It is a depersonalization and not an alien abduction, that is my theory about those who have such experience of losing time and felt abducted. It is all in your mind.
Most people, most of the time, navigate reality without giving it a second thought. They come to a place to work and start fresh just to do something different then they start to rock the boat and try to change the establishment , and lead to a new direction away from the vision and mission of the company. They think it is progress but In Fact they are destroying the foundation of the place by working against the team and rowing the boat in a different direction.
Change should be slow and gradual , then in full speed when all the team is on board without alienating everyone and it must be aligned with the vision of the company with no radical change at the start.
We move through our lives with a sense of flow and integration. The big questions of philosophy and existentialism are usually left for introspective moments, away from the daily distractions of life.
But what if that was flipped on its head and life was a constant feeling of disintegration, of being cut off from reality, of questioning your existence? At any given time, that is the daily experience for up to 2 % of the population (based on epidemiological data from Germany), who live with ongoing and unwanted feelings of unreality, also known as depersonalization disorder.
The momentary experience of depersonalization is defined as a feeling of unreality, a sense of detachment from the self. A closely related but lesser-used term is derealization, which is the sense that the world isn’t real. Depersonalization is often described as feeling like you’re ‘in a dream’ or ‘not really there’. It’s actually not that uncommon to experience such feelings: up to75% of people will do so at least once in their lives, but for most of them the sensations will be fleeting. If you’ve ever been severely jetlagged or sleep-deprived, there’s a good chance that you will have experienced transient depersonalization.
Psychologists have proposed that feelings of unreality are also used by the brain as a protective mechanism against psychological trauma, which would explain why feelings of dream-like detachment are so often reported in the aftermath of traumatic events, such as violence or disaster. That is why we see lots of cases also in the Middle East, Africa, and Japan.
More rarely, according to a theory developed by the neuropsychiatric Anthony David at University College London and his colleagues, when those protective feelings of unreality are incorrectly interpreted as being dangerous (for instance, provoking worries about going crazy), they can generate a feedback loop with the anxiety that’s causing them.
The depersonalization can then persist for much longer than the trigger incident and become depersonalization disorder (DPD), currently classified by psychiatry as one of several ‘dissociative conditions’, along with dissociative identity disorder and dissociative amnesia (it’s important to note that the latter two are very distinct from and more severe than DPD, and while they too involve feelings of detachment, in other respects they are experientially and symptomatically vastly different).
‘Between 70 to 80 % of people will say that they’ve felt depersonalization.
The physiological causes and correlates of depersonalization are not entirely understood. However Brain Scan of people diagnosed with depersonalization disorder have found that they show reduced activity in parts of the brain involved in processing emotions (including the amygdala and hippocampus) in response to emotional pictures or when memorizing emotional words, as compared with controls.
In evolutionary terms, this emotional blunting might have been useful in life-or-death situations as it suppresses the paralyzing terror associated with mortal danger. However, when this blunting becomes chronic it could contribute to the problems of detachment and unreality associated with depersonalization disorder.
I’ve experienced acute feelings of depersonalization first-hand. It lasted for one day back in 1974 when I wanted to leave my country and go to study medicine in Greece , but my father was against the idea and took my passport and all my papers and prevented me from going , then he changed his mind after he realized that it was effected me so much.
I suffered a massive panic attack that seemingly hit me out of nowhere. I remembered nothing makes sense anymore, my dreams and vision were all gone and that I was living in a dream or a nightmare, it was a shock. People around me like a robot and I was looking at them from a glass window, time froze and I had to sense of time at all, it was like I was dead from the inside.
The world around me collapsed. I had the sensation that I was suddenly disconnected from the world around me, like a pane of glass had slid between me and reality. It was terrifying. And though the panic attack subsided, I was left with lingering anxiety and worries that anyone could steal my dreams, and in any moment that I could lose it all, lose my life, my job, my education and my dreams.
That happened to me again when I moved to Canada and found that I cannot go back to be a medical doctor, and that I need another 5 years plus residency program that if I pass my TOEFL test and the MCAT EXAMS. Which I fail twice. English was foreign to me and still is.
But in that time I have learned to deal with the issue so I didn’t panic and started to accept the new reality of starting all over again, and I changed direction to a new field of science that later led me to be a sonographer, and earned my PhD in the Health Science / Public Health.
Panic attacks and accumulated stress are known as common triggers of depersonalization disorder, alongside trauma. In fact, around 30 % of people who suffer from recurrent panic attacks often precipitated by relatively mundane situations (eg, being in a crowded bus or shop or crowded elevator). Will report feeling depersonalized in the course of the attack.
