Important info brain fog, dissociation, depersonalization disorder etc..

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by happycfs, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. happycfs

    happycfs Member

    Hello Friends,

    A few months back, I posted about waking up feeling totally disoriented and unaware of who I was or where I was. This lasted for a few minutes, and terrified me. I have had many other odd brain foggy issues, but ever since this episode, I have been on a big search to find some help with this, if at all possible. This is what I found...

    What I have found is that I live with something called "Depersonalization" disorder (DP, or DPD). It is in fact a form of dissociative disorder. It is where a person walks around in a dream-like state; a haze, as if to be drunk or high, with a feeling of unreality. It feels like I am dreaming as I am actually awake, and the severity fluctuates. It is sometimes described as having the sensation of living in a 2-demensional world, when it is of course a 3-demensional world. Watching your life from behind a screen as opposed to actually living in it, is another way of describing it. Depersonalization is often coupled together with derealization, which is extremely close in its definition.

    This happens fairly often to people who experience ongoing trauma. There are some things that can be done about it though, through mind exercises and even medication. I cannot take medication, due to my chemical sensitivity, but I have been working on some mind exercises. If you Youtube the term "Depersonalization Disorder", you will find some helpful information from others who live with it.

    Here is a short video showing/explaining how it feels:

    Good luck, friends. You are all such incredible survivors! Thank you so much for everything. We aren't alone in this, and there is always SOME form of hope. Real hope! So keep holding on, and let's keep helping each other.

    --In case you are curious about the previous posting that started this journey to find more information and hope, here is the link:
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    happycfs - if you are dealing with trauma, an extremely effective therapy is EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) (that's a mouthful for a deceptively simple technique). If you go to you can find more info about this and also find clinicians who practice in your area. It's been vetted by the VA for treatment of PTSD in veterans. I did it for dealing with childhood trauma. It's been used on rape survivors, hurricane survivors, any sort of trauma. I can't recommend it highly enough, and best of all it works relatively quickly, especially compared to traditional talk therapy which can drag on for years with little result. (I speak from experience here)

    Francine Shapiro, who discovered/developed EMDR, has written a couple of books, often available at the library which are really worth reading.

    Meditation is great but may not be enough.

    Also you mention ongoing trauma - if you're experiencing ongoing trauma, you need to do something to stop it, whatever it is.

    Take care -

  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    One more thing - try belly breathing - it's very relaxing and will help you reconnect with your body. Here's a very simple video:

  4. sarajo17

    sarajo17 Member

    Not sure if this is what I have or if my sister is right that it is medication. However since Jan of this year I have not felt like myself. it is hard to explain to anyone. I had a handle on my fibro, so I thought. My doctor had me on ambien, naltroene and klonipin to sleep. it was working well and I only had an occasional flare up. in September I started a new job, had to deal with my 15 year old son moving in with his dad and a custody battle. I left my unstable ex-husband in 2010 and until this point thought I was ok with it emotionally. This pushed me over the edge and flare ups were bad and frequent. In Jan I had just enough of all the drama and felt like I was losing my mind. I was taking more than needed of the klonipn. I eventually quit cold turkey taking it in April. But jan was when the major anxiety attacks started. My ex mother in law passed away in may. She was a major influence in my life and very dear to me. iam stil in the grieveing process. My dr now has me on buspar. The anxiety and feeling out of sorts has increased. I just feel like life is going on around me and I cant seem to participate. it sounds like depression, I know but I have dealt with depression most of my life and this feeling is very different. I now have this "out of sorts" for lack of a better word, anxiety, and now continuous dizzy spells. I was so out of touch with reality fri that while driving pulled over and called family to come pick me up and take me to er. I felt like I was going to passout. First time for this feeling. They did an ekg and blood work. My thyroid, blood sugar are fine. I feel like I am losing my mind. concentration and focus are worse than ever. I appear spacey and honestly am physically present but not here emotionally anymore. In middle of conversations I just get lost. I cannot stand this feeling anymore. Am currently weaning myself off the buspar in hopes that some of this will be relieved. if anyone has or is experiencing something like this and can offer any advice I would appreciate it. sorry for all the typos in the midst of a dizzy spell and very fatigued today.
  5. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Sarajo - Buspar can be causing the spaciness, dizziness, etc. Just google "buspar side effects". I would get off it. For anxiety, much safer remedies are meditation - it really works, and l-theanine is very calming. It's an amino acid which helps the brain produce GABA.

