Responses of health workers.

DDD is so serious yet over many years I have found it to be little known among health workers. Very few had seen it before, usually they did not know about it. The best were really interested in understanding, respected my experience and did what they could to jointly develop support.

It can take many years just to get diagnosed. The first psychiatrist I met ignored my accounts and fobbed me off with an easy label of ‘anxiety-depression’. I knew it was something else, searched a university library and discovered I had depersonalisation. Years later, I was officially agreed with. A later, responsible psychiatrist did a proper interview; she had seen DDD only 3 times in a long career. Even with a good response, back then there were no established treatments and often that was the end of the line, but now psychological approaches using CBT have emerged.

Turning up and making eloquent efforts in an appointment, is to appear contrary to profound detachment in DDD. It takes skill to delineate what the patient is expressing and which symptoms are primary or consequential. Obviously, it is no help to be misdiagnosed. [It is no surprise that having DDD could cause depression. However, I had years of DDD without other conditions].

If you have DDD, you know  it and need a serious response. To list some negative experiences (not to put you off but to show what is not helpful): One psychiatrist literally shrugged at my descriptions of DDD symptoms, as though they were nothing. He scoffed. Other mental health workers have said “but we all see red differently”, as if I had misunderstood normality as derealisation. A friend with DDD and I both found it especially annoying if treated as though we were lacking in confidence! It was thanks to our confidence that we had withstood DDD so long, fighting to get through each day.

Managing DDD takes strength and insight. Getting patronised or DDD being trivialised, was frustrating. Other responses to me were far better.  GPs,  some support workers, therapists, counsellors and CPNs have been very valuable, patient and committed, even if they had not seen DDD before.  This disorder is difficult to understand from the outside but it is constructive to have acceptance and support to prevail in an exhausting marathon of trying to negotiate an 'unreal' world while you are striving to move out of DDD. I answer questions when someone (medical or not) wants to find out more.

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