Detached from the world

Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by Natalie Slivinski

In this Article

  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment

Derealization is a mental state where you feel detached from your surroundings. People and objects around you may seem unreal. Even so, you’re aware that this altered state isn’t normal.

More than half of all people may have this disconnection from reality once in their lifetime. But about 2% of people experience it often enough for it to become a type of dissociative disorder.

Derealization is similar but distinct from depersonalization. The latter involves a feeling of detachment not from your environment, but from your own body, thoughts, or feelings. It’s as if you’re watching what’s happening to yourself as an outsider.


Derealization usually happens in episodes, which means symptoms come and go. During an episode, you might feel as if:

  • You are in a dream or “fog.
  • A see-through wall or veil is separating you from your surroundings.
  • The world appears lifeless, muted, or fake.
  • Objects or people look “wrong” -- blurry, unnaturally sharp, too big, or too small.
  • Sounds are distorted, too loud, or too soft.
  • Time seems to speed up, slow down, or stand still.

Episodes can end in a few minutes or stretch for months at a time. But even as you feel like you’re going “crazy,” you always recognize that something is off. This is a key difference from psychotic disorders, where you can’t distinguish what’s real and what’s imaginary.


Derealization sometimes can be a symptom of a medical condition. Other times, it can happen on its own, often in reaction to severe trauma or stress.

Health conditions linked to derealization include:

  • Seizures
  • Dementia
  • Drug abuse
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Others dissociative disorders, like amnesia

The most common event that can trigger derealization is emotional abuse or neglect at a young age. The experience prompts the child to detach from their surroundings as a way to manage the trauma. Other causes of stress might include:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Parents or guardians with a severe mental disorder
  • Unexpected death of a loved one
  • PTSD from war or conflict
  • Trauma from an accident or a natural disaster

Future episodes of derealization can be brought on by everyday stressors, including problems at work or in your relationships.


Derealization almost always starts in late childhood or early adulthood. The average age it starts is around 16, and 95% of cases are diagnosed before age 25.

No lab test can diagnose derealization. Your doctor may first try to rule out physical causes. They may use imaging tests such as an MRI, EEG, or an X-ray, or a urine screen to check for toxic chemicals.

If those tests don’t show anything, your doctor will refer you to a mental health expert. They will diagnose you with derealization disorder if you:

  • Have constant or repeated bouts of symptoms
  • Know that what you’re seeing or experiencing is not real
  • Are deeply distressed or your symptoms severely interfere with your life


Many people who have derealization recover fully, sometimes on their own. Others are able learn how to get through episodes calmly.

But if you’ve been enduring it for a long time or if your root cause was very traumatic, you may need professional help. That’s especially true if you also have depression or anxiety that often comes with derealization.

The No. 1 treatment for derealization is psychotherapy. This form of talk therapy teaches you ways to share your experience and strategies to handle your episodes. Your doctor also may prescribe medication, mainly to ease any symptoms of depression or anxiety that come with the disorder.

Through psychotherapy, you may learn how to:

  • Keep yourself from obsessing about unreal experiences.
  • Distract yourself with activities.
  • Ground yourself in reality using your five senses (for example, by playing loud music or holding something very cold).
  • Address negative feelings and figure out the causes of your symptoms.
  • Talk about your feelings using specific words.

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Torn from the Motherland — Magazine «Reading Together.

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Mark Aleksandrovich Landau (real name) was born in Kyiv. Aldanov is an anagram, which then became a real surname from a pseudonym. Russian prose writer, essayist, today one of the most translated into other languages ​​and widely read writers belonging to the first wave of Russian emigration, widely known for his historical novels that cover the events of two centuries of European and Russian history, starting from the middle of the 18th century.

Aldanov's father was a rich sugar producer. In 1904, Mark Alexandrovich graduated from the Kyiv classical gymnasium, he was fluent in German, French, English, knew Latin and ancient Greek. At the age of 18, Mark entered Kyiv University. And at once to two faculties: physical and mathematical department of chemistry and law. Over the years, Aldanov published a fairly large number of works on chemistry.

He studied in Paris, but during the First World War he returned to Petrograd to participate in the development of ways to protect the population from chemical weapons. And his literary debut was the critical study "Tolstoy and Rolland", written in 1915 year. He thought to turn it into a large study, but the manuscript of the second part was lost during the Civil War.

Aldanov did not accept the October Revolution. He believed that coups of the October type were not historically inevitable: “Any gang, ,” he wrote, “, under an accidentally favorable situation, can seize state power and hold it for years with the help of terror, without any idea, with very little numerical support in the masses of the people; later scientists look for deep sociological reasons for this.

His publicistic work "Armageddon", published in 1918, was perceived as sedition and seized. This is philosophical journalism in the form of a dialogue about the war and the October Revolution and reflections on future prospects. As secretary of the anti-Bolshevik Union for the Revival of Russia in 1918, he visited a number of European capitals in order to obtain real help in the fight against the new government. After joining the People's Socialist Party in 1919, Aldanov went abroad and has not returned to Russia since. He lived first in Paris, then in Berlin (since 1922 to 1924). Here he met his cousin Tatyana Markovna Zaitseva, who translated his novels into French, she became his wife and friend until the end of his days.

