Has anyone had an extreme depressive episode that made them feel like they were losing touch with reality?


I am 26(f), and I am in the worst depressive episode of my life. I feel like I am slowly losing touch with reality and I just want to see if anyone else has experienced something like what I'm going through.

A little background, my first year of college was two years ago, and I was in the best mental state I've ever been in. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 14, and didn't really feel like I had a handle on it until that first year of school. My grades were great, and I felt like I was on top of everything in my life in ways I had struggled with before. After my first year I transferred to another school, and because my new school started later than my previous one, I ended up having about a 5 month long summer break, and this is when everything started to go downhill for me.

Looking back the first sign that something was not right was when I randomly lost my ability to manage my finances. I used to be the type of person who checked their bank account everyday and knew exactly how much money was in it. I was really good about paying bills on time and conscious of sticking to a budget. Suddenly I began spending money without keeping track of it, no longer checked my bank account and racked up a bunch of credit card debt (which would eventually be charged off and turned to collections). I also couldn't manage to pay my bills on time and sometimes would go months between paying them. I also have trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder for those who don't know) and over the course of that summer I pulled all the hair off the top of my head to the point where I now shave my head and wear a wig.

Once I began classes at my new school I found it very hard to stay organized and completing assignments was a challenge for me. Some days I just couldn't force myself to study either because I could not concentrate or I simply could not get motivated to. I actually started the year off very strong but slowly over time it got worse and worse. My grades were now basically straight Cs, which had never been the case for me before. At this time I also started to completely neglect household chores. I never did laundry, the dishes stacked up and gathered fruit flies, and overall the house is a complete mess. I am also starting to become extremely apathetic to things at this point.

The last term of classes I took was at the very start of the pandemic, and this is when things really started to go downhill. I began isolating myself from my friends and family because I was convinced they all hated me. I stopped participating in class because I thought my professors were annoyed every time I would. I stopped talking to classmates and thought they all hated me and found me to be really annoying and that they would talk about it together. At the time that I am writing this I still only ever talk to my girlfriend and her family, but even seeing or speaking with her family is very infrequent tbh. Because classes switched to online only I stopped leaving my house, and trying to do so would give me extreme anxiety to the point of having panic attacks. If my girlfriend wanted me to go somewhere with her she would need to give me at least a days notice so I could emotionally prepare to leave, and even then sometimes I still couldn't bring myself to leave. Since December of last year I have left the house probably less than 15 times.

I am feeling like I am on autopilot at this point, going through the motions of going to class but unable to pay attention, so I stopped going altogether. I stopped doing assignments, and I failed every final exam, two of which I just straight up didn't take. I decided to take the next quarter off because I didn't want to tank my GPA, and also I just could not get it together enough to make myself register and missed the deadline so I was left with little choice.

At this time I began sleeping all day, like at least 16 hours if not more. I was constantly tired, and this lasted for at least a month. There were some days I was only awake long enough to eat one meal, which I would not have even been able to do had my girlfriend not been bringing me food. I remember counting over a three day period during this time that I had only been awake for a total of 5 hours. And then suddenly a switch flipped and I could no longer sleep. I was staying up all night until my sleep schedule completely reversed and I was sleeping (very little) during the day and staying up all night binge drinking and obsessively playing chess, which was the only thing I seemed to be able to concentrate on. This lasted for a months.

I became and still am extremely paranoid. I thought the neighbors could hear everything that was going on in our house even when I knew they weren't home. All the blinds have to be closed because the people across the road were looking in with telescopes. I stopped going into the backyard because I was certain the neighbors were staring at me from their windows and watching me, which meant that all the plants in my garden died. If I did have to open the door for some reason I was sure that the neighbors were standing in their backyards to get a good look into my house so I would have to position the curtains in a way to limit their view. I noticed a chip in the ceiling paint in both my bedroom and bathroom, and I thought that my previous roommates had put cameras in the ceiling to spy on me. People I knew personally could also read my thoughts and I could feel them in my head watching me. I didn't believe all of this with 100% certainty, I definitely had doubts, but the thoughts didn't seem irrational to me at the time and I could not sway the feeling no matter what.

As all this is happening my depression and anxiety were also slowly getting worse. I started losing control of my ability to control my anger, and now get extreme mood swings that I've never experienced before. I would throw temper tantrums or become extremely irritated at things that didn't warrant that reaction. Being angry made me become confused, like the world was spinning and I didn't know what was going on, and sometimes I would "blackout" and not remember what I had said or why I was angry, just that I was and it was too intense for me to control. I felt like someone else was taking over my body and I was watching as a bystander during some of these tantrums. Afterwards I feel extreme guilt and shame. All I can think about is killing myself and how I don't deserve to live because of some of the things I would say to my girlfriend or the way I would act. I now can only experience sadness as feeling suicidal, though I have no plans to act on these thoughts. I started getting random bursts of energy between days of being completely lethargic and unable to get out of bed or off the couch. During these bursts of energy I would get uncontrollable urges to shout or yell things like "WOOO!" or random swear words, and overall be really intense about things.

My hygiene also became terrible. I wear the same outfit everyday until it becomes so unbearably smelly that I have to change or do laundry. I go a week between showers. I am all but participating in life and really am not taking care of myself. I am eating only one meal a day and it is because my girlfriend gets us food. I am constantly pulling out my hair as it grows back in. I started picking fights with strangers online over dumb things, and then believing those people could read my thoughts and were in my head watching me. I spend most of the day daydreaming to the point where it interferes with me doing other things. I have a constant desire to be alone, even though I struggle with intense feelings of loneliness.

My reality feels distorted somehow, like I am living in a dream. Sometimes I feel like I'm not a real person. Sometimes I look in the mirror and my face looks different but I can't place how or why. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm looking at myself even. Background sounds that I never used to notice are now loud. Every car that passes by on the main road now feels like they are passing right in front of my house. The sound of the neighbors tv feels as loud as the music I'm listening to sometimes (I live in a townhouse), and my girlfriend tells me she can barely hear it. Sometimes things happen to me and moments later I question whether it actually happened. For example, once I thought I saw a dog out of the corner of my eye, and when I turned and realized that obviously it was nothing, I started to question whether that had even happened or if I had just made it up and didn't even notice anything out of the corner of my eye. My reading comprehension has taken a hit as well. Suddenly I'm having to reread things several times, not because my mind wanders off but because I can't put together what they are trying to say. Sometimes, but very infrequently, it is to the point where no matter how slow I read things or how much effort I put into understanding things I just am not able to figure out how the words make sense together. It is as if someone used the predictive text option on their phone to create sentences from words that somewhat fit together but when you look at the whole thing it just doesn't make sense or have any meaning. Sometimes I have trouble getting my thoughts out, I know what I want to say but the words come out jumbled or not at all and I end up just saying "you know what I'm trying to say" (and luckily usually my gf does, lol).

All of this I am just now kind of starting to piece together, and many things that I was thinking or feeling that is not my normal behavior I didn't realize until recently as I have been feeling somewhat more like myself. Has anyone else gone through something similar to this where all of the sudden your entire life just falls apart? I really feel like I am picking up the pieces of my shattered life and wondering how the fuck things ended up like this. My apologies for the long post, I'm grateful to anyone who made it this far.

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