[INFP] Loss of sense of self

Loss of sense of self

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This is a discussion on Loss of sense of self within the INFP Forum - The Idealists forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; I'm sure this has happened to some of you. I just find it out of place, considering the INFP is ...

  1. #1
    INFP - The Idealists

    Loss of sense of self

    I'm sure this has happened to some of you. I just find it out of place, considering the INFP is supposed to have a high sense of self.

    I think I've lost my sense of self, and, consequentially, everything about myself feels very off.

    Any thoughts or experiences? : /
    niki, MikeTheKnife, Gauze and 5 others thanked this post.



  2. #2
    Unknown Personality

    Hm. There's two types of "loss of self" I experience every now and then.

    1) When I'm focused, like, when working or concentrating hard on something. This is a short term type of "loss of self", which I suppose happens a few times every day and is an innocent form.

    2) When I'm contemplating my life - which I think is the type of loss you're talking about. This doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, it's more of a long term type of loss. Those days when I take a look at myself and wonder if I'm a stranger to myself. This type can be pretty risky, as in, self-doubt, unhealthily dissatisfied, wanting more than might be possible, etc.

    It happens, and in my experience, I like to 'ride' the wave (and steer if needed).
    niki, MikeTheKnife, FaveteLinguis and 2 others thanked this post.

  3. #3
    INFP - The Idealists

    I feel like this a lot. Just not knowing who I am, sometimes not completely recognizing myself in the mirror, even.

    And realistically, I know my memories are my own, but I still often feel like I've stolen them from someone else, or they happened in another life.

    It might be depersonalization, I think... Not sure if it's the same for you.
    niki, MikeTheKnife, thistled bones and 3 others thanked this post.

  4. #4
    INFP - The Idealists

    I went through depersonalization for about a year, it was pretty bad. I felt like my life was a movie, and I was watching it, but I had no control over anything... my body wasn't mine, my thoughts weren't mine, nothing was mine. I felt very disconnected from everything. I remember with each day the earth seemed more and more alien, humans started to look more and more like monkeys, the earth, the clouds, the trees, houses, cars, all of it seemed so very surreal to me... like I had just come from outer space and landed on a strange planet. It was actually fascinating at first, but the more disconnected I felt the more miserable I got. I eventually had a hard time communicating with people, I got overwhelmed by things very easily.

    I think I still had a sense of self though, it wasn't complete ego-loss. There was still something which I felt I was, stuck somewhere inside my head watching everything happen. It just seemed entirely disconnected from what I usually viewed as my identity.


    Looking back it was a pretty miserable experience, I didn't think it would ever end, but fortunately it did. I can honestly say I did learn from it though, and I think there is wisdom to be gained from re-examining what our "self" really is.

    I don't know if that is at all similar to what you are going through but it is definitely a "loss of self" experience I've had.
    niki, MikeTheKnife, thistled bones and 3 others thanked this post.

  5. #5
    INFP - The Idealists

    Wow, depersonalisation, my "favorite" topic. :) I dont know if this is your case, since you said just a little about what you feel or not feel. But yes, it sounds like depersonalisation. There is also a derealisation, which is not about you, but about your sense of world and people around you . . . Ugly stuff, really. I have both of this almost all my life, and it sucks. Just imagine what is it for the feeler to not be able to feel, and you hit the spot. ;)

    But dont worry, almost everybody will have experience of DR or DP in their life. Its very common. It will not stay with you for long, unless there is really some big reason, like for me . . . .

    Good luck, and dont worry.

    PS: And loss of self can be also be connected with depression or enlighment. :) Pick your side.
    niki, thistled bones, Bago and 2 others thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by Xtal View Post
    I went through depersonalization for about a year, it was pretty bad. I felt like my life was a movie, and I was watching it, but I had no control over anything... my body wasn't mine, my thoughts weren't mine, nothing was mine. I felt very disconnected from everything. I remember with each day the earth seemed more and more alien, humans started to look more and more like monkeys, the earth, the clouds, the trees, houses, cars, all of it seemed so very surreal to me... like I had just come from outer space and landed on a strange planet. It was actually fascinating at first, but the more disconnected I felt the more miserable I got. I eventually had a hard time communicating with people, I got overwhelmed by things very easily.

    I think I still had a sense of self though, it wasn't complete ego-loss. There was still something which I felt I was, stuck somewhere inside my head watching everything happen. It just seemed entirely disconnected from what I usually viewed as my identity.


    Looking back it was a pretty miserable experience, I didn't think it would ever end, but fortunately it did. I can honestly say I did learn from it though, and I think there is wisdom to be gained from re-examining what our "self" really is.

    I don't know if that is at all similar to what you are going through but it is definitely a "loss of self" experience I've had.
    @Xtal : I even have to say that right now I'm often sort of in this 'depersonalization' phase, especially when during my worst times, I can't seem to really relate with 99% of what the human beings around me are doing (they all seem meaningless, petty, and very shallow, to my eyes, honestly).
    But I guess I'm a bit fortunate that like @JoCZker said above as well: in recent times, I've sort of got some bits of 'enlightenment' too, rather than a pure/total depression like I used to, several times, when I underwent this depression & depersonalization, even Misanthrope situation.

    But I do am curious about how did you able to get out from such depressing state?
    would you care to share your story, or at least some major 'realizations/enlightenment' points to us here? 'cuz that would be great! thanks.
    thistled bones, moonlight_echo and Xtal thanked this post.

