Why do i feel disconnected

» Why are you feeling disconnected and 18 things you can do about it

Perhaps you’re not seeing your purpose in life and are asking yourself how you go to this point? It feels like there should be something more, but when you think about it you feel sort of empty. You feel stuck on a treadmill disconnected from everything and everyone.

You’re not alone. There are many people suffering from the disconnection of modern life. In fact, it’s quite natural and it can happen to anyone, no matter their living situation or social status.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to reconnect. One of the things that should be on your to-do list is learning your genetic predispositions for mental wellbeing.

But first, you need to know why you’re feeling disconnected. Let’s take a look at some possible causes.

In this article

Why are we feeling disconnected
18 things you can do to reconnect
Interested in your genetic predispositions for mental wellbeing?

Why are we feeling disconnected

Feeling disconnected can mean different things to different people. You can feel like you’ve lost your passion for things you’ve once enjoyed. You can feel stuck and searching for a purpose. You can feel like you’re just going through the motions day after day. Or you can even feel lonely even though you’re not alone.

There can be various environmental and genetic causes. We’ll go over the most common ones.

Technology and dopamine

Looking at our phones and checking social media has become an automatic response to any sound or vibration that comes from our devices. We do it all the time, even when we have to wait just a minute to get our coffee.

Such behaviour can easily cause fear of missing out (FOMO) even if we’re not aware of it. We have learned to instantly check emails, notifications and to respond to any stimuli our devices send us. Our tendency to put our phone before our own wellbeing can quickly cause disconnection.

We can also see the best, often fabricated moments from everyone else’s life which can lower satisfaction with our life. The whole Instagram seems to be living a dream while we’re stuck in our routine. That’s not a healthy image of reality nor it is in fact the reality.

Although it seems like social media connects people it really doesn’t. Even Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, admitted that the social network was founded not to unite us, but to distract us. “The thought process was: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” he confessed. To achieve this goal, Facebook’s architects exploited human psychology, explained Parker, who resigned from the company in 2005. Whenever someone likes or comments on a post or photo, Facebook gives you a little dopamine boost. And it’s the same with so many other platforms, innovations and applications.

We won’t go too deep into dopamine as there’s enough there for a whole book. The gist is that dopamine is a neurotransmitter that inspires us to take actions to meet our needs and desires, which was crucial for humanity’s survival. It has a lot to do with desire, ambition, addiction and sex drive.

Because we can now get small releases of dopamine so often during the day, it lowers our desire and motivation to do the harder tasks. That leaves us feeling guilty, lethargic and stuck in a negative loop where we blame ourselves. We end up disconnected from a lot of things we see as meaningful.

Loneliness and keeping to ourselves

Modern life and technology lead many people to situations when they are feeling lonely even when they are not alone.

When was the last time you had a truly deep and meaningful live conversation? This lack of connection with other people not only makes us feel disconnected from them but more susceptible to depression and other chronic health issues as well.

Many of us have a difficult time sharing emotions – because of various stigmas and because people, particularly men, are socialized not to talk about feelings. While this is slowly changing it’s still a huge problem.

Another barrier is the simple fact that it can be difficult to put feelings into words or explain them in a way others may understand. Especially in the world where we rely more and more on short messages. And if we feel misunderstood we might even seek solace in disconnection.

Stress and anxiety

People deal with intense stress in very different ways. Some are more easily annoyed or frustrated by minor inconveniences and lose temper much more easily than the average person. Some people are prone to just tune out. Some experience dissociation, others obsess over stressful thoughts. Stress sensitivity is also linked to cortisol reactivity, which has a genetic component.

Stress is another huge topic that we can’t really cover here. However, we have written a comprehensive article about stress and ways to manage it. You can read it here.

Lack of quality sleep

You know how sometimes you wake up and just feel it’s going to be a good day, while other times you wake up feeling worried or just empty.

You might just say that you’re not a morning person, but sleep is a basic human need and is so important for health and wellbeing. Sleep quality refers to how well we sleep, integrating aspects of sleep initiation (falling asleep in 30 minutes or less), sleep maintenance (waking up no more than once per night), sleep quantity (sleeping at least 85 percent of the total time while in bed), and refreshment upon awakening.

Getting enough quality sleep can help protect mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Changes in sleep quality, quantity, and timing have been associated with several human diseases, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.

