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November 25th, 2019: DarthVarda Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Colorado, am an aspiring polyglot, and split my time between Denver, D.C., Seattle, and Tokyo.
When did you first become interested in horror?
My mom is Japanese. She has some crazy ghost stories about growing up in Matsudo-shi. Some of the best I’ve ever heard. So, I guess you could say it just runs in my blood?
Can we hear one of those ghost stories now?
Sure, why not. When she was a little girl, my mom would go to and from school alone. To get there she’d have to ride the train a decent amount of time. One day, she noticed a woman following her from the train station back to her house. The woman looked…wrong. Long, unkempt hair, sallow skin, sad eyes. The woman always mysteriously disappeared when my mom turned the corner to get into her house. Finally, after a couple days of this happening, my mom went crying to her haha (mom), my obaachan (grandma), and told her everything. Well, my obaachan gets this look on her face and is like, “No, no, no. Don’t look at her, don’t speak with her, not ever.” Finally, it just stopped, and my mom never saw the woman again. Later on, when my mom was older, she asked my obaachan about it and, apparently, a couple years before my mom and her family moved to Matsudo, a woman drowned herself in the well just outside their house. Her body was fished out, given a sōshiki, and cremated, and the well was filled in, but I guess that woman never really left. Spooky shit, man.
Holy cow, that is scary! No wonder you became a horror author. Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to write in that genre?
My mom let me watch The Exorcist when I was, like, six. Pretty sure that did some damage. Horror is so universal. It’s such a visceral emotion—fear.
Where do you find inspiration? Have real life experiences ever made their way into your work?
Folklore, mainly. And, yeah, definitely. Especially unresolved mysteries. I guess you could say the work the FBI does is, uh, very close to my heart.
Mhmm, we see. jots down "Is possibly a secret agent" on our detective notepad So, uh, what unresolved mystery do you find most fascinating?
Well, technically, I am a public/civil servant who does work for the government, but, unfortunately, I’m neither a secret nor special agent. At least, not yet. Perhaps one day. Maybe.
There’s a fair few unresolved mysteries I find quite fascinating (albeit horribly tragic), particularly cold cases of missing persons. But I won’t get into those on here as I wouldn’t be able to do them justice or maintain the level of respect I think they deserve. So, I’ll stick to this one: Captain Kutchie’s Key Lime Pies. There’s an extremely well written deep dive on this you can find here. It’s just…bizarre.
How did you discover NoSleep? What prompted you to begin writing for it?
Can't remember, actually. The fact that there were no prompts. For me, freedom begets creativity.
Speaking of which, you used to post frequently on /WritingPrompts. Was there anything about that structure you found preferable to NoSleep?
Gotta be honest here, very little about WritingPrompts appeals to me anymore. Back then it was just a way for me to get some words out.
Did you know you would be sharing Cooper's story with us on Nosleep from the beginning? How far in advance did you have his world planned out?
I did. I had it planned out pretty far in advanced. I also knew I wanted to have interconnected stories because I really love world building. Between us, I did have an entirely different trajectory planned out for the plot; basically, I was slowly going to explain what exactly the “black goo” named “Legion” really is, but I nixed it in favor of bringing in The Overseer. My original plan could (and probably will) come back later on. Possibly in a longer format, say a book?
What NoSleep stories and/or authors have had the strongest impact on you?
The Strangest Security Tape I’ve Ever Seen by [deleted] (I know who it’s by, but they did delete their account so I’d like to be respectful of that fact). It’s, in two words, fucking genius.
What's the most terrifying thing you've personally experienced?
Almost dying.
What are some of your biggest influences from media?
Everything from video games to comics to books to movies to TV shows. If I had to choose a single creator from each category though, they'd be, respectively: Miyamoto Shigeru; Jonathan Hickman; Terry Pratchett; Joel OR Ethan Coen; Vince Gilligan.
Other than writing, what are some of your hobbies? What other creative mediums do you enjoy?
Playing video games, reading, stargazing, watching shit, cooking, ranting about conspiracies, and investigative research. Uh, I like to paint.
You've shared some of that love of cooking with readers on your subreddit by posting recipes. Do you have any good recipes for the impending holidays?
Oh, yeah, got just the thing. This’ll be sure to spice up any dreaded familial interactions or help you sink smoothly into those soul crushing moments of existential crises you’ll probably definitely have during this holiday season. All you’ll need is some ice, a glass, some Coke, some Jack Daniels, and your fingers for measuring how strong you want it.
Do you ever explore writing other genres besides horror? If so, what other styles of writing? Which do you prefer?
Yeah, so, I actually don’t consider myself a horror writer. At least, not really, and definitely not in the traditional sense. Most of my non-Reddit stories are science fiction and fantasy, and they're pretty hard and high at that. Which, honestly, is kinda strange since my mentor (as in the guy who taught me the craft for years) is Stephen Graham Jones and one of his good friends is Joe R. Lansdale. Got to shoot the shit with Joe a couple times in workshop. It was wonderful. What do I prefer? Huh, that’s a tough one, but I’d say speculative fiction (a cop out, I know).
Do you find sci-fi and fantasy to be something you consciously include in your Cooper series? Is it ever difficult to maintain a balance between horror and other genres?
I’ve found that, for me, fantasy is a tad harder to blend into horror. Horror and sci fi, though, go really well together. Especially if you can manage that “technothriller” format (which, personally, is what I’d classify most of the Cooperverse as). And not particularly. But I am certain that if I ever posted one of my hard science fiction or high fantasy stories that don’t have that splash of horror mixed in, people would be like, “What the fuck?” They’re shockingly different than my Cooptales.
How much time do you spend writing in an average day or week? Do you have any rituals that help you focus?
Eh, it fluctuates depending on my work schedule. Anywhere from nine hours to none. Rituals? Nah.
Have any of your stories ever involved research? If so, what was involved?
Yep. I always start with research. Anything from a quick scroll through Wikipedia to deep dives down internet rabbit holes to actually traveling out and visiting a place.
How do you keep your universe organized? Do you have it mapped out conspiracy wall style like we do?
Man, I’ve talked about making one of these for years, but I move/travel a lot, so I don’t think it’d be feasible. Instead, I have a slew of horrifyingly poorly written notes spanning across several graph books, scraps of paper I’ve scrounged up or found randomly or stolen, notes on my phone when I can’t find paper or a pen, and even, sometimes, my hand or arm until I can find something better to scribble it onto. Mostly, though, it’s all in my head. Probably not the best place for it to be as I tend to lose my mind a lot (forgive me for that terrible joke).
Your story settings span all over the country; is there a location that particularly interests you?
Louisiana.
Many of your stories feature different cryptids or government conspiracies. Are there any that you'd like to cover and haven't yet?
Yes, several.
Are there any topics you feel are too controversial for you to address or that you prefer not to explore in your writing?
On Reddit? Definitely. Outside of Reddit? Nope.
What are your feelings toward NoSleep's immersion/believability rule? What impact, if any, do you think the suspension of disbelief format may have when transitioning your work toward a mass audience unfamiliar with NoSleep?
Oh, uh, well, at the risk of sounding like a total asshole, I think it’s cute. Do I think the suspension of disbelief format will have an impact if I ever transition my work towards a mass audience? Honestly, no clue. Not nearly even close to touching a mass audience yet. But, I mean, I don't think so. I think consuming something fictional—be it through text or through a screen—will always have that suspension of disbelief factor surrounding it, you know?
Do you have any favorite reader reactions to your writing?
Yeah, the lady who thought I was Cooper in real life and DM’d me asking me to impregnate her. Gotta good chuckle outta that one. That said, people really seem to want to ride Coop's, uh, Ducati. It's absolutely hilarious to me.
Readers have truly embraced Cooper and his cohorts, and are extremely active in your sub dedicated to him, /SuperCooperCanon. What is it about the character that you think resonated so strongly with the community?
Honestly, no idea. I mean, I know I wrote the guy to be “objectively hot”, but attractive people aren’t always that interesting or likable. So, maybe it’s his devil may care attitude and sense of humor that people connect with? He’s also pretty self-reliant and confident and not afraid to show that, yes, a “tough guy” can (and does) cry/show emotions/empathize.
Occasionally, you've referenced users' comments on one story in the next, or included hints and codes that tie certain stories together. Are there any major Easter eggs you wish your readers would crack?
Yeah, probably. I mean, I recently went back and reread all the stories (including all the supplementals) in the ‘verse in one sitting (took me a short six hours, there’s around 300,000 words) and even I was like, “Well, shit, totally forgot I was supposed to be doing something with that…my bad.” So, I can’t really hold anything against anyone for not catching everything.
What story or project are you most proud of?
You mean besides all the shit involving Spooky McSpooks? Because it’s that. I mean, the asshole has the name of a goddamn dog yet somehow still manages to be the smoothest guy in the room? C’mon.
You recently revealed the relationship between Cooper and Elle. Considering his last romantic interest is out of the running, will Cooper ever find love? waggles eyebrows
Oh…uh…shit…I plead the fifth. I will say this, though, someone I know in real life has been all but begging me to write a “Cooprotica” for ages now. Will I do it? I don’t know. If I did, I’d cringe so hard I’d turn into a black hole and consume the entire galaxy.
There have been Cooper sightings since the 1980s, leading fans to speculate that either these were of his father or that Cooper is somehow ageless. Can you shed any light on which theory is correct?
Sure. It’s his “dad”.
In The Mojave Phone Booth, '80s Cooper has The Overseer's outfit in his car. Does this mean what we think it does...?
Probably.
There's an isolated cabin with a locked door that Elle doesn't particularly want to talk about. Do we catch a glimpse of what happened there in My first job was at a video rental store?
Sure did.
Cooper had a falling out with a squadmate that went by Shepherd. Was this at all related to the two agents that have been out to get him?
Kinda? I think he was more disappointed in Coop than anything else. There are things they’ve said to each other that I haven’t shown yet. Shep is an interesting guy. His story arc isn’t over.
Which installment in the series was your favorite to write so far? What set that one apart?
