Depersonalization disorder

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SamKR
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Depersonalization disorder

Post by SamKR » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:30 pm

How can I convince someone that the Buddha's teachings is not dissociative teaching (related to dissociative disorder) and particularly insight into "Anatta" is not Depersonalization disorder?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depersonalization_disorder" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

SamKR

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Jechbi
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Jechbi » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:40 pm

You might mention that for many Buddhists practice leads to a growing sense of calm and happiness, so it is not symptomic of this disorder.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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pink_trike
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by pink_trike » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:45 pm

SamKR wrote:How can I convince someone that the Buddha's teachings is not dissociative teaching (related to dissociative disorder) and particularly insight into "Anatta" is not Depersonalization disorder?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depersonalization_disorder" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

SamKR
Paradoxically, the Dharma is actually the antidote to depersonalization. We discover our "real" existence when we stop masturbating our delusional stories of solidity and separateness and let go of our endless hungry and fearful reactions that we use in our attempt to concretize the stories. Under the mountain of mind's runaway conceptualization and constant "becoming" lies our integral Whole experience of "reality" that includes everything that we stripped away in our attempts to reinforce the delusion of separateness. Its the cult of individualism that is the cause of depersonalization disorder...another paradox. The more we try to concretize a "self" the more the Wholeness of this experience of being alive has to be diminished - carving the Whole down to a pathetically dissatisfying and nihilistic hungry and fearful sliver of perception. imo
Last edited by pink_trike on Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:02 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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mikenz66
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:46 pm

Hi Sam,

Speaking from hearsay, I believe that a genuine deep experience of anatta can be extremely difficult and unsettling. But it is a culmination of a great deal of work on developing the Eight-Fold Path and the development of generosity on the path and virtue provides a crucial basis and stability. Another way of looking at it is that In the Buddhist approach it's not that one retreats from the self, but one sees through it...

Metta
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Lazy_eye
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Lazy_eye » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:47 pm

Cultivation of metta-karuna (accompanying the insight into anatta) doesn't strike me as something that would go along with depersonalization disorder.

LE

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Ben
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Ben » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:00 pm

Hi Sam
If you have the time and inclination, Thomas Metzinger wrote an interesting book lately called 'The ego tunnel: the science of the mind and the myth of self'. Metzinger looks at the issues of consciousness and 'the self' through the prism of philosophy and neuroscience. His conclusions observations and thesis echo what other people have said here.
Kind regards

Ben
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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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pink_trike
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by pink_trike » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:07 pm

"Only through personal meditative practice is the student of dharma enabled to slow down the speed of neurotic mind and to begin seeing the world with clarity and precision. Without this, one will only increase confusion and perpetuate the aggressive grasping for self-confirmation. Without meditation, there is no approach to genuine sanity, no path to enlightenment, indeed no dharma." --Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ben
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Ben » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:09 pm

wise words, indeed!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

Individual
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Individual » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:09 pm

The Buddha seemed to have a personality.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Tex
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Tex » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:30 pm

pink_trike wrote: Paradoxically, the Dharma is actually the antidote to depersonalization. We discover our "real" existence when we stop masturbating our delusional stories of solidity and separateness and let go of our endless hungry and fearful reactions that we use in our attempt to concretize the stories. Under the mountain of mind's runaway conceptualization and constant "becoming" lies our integral Whole experience of "reality" that includes everything that we stripped away in our attempts to reinforce the delusion of separateness. Its the cult of individualism that is the cause of depersonalization disorder...another paradox. The more we try to concretize a "self" the more the Wholeness of this experience of being alive has to be diminished - carving the Whole down to a pathetically dissatisfying and nihilistic hungry and fearful sliver of perception. imo
Great response!
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

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Nibbida
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Nibbida » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:49 am

There are clear differences between depersonalization and the Buddhist concept of non-self. For one, in depersonalization, there is no sense of choice about the experience. People don’t like depersonalization, but don’t know how to avoid it. Non-self, on the other hand, is an experience that one chooses to develop. Depersonalization is associated with suffering, often greater anxiety and depression, while non-self is associated with to a sense of well-being independent of external circumstances. Depersonalization is typically experienced as an affliction or illness, while non-self is willingly sought out. Depersonalization is also associated with cognitive impairment, particularly in attention and working memory, while non-self, developed through meditation, is known to improve attention. Ultimately, depersonalization makes a person less functional in life, while there is every indication that mindfulness makes people more functional.

But aside from speculation, a study has been done that shows an opposite relationship between mindfulness and depersonalization:

Michal, M., Beutel, M. Jordan, J. Zimmerman, M. , Wolters, S., & Heidenreich, T. (2007). Depersonalization, mindfulness, and childhood trauma. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 195(8), 693-696.