As you can see, quality of sleep affects many aspects of our lives. Not getting enough quality hours can certainly be one of the factors that makes us feel disconnected.

Research has shown that sleep quality is a highly complex trait involving many genes and their interactions with environmental factors.

Seasonal depression

Seasonal depression is a type of recurring depression related to changes in the seasons.
For most people with seasonal depression, symptoms appear during late fall or early winter when periods of daylight are shortest and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, seasonal depression occurs in the spring or early summer. The prevalence of seasonal depression is between 1% and 10% of the general population, and the age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years.

While some people with seasonal depression have mild symptoms like feeling irritable, others have worse including depression, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, low energy, difficulty sleeping, concentrating, changes in appetite or weight, feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty, or have frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Individuals with winter-type depression are more likely to experience carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, oversleeping and fatigue, while symptoms of summer-type depression include agitation, insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss, agitation or anxiety, and intolerance of heat and humidity. In both cases, symptoms may begin to be mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

The causes of seasonal depression are complex, but studies suggest a genetic component. In this case, taking a genetic test can let you know if you’re prone to seasonal depression and can help you prepare accordingly. Also, the knowledge itself can be of some comfort as you know the season will pass.

Outlook on life

Optimism relates to how people see the future: more optimistic individuals expect good things to happen across various areas of life. Although we often say that an individual is either an optimist or a pessimist, researchers tend to view optimism and pessimism on a spectrum.

Unsurprisingly, optimism has been associated with higher well-being, higher levels of self-esteem, positive mood, more resilience to stressful or negative events, self-mastery, and active coping.

Psychologists have found that optimism may be beneficial for mental health because it allows us to cope adaptively with our problems instead of disengaging from them.

The benefits of optimism are also reflected in interpersonal relationships; optimists appear to engage in the sorts of problem-solving that keeps relationships alive.

Both optimism and pessimism are strongly influenced by environmental factors, but recent research has shown that the potential for optimism is also influenced by genetic factors.

It might be tough to change your outlook on life, but it’s far from impossible. Pessimists have a much greater chance of feeling disconnected, but as you’ll see there are things you can do to move towards the optimist side of the spectrum. After all, how you perceive life is highly subjective, which means you can influence it.

Depersonalisation disorder

Depersonalisation disorder (also known as derealization disorder) is a different cause from the ones we’ve mentioned so far. The primary symptom is a distorted and detached perception of one’s body and thoughts (depersonalisation).

The disorder is sometimes described as feeling like you are observing yourself from outside your body, being in a dream or feeling like a robot. However, people with this disorder do not lose contact with reality. They realize that things are not as they appear. An episode of depersonalization can last anywhere from a short time (a few minutes) to (rarely) many years.

Depersonalisation also might be a symptom of other disorders, including some forms of substance abuse, certain personality disorders, seizure disorders, and certain other brain diseases.

If you are experiencing depersonalisation disorder symptoms you should see a doctor and get an official diagnosis as this is not the case where you should try to treat the feeling of disconnect yourself.

Now that we’ve reviewed some common causes of feeling disconnected, let’s see what you can do to “reconnect”.

18 things you can do to reconnect

We’ve compiled a pretty extensive list of activities and changes that can help you to feel better and more connected. We don’t recommend that you try all of them at once, because that would be taking on far too much. Instead, think about the reasons why you feel disconnected and find what activities address them the best.

While these descriptions are short, they are a good starting point and you can dive deeper to learn more about the ones that are relevant for you.

1. Reach out

It might feel counterintuitive or daunting, but to feel better, we often need to be vulnerable, reach out and open up to a friend or a therapist.

If you have someone in your life that you trust and knows will be supportive, reach out to them. If the interaction doesn’t feel right, try again with someone else.

If you find you have a hard time opening up to friends or family, you can seek out professionals trained in mental health. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about our problems to “strangers” and there’s absolutely no shame in searching for professional help and going to therapy.

2. Listen to your body

Our bodies send us messages all the time. You know when you’re tired, hungry or when you feel like hanging out with people.

As simple as it seems to honour the body’s needs, it’s not necessarily easy. Especially in a society that puts emphasis on productivity. We can quickly start overriding our body’s real need for fresh air, looking around, even going to the bathroom. This isn’t your fault, it’s merely conditioning that many of us have to practice becoming aware of, in order not to default to it over and over again.