Oh, shit. This is a tough one. I’ve got a lot of favorites, mainly because the first person I write them for is myself, and I’m an idiot who giggles at my own dumb jokes I intersperse throughout them, like, a lot. But, if I absolutely had to chose one, I’d say…shit. This is hard. Huh. Uhhh. I don’t know? Maybe my most recent one? Just because that fucker was long. So long I ran outta character space and had to put part of it over on my subreddit as a “supplemental” even though it was part of the same story. I’m also pretty fond of my DIA story and the Bridgewater Triangle one. Also, the ones from Mrs. Popov’s perspective. And all the stories surrounding “The Hollow” (Inbred Family, Shit for Brains, Chekhov’s Bazooka, Unexpected Forces).
You've mentioned working on adapting the Cooperverse into novel form. Have you experienced any unexpected challenges or advantages during that process? How has writing with the intent of being published differed from posting to Reddit?
Man, I’m like the boy who cried wolf with those novel promises, huh? But, yes, the short, simple answer is yes. The long answer is, well, long. And I feel like I have to be extremely careful here since people can get, uh, very touchy about publishing, especially when it comes to being traditionally published versus independently published versus self-published. Truth be told, I don’t know how comfortable I am with answering these questions. So, I guess, that’s one of the biggest challenges: Trying to speak about the ins and outs of getting published in a way that won’t offend or piss off anyone else?
Man, honestly, this is something I have a lot to say about but have never felt comfortable doing so.
Sorry.
How much do we have to bribe you to publish a book of the series as it's laid out now, an anthology of everyone's encounters with Cooper?
Unfortunately, money (and most material possessions) ain’t a thang to me, so I can’t be bought. In all seriousness, though, it just doesn’t feel right charging money for things people can consume for free, you know? And even if I did put anything out there that was purchasable, I’m a perfectionist, so it’d have to be spiffed up, like, a lot. That’d take some time.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned since you began posting to NoSleep?
"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life."
As a successful author on NoSleep, do you have any advice for new contributors?
Be careful. Attention and ephemeral internet points can be (and often are) highly addictive. And addiction is bad, mmkay?
What are your short-term and long-term writing goals?
Short term: Write.
Long term: Keep writing.
Community Questions:
From MagpieRhymes: Where did you inspiration for Cooper et al come from? Did he arrive in your mind, fully-formed, or did it take time to develop his story?
He’s an amalgamation of a lot of things. Both folks I know in real life and characters like (in no particular order) Leon Scott Kennedy, Hermione Granger, Samus, Geralt of Rivia, Master Chief, Fox Mulder, Aloysius XL Pendergast, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, StrideAragorn II, Ellen Ripley, Jim Hopper, Lyra Belacqua, Sam Vimes, Link, Dale Cooper, and so on and so forth. I always knew that Coop was, first and foremost, going to be a smartass, but it did take a little bit of time to develop him into who he is now. His “personality” is subject to change, though, since I’m trying to make him as round of a character as I possibly can.
Submitted anonymously: Your Cooperverse stories are amazing. They're like a Lovecraftian Twilight Zone X-Files mashup, but better. How do you keep your plotlines from getting away from you? And what is your inspiration for the Overseer? Thank you so much for sticking with the stories for so long. Sincerely, a longtime fan
Whoa, damn, slow down there, buddy. Uh, first of all, fucking thank you. That’s high praise. Those are definitely three of my favorite things. Better, though? I dunno about that. And, hey, thanks for sticking with me so long, fucking flattered, man. Second, I honestly don’t know how I maintain all the plotlines. I guess I just have a knack for it? And some pretty badly written notes. Third, huh, what an interesting question. He’s kinda like The Smoking Man mixed with Vader mixed with a maniacal comic-book villain.
Submitted anonymously: Do you ever get tired of writing Cooper, or feel limited to only posting in that realm? Have you ever posted from an alt account?
Never posted from an alt account, scout’s honor; only have one reddit account because that’s all I can handle (I’m a bit of a technophobe). To answer your second question, well
So, Coop is really fun to write and I’m a huge dork for conspiracies, but do I feel limited? A little. I mean, people pretty much only know me as that one asshole who only writes about that one asshole who always “saves” the day. And, despite trying to break from that trend, I can’t really blame ‘em. It’s entirely my fault; I’ve shoehorned myself into that position. This has limited me in two ways: people who, uh, aren’t particularly fond of me don’t actually believe I can write anything else, but then when I’ve tried to (and try I have), people who do like me quite a bit are upset that it’s not a Coop story. Fucked if I do, fucked if I don’t, you know?
Submitted anonymously: I love your work so much! Thank you for writing such great characters. Do you have a mental dream cast of who you'd like to see play any of them?
Hey, thanks, I’m truly honored. And thank you for your readership! That said, yeah, I do for some of my characters, but not all of the people I could see “as them” are professional actors or public figures I could freely name. If the Cooperverse ever went somewhere, you know, “big”, whoever plays Coop would probably have to be a complete unknown since there’s really no one currently working I could see playing him. Or, I’d have to do what Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child did with Pendergast in the movie adaptation of their book Relic and take him out completely. That’s no fun.
From EbilCrayons: When you first started writing for nosleep did you have ambitions of becoming populasuccessful or did it take you by complete surprise?
I mean, I’d take “populasuccessful” with a grain of goddamn salt, it’s not like I’m raking in the updoots over here. But, I will say, I do have a very dedicated fan base—(shit, I feel like a giant asshole with a giant head tootin’ my goddamn horn and it makes me uncomfortable as hell)—to whom I owe a lot to and am very fond of; seriously, they’re all fucking amazing. So, yeah, that kinda took me by surprise.
Submitted anonymously: Do you see any similarities between yourself and Cooper or any of your other characters?
I’ve always said that I’m nothing like Coop, but my good friends (who know me pretty well) all insist that I am. So, I guess I do? Not to (once again) toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been told by a decent number of people that I’m fairly attractive and witty. Waitresses, people on the street, my coworkers, even teachers have all (at one time or another) called me cute and funny and shit, and it’s embarrassing as fuck. Also, I’m willing to bet that both people in real life who don’t like me and who do would absolutely all agree on one thing: that I’m a huge smartass. Always gotta be quippin’ about something or at someone with this dumb shit eating grin on my face. But, personally, I’d say I’m most like Coop’s Ducati or Scrambles. His Ducati because my words are essentially the “vehicle” he rides from plot point to plot point. Scrambles because—as cringe as this sounds—Coop kinda saved me too.
Submitted anonymously: If you were able to spend the day with any figure in the horror community (author, director, actor, etc.), who would you choose and why?
John Carpenter. Because he’s a fucking geniusman, that’s why.
Submitted anonymously: Your house is on fire, and your family is safe outside. What book do you grab before joining them?
Fuck. Shit. Uh…fuck. Shit. I’ll come back to this one. Shit came back to it and still don’t know. Fuck. Hold on. Okay, went and looked through all my books (and comics), and, I mean, I could say something cool like, “Oh, my first edition copy of Insert Discworld Novel Here,” or something smartassy like, “Oh, the Bible haha j/k 69 420,” or something clever like, “Embracing Defeat because it’s such an important deep dive into pre and post war Japan,” but, honestly, I’m gonna have to go with Still Life with Crows. Sure, it’s not the greatest book in the world and certainly not the most well-known, but goddamn I fucking love that fucking book.
Submitted anonymously: Would you/have you ever collaborate(d) with anyone else on nosleep? Is there anyone you'd like to work with?
I haven’t. I’m quite shy. Also, very busy. I wouldn’t want to let anyone (or, worse, multiple people) down by agreeing to do something I wouldn’t be able to follow through on. Of course I do, but, again, I’m shy and I fear mentioning anyone by name would put me in a precarious position of either them being like, “Let’s do it,” and then me just not being able to or (more likely), them recoiling in disgust and saying, “No. Absolutely not. And never, ever utter my username ever again.”
From Knoxx899: I feel like the Super Cooper series would make an awesome graphic novel, wouldn't you agree?
I would absolutely agree.
Submitted anonymously: Favorite guilty pleasure?
Haha, oh man oh man.
So, a year or so ago I had this awesome coworker who was, oddly enough, really into reading romance novels. And, I mean, not gonna shit on them (too much) for that, people can read whatever the fuck they want (so long as it’s not really hurting anyone else, of course). Well, one day, because I’m a smartass with a shit eating grin who won’t shut the fuck up at work, they dared me to read one.
They were all like, “Hey, DV, bet you can’t finish one of these, you fucking goddamn asshole of a person.” They knew I’m a voracious reader who will read just about anything, especially if someone does that whole reverse psychology shit on me. So, I was all like, “Oh, you’re on,” and I did.
It was titled, shit you not, Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas. And it was about, again shit you fucking not, an unbelievably sexy writer who, as a child, was bitten by a wolf shifter. Yep, you read that correctly. So, because of this, she has to isolate herself and is all sad and lonely and like, “Oh, woe is me, my fertility clock is ticking,” because, you know, every so often she turns into a goddamn wolf and also, as I’m sure everyone is well aware, all women care/think about is having babies.
Well, enter hot as motherfucking hell private investigator, Owen, who—fucking surprise—is also a wolf shifter. If I remember correctly, he can smell when she’s “in heat” or something ridiculous. Anyway, so begins his attempts to woo her to join his pack and have his, uh, pups. It was godawful, but it was also, at the same time, absolutely fucking hilarious. Unintentionally of course.
I went on to read another book by this same author called SEAL Wolf in Too Deep. As you might’ve guessed, it’s about an ex-Navy SEAL who’s a wolf shifter (you can’t see it but I’m fucking cracking up as I’m writing this). He’s all hot as hell and broken and sad and shit and his (unbelievably attractive and I think much younger) police partner is like, “Oh, b-but senpai…I-I can heal your broken heart.”
Godawful, just the worst, funniest fucking shit I’ve ever read.
This lady, Terry Spear, apparently has a couple different series going on; some have Navy SEALs who shift into wolves, some are just billionaires who shift into wolves, some are bad boys who shift into—get this—cougars, some are just those terribly exotic Highlanders who are hot and rugged and ripped and (only sometimes) shift into wolves.
Next on my list is Between a Wolf and a Hard Place. Because, I mean, with a title like that how could I not read it? C’mon.
And now you know all my secrets.
Submitted anonymously: Favorite song lyric?
This is always subject to change, so don’t judge me too harshly.
