It’s okay to talk

It’s okay to talk

A dissociative disorder, DPDR can be a distressing and impairing condition, warns Pooja Prabbhan Srijith

Just as the awareness around mental health sees a refreshing uptick, experts shed light on the importance of understanding DPDR—Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder, a health condition where an individual gets a persistent feeling of being completely detached from himself. Dr Neeraj Raj B, a consultant psychiatrist says, “A person affected by DPDR may feel as if he has lost the control of speech and movements, bodily senses or emotional or physical numbness. Factors like traumatic events, extreme stress, anxiety, depression can trigger DPDR.”. The expert answers a few questions pertaining to the illness.

What are the myths surrounding the condition?

There are several myths associated with DPDR:

Depersonalisation is a permanent condition: This is not true. If the person comes out of the trauma or stress of what he is going through, coupled with therapy and support from the family, he/she can come out of the condition.

Depersonalisation can turn into schizophrenia: Both are different conditions. 

Recovery is impossible: Psychotherapy along with family support helps in managing the condition.

Only medications will help treat DPDR: Medications help in reducing stress by decreasing anxiety and depressive symptoms. But as an entire treatment process, medications along with therapies help.

How does one spot the signs, and are there preventive measures?

Feeling detached from self

Numbness in the mind or body,
without any emotions.

Feeling of losing control of what you
do or talk.

Feeling as if the body parts are of a
wrong size.

Difficulty attaching emotion to memories.


Preventive measures

Reduce your stress and anxiety.

Meditation, developing hobbies helps you to avoid depression.

Talk to your family and share your

Develop a habit of regular exercise.

How to help a friend/ acquaintance
going through it?

As you notice the symptoms in your friend consult a psychologist. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the effective ways to deal with this. Along with this listed below are the measures that one can follow when they face DPDR attacks.

Pinch the skin on the back of the hand.

Look around and count the things around you. Start saying the names of the objects.

Take a long, deep breath and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling.

Keep your eyes moving as this will help in avoiding you zoning out.

Talk to your loved ones. Express your

Is it a very common phenomenon in India, how many cases are reported annually?

DPDR is not uncommon and can occur in about 2% of the general population.


An awakening

In keeping with the growing awareness around the mental condition, Bengaluru-based band That Room In The Corner released the video of their first original track titled Heart Awakes recently. The song sheds light on how being there for someone in any capacity can truly make a difference to their lives. The power of empathy is what the world needs right now, and the band urges people to be kinder — as the smallest act of being there for them could save a life. In a candid chat with Ashwin Syam, music producer, guitarist and manager of the band tells us more…

How did the idea of writing the track come by? How long did it take to put it all together?

Heart Awakes was written and composed by P V Ananth, our lead vocalist, back in 2012. He wrote the song for someone close to his heart, a loved one who was going through a hard time, as a way of saying “I am there for you no matter what.” The song has been a nine-year journey. In 2012, we produced a rough scratch of the track completely DIY as part of this prototype album called Echoes from Far Away. At that point, we were new to recording and production, and the band went on a hiatus in 2015 after our college ended and the track remained unfinished. Fast forward to 2020... the lockdown persuaded us to reconsider the possibility of being able to compose and produce remotely.

What are your expectations from the release of this track?

We came across a friend’s story about her experiences with DPDR, which arose from coping with mental health issues. People with DPDR, all of whom have diverse perspectives and ways of understanding their lives, often lose touch with a sense of self and surroundings. This has a profound impact on their lives and those of their loved ones. We felt her narrative, and her emphasis on experiencing unreality was a perfect fit for the lyrics and the story we are trying to tell.

We want the track to reach as many people as possible and spread the message of how being there for someone, even in the smallest capacity, can make a huge difference in their lives. Through this creative process, we are also keen to raise awareness about DPDR. We are trying to be true to her story in terms of the visual treatment and emotions. It will be amazing if our video could give a better understanding of what DPDR is like from the perspectives of the one experiencing it, and loved ones supporting their daily lives and dreams.

The core members of the band are PV Ananth (vocalist), Ashwin Syam 
(music producer) and Ashwin Shanker G (bassist).

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