Such behaviour can make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

Just think of athletes – their rest days are just as important as training days for the body to perform optimally, and health to be preserved. It’s the same with you and your mind!

3. Put away electronics

Resist the urge to check your smartphone when it’s not necessary. Put electronics somewhere where you can’t habitually pick up and use them. Try to avoid the stimulus in order to control the number of small dopamine releases. You might even consider uninstalling apps like Facebook, Instagram etc. There are many other ways to stay connected.

If nothing else, don’t use electronics before you go to bed as they can disrupt your circadian rhythm, mostly due to radiated artificial blue light. Research studies have shown that blue light suppresses the hormone melatonin, making us less sleepy.

Even not using electronics 30 minutes before bedtime will help, but remember that the sooner the better. For example, reading a book is a much better alternative to relax before bedtime.

4. Positive reframing and positive affirmations

Reversing negative thinking patterns and replacing them with positive ones can help us feel happier, more optimistic, and less likely to be engaged in pessimistic thoughts. Such a shift from a negative to positive perspective is called “positive reframing”.

Try to challenge yourself to always consider that there may be another way of looking at things. When you notice negative thoughts entering your mind, try to stop them before they tempt you into ruminating. This can be difficult at first, but with some perseverance and practice, it will become easier and more automatic over time. Making this conscious effort not only shifts your viewpoint in the short term but also trains your brain for an optimistic and positive mindset.

You can also use affirmations – positive statements that encourage an optimistic mindset. You may choose to use positive affirmations to motivate yourself, encourage positive changes in your life, or boost your self-esteem.

If you often get caught up in negative self-talk and focus on negative outcomes, affirmations can help you overcome these subconscious patterns and allow you to maintain control over your feelings. It is recommended to use affirmations every day and whenever you need a boost of positivity. Practising positive affirmations can be very simple – all you have to do is choose a positive phrase and repeat it to yourself.

5. Surround yourself with optimists

Research has shown that happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom we are connected. If one person is positive about a situation, others are likely to feel positive as well. On the contrary, being surrounded by more pessimistic people increases the chances that their pessimism will affect us as well.
If you are willing to practice optimism, hearing how other optimists explain their stories and events can be helpful. Try to maximise time spent with optimistic people and if you find yourself surrounded by people complaining about a situation or problem, try not to partake. See if you can shed some positive light on the situation instead. Making other people feel positive also has lasting effects on your own life.

6. Smiling boosts happiness

The evidence suggests that muscle and skin activity of facial expressions may directly activate regions of the brain that produce hormones associated with emotion.

Interestingly, it has been demonstrated that voluntary smiling, or faking a smile, can produce similar electrical brain activity to spontaneous, or genuine, smiling. This results from the activation of feedback pathways from muscles of facial expression to the brain, physiologically triggering happy emotions.

When it comes to smiling, the saying “fake it till you make it” holds true.

7. Spend time with friends and family

People who cultivate high-quality relationships experience higher well-being, life-satisfaction, and quality of life than those who do not nurture such relationships.
Studies have shown that individuals who maintain close relationships, especially with their close family and strong social ties cope better with stress and grief, job loss, or illness. However, recent research suggests that even social interactions with the more peripheral members of our social networks (“weak ties”) contribute to our wellbeing.

8. Regular exercise

The frequency of physical movement throughout the day, even if this movement is not rigorous exercise, is associated with both physical health and happiness. Levels of physical activity have also been shown to be positively associated with general wellbeing, as well as with lower levels of anxiety and depression and positive mood.

Therefore, you should try to find some time every day to, at least, go for a walk or do any other form of exercise. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercising.

9. Spend time in nature

Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.

Therefore, it is recommended that you go for a daily walk or run in nature. If that’s not possible, do it at least over the weekend. Hang out near plants and trees, observe the sky and smell the flowers.

10. Consider a pet companion

A pet companion reduces loneliness and contributes to overall wellbeing throughout life. Having a dog around can lead to lower levels of stress. Having a pet can also benefit those with mental health conditions.

Another study has shown that dog owners were more physically active than those who did not have a dog, regardless of environmental conditions. However, keep in mind that a pet will not change things significantly if you do not establish a positive relationship with it. Having a pet is also a responsibility and a time investment, so don’t think about it as a magic problem solver.

