How long does depersonalization last? Can depersonalization become permanent? Here is something you need to know about depersonalization (DP) and derealization (DR) timeline.
People often ask me, “How long will my depersonalization last?” It’s either this question or some variant of “Is my depersonalization permanent?”
I just wish I could give them a simple answer. I wish I could tell them something like, “Hi, judging by your symptoms, your DP/DR will last about 2 months,” or “You’ve got about 3 more weeks of this and then you’re free!” But things in the DP/DR world ain’t that clear cut.
My answer to these questions only frustrates the people who ask them, at least in the beginning. I plainly tell them, “Your DP/DR will last as long as it requires and you can’t really control its duration.”
When people hear this, they first get angry or feel hopeless. They think that DP/DR is going to be with them permanently, that it’s going to ruin their lives, day by day. However, this is not what I want to convey.
What I want you to take away from this article is that the duration of DP/DR is not under your direct control. If we worry about things that are NOT under our direct control, then we will be worrying unnecessarily.
You really can’t predict when DP/DR will leave you, just like you really did not expect to be depersonalized in the first place.
But There’s Hope
Even though we can’t really know how long DP/DR is going to last, we can do two things:
- Not let DP/DR interfere with our lives.
- Quicken its departure.
The best possible approach when it comes to dealing with DP/DR is to accept these strange feelings and act as if you don’t really care about it. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s one of the most effective strategies to getting over it.
You see, when you really worry yourself about being depersonalized or think about how long it will take for you to recover, then you are unnecessarily stressing yourself out. This stress is actually what’s keeping your DP/DR going. I’ve written about the connection between stress and DP/DR at length for people who are curious to know.
When you really accept your depersonalization and try to care less about it, and continue living your life normally, then you are actually letting your body and mind get the break that they desperately need.
It’s during such moments of relaxation and not worrying that healing happens.
Instead, if you keep worrying unnecessarily about your condition, or how long it’s going to last (something you’ve no control over), then be prepared to live with DP/DR for a long time.
DP/DR Is Not Permanent
A common myth about DP/DR sufferers is that DP/DR can become permanent and one will not be able to get out of it. In fact, on the surface, the people you encounter on DP forums and groups who have been stuck with this condition for years seem to support this hypothesis.
But if you step back and examine what is really going on, you’ll see the truth for yourself.
People who experience DP/DR for years, let it happen because of a few reasons:
- They haven’t resolved any underlying trauma that is the cause of the DP/DR. Some people might have survived a traumatic accident or childhood abuse and there are still emotions buried deep within them that need to be processed. Processing such raw, powerful emotions in a safe therapeutic environment can lead to cessation of DP/DR feelings.
- People are still fighting their DP/DR day in and day out, which only keeps them in a constant state of stress that fuels their DP/DR. This stress/DPDR feedback cycle can be broken through the practice of acceptance.
- Because of not getting the right help, people can fall into hopelessness, depression, or get extremely demotivated and just put their life on hold. They stop doing the things they used to do, stop seeing friends and family, and just let themselves fall into despair. Such behavior, though maybe ok for a short duration, must not become one’s new mode of living.
On the other hand, if you educate yourself about DP/DR (through this website or my YouTube channel), accept and don’t fight these feelings, work to resolve any underlying imbalances in your life that may be causing this disorder, and then finally, try to lead a normal life (despite the challenges), you can expect to see their DP/DR lessen over time and finally be gone.
Of course, even such people will be subject to setbacks where they may get a break from DP/DR only to have it come back after a few days or weeks. One must understand that these setbacks are common and are actually part of the recovery process. Full recovery happens after going through many such setbacks.
Here’s What You Can Do
At this point, if you are worried about your DP/DR lasting forever, then follow this plan for action:
- Stop worrying about how long DP/DR will last. You don’t have direct control over the duration.
- Instead, work on accepting these symptoms and feelings, even though they may be weird and scary. This will be hard in the beginning, but you’ll get the hang of it soon.
- Identify any stressors or trauma in your life. A good question to ask yourself is: “Other than DP/DR, where else is my life out of balance?” Working with a therapist is also recommended.
- Don’t give up on your life, continue engaging with it in whatever capacity possible. To feel normal again, you’ve got to try to lead a normal life.
Even though we can’t directly control the timeline of our DP/DR, we can make changes in our life that ensure that DP/DR goes away swiftly on its own.
Remember, DP/DR is a protective mechanism. You feel this way because your body and mind may have dissociated to prevent emotional overwhelm. Once it’s no longer needed for your body and mind to stay dissociated, you’ll start to feel integrated again. That’s when you’ll start to see your DP/DR symptoms go away, one by one.
As always, if you need a step by step guide on how to fully recover from DP/DR, then check out DP No More. It’s my flagship DP/DR online recovery program. I wish you the very best in your full recovery!
Credits: Images from Pixabay