Mindfulness refers to being fully immersed in the present, which many sufferers of DPD find difficult. Mindfulness encourages you to focus on immediate experiences, direct sensations, and events as they unfold without allowing your mind to wander. This generally involves breaking the old habits of automatic responding and instead, observing everything you do and feel as you do and feel it.
My personal experience with mindfulness was very beneficial, although my symptoms were still present after mindfulness sessions; I felt it helped with time perception distortions, as I was able to use the techniques to feel present at the times my mind would usually wander. This took time and patience and still does, but I do think mindfulness techniques and strategies are extremely beneficial for DPD sufferers.
Although there have been reported cases of DPD being triggered through the use of meditation, many sufferers find meditation helpful in tolerating their symptoms as well as providing some relief.
As quoted by a past suffer of DPD: “Meditation helped me in numerous ways, Firstly being able to learn to tune down your own nervous system and recognise specific areas of held tension and being able to release, secondly, by developing concentration and focus. This helped with things such as clarity of mind and to be able to stick to habits that I knew would help DP.”
Diary keeping is often suggested when receiving CBT. It has been found useful in highlighting the changes in symptoms. Diary keeping can also be useful in helping sufferers become aware of possible predictable patterns and the effects that different activities, situations or states of mind have on the intensity of the symptoms.
"If the patient can tolerate the experience of unrealness for a time, he can make himself a new reality which is more solidly grounded for his own needs and perception, and in a sense more “real” than his old compromises were, however comfortable and familiar they might have felt.”
J. S. Levy and P. L. Wachtel
Many sufferers of DPD have been found to cut themselves off from the world. Reducing avoidance, which is often referred to during CBT, involves what is know as graded exposure.
This teaches sufferers how to gradually increase exposure that exacerbate their symptoms instead of avoiding them. This is usually done through the form of role-playing and techniques, which have found to be useful in many DPD sufferers.
Acceptance and willingness
This is the opposite of avoidance. Many DPD sufferers do not want to engage in life due to the discomfort they are feeling. When you are willing to engage in a range of experiences (even if you experience them in a numb way) you are opening yourself up to all the possibilities life can offer.
Useful Information and Links
www.dpselfhelp.com with over 29,000 members. The largest online community for sufferers of DPD/DR.
Institute of Psychaitry, Kings College, London, Depersonalization Research Unit
The Harris Harrington program, designed to treat DP/DR.
Mental Health UK
Time to change
Anxiety Help UK