  7. #7
    INFP - The Idealists

    Do you mean like you don't know anymore what think about things, what kind of person you wanted to be and stuff like that? That's how I'm feeling like that right now...
    My friends have always had their own style in doing things and clothes and music and strong opinions about things but I'm always a little bit lost, in between of everything... or maybe more correctly, in middle of the nowhere :)
    niki and thistled bones thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INFP - The Idealists

    I have experienced this. I'm not a fan of this feeling.

    Usually it happens to me after "re-programming" from some outside influence like the TV, a movie or a book or an extreme life experience.

  9. #9
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by niki View Post
    @Xtal : I even have to say that right now I'm often sort of in this 'depersonalization' phase, especially when during my worst times, I can't seem to really relate with 99% of what the human beings around me are doing (they all seem meaningless, petty, and very shallow, to my eyes, honestly).
    But I guess I'm a bit fortunate that like @JoCZker said above as well: in recent times, I've sort of got some bits of 'enlightenment' too, rather than a pure/total depression like I used to, several times, when I underwent this depression & depersonalization, even Misanthrope situation.

    But I do am curious about how did you able to get out from such depressing state?
    would you care to share your story, or at least some major 'realizations/enlightenment' points to us here? 'cuz that would be great! thanks.

    Well, my case of DPD was an unusual one. It first started when I began using dissociative drugs... then I stopped doing dissociative drugs and it went away for a while, but I became interested in Hindu occultism, which led to me to begin practicing Raja Yoga before I was ready, and one of the key teachings of Raja Yoga is that the self, awareness, should not be identified as the mind-body organism. So for a long time I actually cultivated detachment. As you mentioned, it was very enlightening and euphoric at times... negative emotions and my thoughts couldn't touch me, I actually felt like nothing could touch me. I began to see the world in a new way, to understand myself in a new way.

    The problem was, I cultivated this detachment for so long that I stopped being able to really feel things. I had feelings but I felt disconnected from them. I felt disconnected from everything.

    I also noticed one reason for my detachment was, after the first few months, I started to use detachment as an escape from negative feelings. I must admit that at first it is comforting to be able to seperate yourself from those bad feelings, to observe them and feel like they can't touch you. But then the detachment itself was taken to a point where it created even more powerful negative feelings, and I tried to detach even more to escape those feelings, and so on and so forth, creating a miserable vicious cycle.

    Eventually I decided that Hinduism and occultism were not really a great idea to practice without a guru to make sure I am not skipping steps or doing things incorrectly. I decided as far as my spiritual practice and my direct understanding of reality Buddhism was the best path for me. I simply understand Buddhism on an intuitive level and it clicks with me naturally. So I began doing insight meditation instead of shamatha (focusing on the breath) and thought observation (which really exacerbates the detachment). Eventually I realized my key mistake, the big thing that I had missed when practicing in terms of occultism. Awareness is one with form. If you have a mirror showing an image, you cannot seperate the image from the mirror, they are one in the same. I remember the exact moment to this day when I realized this, I was meditating on my back porch, eyes open staring at the ground, and all of a sudden it just clicked, and instead of feeling separate from everything I felt like I was everything, and I just remember I started laughing, I was so happy, and I just started repeating out loud "Awareness is form, form and formlessness are the same thing", in amazement... I was so overjoyed that my detachment wasn't real anymore. It still appeared after that from time to time, simply because it was a psychological habit, but it had no substance anymore and it really started fading away. A few months later when I found my teacher he confirmed that I had been mistaken in assuming awareness was separate from form, and that forcing detachment was a step down the wrong path. Again, the key is that awareness (which is what we imagine feels separate) is the very thing in which all things occur.

    Of course, detachment does seem to still appear very rarely. But now that I understand why that detachment is not real, it seems to have no substance and it fades in a matter of seconds.


    I should mention that leading up to that moment of realization, I had made some big changes in my life.

    1) I had stopped drinking and doing drugs (I was a daily weed smoker and took psychedelics, opiates, and stimulants fairly regularly). I think I had been sober for about 6 months when the detachment really stopped.

    2) I had started exercising, mainly running and weightlifting with a curl bar. It is actually quite amazing how much this helps with feelings of detachment.

    3) I started meditating with my eyes open instead of closed (which is really only helpful if you meditate)

    4) I stopped running away from my emotions and decided to face them head on, and to try my best to understand them and work on healing them instead of trying to detach from them.


    But anyways, that is my case. I cannot help but feel it may be an unusual one but I can only hope there is something in there that helps. I know how much it sucks at times, and I really hope that anyone experiencing it is able to work through it. I know it can be very hard because once you experience that detachment it is so easy for it to become a constant part of your perception.
    niki, thistled bones, mushr00m and 3 others thanked this post.

  10. #10
    INFP - The Idealists

    I used to get that strange dreamy like, spacey and detached feeling when
    I was in stressful social situations, particularly with certain family members. It was
    such a weird feeling; I didn't know that it was possibly depersonalization.

    I'm not sure if I'm on the right track here, but since I've learned to stop avoiding
    my emotions and really feel them, feel them inside my body instead of unconsciously
    avoiding them, that sense of depersonalization has mostly gone. So maybe it is
    a survival mechanism - a way to avoid feeling pain.
    niki, thistled bones and eternal_horizon thanked this post.


 
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