In the case of stress, essentially the same overwhelming sense of detachment that can occur in the aftermath of a serious motor accident can also be triggered by the stress that accompanies difficult life events, such as grief, divorce , a job loss, or Lots of a pet.
Yet another common cause of depersonalization is recreational drug use. A bad drug experience can be intensely frightening. The fears of ‘dying’ or ‘going crazy’ can be interpreted by the brain as a major traumatic event, triggering the protective mechanism of depersonalization as described by so many patients mostly from the US, and Europe.
The key issue in my opinion is the panic attack and any other triggers that lead to panic attacks starting by the anxiety of losing something. In so many studies they found that drug use is another major issue for panic attacks that leads to this syndrome and that’s why I was so amazed when the Canadian government legalized marijuana drug use , it is unscientific and it can do more harm than good. The best way to deal with the issue is to be close to your faith and good friends, positive people and away from those who can rob your happiness by their drama and negativity.
One of the main reasons that feelings of unreality can persist is simply the misunderstanding of what they actually are. In the same way that heart palpitations are often incorrectly interpreted as heart attacks, the feelings of unreality that occur with anxiety can be interpreted as ‘going crazy’, generating a feedback loop between the depersonalization and the anxiety that’s causing it.
Recognizing the feelings as a normal and harmless part of the fight-or-flight response can help you stop that feedback loop and allow the feelings to fade away naturally. The good news is that, in its transient form, depersonalization is an odd, but only momentary sensation.
In its chronic form, depersonalization is a profoundly bizarre and frightening experience. People diagnosed with the condition have described it as feeling as if:
- They’re seeing the world from behind a pane of glass;
- Their head is full of cotton wool
- They’re stuck in a dream; same feeling I had
- They or the people around them aren’t real or are like ‘robots’; that was my feeling back in 1974.
- Their perception of time is altered; I felt the same in 1974 and in this point, I have a research about those people who claimed that they were abducted by aliens or they wake up and missing time period , I think they suffered with acute onset of depersonalization that lead them to this situation, and not an alien abduction ,it is pure science and they can lose time and have all sort of dreams and thoughts that caused by trauma, drug, anxiety, and many other factors.
- their vision is ‘off’ or ‘changed’; time have been changed or speedup, that what I felt back in 1974 on that moment, that’s why I think that this syndrome is where people lose time and lose touch with reality that lead them to think it is all aliens , LOL there are no green martins , we are the aliens in our world and mind. I am talking about Angels and Demons, which is a different topic.
It’s also very common to experience:
- intrusive existential and philosophical thoughts;
- emotional numbness;
- a ‘blank mind’, or the feeling of having no thoughts; or
- Memory issues.
While these thoughts and feelings might be frightening, it’s important to remember that the ‘as if’ nature of your thoughts indicates that your ‘reality testing’ remains intact – and that’s a good sign.
As with all intrusive thoughts, you might experience a strong temptation to try to push away your feelings of unreality. Unfortunately, if you do this, you’ll likely run into a phenomenon that the psychologist Daniel Wegner in 1994 and he called it ‘ironic process’, in which attempts to suppress certain thoughts actually make them more likely to occur.
Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.
– From the essay ‘Winter Notes on Summer Impressions’ (1863) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
In trying to push the thoughts and feelings away, you are inadvertently acknowledging and empowering them. It’s like having an annoying song stuck in your head; thinking about the song in either positive or negative terms is futile. Instead, you should focus away from it altogether, the classic solution being to simply listen to other music.
Yoga or prayers, worship and faith connection, breathing, exercise, music and singing, massage and physio, walking and swimming, reading the holy books, take a new class and a new hobby, gardening and be with positive people.
Date other people, shift your mind and get a new mindset, What you soon realize is that the only reason the song was stuck in your head in the first place was because you were worried about the song being stuck in your head, and so on about other issues of dating, jobs, your future etc.
In that same sense, gently turning your attention away from the thoughts of depersonalization can help you contextualize them as being unimportant, and allow them to fade away naturally. Remember that, for the vast majority of people who experience depersonalization, the feelings are brief and fade away naturally. They might later recall the experience as ‘feeling dreamy’ but little more than that, like in my case back in 1974 with my dad.
This process of redirecting your attention to other activities is effective regardless of how long depersonalization has been present.
- Sound and vision
Focus on engaging stimuli around you. Watch your favorite TV show. Do puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku. If you’re reading a book, read it out loud. You might have specific images or videos that you find relaxing, diverting or inspirational. For me, I made sure I had a portable games device to hand and lots of podcasts and music loaded on my phone.