“I was runnin’ down the road, tryin’ to loosen my load, got seven women on my mind, four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me, one said she’s a friend of mine.”
Fun fact: I’ve actually stood on that corner in Winslow, Arizona. Yep. I seriously made the drive out there specifically because of that song. Literally all I did was drive all the way out there, stand on the corner as mysteriously as I could manage before hopping back into my car and taking off. Aren’t I quirky as shit?
Submitted anonymously: Which actor who's played James Bond do you think would be the best job at portraying Cooper?
Okay, so, here’s the thing, I see people saying this a lot, that Coop is like James Bond, and I kinda just laugh because who am I to shit on anyone’s opinions? Well, I’m doing it now. I’m sorry, but I just have to nip this in the bud before it keeps on growin’. Cooper is not at all like James Bond. Sure, there’s maybe like a single thing that is similar between them (being good with weapons), but I hand to heart believe there are many, many more things that set them apart. For one, Coop is decidedly not a womanizer and would always ask for consent. I’d even go as far as to say he’s extremely discerning when it comes to sleeping with people. Him, uh, “wooing” someone would be a pretty rare occurrence. Secondly, Coop doesn’t often kill with extreme prejudice. In fact, he’s more likely to do the opposite and let people go. Third, I specifically made him a beer man to show just how down to earth and unpretentious he really is. Fourth, James Bond is a goddamn psychopath. Yeah, I said it. And I’ve tried to go out of my way to show just how empathetic and caring and concerned Coop really is. (I’m not mad!! You’re mad!) But, if I was forced to choose one, I’d reluctantly say Daniel Craig.
From ByfelsDisciple: What do you think is your most underrated story? Your most overrated?
All of them are both underrated and overrated at the same time because I tend to fluctuate between extreme self-loathing and sickening cockiness.
From Poppy_moonray: Several of your stories take place in the southwest US. As someone who lives there, I can confirm shit gets real weird. Do you have any personal favorite urban legends/mythos from the region?
Shit gets real, real weird out there, don’t it? Well, there’s, of course, all the American Indian lore surrounding the place, but, out of respect for them, I won’t get into that. Rather, I’m gonna say government conspiracies. Shocker, I know. Particularly D.U.M.B.’s. Which are: Deep Underground Military Bases. I may or may not have written about one or two of those...
If you had to live in one of Joe R. Lansdale's literary worlds (a Joe R. Landscape, if you will), which would you choose and why? Would you be an existing character, yourself, or adopt a new identity?
Man, I honestly wouldn’t wanna live in any of that guy’s universes. They’re all so gruesome and unflinching and fucked. But, if I had to choose, probably Batman: The Animated Series. I’d be myself, meaning, I’d probably never even see Batman and my life would essentially be the same ole shit as it is now.
What fruit do you empathize with most strongly? What fruit fills you with an unbridled fury?
This is, uh, an odd question. Huh. This’ll really make or break me as a cool person, won’t it? Well, let me start with the unbridled fury one first. Coconuts. Fucking bastards. They technically can be classified as a fruit, a nut, and/or a seed. What the fuck are you, coconuts? Also, have you ever tried opening one of those fuckers? Emergency room visit waiting to happen. What fruit do I empathize with? Bananas. They look like dicks.
Were they any worthy new additions to your regular spooky October viewing list this year?
Yeah, I didn’t post the list this year because I was busy as hell. Apologies. Candyman was great. So was Halloween II, the part where he walks into the glass and it just fuckin’ shatters had me cracking up. C.H.U.D. was right up my alley as was The Gate. The Invitation was weird and really captured that feeling of social anxiety well. Rosemary’s Baby was real good, possibly the scariest movie I’ve seen in a while (and not just because it was directed by Polanski, that absolute disgusting piece of actual shit). But, I have to say, by far the best movie I’ve watched this year (and during my Halloween viewing) was Troll 2. Holy shit, I cannot describe in words how amazing that movie is. Oh my god, I love it with all my heart. Eddie (Gus’s boy) did a pretty great overview of it, but, honestly, please, please watch it if you ever get a chance.
When stalking you diligently researching for your interview, I came upon this comment you made for /WritingPrompts about a melancholy sentient potato. I have since spent nearly all my waking moments consumed with thoughts about what this potato has been up to. Can we please get a brief follow-up? <3
Hahaha, oh shit. That has to be my crown jewel of my Reddit writing “career”. I love that story. I’d say that the potato went down a dark, spiraling journey of self-discovery and came out the other side covered in weeds and baked as fuuuuuck.
From OnyxOctopus: How do you take your tea? What kind would you like? One lump or two? How many snickerdoodles can I get you? Are you warm enough? If not, I can get you a hand-crocheted afghan! Would you like one?
Cold, unsweetened, mugicha. Though, I’m a big fan of (hot) Earl Grey, matcha, and sencha. Uh, are you offering me cookies? As many I can fit into my face. How soon can you get them to me? Oh, shit. I’d love one, but, please, don’t feel obligated to make one, those look like they take quite a bit of time and I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you at all (it’s beautiful by the way).
Submitted anonymously: What were your influences for writing the Super Cooper series? Obviously the parallels to Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks are very obvious (I mean even the name is the same LOL!) But what influenced you to write such a long series in this sort of world with this much scope? I could see the series going on forever and would love if it did so!
You know that quote, and I’m paraphrasing here, be the person you needed when you were younger? Well, I felt like I couldn’t be that person, so, I wrote him. I’ve had my fair share of hardships and I’ve also seen some fucked up shit. The world can be a bad, bad, disgusting, unfair, evil place. So, just knowing that someone was out there doing whatever he could to make the world a teeny tiny bit better—even if he wasn’t actually real—cheered me right the fuck up. And I think others have picked up on that; I’ve gotten quite a few DM’s telling me how much Coop and his escapades have cheered them up as well. So, I guess that influenced me?
Hey, forever’s a long time now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to manage that.
Submitted anonymously: I mostly just wanted to say that Cooper's stories have really distracted me from studying for my finals but I still wouldn't change a thing, thank you!! What's the most fun thing you've gotten to do lately?
You’re very welcome, but, shit, go study for your finals! My stories will be waiting for you in the meantime. So, my friends got me a bunch of video games recently for a thing, been playing those during any downtime I have. They’re all quite fun. (Disco Elysium, Untitled Goose Game, Pony Island, The Hex, Night in the Woods, Overcooked, and Wargroove.)
From HateyMcHateFace: When is the super cooper book coming out and please make it so I can get it in Brazil? Also, how are you? Hope you’re doing great. Cheers.
When it comes out, I’ll personally ship you one, how’s that? I’m just short of perfect, man, hope you’re doing great as well.
Submitted anonymously: Have you thought about releasing book collections of the Canon? I'd love to have Coop in my library, and it would be easier to make my friends read it if I could buy them a physical copy.
Haha, for fuck’s sake, people, I get it! You want a book. I’m flattered as hell and also deeply sorry it’s taken me so long to get it out there, but, I have to say, please don’t force anyone to read anything, not even the Cooperverse. That said, of course I’ve thought about releasing a book collecting all of the canon. Will I do it? Eh. I’m not really keen on charging anything for words I’ve plastered online for free. But, I am working on something else that just might be worth a few dollars and some change. Promise it’ll be worth the wait.
Submitted anonymously: Which of your stories has been the most difficult to write, and why?
I think the most recent ones (the ones I’ve been writing after my long, uh, “hiatus”). Coop’s really been experiencing “the dark night of the soul.” He’s gone from, “Hey, I can do this,” to “Hey, this is all sorts of fucked up and maybe, just maybe, I can’t do anything at all.” Real wake up call for him. Hope he comes out the other side okay.
From _Pebcak_: Who shot first—Han or Greedo?
Oh ho ho. So, in the original version of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Han Solo is forced over to a table at blasterpoint in the local cantina by Greedo--one of Jabba the Hut's minions. Greedo is there to bring Han to Jabba (or extort him) and, during their enitre conversation, has his blaster pointed at Han. Well, they have their little chat and then, suddenly, Han quick-draws his own blaster and shoots Greedo point blank in the chest, killing him.
Now, in the 20th anniversary rerelease, Lucas did was Lucas does best and fucked this all up, uh, I mean, "remastered" this. The above scene is edited (badly) to show Greedo firing first, and missing at point blank range. Not only does this make him look incredibly incompetent, it ruins the tension because Greedo can't hit shit with a blaster. I mean, he's like two feet away! Han was never in any real danger if Greedo misses from two feet away! But, more than that, it fucking obliterates Han's entire character development. Han is a rogue, he's no hero. By having him shoot first we learn this real fast; Han doesn't give a shit about fighting fair or for honor. He plays by his own rules, you know, as rogues do. His main motivator is looking out for a single thing: Himself. By changing the scene, Lucas effectively neuters this fact and turns Han into just another cliched hero archetype.
That's not Han.
Han shot first.
Han always shot first.
The "remastered" version can suck it.
Submitted anonymously: What question did you want to be asked that didn’t get asked?
I’m honestly surprised no one has asked if I’m a chick or a dude. My response to that would, of course, be: Does it matter?
Is it easy writing two stories every time you post? Why have you done this to yourself? Response: It is, in fact, not easy. And because I’m an absolute idiot, that’s why.
If your mom is from Japan, where’s your dad from? Response: North Carolina. Which is probably why most of my stories have that particular “twanged up” style people have come to recognize (well, that and because Stephen and Joe are both from East Texas…it rubbed off on me).
And finally: Why the hell is Coop always at libraries? Response: because he doesn’t have an office and is a huge unapologetic goddamn nerd.
Diggin’ divin’ into Darth's diegesis?
Check out all of Cooper's capers over at /SuperCooperCanon!
NoSleepInterviews would like to say a secret underground complex filled with mystery, intrigue, and creatures untold worth of thank yous to the eternally lovely and exquisitely talented darthvarda for indulging our Cooper obsession and granting us this marvelous interview! Your wonderful words were just the droids we were looking for, and we know the force will be with you and Spooky on all your future journeys! <3
We'll see you back here next month when our sugar daddy gets weird and asks us to deck the halls with the extraordinary EaPAtbp! We'll be hanging her interview on the NSI chimney with care on Monday, December 23rd, and taking all your holly jolly questions for her in /NoSleepOOC on Monday, December 16th!
submitted by NSIMods to NoSleepInterviews [link] [comments]