11. Manage your stress levels

If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it: learn a few time-management techniques, practice yoga, meditation, or learn breathing techniques. All of the above can have a positive effect on improving stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality

12. Practice mindfulness

We spend a lot of time thinking about things that are not going on around us, contemplating events that happened in the past, may happen in the future, or will not happen at all.

Mindfulness is a practice aiming to increase awareness of the present moment (experiences happening within and outside you). This technique includes curiosity, openness, and acceptance. When we are present we find more meaning in our day-to-day experiences, which allows for moments of clear recognition. We can truly be with our loved ones, not just physically but emotionally.

Several research studies have shown that practising mindfulness can have a significant and positive impact on mental and physical health, as stress is reduced and the quality of life and sense of wellbeing are improved. It’s something that can definitely help you reconnect to your surroundings and feel more grounded.

13. Make your environment sunnier and brighter

Seasonal depression is related to changes in the amount of daylight during different times of the year.
So if you feel bad during a certain season make your work and home environments as light and airy as possible. Open the window curtains or shades to let in the daylight, trim tree branches that block sunlight, or add skylights to your home.
Also, try to sit closer to bright windows when you are at home or in the office – possibly in the sunshine. Full-spectrum bulbs, which emit a light spectrum that simulates the full visible light spectrum of natural sunlight, can bring a little more daylight into your home during the winter months and help with mild symptoms.
A sunnier and brighter environment can lift your mood even if feeling disconnected has nothing to do with seasonal depression.

14. Get sufficient and quality sleep

Research has shown that those who sleep well are more satisfied with life. In contrast, sleep disruptions have been associated with negative psychological consequences such as depressed mood, anxiety, and poor emotion regulation, and “repetitive negative thoughts”.
An extensive survey revealed that individuals who reported getting more sleep also had higher overall wellbeing than those who said they got less sleep.
For optimal health, most adults need an average of about 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

15. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine

Stress may have a profound effect on sleep.
Try to establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a bath or listening to music. Research has shown that taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped to get more deep sleep.

You can also try to unwind before bedtime by practising meditation or relax with a good book instead of electronics, which can disrupt sleep. Try to drink herbal tea, especially valerian or lavender.

For more bedtime and morning tips, check out our article about waking up.

16. Eat a well-balanced diet

An unprocessed diet high in fruit and vegetable, healthy forms of protein and fats, has been associated with increased happiness, life satisfaction, wellbeing, and better mental health outcomes. Research has shown that consuming vegetables even led to a higher level of happiness over time than sugar or unhealthy food induces at the moment

Therefore, it is recommended to avoid foods that seem enjoyable at the time but then make you feel worse, such as eating unhealthy sugary foods or drinking too much alcohol. A Mediterranean-style diet made up of fruits, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, yoghurt and cheese, nuts, whole grains, seafood, and lean meat is recommended

17. Enjoyable activities

Doing what you enjoy is good for your emotional wellbeing. A study has shown that individuals who engaged in more frequent enjoyable leisure activities, such as hobbies, sports, socialising, or spending time in nature had better psychological and physical functioning. They reported greater life satisfaction, life engagement, and social support.

Finding work and leisure that engage your skills, such as cooking or dancing, is also a good way to enjoy yourself and feel accomplished. Happy people often work in a state called “flow” – they are immersed in tasks that challenge them but do not overwhelm them.

It’s worth noting that activities you enjoy can also be detrimental and make you feel disconnected. We are sure you know if that’s the case and if it is, try to find other healthier enjoyable activities.

18. Let your imagination help you

We can create imaginative experiences to help us when we’re feeling disconnected. Just like athletes learn sports psychology techniques to visualize their success on the field or court, we can do the same. We can imagine we’re giving – or getting – a hug, even when we’re alone and just video chatting with someone we love.

“We can hug ourselves when we send that hug to someone else, and ask them to do the same. Our imagination will help us fill in the space between a real hug and what we’re doing,” counsellor Anne Marie Vorbach, PhD, LP, Avera Medical Group Behavioral Health Marshall, says. “It may sound simple, or silly – but it works.”

Interested in your genetic predispositions for mental wellbeing?

