The depersonalization-derealization disorder occurs when one has a chronic or recurring sensation that they are observing themself from outside their body or that everything around them isn’t real.

In the majority of cases, DP is linked to anxiety. Anxiety can develop due to the stress they face in their daily lives. Thus, understanding how to deal with fear is your first line of defence if you want to learn how to comfort someone with depersonalisation disorder. And when their anxiousness grows, it may contribute to the development of DP—experiencing a tragic event, using various psychedelic substances, or putting a lot of stress on the body by doing strenuous exercises can be listed as some of the causes behind DP. 

Individuals suffering from depersonalisation disorder may experience

  1. Feelings of detachment from themself, like they have no actual self 
  2. Numbness in their mind or body, 
  3. Feel as if they can’t control what they do or say 
  4. Feeling as if portions of their body are the incorrect size 
  5. They feel as if they’re looking down on themself from above.

How To Comfort Someone With Depersonalization Disorder

Whether someone is suffering from depersonalisation or derealisation, it’s a challenging situation because other people do not understand how they view the world, so there are few people with whom they can confide. 

In human terms, the lack of comfort they experience makes it difficult for them to appreciate or cope with simple situations. Read on to understand how to comfort someone with depersonalisation disorder.

1. Listen Without Judgement

Offer your presence without passing judgement when someone opens up to you about their situation. Recognise that labelling someone as weak, foolish, or desperate for attention makes it more difficult for them to open up to you. That is not something you should do. 

Engage them in a compassionate, instead of judging, conversation and ask them questions to understand more about how you can help them.

2. Keep Them Away From Neon Or Fluorescent Lighting

People’s mental and physical impressions of the world are affected by depersonalisation disorder. Colours appear to be brighter, and objects appear distorted in size and distance. 

Places with solid fluorescent illumination may cause lightheadedness, aggravating the condition. If you and a loved one find themselves in a fluorescent, sterile environment, inquire about their well-being.

3. Respect Any Boundaries They Might Put Up

Recognize that reaching out for help may be difficult for them. It’s not a bad idea to let your loved ones know you’re accessible for help if they need it. 

Please don’t assume that one doesn’t need or desire help because one is silent. It is a delicate balance but also ensures that you respect their space. Don’t press the issue or take it personally if they say they don’t want to talk about their symptoms or any past trauma.

4. Offer Positive Encouragement, And Love

Encourage them, love them unconditionally, and infuse their daily lives with the optimism that they will overcome their DP. These may be lacking in their lives, and receiving them from you can be highly therapeutic.

5. Offer To Take Them To Therapy

If they’re unsure about counselling, offering them company during the first session may be beneficial. You can discover more about their symptoms and what provokes them during the session. 

6. Encourage Independent Thought And Actions

Make sure that the person does not become dependent on you. At some point, they must be able to manage these complicated feelings independently, and that is the only way they can recover.

7. Distract Them With Fun Things When They Have Bad Days

Be there for your friends and family. You need more than just words. Spend time with them doing activities that divert their attention away from their illness. But don’t make them do anything overwhelming. Instead, make a recommendation and remind them that they can return to their safe haven whenever they feel overwhelmed. Don’t become wounded or take it personally if they reject your offer. In a few days, try again.

8. Don’t Try To Fill The Void With Intoxicants

When interacting with a loved one experiencing depersonalisation, it is crucial to remember that they should be distanced from drugs and alcohol. Although marijuana is commonly used to treat anxiety, it can worsen depersonalisation/derealisation anxiety. Of course, everyone is different, but once intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, many persons with this illness might feel so alienated that they experience panic attacks. 

Depersonalisation/derealisation sufferers are already in a state of heightened emotions and feeling most of the time. Alcohol or drug withdrawal also exacerbates any feeling of depersonalisation and derealisation they might experience.

9. Don’t Treat Them Like A Baby Or Like They Are Sick

You can be compassionate but don’t treat your friend or loved one like a baby. They are full-fledged beings who are capable of overcoming adversity by drawing on their own inner power. Coddling them will rob them of this opportunity. Supporting someone vs suffocating someone is a significant difference.

This Is How You Can Comfort A Loved One With Depersonalization Disorder

Every day will be different for your loved one, but regardless of how well they’re doing, they’ll always have their disorder – some days will be better than others. It happens with all mental health conditions, not just depersonalisation or derealisation disorder. You don’t have to fully comprehend your loved one’s sickness to know how to comfort someone with depersonalisation disorder. 

Let them know it’s alright to feel the way they do and that they are, after all, human. Every act of human compassion and love will assist your loved one in realising that everything in life, including themselves, is worthwhile.

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