A reader asks:
How does the feelings of depersonalization tie in to the Buddhist philosophy?
DP briefly described is the feeling that the world is unreal and that the self is disconnected from this world which seems foreign. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depersonalization
I’m trying to tie it in to the concept that we are all one, and that the world is less illusionary in this state.
I’ve heard it described as the evil twin of enlightenment because there is a strong feeling of consciousness and awareness.
People who’ve experienced this condition often have anxiety issues, as I have. But I think that this anxiety and the altered perception is more indicative of something that Buddhism could explain better. I’m only just learning about Buddhism.
According to the Wikipedia article you pointed to, depersonalization is seen as a treatable psychological disorder. In many ways, seeing the physical world as “unreal” is one of the goals of Buddhist meditation. Buddhism would be fine with seeing the external world as an “other.” That being said, the part where you are real is the issue. “You” are not real either.
Buddhists call this idea of there being no-self Anatman, and it was introduced here. The basic idea is that I am not my body. I am not sitting on this chair, typing at this desk. We are all interconnected. I am the desk. I am the chair. I don’t know where you are right now, but you and I are connected as well. I am you.
Scientifically, if you get down to the point where molecules fly around and quantum mechanics happen, this is even more true; we really are all interconnected. The jury may still be out on whether or not our consciousnesses (if there is such a thing as consciousness) are linked, but there is a relationship with the physical world. These are difficult concepts, and it’s likely that others will disagree with my explanation; the comment section below is for those comments!
I’m not sure that I have any kind of enlightened advice for you with this situation. You might need to meditate for a long while on how this concept relates to you. As Wikipedia said, there are medical treatments; whether or not you want to try those is not for me to say, but that is an option.