Did you recently consume marijuana (cannabis/weed) and started feeling weird? Has that feeling lingered on even after a few days? Then you may be experiencing depersonalization and derealization. Here’s what you can do now.
Marijuana (or weed, as it’s colloquially known) is becoming more and more acceptable in mainstream society these days. Countless states in the US and elsewhere are legalizing its sale and consumption. Though this benefits a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, and other illnesses, marijuana is not without problems.
A lot of people, especially teenagers, smoke a joint or eat edibles containing weed to experience a high. Sometimes, these folks don’t know their own personal limit and may bite off a little more than they can handle.
Suddenly, they find that the psychoactive effects of marijuana are something they cannot tolerate. They may feel disoriented and disconnected from reality. Not knowing what to do, they may start to get anxious. This anxiety snowballs into fear and can sometimes lead to a full-blown panic attack. After this, they may suddenly start feeling strange. They feel disconnected and distant from themselves and reality.
They may try to sleep it off, hoping that when they wake up, everything will be normal again. But much to their disappointment, they find that this odd feeling is still there.
Usually, this is when people start freaking out. You feel that you may have permanently damaged your brain. You may experience the following symptoms:
- You may feel disconnected, like you are watching a movie of yourself.
- Reality might feel off, dreamlike, and bewildering.
- Fear, anxiety, and panic attacks may debilitate you.
- Your mind may be racing with intrusive thoughts.
- Or you may experience a blank mind with no thoughts.
- When you look in the mirror, you feel like a stranger to yourself.
- People can seem strange, even close ones.
- You may feel like you’re a robot or on auto-pilot.
- You may feel numb and emotionless.
- You’re constantly caught up in intrusive philosophical thoughts about existence, nature of life, and reality.
You try to google your symptoms and you may come to know that what you are experiencing is depersonalization and derealization disorder (DP/DR). This might be one of the scariest and most unpleasant experiences of your life. You yearn to wake up one day, hoping this will all be gone, but when you wake up, you find that it’s still there. Day after day, you become increasingly hopeless. You feel like you will never get better.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is hope and you can recover. Recovery always starts with the right understanding, so let’s delve a little bit deeper and see what is happening here.
Does Marijuana Cause Depersonalization?
Since you became depersonalized or derealized after smoking weed or consuming cannabis edibles, it’s tempting to conclude that marijuana was responsible for this. Some may even wonder if their marijuana was laced with some toxic chemical that may be the sole reason why they are feeling this way.
It’s tempting to put all the blame on marijuana, but if that were the case, then everyone who consumes marijuana should end up getting derealized. That’s not the case. So there’s gotta be another explanation. Let’s dig a bit more.
The reason you experience DP/DR is because you are traumatized right now. Yes, that’s right. When you started smoking weed or eating cannabis-filled edibles, you may not have liked its psychoactive effects. And then you tried desperately to stop these effects. But consuming marijuana is like riding a rollercoaster. Once you are strapped in and the ride starts, you can’t just get off whenever you want. With marijuana, you will have to wait for the effects to gradually decrease.
Most people don’t know how to handle a distressing marijuana episode, what is sometimes known as a “bad trip.” They start panicking, which only further increases their anxiety and fear. This culminates in a full-blown panic attack.
After that, they become traumatized. Trauma happens when the stress that the body and mind experience exceeds their capacity to cope. You withdraw. You disconnect. You dissociate.
This is the state you are in now. You have dissociated. But why do we dissociate? Well, it’s a way to protect ourselves. Dissociation is a way for the mind to protect itself when it experiences a traumatic event.
What you’re experiencing as depersonalization and derealization is nothing more than an episode of dissociation caused by the trauma of a “bad trip” that happened after consuming marijuana.
How to Recover From Weed Induced Depersonalization
You may be thinking, “Yes, that makes sense, but what should I do now? How can I get out of this and feel normal again?” Let me say this, I can definitely feel your pain. I have been there. I experienced severe DP/DR, but I was finally able to recover from DP/DR.
I’ll start by saying that there’s some good news and then there’s some not so good news. Well, let me start with the good news: you CAN recover! Full recovery from DP/DR is definitely possible, but here’s the challenging part: it usually takes time. How long does depersonalization last? No one can say for sure. It’s different for each individual.
Don’t let this freak you out. DP/DR is only a protective mechanism. It’s not harmful. It’s not here to ruin your life. Right now, your body and mind have become traumatized. Trauma makes you feel like you are in danger. But once you become sure that you are safe again, you’ll start to heal. This healing can take some time, but nonetheless, if we are patient, then we can return to normality again.
When you break a bone, you will be in pain and you will suffer a lot initially. Then you go to the doctor who will wrap that bone in a tight cast. Then all you gotta do is just wait it out. Your body knows how to heal a broken bone.
In the same way, your body and mind know how to heal themselves. It will get out of the trauma state over time. It really helps if you can show that you are indeed safe. For this, you’ve got to create your underlying sense of safety. Sometimes, you can use a simple technique to create an underlying sense of safety. Once a strong feeling of safety has been established, it means that you have set the recovery plan into motion.
Don’t Make This Mistake
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should not be fighting your symptoms and feelings right now, no matter how weird, scary, or unpleasant they may seem. Fighting the symptoms here means that you are trying to not feel these symptoms, or you are trying to block or distract yourself from them. Fighting means you are unable to accept, allow, and even surrender to these symptoms.
You’ve got to learn to let go and be accepting of your depersonalization and derealization symptoms. It will be hard in the beginning, but if you can truly understand why the acceptance approach is the best way to recover from depersonalization, then it will become easier every day.
Can I Smoke Weed Again?
Many of you will feel tempted to smoke weed again. A few of you may feel that since it was the marijuana that triggered the depersonalization and derealization, then only marijuana can bring an end to it. Don’t fall prey to such idiotic thinking.
At this point, I’d recommend that you stay away from marijuana for a while. Right now, your body and mind need to heal. They need to get unstuck from this traumatic state. That takes time. You don’t want to re-traumatize them by consuming cannabis or marijuana at this moment.
There will be a time in the future where you may be able to reconnect with marijuana again. Just be patient and first let your body and mind heal.
In case you need more information, my video further explains whether it is safe to smoke or consume marijuana during or after a depersonalization episode.
Let Me Leave You With This
I know how you are feeling right now. You are probably really scared. You wonder if you are becoming insane or losing touch with reality. You may wonder whether you are going to be like this forever. Let me tell you one thing: you can and will recover from this. It might take some time to get there, but if you follow the right principles, you can heal from DP/DR.
One day, you will be able to look back and see that you are no longer troubled by DP/DR and its symptoms anymore. Keep your hopes up. This might be one of the hardest experiences that you will go through, but you’re going to come out of this stronger than you were before.
If you need some guidance along the way, then consider checking out DP No More. It’s my online course that can help you fully recover from depersonalization and derealization. In it, you’ll find a step-by-step guide that you can follow on the path to recovery. I wish you all the very best on this journey.