10 Tips For Handling Depersonalisation & Derealisation



If you’re anything like me, then that surreal feeling is all too common with depression and anxiety. You’re not exactly not there, but you’re not all there, either. You’re just sort of. mostly there, but not completely. About 80% loaded, maybe?

The horrible part about this feeling is that, the more you worry about it, the worse it gets. The more you worry about it, the worse you feel. All that is left to do, really, is try to cope, and hope that it doesn’t last too long.

So, at a time when I’ve been going through this quirky and bothersome symptom myself due to the lockdown, here are 10 tools I find particularly beneficial:

1. Try Mint

Mint is wonderfully refreshing and grounding. Whether it’s peppermint tea, peppermint candy or peppermint oil, peppermint can really help to bring you back to the present moment. My favourite method is to drink some alcohol-based peppermint extract in some warm (not boiling) sweetened water, but explore and find a method that works for you.

Sometimes brain fog and depersonalisation can be related to our diet or indigestion. If that’s the case, than peppermint can help resolve those pesky fuzzy symptoms.

2. Have A Snack

Sometimes this symptom sneaks up on us when we’re feeling hungry. While it’s tempting to reach for cookies or chocolate, something with protein will stave off those hunger pangs for longer. Nuts or a small flapjack are my favourite.

3. Get Outside And MOVE!

One of the biggest culprits for that horrendous feeling is being stuck inside. NO EXCUSES! I don’t care if it’s raining or blowing a gale, get out there! Even if you only stand in your doorway for a minute or two, that fresh air (and cold rain) will remind you that you most definitely are alive, and may serve to be the change of scenery you crave. Briskly walk up and down the garden path a few times, are you still feeling disconnected now?

4. Go To Bed/Have A Nap

Sometimes, that disconnected feeling comes from tiredness. If you’ve had a long day or a disturbed night, the changes are good that you are quite possibly simply fatigued. If that’s the case, sometimes there is nothing wrong with a 20-minute afternoon nap or going to bed a little earlier than usual. Sometimes sleep is all you need.

Added tip: I find a weighted blanket particularly soothing, hugging a pillow with the long side to my chest is helpful for deeper, more restful sleep if I’m alone as it simulates the posture of hugging.

5. Have A Drink With Ice & A Slice (And Maybe A Drop Or Two)

Another favourite method of mine, fresh drinking water with some ice and a slice of lemon. The coldness of the ice and the bitterness of the lemon can really serve to bring you to your senses. Plus, you can also add a drop or two of peppermint extract for an extra refreshing drink, if you want to.

6. Pay Attention

Do a puzzle, watch a programme and really focus on what is going on, read a book.. anything that really requires you to pay attention to what is going on and not the way you are feeling. Ask a friend to quiz you on the book if need be, or write yourself some questions to answer before you start.

7. Talk To Someone

Not necessarily a therapist, although if this feeling has been going on for a while then I highly recommend them, too. Let’s say that this is just a passing feeling that has maybe gone on for an hour or two and you’re feeling all stuck up in your head. Talk to your favourite person for a chat. You don’t necessarily need to talk about how you’re feeling (although there is no shame in letting someone know that you’re having a tough time), maybe talk about vacation plans, holiday arrangements, birthday celebrations.. and really listen and answer! Not just nodding and agreeing, really lose yourself in the conversation. Stop thinking about how you feel and talk!

8. Touch Yourself (Or Have Someone Touch You)

No, no.. not like that! A hug can sometimes help, but I particularly refer to light, rough sensations. While I’m not advocating razor blades or all-out S&M dungeons, try exploring a very light, but quite rough, sensation on your arms, neck and shoulders. A dry, wide paintbrush or your fingernails are my personal choices, but again, find what feels good for you. Provided that you aren’t actually harming yourself, of course.

9. Meditate

Meditation takes time to really grasp and understand so I didn’t put this at the top of my list. If you know how to meditate and you have benefited from it before, great, try meditation. If not, try a free guided meditation on Youtube as a first step, just don’t be harsh on yourself if it doesn’t work out.



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