The Fog

Derealization (sometimes abbreviated as DR) is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one’s environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional colouring, and depth.  It is a dissociative symptom of many conditions.

Derealization is a subjective experience of unreality of the outside world, while depersonalization is sense of unreality in one’s personal self, although most authors currently do not regard derealization (surroundings) and depersonalization (self) as separate constructs.” (

I sometimes draw in my journal instead of write.  I don’t think about what I draw but try to convey what’s heavy on my heart in spite of my limited art skills.  It is not about how good the drawing is but the process of communicating what is beyond words.

I recently drew my arms in three positions: hands over my face, arms hugging my body, and arms open to my sides.  The barrier of derealization is shown: it is impenetrable when I have my eyes covered in despair and shame, it is a little less solid when I have my arms crossed in a position of hesitancy and self-protection, and it is absent when I have my arms out welcoming the world and feeling like I am inhabiting it as my True Self.

In the darkest place my mind is fragmented and the fragments are falling out of my head.  I am not whole.  Pieces of myself are escaping, falling down, and I cannot catch them.  I cannot put them back.

On the other side of the derealization are ghostlike people with blank faces.  They allude me, they are real but not real – inaccessible to me.  They are a group of people that I want to see and I’m desperate to know and recognize and love them with no barrier and no inhibitions.  I want to look at them and experience full, clear feelings instead of a fog.  I can reach them only through one small opening in this mental and emotional prison cell.

My heart goes out to you if you experience something similar.  It is a lonely place and it is easy to lose hope of ever getting free.  It is something many people don’t understand and it feels impossible to explain.  It may make you feel crazy and isolated and ashamed.  You may feel like it’s your fault . . . It is not.  You are not alone.

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