Now you know what steps and activities to try when you’re feeling disconnected. All of them have to do with environmental factors, but plenty of factors that influence our mental wellbeing are affected by our genes.

If you want to learn more about your predispositions we recommend GenePlanet’s MyLifestyle DNA test.

It includes more than 70 analyses, including Body and mind. This bundle can uncover your genetic makeup that impacts your sleep quality, stress sensitivity, happiness potential, seasonal depression, fear and anxiety and others.

It also comes with personalized recommendations depending on your results and it will certainly help you to know yourself better!

Symptoms of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder I Psych Central

Many people have felt disconnected from themselves and their surroundings. But if these feelings arise regularly, you might have depersonalization-derealization disorder.

At one time or another, all of us have found ourselves lost in our daydreams, thinking pleasant thoughts about our lives and our futures.

Maybe you’ve gotten lost in a book or become hyper-focused on a fascinating project.

Occasionally, maybe you’ve even felt disconnected from yourself, having an out-of-body experience during a stressful time in your life.

If these feelings are happening more frequently, you may have depersonalization-derealization disorder. Feeling disconnected from reality or yourself are two of the main symptoms of this condition.

Depersonalization-derealization disorder is classified as a dissociative disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

In depersonalization-derealization disorder, people experience one or both of these states:

  • Depersonalization: feeling detached from your own body, thoughts, or feelings
  • Derealization: feeling detached from your surroundings

Unlike psychotic disorders, people with depersonalization-derealization disorder know that their experience isn’t reality. People with the condition realize that something is off, which usually causes them to feel distressed.

It’s estimated that depersonalization-derealization disorder affects 1-2% of the population.

According to the DSM-5, some people with depersonalization-derealization disorder have discrete episodes, while others have continuous symptoms. Or, some individuals may start out experiencing episodes that eventually become continuous symptoms.

People with depersonalization-derealization disorder may have a tough time describing their symptoms. They might also think they’re odd or unusual or fear they have irreversible brain damage, according to the DSM-5.

Understandably, experiencing depersonalization-derealization symptoms can feel unnerving. Some common symptoms include:

Depersonalization symptoms
  • feeling like you’re completely detached from yourself, even believing that you have no self
  • feeling detached from parts of yourself such as your thoughts, as in, “My thoughts don’t feel like my own,” or “My head is filled with cotton”
  • feeling like you’re outside of your body, watching yourself in a movie or from above
  • having a distorted sense of time – time is either too fast or too slow
  • feeling mentally, emotionally, or physically numb
  • feeling like you have no control over your body, including your movements or speech
  • feeling like you’re a robot
Derealization symptoms
  • feeling detached from reality
  • experiencing others or objects as foggy, artificial, cartoonish, or dreamlike
  • experiencing sounds or voices as muted or heightened
  • experiencing objects as flat or two-dimensional
  • seeing objects as distorted in size or distance
  • feeling like you’re trapped in a glass bell or like there’s a veil between you and the world

In some cases, depersonalization-derealization symptoms go away on their own. But for others, symptoms are persistent and can develop into depersonalization-derealization disorder.

Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.


Research on treatment for depersonalization-derealization disorder is limited. Still, existing research stresses the importance of psychotherapy.

According to this older study, strengthening coping skills is helpful when individuals are experiencing intense or acute symptoms, such as frequent dissociation or severe anxiety or depression.

When symptoms are milder or relatively stable, therapy may help delve into – and over time resolving – why individuals become disconnected from reality or themselves.

Other helpful therapies include:

  • cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for changing negative thoughts and unhealthy behavior
  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for tolerating difficult emotions, reducing self-destructive urges, and improving relationships
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for reducing distress from traumatic experiences

Grounding techniques that can help you reconnect to reality and yourself may also be addressed in therapy. These in-the-moment strategies may include practicing deep breathing exercises or holding an ice cube.

Overall, a range of approaches may be used, depending on your needs, specific symptoms, and if you have another mental health condition.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any medication to treat depersonalization-derealization disorder.

A 2019 review that looked at medication for dissociative disorders found that paroxetine (Paxil) and naloxone (Narcan) may be effective for depersonalization and dissociative symptoms that co-occur with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

However, researchers noted that these findings were modest and “should be interpreted with caution” because of limited data.