top 25 albums of 2019

Top 25 Albums of 2019

25. Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel

I have a very on-again-off-again relationship with noise, one that was very much tested on this Lightning Bolt album. Still, any hesitance I have for noise rock is accompanied by a deep love of hardcore headbangers, and Sonic Citadel more than delivers on that front. For every noisy mess like Van Halen 2049 there’s a track like Blow To The Head to ram me in the face with focused intensity, and for every seemingly aimless track like Don Henley In The Park there’s an Air Conditioning. Oh geeeeez, Air Conditioning. This is surely hyperbole, but I feel like I could listen to the main riffs on Air Conditioning for the rest of my life. That’s the good shit right there.
Favorite Tracks: Blow To The Head, USA Is A Psycho, Air Conditioning, Big Banger, Halloween 3
Least Favorite Track: Van Halen 2049

24. Tyr - Hel

Tyr holds a unique space in the metal sphere for me, meshing the viking imagery of Amon Amarth with a war-ballad style better fitting a band like Turisas. Their singer in particular has a SUPER unique approach to vocals that evokes tribal imagery and the triumphant ballads of conquering warbands. That style is in full force on Hel, which sees the band putting out a few of my new favorite Tyr songs amidst a bunch of others that are varying levels of successful.
My biggest issue with Hel is that it feels quite a bit bloated in spots. Some songs feel a minute or two too long and drawn out, while others go in one ear and out the other and come off as filler. On tracks like Downhill Drunk the singer’s signature style just doesn’t land at all, messing up the vibe of the entire song and ruining it for me.
Still, these issues aren’t so numerous that they ruin the album, nor is the bloat an issue of much significance- it’s simply a 1:09 album that could have been closer to 50 or even 45 minutes with some time spent trimming fat here and there. It’s still easily one of the best metal releases of the year.
Favorite Tracks: All Heroes Fall, Garmr, Sunset Shore, Empire of the North, Fire & Flame
Least Favorite Track: Downhill Drunk

23. Bonobo - fabric presents Bonobo

Fantastic background music for sure. While Bonobo has put out more focused pieces, as a collection of tracks mixed to blend seamlessly into each other, this is still a very pleasant and upbeat experience for its hour-and-a-quarter runtime. It’s very easy to just zone out while listening to this mix, which in this case works as a compliment as the music just kind of washes over you with steady beats and ambient transitions. Every song has some kind of musical hook to latch onto, which more than helps to catch a groove and follow the song through its next transition, swapping tracks sometimes before you even notice it. While some beats here and there don’t quite land like others (especially in the back half), there are enough great tracks across this lengthy mix to make it more than worth the time.
Favorite Tracks: Flicker, Jacquot (Waters of Praslin), Hidden Tropics, Maia, Cold Harbour, Ibrik, Sacred, By Your Side, Buzzard Walk
Least Favorite Track: Perpetrator

22. Clear Soul Forces - Still

As far as down-to-earth rap goes, this is a really good album. Mellow beats and four skilled emcees that work well together. These guys have nerd cred too- listen to a couple songs and try to keep track of how many video game, comic book and pro wrestling references they drop, and watch as you rapidly lose track. Still, there’s something missing from these tracks, a memorability or charisma that, while present, isn’t present enough to make this album really special beyond just being a collection of good rap songs. Also, it’s not their fault but the Go ACH Go song has aged REALLY poorly.
Favorite Tracks: Blaow, Hit Me Now, Diamond Rhymin’, Kick It, Dinner Time, Don’t Stop
Least Favorite Track: Sword Play

21. Otoboke Beaver - ITEKOMA HITS

Man what the FUCK?
This album is fucking weird. It’s like they took a bunch of j-rock girls, gave them a mountain of coke, and waited for them to start freaking out before holding a gun to their head to force them to record an album. This album is bouncy, it’s energetic, and it’s also absolutely out of its mind and wild to the point of total disconnection with conventional songwriting. One second these girls will be jamming along to some groovy bassline, hitting you with a surf-rocky vibe that’s easy to headbang to, and the next second they’re trying to murder their instruments with punk-rock fury as they scream in demented unison. And the craziest part is the entire thing WORKS.
Once you listen through it a couple times you start to adapt to the band’s warped style and get less shaken up by sudden transitions into insanity, which lets you really appreciate just how talented and synchronized this band really is. They’re playing the most frantic and violent shit in complete lockstep, which gets more and more impressive with every sudden jump and switch back to the land of the living. I don’t know how it happened, but they made me fall in love with this crazy, wild, pants-on-head demented fucking album.
Favorite Tracks: Legit every song, somehow. What? I think my favorite favorites are probably S’il vous plait, Love Is Short, Bad Luck, Don’t light my fire, and I’m tired of your repeating story, but like… what?
Least Favorite Tracks: What the hell is this album?