Abstract: "Depersonalization (DP), i.e., feelings of being detached from one's own mental processes or body, can be considered as a form of mental escape from the full experience of reality. This mental escape is thought to be etiologically linked with maltreatment during childhood. The detached state of consciousness in DP contrasts with certain aspects of mindfulness, a state of consciousness characterized by being in touch with the present moment. Against this background, the present article investigates potential connections between DP severity, mindfulness, and childhood trauma in a mixed sample of nonpatients and chronic nonmalignant pain patients. We found a strong inverse correlation between DP severity and mindfulness in both samples, which persisted after partialing out general psychological distress. In the nonpatient sample, we additionally found significant correlations between emotional maltreatment on the one hand and DP severity (positive) and mindfulness (negative) on the other. We conclude that the results first argue for an antithetical relationship between DP and certain aspects of mindfulness and thus encourage future studies on mindfulness-based interventions for DP and second throw light on potential developmental factors contributing to mindfulness."

SamKR
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by SamKR » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:20 pm

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. Thanks nibbida for the information about the study.
SamKR

chownah
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by chownah » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:46 pm

If you really want to let people decide if they think that the Buddha's teachings lead to the disorder then let them read what is below. It is the clinical criteria used to diagnose the disorder. To see if people who follow the Buddha's teachings (esp the teachings on anatta) develop the order one should observe them or interview them and see if the fit the criteria. I have never met anyone who met the criteria listed below and certainly not anyone who is doing their best to follow the Buddha's teachings.

chownah

DSM-IV-TR criteria
The diagnostic criteria defined in section 300.6 of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are as follows:

1. Persistent or recurrent feelings of being detached from one’s mental processes or body; as if an observer
2. During depersonalization, reality testing is intact
3. Depersonalization causes significant distress, and impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning
4. Depersonalization is not the result of another disorder, substance use, or general medical condition

The DSM-IV-TR specifically recognizes three possible manifestations of depersonalization disorder:

1. Derealization, experiencing the external world as strange or unreal.
2. Macropsia or micropsia, an alteration in the perception of object size or shape.
3. A sense that other people seem unfamiliar or mechanical.

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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by pegembara » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:00 am

"It's like I fall deep within myself. I look at my mind from within and feel both trapped and puzzled about the strangeness of my existence. My thoughts swirl round and round constantly probing the strangeness of selfhood - why do I exist? Why am I me and not someone else? At these times, feelings of sweaty panic develop, as if I am having a phobia about my own thoughts. At other times, I don't feel grounded' - I look at this body and can't understand why I am within it. I hear myself having conversations and wonder where the voice is coming from. I imagine myself seeing life as if it were played like a film in a cinema. But in that case, where am I? Who is watching the film? What is the cinema? The worst part is that this seems as if it's the truth, and the periods of my life in which I did not feel like this were the delusions."

"I recently suffered my first episode of depersonalization which lasted for about a month. Prior to entering this mental state I had started to practice Zen meditation, which might have contributed to my change in perception. Now that I feel better again I am hesitant to resume this meditation practice as I would hate to suffer another episode of depersonalization. Can depersonalization be related to Buddhist enlightenment or are they two completely different states of being. According to Buddhist beliefs the state of enlightenment is characterized by the loss of a persons ego, which is exactly what I experienced during my episode of depersonalization. It is difficult for me to view depersonalization as an enlightened state, yet I am forced to wonder if my experience was actually the desired effect of meditation. It is my belief that depersonalization might be a positive experience if it occurs in a religious context, but terrible if it occurs otherwise. I recently suffered my first episode of depersonalization which lasted for about a month. Prior to entering this mental state I had started to practice Zen meditation, which might have contributed to my change in perception. Now that I feel better again I am hesitant to resume this meditation practice as I would hate to suffer another episode of depersonalization. Can depersonalization be related to Buddhist enlightenment or are they two completely different states of being. According to Buddhist beliefs the state of enlightenment is characterized by the loss of a persons ego, which is exactly what I experienced during my episode of depersonalization. It is difficult for me to view depersonalization as an enlightened state, yet I am forced to wonder if my experience was actually the desired effect of meditation. It is my belief that depersonalization might be a positive experience if it occurs in a religious context, but terrible if it occurs otherwise."

This is a description of two sufferers. Perhaps the glimpse of the truth of anatta without proper grounding can be scary. Truth can be hard to bear. Or perhaps one has to find a self first before voluntarily giving it up.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Goedert
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Re: Depersonalization disorder

Post by Goedert » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:28 pm

They can only understand trough penetrative insight into the phenomena while meditating.

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