Student Report on Dissociation 2

Some background: The event was triggered by smoking one hit of marijuana. I have used it for years without issue. There had been changes in my perception leading up to the event in the last few years, likely due to my meditation practice: heightened bodily awareness and sense of subtle sensations. The effects of marijuana had already seemed to interact with these changes prior to the event, I would feel even a tiny dose lingering for hours and often find my thoughts racing and difficulty sleeping.
The experience of the episode was an extreme anxiety that felt different than any anxiety experienced before. I was in the car with a few friends when it happened, and it felt similar to what I’d experienced on a bad trip of acid. I felt intense fear, so much that I thought I was going to lose my mind and go psychotic (although I didn’t know what that would even look like).
Perceptually, I felt hyper aware and overloaded with sensory perceptions, that I was becoming unglued from reality, and it also seemed I was viscerally seeing how my sense of reality was constructed from my sense perceptions, something that was terrifying in that moment. Additionally, my awareness of mental images was extremely strong and almost intrusive. I had a fear that there was more fear lurking that would explode. 
These effects lasted for 3 weeks on and off, where the same panic would come on with no clear trigger and last for a few hours as I tried to calm down. The first week I would feel it almost once a day. The fact there was no trigger was especially worrying. After 3 weeks, the panic attacks faded, although I do sense the fear is still a place I could return to if I’m not careful.
What helped:
  • Having a plausible mental framework to put the experience in, beyond just that I was going crazy. I had a deep fear that meditation had “damaged” my mind and I was going psychotic, due to stories I’d read. Framing this instead as possible resurfaced trauma or an insight event and discussing this with therapist and meditation teacher helped bring a more curious, detached mindset and feel less alone.
  • Hearing about other meditator’s experiences and how they’ve recovered, helped it feel less esoteric and more mundane. Hearing that meditation in the long run has overwhelming improved people’s mental health.
  • Maintaining agency. Discussing with meditation teacher a toolbox of mitigations like walking, breathing, focusing on the body, calling someone, eating, and going outside helped me at the very least let me feel I had some control over the situation, even if I had no idea what was going on. And trying all of them was a good way to stop over focusing on the fear.

Student Report on Dissociation 1

dominant thing that there is something wrong, but it’s very diffuse, the feeling that things don’t fit together.

it can be perceptually the same experience but it hinges more if it is pleasant or not (distrubing).

When I got off retreat I would do auto walk and it felt great.
Then day after would be the same thing: body does its thing me and watching the body but on that day I’d freak out.

One feels like “oh this feels wrong”

One time about an hour of going through A&P (sound door merging with kinesthetic door:  no difference between sound and touch.  it was interesting and wasn’t scary).
It only lasted 20 mins.
But afterward I felt exhausted by the vibration.
I had some proprioception distortions (head felt funny)
And I couldn’t speek.  Also it felt like when I would say things it felt fake.
Then I had an urge to vomit.
It was then chronic but never as intense.  I would always fight it and snap out of it but that’s worse thing to do about it.

If I fight it its worse.  If i don’t fight it it’s ok.  
It was very wrapped up with anxiety and also sugar lows.  It was also effected by sleep.  Naps would help.

And these days: this feeling of things not being right and not together is 99% gone.
I think I might still have a brain fog, but it could be due to generally less than ideal sleep.

It might come back but if it does then I think it won’t be very hard to deal with.

I’ll just look at external factors like sleep and stress and adjust those accordingly.

Movements that induce flow states has helped.  Things that require skill and coordination fixes it.  I just do the flow movements.
I read a study that coordinating the two sides of the body helps with attenuating DPDR symptoms.

My opinions as to why it arose:
I did have poor mental health.
I was smoking a lot of weed, like everyday for 2 years.
then I did an ayahuasca retreat with 8 ayahuasca sessions and
then I got into meditation like crazy.

Also these days alcohol brings about DPDR, like 100% reliable.

Worrying about having DPDR is much of it.  It might be called existential OCD:  you constantly check if reality exists and if reality exists and what it means.  So I stay away from questions of time, space, meaning, trying to understand things that can’t be understood.

I now just remember to get safety, attunement, and soothing of the imaginal parents.  that pretty much fixes it.

There is a constant fear that I’ll go crazy,
There is the tendency to take my thoughts too seriously.  Falling into psychic equivalence.

There is an intervention in the moment of “shut the fuck up.  Just go get a tea.”

there were like 3 trip reports in the rational psychonaut subreddit a week where the people developed DPDR and there was always a trauma back ground, in my opinion.

Before Starting a Meditation Practice, Attend to the Basics

Meditation is great and can bring about huge transformation.  But, meditation is no substitute for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Rather, it both depends on and then helps maintain a healthy lifestyle (keystone habit).
So, be sure to keep healthy habits around regular exercise, diet, sleep, social life, and work.


Gentle and regular movement daily:  get in a least 6,000 steps a day, take walks etc.
Intense exercise 3 times a week:  Strength training with real exertion, and/or High Intensity Interval Training, like sprinting on a stationary bike or an elliptical
Tai Chi and Yoga are also helpful


There is a lot of controversy around diet.  The only piece of completely reliable advice on diet is to avoid processed foods.  Beyond that it gets more speculative. Best to consume organic foods.  But, avoiding processed foods is more important than eating organic, in my opinion.


Try to get the amount of sleep that you function best on, not just what you can get by on.  I need about 7 1/2 to 8 hours myself.  It’s best to go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time everyday, avoid screens within 2 hours of bed, and to sleep in a cool, dark place.  

Social life:

Cultivate friendships.  Be of help to others and ask for help when you need it.  Be as ethical and kind as possible with others.  Challenge yourself to relish your social relationships more and more.  This helps everything.

Accomplish something and be a productive member of society:  It’s important to exert yourself and feel proud of your efforts and accomplishments and to know that they are of benefit to others.