Then Paris again (until 1941). In Paris, Aldanov tried to establish a publishing business, but to no avail. Collaborated in the newspapers "Latest News" and "Days", published in various magazines. Beginning in 1921, Aldanov was a regular contributor to the journal Sovremennye Zapiski, where for the first time all the major works of art he created before the Second World War saw the light of day. According to the author's intention, they form two cycles: a tetralogy about the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, and a trilogy, the action of which takes place on the eve and shortly after the Russian Revolution 1917 years old. A revolutionary is a person without moral principles, ready to use any means to achieve his goal. In the novel "The Ninth Thermidor" - this is Robespierre, in "Suicide" - Lenin.

His first literary work on a historical theme - the story "St. Helena, a small island" - tells about the last days of the humiliated, tired, sick Napoleon - a prisoner of St. Helena. The story immediately attracted attention, they wrote about it, talked about it, praised it, and translated it into French. Its publication came just on the centenary of Napoleon's death. The most flattering, most remarkable for Aldanov was the review of the artist Ilya Repin, who wrote in a letter to him: “Oh, what a book this is! What a pity that I don’t know how to sketch out images from what I read… But your heroes are living people: they appear so unexpectedly, in such incredible turns and such elusive tones, that it’s a work of genius to grasp this… Your adorer, Ilya Repin.”

Since the late 1920s, Aldanov was a member of several Masonic lodges and groups of lodges in France and the USA, and was a founding member of them. In 1919-1921 he was initiated into the Brotherhood Lodge, later he became a founding member of the Northern Star Lodge, a member of the Northern Star Sovereign Chapter.

After the beginning of the German occupation, Aldanov lived in New York, where, together with Tsetlin, he organized the "New Circle". The Nazis, having occupied Paris, seized and removed its library and archive.

During the American period of Aldanov's work, he often turned to the genres of historical portraiture, describing either bright and contemporary politicians (Carnot, Hitler, Stalin) or notorious figures of recent history (Azef, Mata Hari).

Aldanov's novel The Beginning of the End, begun in 1936 and published in New York in 1943, brought great literary success. During the flight from occupied Paris, the second book of this novel was lost at the train station. In New York, the writer had to rewrite it from memory. This novel was named "Book of the Month" in the USA and even won a literary prize. Aldanov believed that over time the themes of his novels would become outdated, and the Russian reader would lose interest in them, but he had no doubt that sooner or later his books would end up in Russia.

In exile, Mark Aldanov continued to work as a chemist; his book "Actinochimie", published in 1937, was highly appreciated by European colleagues. In 1951 he published the book "On the Possibility of New Concepts in Chemistry".

In 1947 the writer returned to France and settled in Nice. According to contemporaries, he was distinguished by the impeccability of a "European" of Russian origin, in whose appearance one never had to feel something that could distort the idea of ​​\u200b\u200ba person. He called the case the main engine of history, approved of the historical fatalism of Leo Tolstoy during the period of "War and Peace", which he was very sympathetic to. An event, according to Aldanov, appears as if spontaneously, contrary to the logic of things and regardless of the subjective motives of its participants, however, even if repeated, it does not become an instructive experience: from century to century, mankind makes the same mistakes.

Aldanov was personally acquainted with almost all the well-known cultural figures of the Russian emigration, was friendly with Rachmaninoff, and corresponded with Bunin for many years. He also knew Western writers well, talked with Thomas Mann, Andre Maurois, Ernest Hemingway. He almost never found himself in the center of everyone's attention, was not the subject of gossip; being one of the most prolific émigré novelists, he was never recognized as the first émigré writer.

There is a known case when Aldanov refused to shake hands with Nestor Makhno when meeting him. Equally fundamental was the break in relations with Alexei Nikolaevich Tolstoy after his return to Soviet Russia. It is significant that, where possible, Aldanov sought to justify the emigrants who returned to their homeland, and he did this publicly.

The most significant work of recent years has been The Tale of Death (1953), which recreates the history of the last years of Balzac's life, and the main event, to which different lines of narration are drawn, is the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in France in 1848. Aldanov remained true to his idea that the court of historians is always biased, since "one cannot regard the incommensurable: legend, terror, victories, ruin, political gains, the number of human victims."

In November 1956, the 70th anniversary of Mark Alexandrovich Aldanov was loudly celebrated in France. Three months later he was gone - he died on February 25, 1957 in Nice.

Aldanov's last novel "Suicide", written by him in 1956, a year before his death, should also arouse the undoubted interest of today's reader: among the characters of the novel Lenin, Stalin, Krupskaya, Savva Morozov, the only, as you know, Lenin's strong love - Inessa Armand. This is a novel about how the intelligentsia, which did not accept the revolution, was doomed to death under the conditions of Soviet power.

