“All depersonalized patients observe themselves continuously and with great zeal, they compare their present dividedness-within-themselves with their previous oneness-with-
-themselves. Self-observation is compulsive with these patients. The tendency to self-observation continuously rejects the tendency to live.”
Sufferers of DP/DR cannot be fully immersed in the present moment, without the mind compulsively indulging in other thoughts as Schilder suggests:
“ The present is a concept which has meaning only in relation to experiencing personalities. The inanimate has no past, present or future.”
In extreme cases sufferer’s time perception can seem to them to be at a stand still, or the present may seem to be like the distant past".
H.J. Shorvon carried out a study in relation to the distortion of time perception in DP/DR sufferers. In the 1946 paper titled “The Depersonalization Syndrome”. Shorvon reviewed his study of 66 patients to find out one third of the sufferers reported changes in their perception of time.
Shorvon cited a statement by Aubrey Lewis on time perception:
“Time is an aspect of all conscious activity, it is essential to all reality.”
When referring to disturbances in the flow of time present in DP/DR, again Shovron quoted Lewis, who said:
“They (time disturbances) illustrate many of the outstanding features of the disorder; the inability to evoke the past readily or clearly, to distinguish the present from the past or future; there is paradoxically the increased quickness with which time passes though it seems to drag along, the seeming remoteness of the recent past, the unconfirmed feeling of the inability to judge the length if time.”
Paul Schilder, an Austrian psychiatrist wrote about the correlation between ‘body-schema’ and depersonalization.
Body Schema, which is often confused with body image, explains the processing of bodily sensations.
“The image of the human body means the picture of our own body which we form in our mind, that is to say, the way in which the body appears to ourselves.”
Paul Schilder also explored the altered sense of time for sufferers of DP/DR, which is one of the reported features of DPD. Often sufferers of DP/DR complain of more ineffable experiences, such as the inability to experience time, or the experience of existing outside of time.