Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just a plain bad day. I'm feeling ill-at-ease in my own body, like I've unwittingly dressed in somebody else's ill-fitting clothes. My estrangement has become a sort of full-body ache, the mental equivalent of being kneed in the ribs.

The most I can hope for at times like this is to keep myself distracted; fortunately I've got some some pretty good books on hand.


Carol Maltby said...

This feeling you describe does not seem to be helpful or pleasant for you. The symptoms you describe sound like they might be those of depersonalization and derealization, which are often related to underlying anxiety disorders. You aren’t alone, and there are ways it can be dealt with.

I see you’ve described depersonalization yourself as far back as Feb 14, 2004. You even use the robotic idea that many of the online discussions describe as being a common symptom.

This PDF, Understanding and treating depersonalization disorder,” by Medford, Sierra, Baker and David, goes into deeper detail.

In their bibliography they cite the paper below on a possible link with caffeine. I don’t know what the availability of the paper is outside of the academic community. Have you tried switching to decaf yet?

Biol Psychiatry 1989 Jul;26(3):315-320 "Depersonalization disorder: effects of caffeine and response to pharmacotherapy." Stein MB, Uhde TW

Note that if you research this further, there are alternative spellings of “-zation” or “–sation” for both terms.

W.M. Bear said...

Mac -- I think Carol may be right about the need to cut down on the caffeine. I'd also suggest looking around for a good therapist -- just something weekly to help straighten your head in a relatively brief time. Nothing so heavy as psychoanalysis.

Carol Maltby said...

They seem to feel that cognitive-behavioral therapy is best for these, and that's usually done with an eye to having it be a short and efficient process of making changes. Not st all like Woody Allen dissecting everything that ever happened in his life for the past decades!

Chris said...

Mac, there have been tremendous strides in the understanding of the mind and anxiety-related - I don't want to use the word disorders, because it's too charged - imbalances is a better term. Unfortunately too many people dont' avail themselves of the breakthroughs made in the last 20 years because the idea still persists that troubles with mood and emotions are somehow a matter of 'character'. These feelings seem to be persistent in your life. You may find that they're nothing more than a surfiet of a single molecule, or the mildest deficiency of a simple electrolyte. Never hurts to find out. Just keep in mind that if these anxieties are rooted in chemistry, that there certainly is nothing wrong with YOU.

And btw, yeah start with cutting down on the Starbucks. They make their coffee STRONG.

Mac said...

The derealization is quite real; I've fought it for years, with an ever-refined arsenal of prescribed substances. It comes and goes.

Dustin said...

I don't know if you eat much in the way of fake sugars, but cutting those out in sodas and such has helped a very good friend of mine immensely with feeling like this, just FYI.