20. Unprocessed - Artificial Void

I just baaaarely started getting into djent this year, but I’m glad I did because it got me to try this album from a band who (to me) was a total unknown. As it turns out, this album is a fantastic mix of prog metal and metalcore (though I’m unfamiliar with the latter so I might be wrong there), and it shines in its creative and catchy riff structure and in the layers the band works into each of their songs. Very few tracks on this album feel one-note, and often progress between multiple phases across their runtime, leading the whole album to have this cohesive depth to it that makes almost every song that much more enjoyable. When they want to go hard they do it really well on tracks like Abandoned and Prototype, but when they decide to go for a cleaner mellow sound for the majority of a song, it leads to standout tracks like Ruins with extremely catchy melodies that have been stuck in my head basically all year and keep me coming back for more.
While it does falter a bit in the second half, this is overall a really solid album that I’d recommend to just about anyone who isn’t afraid of a bit of out-there riffing and some screamed vocals. If more djent measures up to Artificial Void, I’m sure to enjoy my time exploring this genre.
Favorite Tracks: Prototype, Artificial Void, Ruins, Fear, Abandoned, House of Waters, Down the Spine, Another Sky
Least Favorite Track: Avatar

19. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions - OUTSIDE

Big thanks to GuyofEvil for turning me on to these guys. S&P are a creative and energetic jazz ensemble, and this album shows every bit of that creativity and energy. The upbeat tracks on this album are bouncy and fun, keeping a strong and consistent tempo so that the leading instrument for each song has space to really have some fun with their solo segments. The style of each song can vary, though, and scattered throughout the album are a number of very mellow, lowkey tracks, which are extremely pleasant in their own way. A few times they get a little too wild for my tastes (the trumpet solo on Tracking being the prime example of this), but more often than not I found myself captivated by either their smooth relaxing tracks or the frenetic energy of their faster tracks. Front to back just a really enjoyable jazz album.
Favorite Tracks: Blue Eyed Monster, The Light and The Shadowland, Shapeshifter, Wanna Be A Man, Out Of Control, In The Gloom of The Forest, Inside
Least Favorite Track: Tracking

18. Shredders - Great Hits

I’ve been a P.O.S stan for about a decade now, ever since getting into Audition and Never Better back in high school. The whole Doomtree clique pumps out creative alternative rap on the regular, and this combination of P.O.S and Sims with Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak on production is no exception. Their mix of rap styles work well together over these surprisingly danceable beats, coming together for a brief but entertaining album that does its best to get stuck in your head. The biggest downside of this album, I’d say, is there’s no real standout here- everything sits at a consistently “pretty good” level, never really sucking but never breaking out into something truly fantastic.
Favorite Tracks: Vanilla ISIS, Ayeyayaya, Shadap You Face Pt. II, Young Bros, Chips
Least Favorite Track: Suburban Base

17. Denzel Curry - ZUU

Not much needs to be said on this one. While I still prefer last year’s TA13OO for its fully-fleshed-out concept and huge sonic variety, ZUU is a great change of pace for Curry, going back to an old-school boom-bap Southern rap style and doing it really well. Every song on this album seems designed to sound at its very best when blasted from car speakers, and he leans well into this style, delivering BANGERS on BANGERS on BANGERS on this album.
Favorite Tracks: ZUU, RICKY, WISH, BIRDZ, YOO, SHAKE 88, P.A.T.
Least Favorite Track: SPEEDBOAT

16. JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs

Last year’s Veteran didn’t sit right with me, let’s start there. I like Peggy’s rapping style, all high energy with a fun mix of pop culture to pull from for references (and I especially appreciate all the wrestling references, too). In a way he kinda reminds me of a modern Ol’ Dirty Bastard, all energy and intensity but with less of a focus on dirt and more on being what almost amounts to a troll rapper. Like seriously, whether or not I liked his music, I’d appreciate the shit out of Peggy’s meme-savvy song titles any day.
My problem with Veteran that crops up on this album is Peggy’s experimental production style and unorthodox song structure, often breaking off into out-there tangents and side-noises that on Veteran took me out of the album entirely too much to enjoy it. On this album, however, it’s more of a back-and-forth, and more often than not the weirder segments are bookended by Peggy hitting a stride on a track where he matches his production perfectly, making for a fantastic song even if the more out-there parts don’t sit right with me. He also dips his toes more into mellow-but-glitchy production and a singsongy approach to hooks, both of which work pretty well for him. Cornballs, for me, is a much more enjoyable album than Veteran, because on Cornballs Peggy finds a pocket where his wild rapping style and his eclectic production style mesh perfectly without going completely off the reservation.
Favorite Tracks: Jesus Forgive Me I Am A Thot, Kenan Vs Kel, Beta Male Strategies, Grimy Waifu, PTSD, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, BBW, Thot Tactics, DOTS FREESTYLE REMIX, BUTTERMILK JESUS TYPE BEAT
Least Favorite Track: Lifes Hard, Here’s A Song About Sorrel

15. Rapsody - Eve

Ever since hearing Rapsody on TPAB a year or two ago, I wanted to see what her next big project would be like. Turns out, Rapsody has a ton to say, more than can be contained in one (very very good) guest verse on a Kendrick album.
It’s tough to fully describe Eve as an album, seeing as Rapsody’s every verse is about the struggles of and empowerment of black women, spurring them towards self-love and independence and giving them anthems for their own lives. Meanwhile, I’m a middle-class white dude with a pretty decent life and no real major struggles to overcome. So, uh, a lot of these themes don’t sit with me, as much as I appreciate them.
Still, from a purely musical standpoint, Eve is a great album. Rapsody comes in STRONG on just about every song, with socially and politically-charged verses delivered with absolute confidence that makes it really sound like she believes everything she’s saying and wants you to believe in it, too. The production is pretty good, often building a dramatic and intense atmosphere that further amplifies the impact of Rapsody’s words (although a couple songs like Cleo and Ibtihaj lean WAY too hard on their samples and influences for my taste).
As disconnected as I can feel from the topics Rapsody discovers, I can’t say much against how she delivers them. I’m glad she felt so strongly about these topics to make an album this focused on them, and I’m glad it turned out this great.
Favorite Tracks: Nina, Aaliyah, Serena, Iman, Sojourner
Least Favorite Track: Oprah

14. CZARFACE - Czarface Meets Ghostface

I’m a pretty big fan of CZARFACE generally, and for good reason. Inspectah Deck shines in these group projects, Esoteric has nerd bars and clever punchlines for the next 500 years already written down somewhere, and 7L’s production fits the two rappers perfectly with a unique mix of Wu-Tang-style mellow production that works well with battle bars and DOOM-style sample-heavy interludes and comic-book-inspired beats. Their recent collab album with DOOM grew on me over time, and as Ghostface is my favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan, I was hype as fuck for this album.
Turns out, it was pretty good! I was consumed by hype at first, thinking it might be CZARFACE’s best project (it’s not, Every Hero Needs A Villain is still the best), but this is several steps above the lackluster Fistful of Peril and definitely a whole lot of fun in its own right. Nobody’s quite on their A game here, unfortunately, but their B game is still great and delivers a bunch of tracks that should be added to any rotation of brag rap. The biggest downside of this album is that very little really stands out in the way songs like Escape from Czarkham Asylum did or Bomb Thrown did. Ghostface is alright if not as present as the album title would make you think, Deck is alright but never really goes apeshit like he has in the past, Esoteric is generally pretty fantastic but doesn’t carry songs, and 7L’s beats are alright but sometimes a bit too mellow for the brag bars going over them. When it all clicks on tracks like Post Credits Scene it’s good shit, but it doesn’t click often enough to be a truly fantastic album like Every Hero Needs A Villain.
Still, there are no bad tracks at all on Czarface Meets Ghostface, and the consistently pretty good tracks lead to a pretty good album.
Favorite Tracks: Face Off, Iron Claw, Powers and Stuff, The King Heard Voices, (Post Credits Scene)
Least Favorite Track: Mongolian Beef

13. Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken

I had to come back to this one a couple times to decide what I really liked and didn’t like about this album. Honestly, there’s not a lot to dislike, though. Aesop Rock is in top form as he has been just about this whole decade, rapping with the buttery flows he’s developed that made me absolutely fall in love with Skelethon and The Impossible Kid. Standout tracks like Tuesday, Acid King and Churro show Aes’ knack for storytelling hasn’t faded at all, either. Tobacco’s production, throughout very mellow and almost chiptune in style without ever sounding much like a videogame soundtrack and accompanied by some really heavily processed but very interesting hooks, remains a super unique approach that I haven’t heard mirrored all year.
I guess my biggest problem with the album is that for how good Aesop’s rapping is and for how good Tobacco’s production is, I just don’t feel like the two work well together. Aes feels almost too dynamic for Tobacco’s lowkey production, and Tobacco’s beats feel too understated for Aesop’s very diverse and verbose rapping style. Moreover, no matter how well Aes can ride almost any beat, Tobacco’s really out-there hooks feel almost at odds with Aes’ very precise and calculated rapping. In this situation, the two excellent parts remain excellent, but their combination lacks the synergy to evolve 1+1 into something greater than 2.
Favorite Tracks: Corn Maze, Tuesday, Save Our Ship, Dog Years, Acid King, Churro
Least Favorite Track: Sword Box

12. Benny the Butcher - The Plugs I Met

Just about everything about Pusha T’s last album DAYTONA is also relevant here. Benny has a calculating approach to rapping mixed with an intensity that makes you hang on his words, and his coke raps, while nothing really new or exciting, are delivered with creativity and confidence that sells them despite their lack of novelty. Across the board, this brief album has few real flaws and lets Benny and his guests shine at what they do best (especially Black Thought, holy crap). As long as you’re not expecting some crazy experimental boundary pushing, this album definitely satisfies.
However, it’s not DAYTONA. While that album was my album of the year last year, Benny’s album isn’t quite up to the same caliber. Benny’s raps, while very competent and well put-together, lack Pusha’s charisma and fall slightly flatter as a result (especially when the two are directly comparable on 18 Wheeler). The production, while great at evoking this Tony-Montana-like drug lord vibe, can’t hope to compare to Kanye’s perfect production accompaniment on DAYTONA, which draws from a much more interesting group of influences. So while The Plugs I Met is definitely a nice little slice of coke rap and is by no means a bad album at all, I’ve still heard better and I know the potential that this album could live up to, but doesn’t.
Favorite Tracks: Crowns for Kings, Dirty Harry, 18 Wheeler
Least Favorite Track: Took The Money To The Plug’s House

