22, YOUTUBE MUSICIAN ‘I felt I was looking down at my body – rather than being in it’
‘“It’s dangerous to diagnose someone so young with a mental health problem.” Those words from my doctor in 2014 validated the message in my mind: you’re not really feeling this pain; you’re inventing it. I spent the next two years slipping in and out of depressive episodes. But when the intense lows subsided, I had this sense that I could never open my eyes wide enough to see the world properly; it was as if I was drunk. I’d come home from a holiday with no memory of it, and I had a sensation of looking down at my own body, rather than being in it. I’d lose whole days wondering who I was.
Life went on; I wrote songs, I vlogged for over a million subscribers, I ended an emotionally abusive relationship. Then, last year, I broke down. I spent days in bed. Moving my body felt pointless, because my malfunctioning brain would still have to come with me. I needed an explanation – and one that didn’t dismiss my feelings. A new GP explained that, in addition to severe depression, I had depersonalisation disorder – periods of detachment from your body and thoughts. Antidepressants only took away my ability to feel an emotion. Instead, I surround myself with friends – on and offline. They never fail to remind me who I am.’ Secrets For The Mad: Obsessions, Confessions And Life Lessons by Dodie Clark (£16.99, Penguin)