In some cases, doctors might prescribe medication to reduce accompanying symptoms of anxiety or depression.

If your doctor suggests taking medication, consider asking these questions at your next appointment:

  • What specific symptoms should this medication reduce or relieve?
  • When can I expect to experience these improvements? Weeks or months from now?
  • What are common and less common side effects?
  • How can I reduce or prevent possible side effects?
  • When is my follow-up appointment?
  • How long should I take this medication?
  • Is it OK to stop abruptly, or will I need to slowly and gradually take a reduced dose to avoid withdrawal syndrome?

If your symptoms are stressing you out or interfering with an area of your life – like your work or relationships – consider talking with a mental health professional.

It’s common for depersonalization-derealization disorder to co-occur with depression and anxiety disorders. So, it’s important to let your doctor know if you’re also experiencing these symptoms.

Remember that you don’t have to wait until your symptoms worsen or experience a crisis before you consider reaching out to someone for help.

Therapy, if it’s available to you, can be helpful. A therapist can help you:

  • address specific symptoms or situations that are bothering you
  • learn to cope with stress
  • build a healthier lifestyle

Experiencing symptoms of depersonalization or derealization can lead you to feel alone – even if intellectually you know that others also have similar experiences.

Connecting with others to share your story, asking questions about possible treatments, or reminding yourself that you’re not alone can be helpful.

These online communities may be helpful:

  • Depersonalization community forum
  • Depersonalization/derealization support group on Facebook
  • Depersonalization group on Facebook

Understandably, dealing with symptoms of depersonalization or derealization can bring up a range of emotions – from fear and frustration to confusion.

If possible, consider working with a mental health professional and connecting with others. With treatment and support, you can reduce your symptoms of depersonalization or derealization and feel better.

I feel superfluous | PSYCHOLOGIES

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Knowing Yourself A Man among People

“I feel out of place”, “no one is happy with me” - someone who constantly feels rejected, is distrustful of contacts with other people. The slightest inattention on their part makes you feel helpless again and again. “Once having experienced this painful feeling, such a person unconsciously expects that everything will happen again: he will be betrayed, abandoned,” explains existential psychotherapist Svetlana Krivtsova. nine0003

Trying to avoid such a development of events, each time he tests the strength of the relationship and, as a result, he remains alone again. “Trying to arouse interest in himself, to please him, he gradually becomes dependent on the opinions and assessments of other people,” continues Svetlana Krivtsova, “and his suspiciousness simply exhausts those who are nearby. Relationships become formal, often full of hostility, and eventually end.” To live in constant expectation of a break is to provoke a break.

Child injury

“When I was four, my older brother became seriously ill and my mother sent me to stay with my grandmother for a few months,” says 29-year-old Yaroslav. “I was very worried: it seemed to me that I behaved so badly that my mother had to abandon me.”

The fear of being abandoned first appears in childhood and is usually associated with sudden (often prolonged) separation from parents.

“Little children cannot understand the meaning of adults' actions and suffer from loneliness,” explains Svetlana Krivtsova. “The memory that you didn’t please your parents in some way and therefore turned out to be unnecessary remains for many years.” Those whom their parents really “abandoned” in childhood, without supporting them in a difficult situation, can also feel their abandonment. nine0003

“I am learning to talk about my feelings”

Valeriya, 33 years old

“I know well what it means to be unwanted. When my little sister was born, my mother quit her job to take care of it. Maybe my fears appeared then? I always felt that I was not with them. At school, too, no one wanted to be friends with me, and as a teenager, I was absolutely sure that I was unworthy of love. And indeed, no one paid attention to me, I was invisible.

At some point, the feeling of rejection became too painful, but it helped me to see myself from the outside: I turned out to be so closed, gloomy. Now I try to be more sociable, to speak more openly about my feelings, to articulate more clearly what worries me. Surprisingly, my loved ones now talk about restraint and vulnerability as the best features of my strong character. nine0003

Early sacrifices

Sometimes parents force a child very early to take on “adult” responsibilities, to sacrifice their interests in favor of a brother or sister, and the child grows up, confident that no one cares about him. “We feel the most severe pain in those moments when we experience our own worthlessness,” says Svetlana Krivtsova. “If they do this, it means that it is possible with me, it means that I am not worthy of another.” Feeling “worst of all”, building relationships with others is excruciatingly difficult. There are unconscious "filters" through which the growing child "reinterprets" the world in his own way ... and always not in his favor. nine0003