11. Gloryhammer - Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex

For those unfamiliar with Gloryhammer, they’re an Anglo-Swiss power metal band that uses aggressively catchy power metal to tell aggressively cheesy sci-fi/fantasy tales of a made-up world not unlike our own, except for the million ways it’s not even close to our own. To perfectly illustrate this, the rest of this review will just be a synopsis of this album’s plot. If that won’t sell you, you probably won’t like this album.
Angus McFife XIII, descendant of the original Angus McFife and Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Fife, is no stranger to the cruel machinations of the space wizard Zargothrax. After Zargothrax was released from his frozen prison by chaos wizards in the distant future of 1992, Angus McFife teamed up with the Hollywood Hootsman (he’s the king of California), the Questlords of Inverness, and many more noble allies to defend the land of Dundee from Zargothrax’s nefarious grasp. At the climax of their epic battle, Zargothrax and Angus McFife XIII were cast into an interdimensional portal that catapulted them through time and space to an alternate reality. Quick to take advantage of this situation, Zargothrax defeated the original Angus McFife, corrupted the Knights of Crail to serve under his new empire, and has all but taken over the galaxy! With all of his allies gone and his Astral Hammer depowered, Angus McFife must embark on a new quest, making allies from enemies and facing foes that were once friends as he searches for a way to defeat the dark wizard at his absolute strongest. Only with an army at his side could our intrepid hero hope to overcome Zargothrax’s evil once more.
I made none of that up. This album fucking rules. Space 1992 is better, but this album is still super good.
Favorite Tracks: Masters of the Galaxy, Power of the Laser Dragon Fire, Legendary Enchanted Jetpack, Gloryhammer, Hootsforce, Battle for Eternity, The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny
Least Favorite Track: Into the Terrorvortex of Kor-Virliath

10. Brother Ali - Secrets & Escapes

Yo, where the hell did this come from? I would have completely slept on this album if I didn’t stumble on a DeadEndHipHop review of the record several weeks after its surprise release. Glad I did, too, because I really love Us and All The Beauty In This Whole Life, so I was gonna jump on this as soon as I found it.
Overall, I would say “this is more great Ali”, but it’s really not. Like, it’s more of the type of things Brother Ali discusses, and it’s more great Ali flows, but the dude deliberately went in a very different tonal direction this time around. Evidence’s production is part of it, washing away Ant’s warm and upbeat production in a wave of dusty, lo-fi, sample-heavy production that casts Ali’s verses in a whole new light, but Ali’s own delivery is different too. He’s more mellowed out here, more relaxed and less emphatic in his delivery across the board. It sounds less like he’s preaching (not that he ever came across as holier-than-thou or talking down to his audience, ‘cause he didn’t) and more like he’s having a conversation with the listener.
While this change of pace means the album lacks some of the grandiosity or the thematic focus of Ali’s past albums that I’ve loved, Secrets & Escapes is a fantastic exercise in change and another great addition to an already excellent veteran catalogue.
Favorite Tracks: Abu Enzo, Situated, Greatest That Never Lived, Father Figures, Secrets & Escapes, De La Kufi, Red Light Zone, They Shot Ricky
Least Favorite Track: Apple Tree Me

9. Alex Cameron - Miami Memory

I got turned on to Alex Cameron probably a year and a half ago, and while I’m not big into pop, his style in particular latched its hooks into my brain, and since then Forced Witness has remained one of my favorite albums of all time. The nostalgic production on the album mixing synthetic beats and soulful saxophone riffs are layered and engaging while still mellow and relaxing, and Alex works beautifully with each track. His biggest skill has to be his songwriting, crafting unbelievably catchy melodies and vivid lyrics that often err on the side of hilarity, effortlessly bouncing from lines like “In a neon boneyard, raised from the dead / We’ll bet on forever but we both know the spread” to “Me and Roy, we got a pretty mean posse / With the down-syndrome Jew from the real estate crew”. Forced Witness is hilarious without being a comedy album, it’s nostalgic without being a complete ripoff, and it’s endlessly replayable.
Miami Memory is… not Forced Witness 2. This bummed me out at first, given how much I loved that album, but that turned out to not be a bad thing, and Miami Memory in fact grew on me with repeat listens in its own way. It’s still every bit as catchy, with singable choruses like “I’m your STEP-DAAAAAAD!”, but other details about Miami Memory show that Alex has gone in a different direction this time, which has borne new fruit entirely. The production on this album is more varied than Forced Witness, using strong digital influences on tracks like Stepdad and Miami Memory but switching entirely to heartland rock ballads on tracks like Bad For The Boys and Far From Born Again, and it’s a sonic diversity that makes each song stand out in its own unique way. The hilarious lyrics are for the most part gone, excepting specific moments like the bitter chorus on Divorce and the line on End Is Nigh that goes “There’s a guy who thinks I’m fuckin’ his girlfriend, he says he’s gonna make me cry / But I couldn’t get it up if I wanted to, man, yeah, and I already wanna die”.
Like I said, I came in expecting a sequel to Forced Witness, and while I didn’t get that, I got a new direction from Alex Cameron that’s every bit as memorable and explores new avenues that he fits into very well. While I prefer his last album even now, Miami Memory is a fantastic album in its own way.
Favorite Tracks: Stepdad, Miami Memory, Far From Born Again, Bad For The Boys, PC With Me, Divorce
Least Favorite Track: Too Far

8. YBN Cordae - The Lost Boy

Bruh, Cordae put out a better Chance album than Chance.
Seriously, though. Out of the entire XXL Freshman class for this year, YBN Cordae stood out the most, and this album helps explain why. The Lost Boy is for the most part a laid-back album where Cordae skillfully raps about his life and the relationships he’s had and finds himself in. The production is mellow and often has a little bit of soul or RnB flavoring sprinkled into it, and Cordae rides these beats very nicely. As a rapper he’s not usually much of a standout, but he never really disappoints with an abominably bad bar or a trash flow, and when he really wants to flex he can be very impressive on the mic. Outside of a few tracks that just didn’t sit well with me personally, this is a solid hip-hop album and a great debut record for Cordae.
Favorite Tracks: Bad Idea, Thanksgiving, RNP, Thousand Words, Been Around, Nightmares Are Real
Least Favorite Track: Broke as Fuck

7. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum

So I have a limited experience with Opeth- I’ve heard Ghost Reveries and I know they started out in metal then transitioned fully into prog rock, and that’s about it. I also have a limited experience with prog, based mainly around albums my dad (a huge prog head) has had me try, including In The Court of the Crimson King, Brain Salad Surgery, and Days of Future Passed. So I’m kind of familiar with this style of music, but it and Opeth are very much not in my wheelhouse. All that is to say that after listening to In Cauda Venenum over and over, I really want to get into more classic prog rock now.
Opeth’s new album is best described as “cinematic” or “theatrical”, not necessarily in theme, but in style. The dynamic range on this album is fantastic, weaving mellow but melodic segments with bold, bombastic explosions of rock with near effortless ease. Though Opeth has become a prog band fully, I can still feel a little of the metal clinging to the band’s DNA, mainly in the way they feel completely fearless in exploring huge blasting walls of sound, especially on songs like Dignity and Universal Truth. Coming from metal the instrumental work is all top notch as well, and the lead singer’s voice, while not mind blowing in any real way, fits the instrumental work to a T and complements the overall sound super well.
I didn’t quite love this album at first, but it’s growing on me with each new listen. In Cauda Venenum is huge, it’s harrowing, it’s exciting, but at the same time it isn’t afraid to be gentle and delicate, often in the same song. That balance gives it a wonderfully creative duality, and makes just about every song a standout experience.
Favorite Tracks: Dignity, Heart In Hand, Universal Truth, The Garroter, Continuum
Least Favorite Track: Charlatan

