Hannah Ewens – I was terrified when my mind detached from my body – this is depersonalisation

You’re staring straight ahead. Somehow your awareness peels away from you, in slow motion. It’s like you’ve cracked in two, and one half is facing the wrong way. Are you in your physical body, which you know must still be there? Before you know it, you’re up on the ceiling somewhere, watching yourself down below.

I’ve read that depersonalisation is one of the body’s stress responses. You can’t deal with a situation, so it almost ejects you, makes you feel disconnected. Which would be amazing, if it wasn’t so awful. When it first happened to me – to this extreme, at least – I was on holiday with my dad, sister and brother. Something felt off, uncomfortable. I’d been feeling anxious and out of sorts all week, so I went back to the hotel room in the middle of the day. I remember feeling I couldn’t stay still. Things weren’t right. I paced around the hotel room in the heat, wearing my bikini. Pacing was good. I was doing something, and something had to be done.

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