The ugly duckling

Some people are always preoccupied with adjusting their behavior to the expectations of others. “The reason is the feeling “I ended up here by chance, I am an ugly duckling among white swans,” explains psychoanalyst Marie-Dominique Linder. - This painful feeling is especially strong in adolescence. The teenager is trying with all his might to hide his dissimilarity so that his peers do not push him away, do not expel him from his company. Becoming an adult means overcoming this crisis and asserting yourself as a person. nine0003

What to do?

Understand the “history” of your feeling

Try to remember when the painful feeling of rejection first arose. What event changed your attitude towards yourself? Once you understand this, you can begin to control your experiences.

Do not dramatize

Try to talk freely about your feelings, write down your story. Humor helps you connect with people. By saying what you feel, you will slightly weaken the power of the image in whose captivity you live. nine0003

Open up to people

Don't wait for someone to help you. It takes serious effort to build relationships. Take the first step by trying to see the other person as an ally rather than a potential offender.

Grow up

Accept it as a fact: you are different from others (just like they are from you) and you don't need their approval to be yourself. By refusing to live dependent on the judgmental gaze of others, you can finally grow up. nine0003

Advice to a stranger

How to help someone who feels rejected in any situation? In a conversation, focus on his opinion, emphasizing that his point of view is important to you. But at the same time, do not indulge, this will lead to the opposite effect: your interlocutor may feel dependent on you, which will increase his feeling of rejection, because you cannot be with him all the time.

Be sincere in your intentions. The fact is that a person who considers himself useless doubts that he can arouse interest in himself. You can convince him that he is really worthy of attention and love only by sincerely communicating with him. nine0003

Text: Tatyana Galesa Photo source: Getty Images

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What is it like to live when you do not feel reality

The average reading time is 5 minutes.

Imagine: one day you wake up, look in the mirror and try to recognize yourself in it. Worse, you feel like you're watching your life from the sidelines, like you're watching a bad and boring movie. It becomes increasingly difficult for you to interact with others, because too much energy is spent trying to deal with strange sensations. nine0003 Valentin Tarasov reads
Podster, iTunes, YouTube, Download

These are all frightening symptoms of a dissociative disorder called Depersonalization and Derealization Syndrome, or DP-DR. It appears as a result of psychological trauma or drug use and can last from a couple of hours to several years. This strange, little-talked about condition causes people to lose touch with their body, emotions, environment, and even family. From the moment the first symptoms appear, life turns into a constant struggle with a sense of the unreality of what is happening, in which it is almost impossible to catch one's own "I". nine0003

As part of Mental Health Week, we interviewed several people to find out what it's like to constantly feel out of touch with reality.


With DP-DR, it is quite strange to look at your reflection in the mirror or hear your own voice, because they seem not real. Then this feeling grows, and everything around seems unreal. You feel like a thread of emotions and thoughts, alone in this alien world. Usually this condition goes away in a few hours or days, but I have been living like this for two and a half years. nine0003

DP-DR often complements and exacerbates nervousness and depression. In fact, symptoms are common. Many experience similar feelings due to overwork or stress. Smoking weed or using hallucinogenic drugs can also trigger self-perception disorders. Sensation of complete exhaustion of consciousness, like a fog in the head. Right now my head is wadded, my eyes are sticking together, I want to lie down. Thoughts are scattered, it is difficult to focus on something that requires critical thinking or memory work. I tried to practice mindfulness, but it only got worse. nine0003

Mental illness dooms a person to loneliness. Friends can accept your feelings and support, but this is of little use. At school, it seems to me, everyone only pretended to understand. Despite the support system, I had the feeling that others believed that I was playing the victim. It seems to me that such judgments are a label that society hangs on everyone with a mental illness. You know, kind of like the typical Tumblr teen talking about anxiety, depression, and "reveling in self-pity" all the time. nine0003

It is unfortunate that the words "depersonalization" and "derealization" are so long and difficult to pronounce - it is not easy to use them in speech and discuss these disorders with people in ordinary conversation.


