Feeling of unreality – separation from the world
It is not unusual for people who suffer for anxiety to say:
"There is no way I can get in contact with other people. It's like I am in a different, unreal world, and they are in the other. It is like I am in a dream! Will I ever get back to normal again?!"
People can get this feeling for a moment or they can feel like this almost all the time.
Why does this happen? You see, even people who don't suffer from any kind of disorder, have sometimes problems with dealing with other people, especially when they have a bunch of unsolved problems on their back. For anxious people, showing interest in their environment and other people is even harder, because their mind is constantly focused on their inner condition and their feelings. Constant introspection and your withdrawal into yourself is exactly what gives you a feeling of alienation and separation from outer world. Like there is a curtain between you and the rest of the reality!
You can feel alienated in variety of different ways. You can have an impression of being outside of your body and observe yourself from that position. Terrifying, I know. It can also happen to you that when you touch things, and you know you are touching them, you simply cannot feel anything. It can also happen that when you are in a company of other people and you hear someone's laughter, it can seem so unreal that you cannot imagine yourself laughing in that moment. You may try to smile unnaturally just to fit in but you can't do it. Smiling is hard for you because you are so focused on yourself, focused on your introspection that you can't even realize how much this has become your habit. You keep monitoring your feelings each and every moment.
The most common mistake people make is to try to get out of this unreal world at once. They want to get back to normal right away. This is exactly what is keeping them away from success. This has to be a step-by-step procedure; it simply cannot happen in an instance. Why? Because you have kept yourself for months, maybe for years in a state of constant anxiety and introspection, therefore it is impossible to change everything in a split second. That would be too much to handle. It may take a few months to get rid of this alienated feeling. Don't be discouraged by this, no matter how long it takes, remember that it is worth the effort.
Illusion that creates a feeling of alienation can be so strong that it may seem as though you have lost affection for the people that mean something in your life. You can even lose affection for your own children. If this happens, remember that it is only an illusion created by a long term anxiety, torment of your mind and constant introspection. You may have these frightening feelings for some time now, therefore it is hard for you to separate yourself from them.
The biggest mistake you can make is to try and get your normal feelings back with force. Don't ask so much from yourself! Let the time do its job and let your feelings come back naturally. It is like your feelings are frozen temporarily, therefore it will take some time for them to dissolve and restore.
When you realize that feeling of alienation is actually a result of a long term anxiety and introspection, and when you realize that you are not on your way to madness, you may feel great relieve and that you don't have any fear at all. You may even think that you have finally beaten your feeling of alienation like you become a part of the rest of the world again. Keep in mind that this feeling will not last for a long time; be ready for it to disappear. Alienation has been your companion for such a long time that you cannot expect that it will disappear so easily. Don't be upset when alienation comes back to you.
Maybe you will think then, that there is something really wrong with you and that it is not only anxiety at work. You may get the idea that there is no solution for you. But you will be fine! You have to give yourself some time to recover, and your feeling of alienation will also dissolve if you just give it enough time. Don't let your current feelings and condition fool you!
Very strange feelings of alienation and unreality can overwhelm you from time to time and when this happens, remember yourself that your progress is in calm tolerance of these emotions, until they disappear or don't represent a problem for you. Be aware that these strange emotions don't have any objective meaning, even though they can be very disturbing. Recovery is not in your attempt to forcefully push away these feelings, neither in masking them with medications nor in trying to avoid them in any other way! Recovery is in your calm acceptance of these feelings and not in an attempt to run away from them.
You may say now: "But there is no way I can relax, that is exactly where the problem is!" I can totally understand if you say that you can't relax, I know exactly how this feels. Maybe you cannot relax your body at the moment, but I am sure you can relax your relation to your current state. Therefore, try to loosen up a little about your feeling of alienation and wish sincerely with all your heart to relax. If you manage this, it will put your mind at ease; your body will follow your mind and relax with time.
So, if feeling of alienation is a part of your current state, be ready to function with it for some time and be ready to live with these feelings for a while not giving them too much attention or your amazement. It may sound funny but feel free to experience alienation no matter what or when. Do not run away from it. When you accept it, you become more relaxed and your interest for outer world will slowly start coming back to you. When this happens, dear friends, you are on your way to success.