that triggered it in the first place.
When you slow down and stop the anxiety that's causing the feedback loop to persist, all of the thoughts and feelings of Depersonalization and Derealization will fade away and stop as if they had never been there.
You CAN and WILL recover.
DP is 100% an anxiety-based condition and based on habits of thoughts.
It’s not an organic disease and it will never develop into anything worse.
When you stop the anxiety that’s driving the DPDR, you will stop all the symptoms of Depersonalization and Derealization -- and get back to feeling 100% real again.
Start your recovery from DP today
The Depersonalization Manual is the oldest and most trusted text on Depersonalization recovery available today. Written by a fully recovered sufferer with over 15 years experience of dealing with DP sufferers, it's been the trusted DP recovery program for more than 25,000 people worldwide.