top of page
Image by Alex Iby


Depersonalisation and derealisation are both terrifying yet perfectly natural responses to trauma.

In western medicine they fall under the header of "dissociative disorders" however, in my view, "conditions" such as depersonalisation should be treated as a symptom, not a cause.

When we experience trauma, be it brief, enduring or repetitive, our bodies and minds undergo a series of changes. Firstly the adrenal glands prepare for fight, flight or freeze. Adrenaline and cortisol flood the body in preparation for survival. If the trauma is unresolved and/or turns to PTSD or complex PTSD, the adrenal system can become exhausted. 

This is the stage where the zebra has given up running from the scary lion and resigns to its fate. It dissociates from the bodily experience in order to suffer less pain whilst it is eaten alive.

We are evolved to experience several short spikes of stress per day (hunting, defending) in between extended periods of rest (grazing, socialising, etc.)

In modern society however, we do not live with a healthy relationship towards stress. We burden ourselves with stressors permanently throughout the day. The rat race is a full on marathon. It's simply "too much".

If you have experienced the effects of depersonalisation, you will likely feel very scared, numb, disorientated and alienated at the same time. Add to this, the difficulty in getting a diagnosis, doctors note or any form of understanding form your peers and it can easily become something you feel you have to put up with, all the while knowing that something feels so very wrong.

You do not need to put up with it. You have the power to let yourself settle back in to your body, to surrender, to heal.

Exercises to help:

  • Counselling

  • Mirror work 

  • Mindfullness

  • Breath work

bottom of page