Aldanov left no memories and bequeathed to destroy part of his archive, not wanting to give any information about himself and his contemporaries, especially those still alive. Contemporaries remember Aldanov as noble, correct, courteous, attentive. “The last gentleman of the Russian emigration,” Bunin called him. Aldanov and Bunin were connected not just by a thirty-year friendship. It was a friendship, sealed by common political views and literary tastes and interests, mutual respect and trust. After leaving Paris, during the difficult war years, Aldanov incessantly helped Bunin to survive with money and parcels, regardless of the fact that Aldanov himself also had a hard life. Charity concerts and evenings were organized in New York, the collection from which was sent to Bunin. When both lived in France: Aldanov in Nice, Bunin in Grasse, they saw each other often and greatly appreciated each other's company. At a distance, they exchanged letters: they shared the most pressing life problems. This correspondence is stored in New York in the Bakhmetev archive.

Becoming a Nobel laureate and having received the right to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize, Bunin repeatedly, until his death, wrote to the Nobel Committee, nominating Aldanov for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In his memoirs, Aldanova and the acmeist poet, literary critic and translator Georgy Adamovich write about high human qualities: “He was a one of a kind man. For me, a close acquaintance with Aldanov was and remains one of the joys I have experienced in my life. From him, as it were, exuded infinite benevolence towards all people, a kindness that was infinitely modest and always the same both in those years when he was a rich man, and then, when only a memory remained of wealth. It was a great philanthropy, not dictated by any interests, or religions, or parties, philanthropy, which in itself found a reward ... "

Vladislav Khodasevich, Vladimir Nabokov, Ivan Bunin spoke positively about Aldanov the writer; its negative characteristics belong to Georgy Ivanov and Marina Tsvetaeva (“a little - not heroes, but the author ... a gossip-reasoner - here is Aldanov’s certification in the encyclopedic dictionary of the future” ).

This is how Andrei Sedykh recalled the writer: “In his youth, he was outwardly elegant, he exuded some kind of genuine nobility and aristocracy. In Paris, at the beginning of the thirties, Mark Aleksandrovich Aldanov was like this: above average height, regular, pleasant features, black hair parted to one side, “European”, short mustache trimmed with a brush. Attentive, slightly sad eyes looked directly, somehow even stubbornly at the interlocutor ... Over the years, external grace began to disappear. The hair turned white, somehow tangled, there were fullness, shortness of breath, minor ailments. But Aldanov’s inner, spiritual aristocracy remained, his mind worked strictly, with merciless logic, and with all the gentleness and delicacy of his character, uncompromisingly” . (Andrey Sedykh. M.A. Aldanov // New Journal. New York, 1961. No. 64).

Since 1987 the works of Mark Aldanov have been actively published in the USSR and in Russia. In 2007, the "New Journal" established the Literary Prize. Mark Aldanova, awarded for the best story of the year written by a Russian-speaking writer living outside the Russian Federation.

Vitalina Tsymbalyuk-Romanovskaya: “Dzhigarkhanyan is cut off from the world. They don’t give him a phone”

  • News

The pianist divorced the actor and director in 2017. Their scandalous separation then became the number one topic. But even now, when Armen Borisovich got back together with his second wife Tatyana Vlasova, new details of that ugly story emerge.

January 15, 20207 631

Armen Dzhigarkhanyan

Vitalina Tsymbalyuk-Romanovskaya moved to Moscow from Kyiv. Many haters believe that the move was intentional: they say, the girl decided to seduce the eminent actor in order to seize his fortune. But the blonde denies the speculation.

“While still living in Kyiv, studying at the conservatory, I was not deprived of communication with the cultural environment. It was there that Armen Borisovich and I found common acquaintances. Dzhigarkhanyan voiced cartoons included in the golden fund. Among them is David Cherkassky's animated television film "Treasure Island", in which Armen Borisovich played the pirate John Silver. The music for the film was written by the Ukrainian composer Vladimir Bystryakov, ”said Vitalina.

In 2008, Tsymbalyuk-Romanovskaya, once in Moscow, began working at the Dzhigarkhanyan Theater. Both spent a lot of time there. But they began to live together after the master suffered a second stroke.

“He was slowly recovering. In the most acute period in the hospital, he only recognized me and called me to him. If a nurse in a white coat came in, he mistook her for me. And she told me: “It’s better that you don’t go away, because he starts hugging.” He, of course, was attached to me both spiritually and physically, so he felt me ​​very much. He took off the wedding ring that he used to wear, put it on the bedside table and said that he would not wear it again, ”recalls Tsymbalyuk-Romanovskaya.

Armen Dzhigarkhanyan returned to Tatyana Vlasova

84-year-old Dzhigarkhanyan was never shy about the impressive age difference with his chosen one and willingly attended events with her. In a secular circle, he always noted the merits of Vitalina, her education. “I was only upset that we met late. “If only I were younger,” he said. When I came to him from Kyiv, he always took me to the theater for a rehearsal. But he is very charming. With actresses, he has his own style of communication. They said in the theater that no one understands who Dzhigarkhanyan is actually sleeping with. He flirted with absolutely all the actresses - he liked this intrigue. And, to be honest, I was jealous until I figured out what was what, ”the pianist confesses.

42-year-old Vitalina does not regret the years spent next to Armen Borisovich. But he treats his current situation with sympathy.

“He lost more because of our separation. Lost his whole life, the quality he really wanted and finally could afford! And I'm luckier.

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