    Also, 5-htp or l-tryptophan can help raise serotonin levels without the side effects of prescription ADs, but you shouldn't take these together with an SSRI or similar drug as you could develop serotonin syndrome - too much serotonin, which can be dangerous.

  6. Hello to sarajo17:
    You might want to research the use of pantethine, the active form of B5, that can help brain fog and anxiety in many.
    One may want to be sure that active forms of folate are at good levels in the regimen. Some people benefit from use of Taurine as a separate amino acid. One may need to find a good Naturopathic doctor who is used to working with folks weaning themselves off of many prescription drugs.
  7. Hi happycfs:

    Some of your symptoms sound like a condition called POTS, Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

    Not easy to diagnose but does accompany people with CFIDS. It needs a personalized approach to correct as people do vary a lot in what are the triggers and what they need to help correct the disorder.
    Best to you in your continued search for well being.
  8. happycfs

    happycfs Member

    Just want to say THANK YOU to everyone for relying! This is incredibly helpful, after SO --MANY -- YEARS -- of feeling this way, without being able to explain it or even understand it! ...All of your replies are so deeply appreciated as well! Thank you, my friends.

    It is scary to think that this is also commonly caused by marijuana use for a lot of people. I have such mixed feelings about medical marijuana too. I know that some people feel better using it, but many others develop this lifelong hellish hellish symptom form medical marijuana. I will not do it, that's for sure!

    I will look into your suggestions as well. Oh, and I do have a diagnosis of POTS as well. (Not to be confused with "pot" ;-)) Thank you, friends... Thank youuu!!
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Dear Happy,

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this but am glad you have found out what is wrong. That is half the battle. Best of luck to you and, please, let us know how you are doing.

    Love, Mikie
  10. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Brain Fog has nothing to do with depersonalization disorder.
    Brain Fog is common in pain syndromes and in ME/CFS as well as MS and Parkinson's disease.
    Cause: no-one really knows but probably caused by poor flushing of the brain during sleep and a build up of brain ROS (metabolic toxins). Sometimes called glymphatic dysfunction. However poor sleep also affects depersonalization disorder as it does for most cognitive impairments including brain fog in ME. Stressful events will also trigger worse symptoms of Depersonalization disorder. So there are a lot of similarities. If someone has ME/CFS with brain fog and experiences depersonalization over an extended period of time then they do have two disorders. If the "depersonalization" experience is of short duration (less than a few days) it is likely due to a very poor sleep episode (or deprivation). This results in "dream projections" ( a bit like a hallucination), loss of identity, poor memory of locale, confusion of action sequence and disorientation. Actually quite well reported in ME and MCS.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  11. happycfs

    happycfs Member

    Brain fog, for me, has absolutely everything to do with depersonalization. I have had ME/CFS for two decades now, and one of my first noticeable symptoms was cognitive disfunction. I was going through, what I now know to be a form of dissociative disorder (depersonalization) and there were absolutely no solutions, answers, or direction from any medical professionals. Finally, I heard from others with these neuro-immune diseases, and I was told that my cognitive fog was called brain fog. That is how I knew to understand it. But then many years later, I discovered the actual title of depersonalization, and I understood much more about my mental health in relation to ME/CFS and the myriad of symptoms, including "brain fog".

    I discovered that, what I was calling brain fog was actually much more serious than what some others were experiencing as forgetfulness and dizziness etc. I also found that SO MANY people are experiencing varying forms of this disassociation disorder and they never even hear about the words 'depersonalization' or 'derealism'. So for me, and for many many others, our relationship with the words 'brain fog' actually are the same as 'depersonalization'. They are different debatable diagnoses obviously, but the reason that I posted this was to help those who may be like myself, and perhaps they can find some more help, just by knowing about their symptoms more. Depersonalization is so scary, and now that those of us who have it, know about it, we can find more comfort and hopefully relief.

    ME/CFS brings a whole slew of disorders. This is just one of the things thrown into the mix of brain functioning. …Together, we can help empower each other and help each other through this. Thank you for all of the supportive kindness!!