I am a 19-year-old female who has had a history of childhood trauma and depression and anxiety as well as a recovered anorexic. However, while I have managed all my other mental illnesses, there is still a very strong, pervasive feeling that I am living in the wrong lifetime. I do not feel as if I am in the wrong body gender-wise, but that I should not be alive right now and I should not be embarking on any of the career paths that I am. It is not that the career I have chosen is wrong, I feel more as if I switched lives with somebody (like Freaky Friday) and now I am simply not where I am meant to be. I cannot recognize myself when I look in a mirror and I have not been able to for as long as I can remember. Logically, I know it is myself but I don’t feel as if the person looking back is actually me. The same applies to looking at photos of myself, even if they are aesthetically pleasing. I also have no connection whatsoever with the name I was given. Is this pervasive depersonalization or derealization? Or do I simply have no sense of self? I have scoured the internet but have not been able to find anyone else with the same symptoms. Please, help.
This sounds like a very difficult thing to cope with — and quite unnerving — not to be able to identify yourself. I appreciate the courage it takes to explore the condition, however it would not be possible for me to make a diagnosis of depersonalization, derealization or prosopagnosia (pro-so-pag-NO-see-uh), a condition where one someone cannot recognize their own face. While there can be a variety of possibilities the best thing is to begin with a complete physical. Let the physician know all the ways this is happening, and he or she can help get a proper diagnosis as there are some physical conditions that may be causing this that you would want to rule out. Also, a neurologist or psychiatrist could help determine if it is physically- or psychologically-based. An accurate diagnosis is the first step in finding a way to manage and treat these symptoms.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). I’m in the Wrong Reality. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/10/05/im-in-the-wrong-reality/
Last updated: 3 Oct 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 3 Oct 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.