Depersonalization Disorder De-realization: what it is and why it occurs

Depersonalization Disorder De-realization

In Depersonalization Dis-realization Disorder the person has the feeling of not knowing who and may not even recognize their reality. You feel like you have totally lost your identity. What could be behind this disorder?

Depersonalization Disorder De-realization

The disorder depersonalization derealization (TDD or SDD) is a peculiar psychological mechanism. At the moment in which it occurs, the person feels that he has lost his identity, that he does not recognize himself as her, at the same time that he can feel the same towards the reality that surrounds him. The feeling of strangeness, of seeming that a part of herself has detached and disappeared, fills her with anguish, misunderstanding and discouragement. What is happening to me? Am I going crazy? Will the whole world fade away? Has that feeling come to stay?

This feeling of anguish occurs because, in general, we are very little used to knowing how our psychological mechanisms work, which does not happen when we refer to our body. Popular wisdom warns us about the role that fever has in a flu or how a healing process develops, or that of a hematoma. However, when faced with the mental machinery, we feel absolutely helpless.

It frightens us terribly and any type of manifestation that is incomprehensible to us generates anguish. That is why when TDD appears and suddenly we do not recognize ourselves (something that normally happens because of something that has happened and has generated anxiety), it increases the anguish we feel, thus entering a vicious circle. Understanding what is behind this disorder can help us get out of this circle.


This type of disorder is closely associated with phobias, although it can be due to other conflicts or situations that have taken us to a limit. It happens that, faced with phenomena that we may all have experienced at a certain moment in our lives (situations that exceed us because they are sudden and unimaginable, accumulation of various frustrations in our lives, emotional remains that have been creating a residue …) in a certain moment, without anything apparent promoting it, explodes in the form of a supreme anguish that collapses the mind.

A situation of mental collapse can destroy part of our ego, and even our reality.

The process can be reversed: we go blank, feeling everything strange and, later, anxiety comes. This state can also occur in the face of important changes or projects in our lives. We believe that everything follows its normal course, but there is something in the background that we cannot see clearly or that does not quite fit.

The degree and duration of this mental state will depend on what is behind that blocking reaction.

A strong emotional betrayal, continuous work or family harassment, fixed and obsessive ideas about the meaning of our existence or concern about an uncertain future, can trigger that mental collapse that, at times, even erases our image in the mirror. We no longer know who we are or where we are going.

All these manifestations are the result of operations carried out by our mind, in general, to defend ourselves against something that we cannot fully assimilate. Either because the situation is very strong and traumatic, overflowing the psychic tools that we have at a given moment; either because we lack experiential, emotional or conceptual resources to understand the basic conflict.

The point is that we dissociate ourselves. One part of our self is witness to what is happening, the other part has gone blank.


Now our fight is to restore that lost part. The mental device has managed to neutralize everything that we could not digest, but along the way it has erased part of our being. It would be something like chemo against a tumor, which manages to load the bad cells, but also destroys the good ones.

It is not only about restoring that part lost in the lack of realization, but also about obtaining the resources to face the base situations, knowing more and preventing what has led us there.

  • We must not get caught up in a label of a new pathological identity. We are not a specific syndrome, but we suffer from a state of reaction to something to be remedied. In the same way that we are not a physical disease, but we suffer from it and we take care of it to find a solution.
  • We have to consider that human beings talk to ourselves constantly. We do it as if we were doing it to another. We criticize, excuse, encourage ourselves, etc. When a mental breakdown occurs, that dialogue stops and we take refuge in the negative part, we believe that only that part exists. But no, there are both. The proof is that we start looking for information or help and we keep chatting in the process, only negatively and in anguish.

We must restore our internal dialogue to its normal continuity.

  • Understand that a frame was broken that, to a greater or lesser extent, gave meaning to our lives up to a certain point. It is difficult for us to accept it and find other senses that do not deny what happened, but that do not anchor us in that place and that promote rebuilding our capacities.
  • Going back to the past can help. There we will find a very valuable thread. Let’s take back everything we have done in life. Let’s rescue its benefits and everything we bet on. Let us ask ourselves why they have been valid, those that must be reformulated and those that must be discarded. Let’s remake our self.
  • Let’s get help. Writing and talking with friends or with a psychotherapist who does not label us may be necessary. A good therapeutic work can provide, in addition to a door to that impasse, a greater knowledge of our resources and our mental defense systems. The more we know about them, the more prepared and safer we will be in our life.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here