Whereas derealization is simply dissociation from the world you perceive to be around you, it turns out that depersonalization is a rather loaded word. This is is dissociation from one’s “self,” with the issue being all that evidently falls under that category. As far as I have been able to discern, depersonalization is when you experience partial or total dissociation of the body, of cognition, emotion, behavior, memory and/or identity.
Dissociation of consciousness from specific parts of your body can lead to distortions or loss of body perception. It may seem as if parts of your body are becoming different sizes and shapes, for instance, as in my aforementioned experience of watching my eyes grow in the mirror when I was young. Conversely, it may leave a part of your body numb or even void of sensation altogether. You may even have the sense that its under someone else’s control if you are host to an alter. Consider dissociation of the hand. Ouija board experiences, automatic writing and automatic artwork could perhaps have some light shed on them here.
Right after the flashbacks my artwork, my writing, and even my handwriting itself changed dramatically. I let myself drift into this trance where I felt as if I sort if shared power with some other part of myself, where we worked together in a collaborative project. Sometimes the power would shift in my direction, sometimes towards the other part, but we both played a role.
The process of my writing was one of high-speed, coffee-fueled, uninhibited stream if consciousness. I would put my fingers to the keyboard and literally wrote whatever came to mind, as fast as I could. My fingers could hardly keep up with my rush of thoughts.
Essentially the same was the case with my artwork. I would simply begin drawing and the result would feel as if it were a collective effort between my conscious self and some other part of me of which I was only vaguely aware. They were highly detailed drawings done with a Bic pen and pastel works, both often depicting strange creatures with surreal faces. Hidden in the drawings were other images such as faces, but often things of a blatantly sexual nature as well.
I had gone into the art room when no one was there one day, as I essentially lived out of that room, and got a huge sheet of paper and drew a huge, detailed, grotesque face which I hung in the back of the room. Several periods later when I came into art class, the art teacher, Mrs. Lila, pulled me aside and told me that I should probably take it down, as several students had complained about something in the drawing that I hadn’t even known I had drawn. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten if it was a huge vagina or massive penis, but in either case the embarrassment and my prompt disposal of the picture would have been equally, unbearably profound.
Aside from sexual themes, the theme in many of these collaborative works was often that of duality: two people, faces melting in or out of one another, a creature with a homunculus in the head or the mouth. Sometimes there was a third eye in the Ajna location between and above the eyebrows, too.
Sometimes a creature would extend an arm in front of itself and look at it with amazement, confusion and curiosity, as if they are uncertain as to who or what they are. I have drawn this several times, realizing so only long afterward.
Aside from varying degrees of dissociation from specific body parts, there may also be a fixed sense of not being in the right body, of which I am also guilty. I had never met anyone who felt uncomfortable in their own skin in this all-too-literal way until a met a specific girl at work this year.
While she felt less like a lesbian and more like a man in a woman’s body, I feel only that I don’t fit right in my body. There is no difference sexually or persuasively in my case, save perhaps for the fact that at the deepest, most innermost core I feel like a sexless something stuck with the controlling impulse of the heterosexual man.
My “soul-wedgie” was from not fitting in this form; thats how it felt, like uncomfortable cloths. I cannot say for certain what I would fit as, however. She said that her aunt felt exactly how I described feeling, which made me even more intrigued. I was not the only one. There were at least three of us.
In addition to the degrees of bodily association described above there is the extreme end of bodily dissociation. Here you dissociate from your body as a whole, experiencing out of body sensations. This, it would seem, is evidently more my style.
Rather than merely extreme depersonalization, in my case it was also extreme DR. I did not just vacate my physical body, it seemed evident to me at the time, but the physical reality I experienced through that empty shell. What I instead found myself in we’re what appeared to be alternate realities. Some were near-duplicates of familiar environments, most often my bedroom, and then environments that constituted varying degrees of abstraction from those familiar environments. Dimensions would be wrong, there would be duplicates of objects, objects missing or added, furniture moved and colors different: that sort of thing.
Even in the beginning I worried that someone else might be trying, even accomplishing getting behind the wheel of the body while I was thrown into some alternate reality. I thought I was being possessed by some vile spirit.
Perhaps that “spirit” was a buried part of me. And those alternate realities were backdrops to false memories, home to an alternate identity.