Have you ever had a feeling that the world around you is unreal or unfamiliar? That living is like navigating the dream world, that there’s a veil between you and the rest of the world, or that you are an external observer of your own mental processes or body sensations?
Perhaps you felt detached from reality or from your sense of self after a long period of sleep deprivation or sensory deprivation, during a particularly stressful time, following an instance of emotional shock, or after a traumatic event – all of which can trigger temporary uncanny feelings of derealisation and depersonalisation.
These feelings are actually not uncommon, affecting 50–75% of the human population at some point in their lives. However, for other people (1–3% of the population), depersonalisation-derealisation (DPDR) lingers and becomes chronic, shaping the way they perceive reality in the long term, rather than being a fleeting state of consciousness. It is what is termed a ‘dissociative disorder’ which are characterised by a dream-like detachment and alienation from reality or one’s sense of self, as well as a feeling of disconnection from others.
If you’d like to explore the rare condition of DPDR, check out my article on Talking Mental Health for further details: www.talkingmentalhealth.com/post/lifting-the-veil-on-depersonalisation-derealisation-disorder