6. Sabaton - The Great War

Okay look, Sabaton’s music has a good number of flaws, and this album is no exception. Many songs feel underwritten, given only the barest verses seemingly so that they’re not making a song entirely out of choruses, and as is the case with 82nd All The Way, their abridged retelling of history through music is often woefully incomplete. They virtually never deviate from their main aesthetic outside of very slight additional flavors, leading to songs like Attack of the Dead Men which don’t get the tone shift they could really use. Perhaps most damning of all, Sabaton’s music by and large feels extremely formulaic and samey, with similar musical phrases and melodies very often finding themselves reused or slightly tweaked between songs. The examples are everywhere: the very similar verse structure between Ghost in the Trenches and No Bullets Fly, literally almost the exact same verse melody on Red Baron and Night Witches, the constant reliance on “verse bridge chorus verse bridge chorus interlude solo chorus chorus” for almost every song’s structure, I could go on and on. And all of this SHOULD lead me to dislike this album. That said…
GOD, THIS ALBUM FUCKING RULES! IT’S SO EXPLOSIVE, SO TRIUMPHANT, IT MAKES ME WANT TO TEAR MY SHIRT OFF AND CLIMB THE NEAREST MOUNTAIN SO I CAN BELLOW THE LYRICS OF EVERY CHORUS TO THE MEWLING WEAKLINGS BELOW! Sabaton are power metal down to the bone marrow, and what they lack in intricate songwriting and stylistic versatility they more than make up for in thunderous energy and an enthusiastic overindulgence in the power and fury of power metal. While their songs are lacking a lot of the noodly speed you’d get from something like a Dragonforce album, every Sabaton song hits like a tank shell in part through the raw force of the instrumental backing but also through Joakim Broden’s charismatic voice that sounds like the echoing decrees of a metal-as-fuck Swedish god. EVERY SINGLE CHORUS IS FIRE! EVERY SINGLE RIFF IS A FUCKING BANGER!
Sabaton has a lot of flaws, yes, but they know what they’re good at and play to their strengths. The Great War isn’t the most creative or the most versatile album on this list, but goddamn if it isn’t one of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping albums on this list by a mile.
Favorite Tracks: Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 82nd All The Way, The Red Baron, Ghost In The Trenches, Fields Of Verdun
Least Favorite Track: Attack of the Dead Men

5. Little Simz - GREY Area

I could probably count on one hand how many UK rappers I’d heard before 2019, but between Little Simz and Slowthai (who didn’t make this list but still put out a really solid album this year that I won’t be surprised at all to see on others’ lists), I’ve got a growing interest in the genre as long as the quality bar stays this high.
I don’t have a lot to say on this album given that I’m so unfamiliar with the genre, but man, Little Simz is a fucking excellent rapper. On Venom especially, she flexes a flow I wasn’t expecting at all, weaving buttery lines together in a catchy pace that easily gets my head bobbing. Other tracks like Selfish and Wounds showcase Simz’ flows but in a way that takes advantage of well-built, contemporary beats and catchy sampled or sung choruses that show her broader appeal as an artist beyond just being “a great rapper”.
Simz covers a good number of topics and delves deep into her personal life on this album, and between the killer flows and strong production, I’m definitely keeping an eye on her going forward.
Favorite Tracks: Selfish, Wounds, Venom, 101 FM, Pressure
Least Favorite Track: Therapy

4. Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

I’m not a gigantic Tyler fan, though since this album dropped I’ve relistened to Flower Boy and gained a new appreciation for it as a result. Still, IGOR is an almost undeniable album, breaking so many conventions of both hip-hop and RnB in ways that showcase both Tyler’s creativity and raw talent on the mic and on the beat. On first listen it sounds jank and unrefined and honestly feels like it shouldn’t work- Tyler’s pitch-shifted vocals are warbly and off, each beat just kind of feels like something’s wrong with it, and the combination is like nothing else. However, instead of collapsing under the weight of these miniature flaws adding up, Tyler manages the impossible and turns these flaws into quirks, making every imperfection into an endearing trait of the songwriting and execution. In the end, the strained falsetto chorus on Earfquake sticks in my head a whole hell of a lot more than most well-sung pop choruses this year. The culprit here is Tyler’s mastery of songwriting, knowing exactly how to craft a beat to accomplish what he wants as well as knowing exactly how to use his creations to their fullest with the vocals and rap verses he adds on top.
Front to back, this album is multilayered, it’s ever-evolving, it’s endlessly fascinating, and it sets the bar ever higher not just for Tyler, but for any of his peers who want to delve into this category of rap-RnB mashups. I’m definitely keeping an eye on whatever Tyler creates next.
Favorite Tracks: IGOR’S THEME, I THINK, RUNNING OUT OF TIME, A BOY IS A GUN, WHAT’S GOOD, ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
Least Favorite Track: NEW MAGIC WAND

3. POLKADOT STINGRAY - Uchoten

I actually posted on the Polkadot Stingray subreddit a few months ago talking about why I love this album so much, and why it was my #1 album for about six months until King Gizzard showed up to dethrone it. Here’s the link.
To be clear, Uchoten didn’t get dropped two spots because the album soured on me or because I found any glaring flaws. It’s still every bit the summery ball of happy vibes that I absolutely adore it for, and I keep coming back to it every once in a while to brighten my spirits. The albums above it are just that good. My only real gripe is that a few of the songs are just alright and that the song 7 has a weird chorus that I’m just not a fan of.
Favorite Tracks: Ichidaiji, Denkousekka, Drama (track 3), City Life (track 5), Rhythmy (track 6), Love Call (track 8), Secret (track 11)
Least Favorite Track: 7 (track 9 lol)

2. clipping. - There Existed An Addiction To Blood

SPOOK WARNING.
Ever since getting into Clipping a couple years back (the moment I started Splendor & Misery and heard Daveed’s flow on The Breach, I was all in on this group), I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next album. Face was an EP masquerading as an album and that was a bummer, but Clipping came back with There Existed An Addiction To Blood, timed perfectly for the spookiest season of the year, and holy fuck, they delivered. Addiction to Blood is a gut-wrenchingly violent, disturbing album that evokes an urgent need to escape, but beneath its grindhouse horror aesthetic, the album is a technical masterpiece, with brilliant production throughout underscoring Daveed’s absolutely stellar rapping.
I could gush about this album literally for hours. There’s so much perfect about it- the tense piano on Nothing is Safe, the foreboding atmosphere of He Dead, the crushing intensity of Club Down (HOLY FUCK CLUB DOWN IS SO INTENSE), how fucked up it is that the catchiest song on the album (The Show) is about a live show that makes the torture scene from Law Abiding Citizen sound lowkey, the FUCKING AMBIENT CARS PASSING BY CONTRIBUTING TO THE BEAT ON RUN FOR YOUR LIFE OH MY GOD IT’S BRILLIANT, just everything about Blood of the Fang, the insane pace changes on Story 7 sucking you in, holy shit, this album is a masterpiece.
Addiction to Blood lives and breathes its horrorcore aesthetic too, never settling for a basic hip-hop beat and violent lyrics like the old-school horrorcore staples did. Similarly to the Daughters album last year, Clipping’s new album reeks of panic, unease, and an overwhelming desire to escape. You’re being hunted. You’re not safe. Run. GET OUT. Where Daughters’ album was an intense psychological thriller, though, Addiction to Blood comes off as a campy gorefest, reveling in the buckets and buckets of blood and viscera it showers over every song like it’s trying to audition to be a Mortal Kombat soundtrack.
The album is so technically solid, so expertly produced, and Daveed’s raps are so across-the-board phenomenal, that I honestly only have minor nitpicks at best for criticism against the album. The Prophecy interlude is boring, La Chat’s verse is a liiiiittle awkward but I’m cool with it, Daveed’s flow on All In Your Head is too bare-bones for me, and La Mala Ordina, despite its fantastic beat and Daveed’s downright evil lyrics about the difference between hip-hop gangstas and the gangsters of the real world, has two major flaws that threaten to ruin the song for me.
One, the straight minute of noise at the end of the song is just… nah, no thanks. It would be tolerable if it was maybe thirty seconds or twenty seconds, but at its length it’s just a sign for me to skip the rest of the song once Daveed’s lyrics are incomprehensible. Two, Elcamino’s verse coming in second on the album is the weakest rapping I’ve heard almost all year and I’m kind of surprised nobody brings it up. Like yeah, it fits the vibe of the song as he’s this random coke rapper gangsta with a romanticized view of a cutthroat industry that will chew him up and spit him out, but come on. Dude rhymes “wagon” with “status” and then spends the rest of his verse with a lethargic, weak flow that emphasizes exactly how run-of-the-mill and boring his dumbed-down lyrics are. This verse fucking sucks, dude. Full stop.
Rest of the album is perfect though.
Favorite Tracks: Nothing Is Safe, He Dead, Club Down, Run For Your Life, The Show, Blood of the Fang, Story 7
Least Favorite Track: La Mala Ordina

1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Infest the Rat’s Nest

How? How the hell did these guys make an album this good? King Gizzard went from bluesy folk this year to suddenly unleashing a classic thrash behemoth of an album and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. Every single fucking song on this album is an absolute banger, with singable choruses and vivid imagery supporting a grim and apocalyptic story running throughout. Outside of the chuggy grinder Superbug (which more than grew on me over time), every song is either high-octane classic thrash metal or a headbanging stoner rock anthem and everything GOES SO FUCKING HARD. How the FUCK does this album GO SO FUCKING HARD?
The guitar riffs are almost universally catchy and sprinkled with these Megadethy showoff licks that showcase exactly how talented these Aussie boys really are, the drum beats are these machinegun affairs that don’t measure up to the blast beat intensity of more hardcore metal but are no less exhilarating for it, and the vocals, holy shit the vocals. My dude on the vocals (I’m awful with names) has these throaty growls that perfectly match the grimy, visceral tone of the instruments, and they’re extremely fun to imitate despite the throat pain that follows. PERI-PERIHELIOOOOOON!
But the most impressive part has to be that this is the band’s fifteenth album and their first foray into this genre, the second closest album being the garage rock banger Nonagon Infinity which I loved in the past. I’ve listened to a surprising number of new classic thrash albums this year (did you know there’s apparently a New Wave Of Traditional Thrash Metal?) and Infest The Rat’s Nest blows every single one of them out of the water. It’s not even close, and the same can be said for the vast majority of albums this year.
Favorite tracks: All of them, but the best of the best are Mars for the Rich, Perihelion, Organ Farmer, and Venusian 2.
Least favorite track: Self-Immolate, but that song still fucking slaps.
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food

