Emotional limitations

Those affected by depersonalization report different impairments and changes in emotional perception. It is perceived as particularly burdensome to not experience any feelings, be it positive or negative. Even if something bad happens in their immediate surroundings, those affected cannot show any emotions. They also have a hard time having feelings for close reference persons, like partners or children. This is accompanied by the fact that on an entirely cognitive level, those affected know that they love their partners and children. Still, they have no emotional experience for this. Some speak about emotional numbness, which can be accompanied by a significant loss (or even a total loss) of zest for life. All of this can lead to insecurities about the self, because cognitive and emotional experiences are no longer equal.

Those affected by depersonalization disorder report it as being beneficial to take part in normal life as regularly as possible. This includes spending time with their children, hugging their partner or attending a party with friends. These things do not only serve the purpose of making the person feel positive feelings, but also positively impacts keeping a social network alive. Such relationships are important for people with depersonalization disorder in order to not feel isolated or to lose their grip on life. If those affected manage to keep social relationships upright and to invest in them, they will experience support and empathy from others.

Many of those affected also report that it is helpful to speak about the symptoms with close friends or family members. In such cases, those affected should pay attention to not say things like “I don’t feel anything for you anymore” but should rather explain the disorder in its entirety and complexity.