Can lucid dreaming help to stop depersonalisation disorder?

Hi, I am not sure whether anyone knows about this disorder, but I’m hoping someone on the forum does.

Depersonalisation disorder is a mental disorder which most people will have once in their lifetime. It basically makes you feel detached from yourself, kind of making you feel like you are dreaming, and you feel out of touch with reality.

I had it a couple of years ago, caused randomly, but I think I got over it. I’m wondering if learning to lucid dream may help some people who suffer from it, mainly because you will actually be able to be in a dream, and when you wake up you might be able to realise that you are actually in reality, and not a dream.

If you have any questions about this or ideas, just post a reply.

Thank you :smile:

This is quite the interesting subject, and I think you might be on to something. The ability to know, for sure, that you’re in a dream or out of reality is a powerful one, that is something really unique. I think that it’s something that could really benefit some people, but it’s a little different for everyone.

Now, on the same token, I think All Day Awareness could be an even greater benefit to many. When practicing All Day Awareness (or Lucid Living, I think they’re the same thing?) you feel very anchored to reality, in a sense that’s hard to describe otherwise. Being so aware of yourself and of your surroundings can really help to differentiate between dreams and reality.

Lucid Dreaming in general is a great way to reaffirm reality, though, with reality checks to prove you’re in reality, and the sense of knowing what being outside of reality feels like. So, long post short, yeah, I think it would really help.

interesting topic. I wonder a bit about this disorder. It is not the same as Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) right. Can you explain how it felt for you and how long it lasted each time?

At the moment it is difficult to comment other than that I think it not necessarily a bad thing to loose personality for short periods. Maybe that can help the dreaming being less attached to egocentric and not so valuable patterns. Before you can reach all day awareness, which i believe is not an easy task. I guess a lot about our personality, including everything ells, would be in question. You might call it de-realization or dream-ification.

“The first dhyana level is a state of concentrated awareness in which subject and object merge.” The 37 practices of a Bodhisattva- comments by David Tuffley.
Was it something like that at all, or was it more like a disturbance?

Excuse me if I got anything wrong, because I had to look up AvPD myself. So, what Wikipedia said is that it is classified as being afraid of inadequacy and negative evaluations that others think of them. Sort of making them scared of what others think of them, right?

Depersonalization isn’t like that. Usually, it is grouped together as a part of one disorder called Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder, shortened to DPDR (if LD4all says that that is another acronym, just ignore it).

What happened with me when I had it, it felt like nothing was vivid any more. Looking at something, like a tree, would look different. It looked physically very bright with colours and life, but in my head, I perceived it as blurry.

Speaking to my friends felt like I had only just met them. I mean, I could remember things like what their favourite hobby was and their birthday, and stuff like that, but I had to consciously think hard to remember it.

Since having this feels like the world has gone hazy and blurry, you can sometimes have a day where it just feels like the body is doing what it has to do, whether it’s school or going to the shop. Autopilot is the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of this.

Because the world just seems bland, you end up not really remembering things properly. I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone but for me I had trouble remembering my lesson timetables, even though I had previously memorised them.

It’s a very difficult thing to explain to someone who has never had it before, so excuse me if I couldn’t explain it well enough.

I didn’t have it ‘on-off’ like some people do, instead, I had this for about 1 and a half years straight. Some people who have a less-severe variety might just be walking or sitting somewhere when suddenly, they get a period of DPDR, which may last from a few hours to a few weeks.

It’s not really so much about losing personality with depersonalization, at least for me. The most extreme thing which happened is that I started to become a bit more talkative, which was different from my normal quiet personality.

1 Like

I have had problems with depersonalization in the past. I discovered lucid dreaming after it started and has helped a lot. I very very rarely get minor episodes of it nowadays.

I’ve had my share of run-ins with people who have dissociative disorders and I have to admit, that’s a very interesting and difficult question.

In summary, considering the therapeutic effects of lucid dreaming in general, I’m inclined to say yes. The depersonalization, or “on auto-pilot” feeling itself can be looked at as the absence of a kind of “waking lucidity” - which is to say, on a base level, that depersonalization is a perceived lack of control. Lucid dreaming is a way to reclaim control, and so seems to me a very promising treatment or palliative for depersonalization disorder.

On the other hand, I have read in some resources about lucid dreaming that LDs can actually cause dissociation. … eaming.pdf

For example, in section 1.4.3 of the Wikibook in the link above (pg.8-9), “dissociation” is listed as a potential “danger” of lucid dreaming. Additionally, later in section 1.4, it proposes that the potential hazards of lucid dreaming are more likely to occur in people with mental health issues.

I’m not inclined to agree with the author of that section that most of the problems listed would occur as a result of lucid dreaming - in fact, I recommend looking into lucid dreaming as a form of self-help and improvement. However, I do suggest that people exercise caution if they personally feel there’s some kind of threat to their mental well-being. So far as I’ve read, lucid dreaming is not addictive, so by chance, should something negative begin to happen, one could easily stop having lucid dreams before it became a serious problem.

I made an account years ago then haven’t really been using the site, just decided to start reading and posting here and then saw this topic! I had depersonalization disorder for about ten years, and then it’s been slowly fading over the last three or four years, so this is something I’ve thought about.

My experience with lucid dreaming and dp is that the hyper-awareness and constant questioning of reality that helps you have lucid dreams can also be really bad for dp, especially if you have the kind with obsessive thoughts about the nature of self.
People with dp know that they aren’t dreaming… so I don’t think that being able to do a reality check really helps much. It just reminds you to question reality, which is what you need to stop doing with dp.

On the other hand I have a feeling that confronting the underlying issues within a lucid dream could be really beneficial, although I haven’t tried that much. It’s partly because my dp has faded a lot that I feel I can work at lucid dreaming a bit harder now, without it messing me up. And there’s something about how overwhelmingly real a lucid dream can feel that’s almost the opposite of dp- maybe there’s something interesting in that to do with our mental constructs of ourselves being a bit out of alignment with our bodies in the real world, but that not being an issue when you’re dealing with a dream world?

Edit: One other thought - sleep paralysis is the only other thing I know that’s as terrifying as depersonalization (drugs aside). I don’t know if that means there’s any connection, but they seem like part of the same world of experiences to me.

I’m so relieved to find some sort of information on this. I used to deal with sleep paralysis constantly maybe 7 years ago now and to try and conquer the fear of it, accidentally began lucid dreaming. I didn’t realize I was lucid dreaming until I began to research the unique experiences I was having. This went on for some time up until I really started to try and master it, then it all stopped. Now years later I have no signs of this but was diagnosed with depersonalization disorder and have dissociative seizures. I recently ended up in the hospital with the frequency and intensity of these episodes. I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between the two feelings and the process my body goes through before the OBE. I just know they are connected somehow and now I’m wanting to get back into lucid dreaming and just explore it all. Not necessarily to help it stop but just to understand it because it’s obviously all happening for some reason (I know the worldly reasons as to what caused the disorder which had to do with trauma but i mean why my body responds this way- did i train it to respond this way when i was dreaming?) Im not sure if anyone’s had similar experiences with the chain of events occurring but please respond if it at all sounds familiar.

1 Like