I remember the fear and confusion I felt when I first experienced the symptoms of DP-DR. I told my parents that something was wrong with me. Everything around me and in my head felt wrong. Many who suffer from this disorder describe the condition as a dream or the feeling of watching a movie about themselves. I was walking. It was already late when I got home and lay down with depressive thoughts, trying to sleep. Then I suddenly had a panic attack. My heart was beating fast and there was no air in my chest. Rolling onto my back, I tried to control my breathing. And then a switch seemed to flip in my head, and almost instantly the state of DP-DR set in. nine0003

At first I noticed that I had completely lost my emotions. I felt nothing but horror. Looking in the mirror, it was as if I could not recognize myself in the reflection - I knew who I was, but did not understand. I was so excited that I decided to wake up my parents. Mom tried to calm me down, and I felt her hand on my body, but only as a physical sensation of her attempts to calm me down. I didn't realize that I knew her. I thought I would never feel my mother's love again. I looked out the window and looked at the backyard where I spent my childhood, and I was not sure that this place was familiar to me. It felt like my memories no longer belonged to me. nine0003

Depersonalization is a terrifying condition. According to psychologists, the brain uses it as a tool for survival or protection. By "paralyzing" emotions, DP-DR allows people to think rationally in stressful situations. For example, during a fire, DP-DR syndrome would help a person not to panic, but to focus on escaping. But then the dissociative state must pass. However, if this does not happen, then DP-DR develops into a disorder, life with which is a nightmare.

I'm on medication and sometimes I feel like I'm crazy. I worry about the constant confusion in my head. My ambitions and hopes for the future seem lost. Lately I've begun to wonder how strange my feelings are. My own brain is against me. How can all my sensations and emotions be the product of gray matter under my skull? Nothing else makes sense. nine0003

I am trying to distract myself by reading. I also do music. It's a good way - the music really pulls me in. I bought a self-help book about DP-DR syndrome, and it, along with stories of people who have successfully overcome depersonalization, helps the most.

For those who also suffer from DP-DR, I would advise you to keep yourself busy, even if it is extremely difficult in the beginning. Even if the world seems different, go back to your old hobbies. It will get better after a while. If you feel that you are on the verge of insanity, just breathe and try to focus on your surroundings. Chat with friends and don't avoid people. nine0003


I had DP-DR symptoms very early, at 15 years old. Of course, initially they were rare and did not bring significant harm. I had a kind of feeling when you look around and think "What?" or when life seems somehow unreal. At the age of 17, they began to manifest themselves stronger and more often. I began to wonder at times if there was something wrong with me or if this is a normal state of any person. I allowed the thought that perhaps this is how adults perceive reality. nine0003

Last year, when I graduated from college, my condition worsened dramatically. Now I don't feel alive. I don’t feel emotions and I don’t worry about relationships. I have problems with long term memory. Everything around me seems flat and blurry. It is hard to explain. In this state, you get the feeling that you are a small person inside your own head and looking at the world as if through a TV screen. Communication is very difficult for me, because there is a direct relationship between interest in people and symptoms of DP-DR. It also seems that time flies very quickly. nine0003

As a result, my life deteriorated significantly. I became more depressed and less sociable, interested and self-confident. It is hard for me to maintain friendly relations with anyone, because the disease robs me of emotions, and I am simply not able to experience love or affection. But that doesn't mean I feel at ease. The only benefit is that I can keep my cool in stressful situations. I am quite efficient, but I am in a state of constant discomfort 24 hours 7 days a week. I go to a psychotherapist to try to understand the causes of my condition. nine0003

It is difficult for me to make friends or make new acquaintances. I had to literally fight with myself in order to maintain a relationship that lasted for four whole years, due to the fact that it is difficult for me to experience love or affection. As friendships begin to fade, I have to remind myself that deep down I love these people and that it's my mental illness that makes me think I don't care about them. But despite this, my friends are happy that I try to be better.

As an artist, I have to work hard to feel inspired. It is very difficult when something that was previously inspiring ceases to cause a surge of dopamine. Escapism is a great way out of this situation. Since reality only provokes discomfort, Netflix and the Internet immerse me in alternate realities over which I have more control. My life improved a lot and my productivity increased a lot when I watched all the episodes of Girls. nine0003

Many of those who have been successfully treated talk about the need to stop thinking about DP-DR and try to live as if they never had the disorder.

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