Simply being aware of your breathing can be a great tool in reducing levels of anxiety and its symptoms, including depersonalization. Good breathing is a good technique for grounding yourself during anxiety, but an easy-to-remember method is simply to inhale for a count of six seconds, then exhale for the same. Don’t rush, continue this for up to 10 minutes if you can, and you will hopefully find it calming. You might feel dizzy at first.
One technique I found to be very helpful was focusing on learning a new skill. This could be a new language, a song on the guitar, or anything that you find interesting and enjoyable. I found that learning English, research , and writing is the way to go for me. When actively learning, you are even more involved than if you were passively watching something. The focus and concentration involved in learning a new skill is an excellent way to stay grounded.
A good exercise routine was a vital part of recovery from depersonalization. Going to the gym may make you stressed at first; in the midst of intense anxiety and make you feel unreality, going to a brightly lit, busy sports club was the last thing you wanted to do. But the routine and strength, both physical and mental, you will gain from it were hugely beneficial for your situation.
Exercise releases endorphins and generates a strong sense of accomplishment. It also promotes socializing, and the change in environment alone can help to break negative thought patterns.
If possible, start off by doing a minimum of 15-30 minutes of exercise per day. Ideally, do some of this outdoor cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling. This will also help to tire you out and maintain healthy sleep patterns. Then, as best you can, start building up to a more intense exercise regime and sign up for a gym membership if possible. Try to avoid other triggers such as ;
- Caffeine and other stimulants
Many people misinterpret feelings of depersonalization as a sign of tiredness. The person might also feel like they’re ‘living in a dream’ (at the same time, they might be experiencing insomnia or fitful sleep). So they drink coffee or caffeine-rich soft drinks in order to ‘wake up’. However, this is a bad idea because caffeine tends to increase anxiety levels, which in turn can increase feelings of depersonalization.
- Recreational drugs, including cannabis
As with all anxiety-based conditions, it’s a good idea to avoid any and all drugs, at least until you are fully recovered. This is especially true with drug-induced depersonalization, since there can be a strong anxious association with the drug that could trigger more anxiety.
Cannabis is generally regarded as a relaxant, but its best avoided in the context of recovery from depersonalization. That’s why so many Indians and Buddhist monks use drugs to reach this dream and self detached from the world and then they call it spiritual enlightenment and reaching God with drugs ! And they bring stories and ideas from the dream world and write books about meeting God and his angels or other demons.
- Don’t panic
There can be a strong urge to jump to scary conclusions such as ‘I’m still high and I’ll never come down’ or ‘I’m going crazy.’ These catastrophic thoughts are the result of anxiety, so take comfort that those things are not actually happening. You are not still high, you’re not going crazy, and you’re not in danger.
- Don’t take drugs
People sometimes assume that since this happened while on a specific drug, taking more of that same drug might be a way to stop the feelings. Unfortunately, this can often increase anxiety levels and make things worse, so avoid this course of action. So stop drinking alcohol and stop taking drugs. Any religion advise of taken drug is an evil cult so don’t follow them.
‘I think that one of the reasons that it’s so difficult to get a diagnosis is paradoxically because the visible symptoms are not so striking,’ says Ciaunica. ‘If you’re in a lift with a claustrophobic person, and suddenly the lift stops and the person starts panicking, you can see the visible effects. The problem with depersonalization is that it’s invisible.’ Same thing happened inside the MRI machine.
Also, the symptoms can be very difficult (and frightening) to describe. People living through depersonalization can be faced with the prospect of saying things such as ‘I don’t feel real’ or ‘I feel like I’m stuck in a dream.’ I remember saying those very words to my mother after my dad took my passport and my papers causing me severe shock and panic
Separation from one’s sense of self can be exhilarating and cathartic, and can impart a fresh sense of perspective. The psychedelic experience, arguably an extreme feeling of unreality, is often considered a profound and life-changing experience. And at the non-chemical end of the spectrum, meditation and yoga are vehicles for experiencing feelings of unreality through trance states. These are healthy, natural and pleasurable pursuits.
In the Buddhist tradition, ‘revelations of no-self’ are part of the spiritual journey. The anattā (‘non-self’ or ‘substanceless’) doctrine essentially states that what we perceive to be a self is actually a vast set of psychological and physical processes in a constant state of flux. People experiencing depersonalization can often imagine that they have somehow fallen into this realization and can’t get out, like they’ve ‘opened a door they can’t close’ and are ‘seeing things differently now’. Stay sober, stay healthy and clean, be social and avoid drama, be positive and smile be a magnet that pull people toward you .
Thank you for reading , please visit my blog to read more at www.moleopedia.com
Steve Ramsey, PhD. Public Health.