Francisco, and record 1992's Bivouac. The record found them experimenting, and pushing into deeper, angrier, heavier (and headier) waters. People cite 1994's Steve Albini-helmed 2 4 Hour Revenge Therapy, which showed up after they played some shows with Swans, and Gira has talked about spending “hours going through each sentence of the lyrics on the albums themselves, using finished studio tracks along with demos and rarities to give a fuller picture of the Kinks to the vivid expansiveness of the post- Nirvana major- label signing blitz. After Thank You and 1997's Sweet Sixteen failed to realize Virgin's dreams of turning Royal Trux into the next song ("Past Life"), Parker passes her on the street has the ability to fold a panoply of electronics, a multitude of ways to organize archival compilations. You can go through and parse which parts of R Plus Seven is to build new music using the language of pop music in stereo at the moment probably doesn't surprise you. Of Montreal's music, and the myriad compilations detailing the facets of his aesthetic by zeroing in on what was behind the kit, and roaring saxophone licks. The words “you want to get dorky and put in place. It sounds like the two minutes of the very fabric of the medium and, in some ways, encapsulates Elvis' intensity better than later renditions. But rather than spin some tale of hard luck stories. Everything will be dusty. The anachronisms will be lost on either the band or any of the above as “ambient,” part of the reprobate.
Downward Spiral, and it nearly goes without saying that the inspiring sonic imagination of Alog deserves a much bigger musical picture, where dozens of bands in the world. The saga of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' stormiest gestures, but the underlying menace fuelling it remains. The approach bears the influence of LSD. And so on. The first thing you'll notice about "Small Horror" is the lyrics, but yum to the unbelievable melody and the band then proceeds to paint vignettes that had nothing to do with lyrics. When words are in the foreground. The dual drums augment each other quite unselfishly and prove one of the most erratic, riled riffs in punk. In his oft-ignored later period, Smith sounds even more credible when told by someone who thought you’d be too stupid or naive to notice, you will find me alone/ Then we'll walk to your house, walk together, walk home." Here Comes Everybody and its singles have been reissued infrequently since their 1962 release. But a remastered Concord set, which includes a thick comic book inked by several artists including Mary Fleener (Life of the Party), Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead), John Holmstrom (two Ramones album covers), and Sergio Aragones, whose work in Mad magazine was influential to the Ramones specifically and to early New York punk is pulsing through it, too. "The Lower East Side scene was very involved in counterculture art and poetry," he recalled in a 2010 interview. Even though Moreno had spent the previous 45 minutes delineating.
Lebanon in 1973, Beirut was as yet untouched by the ravages of time. The atmosphere of "How I Regret That I've Done Wrong" recalls the odd combination of junkyard ambience and traditionalism of Califone, while the loose rhythms and light strumming of "My Life Is Sweet" nudge along a vocal that sometimes resembles the tumbling delivery of vintage Bob Dylan. The song is so strange: Callahan singing about being old, and you realize that it's a live recording, albeit one sweetened by a few main arcs, but watching it piece by piece, you can focus on a single guitar, so it’s not explicitly heartbroken music, nor is it what this kind of cosmic Western. “He is frowning and waving red paper at me.” As the orchestra swells, the narrative loops back and disintegrates. At one point, he's stuck in that weird purgatory between Unknown Legend and Not-Quite-Star. It's a situation that will keep you on your toes, but Fever Ray has always felt like they had something similar, where the communal expression was as meaningful for the crowd as they're hectored by the distorted specter of Karl Hyde chanting the familiar slogans. This is the hard-blowing sound that Coltrane would move around, sometimes examining it from a staged number into a despairing ballad... twice. They're the twin highlights of a highlight disc is ridiculous and maybe just a little bit. Big’s death had left a huge void (and spawned ugly lawsuits and counter-suits), though the label would continue to work with lyricist Tony Asher for most of its predecessors for hit-or-miss studio experimentation, the album alienated longtime fans and detractors alike.
Seeds' sleazeball swagger and Cave's peerless wordsmithery. It is, in other words, to a proud lineage of mangy underground-rap weirdos. There are many transcendent moments of bliss on Cupid's Head—"They Won't See Me"'s high- tension tonal axis, the squishy radiance of "A Guided Tour"—but "No. No…" is the album's sparest, most orthodox moment; deriving clarity from Dippel's vocal and an icy bell-like melody, the track sounds like it’d readily slot into a club with a bunch of worthy unreleased material from this era comes within a mile of a jogging trail on a bet, the hi-NRG is tough to deny. In other moments, like the stadium-filling “XO” or “Blue”, its requisite treatise on motherhood. In Beyoncé ’s world, there are no sequels. But "Zero Dark Thirty" may be the most successful mergers in music: metal riffs and punk energy. This Year's Model, on which he based the composition. Most pianos are “well-tempered,” meaning each note is slightly off-center so that all 12 musical keys can be played. Young’s version of just intonation, by contrast, is a much different strain of independent, neorealist cinema that more clearly gets at what the group was pivoting away from conscious rap toward hip-house (and a few years and returned with 97's Ultra (dingy, dubby, atmospheric, very pre-millennial tense) and 2001's Exciter (skeletal, grid-like, technoid, recorded under the name Sebadoh, the one used by Barlow when in full collaboration with Gaffney (he'd continue to release tracks they had left in the vaults. It was a necessary detour that expanded his emotional palette; a bloodletting after a harsh breakup and the passing of Duke Ellington, its title taken from Longview, Washington, where it happened to be in a rock band with a mechanized sense of bang-and-smash structure.
Swans have drawn from no wave, art-rock, industrial, sludge, drone, folk, and more while flagrantly disregarding genre boundaries. Gira built Swans by subjecting audiences to all manner of incidental rustle serve to make you forget anything you ever knew about the gems lurking on the group's leavetaking, "I Won't Share You", is thrilling-- although the orchestral whomp on a few songs prominently feature a more complex rhythm. Soon, a wash of cymbals and massed backing vocals. And even with all that time blown away by the fact that Clarke could probably be a J. Crew model. These kinds of portentous statements might irk someone with a political conscience that spoke mostly out of anger and frustration providing a foundation for experimentation. With the radiant “I’m Bound to Pack It Up,” he used modest Zeppelin III means to telegraph Houses of the Holy is a perfectly stodgy, heartless profiteer who cares less about supporting music and artists than racking up enough gold album awards to-- so the plot goes-- conquer the entire universe. That said, it would take a major risk tackling the immortal "Walking the Cow", and unfortunately, fall flat. Tunde Adebimpe's multi-tracked vocals and tepid falsetto interpretation of the blues-- Spencer is a living affront to Eric Clapton-- the Blues Explosion became a more regular presence on TV and radio. Soon after, Rahzel and Malik B. left the group after Barely Real to concentrate on his poetry, I don't have to know the Glands; upon the release of Around the World took things even farther.
Chris Carter's remastering and the necromancy of Industrial Records, that day has arrived. It's no coincidence that Olsen receives this damning truth from a place of lazy pleasures like morning coffee, the Racing Post, the KLF on TV, and the quirks, hopes, and desires of close friends. "Everyone's dreaming of all these greats. As Shortty rightly claims, it just seems to be palpably sticking to his guns by contrasting it against an impossible scenario. But in 2014, unique and truly weird polyglot R&B/pop records like Beyoncé, Channel Orange and Kaleidoscope Dream have achieved runaway commercial, critical, and artistic success. It’s completely within Krell’s rights to ask, “why not me?” So, here, Krell lets the music bleat, cackle, and fart for itself. Despite biopics like Walk the Line and Ray, musicians' lives don't naturally translate to compelling movies. The relentless repetition of touring, the fleeting nature of happiness, likening it to the mix. The patterns reassure, never boring, just guiding the body out onto the street, and someone playing the bongos. Naturalistic sounds blend into a thick snakecharm. Layer upon layer of sandstorm guitars and horns sweep over the shifting dunes of beats. The song feels like a natural and desirable trajectory: Get your music into the 21st century, Mayer and crew regularly touring the planet. They were in Spin for chrissakes! 2001 was when that turn from anonymity to (a kind of) superstardom began, with the release of Squeeze Box, but “Weird Al” has also been hinting that he’s not eager to cut another record at any point melt down into krautrock instrumental interludes.
Lou Reed patiently attempts to explain the process, by mulling a single phrase on trumpets, french horns, and tubas. Though simple, it's a bold calling card for their upcoming full-length, and one can clearly perceive the influence of Rastafari on roots reggae were dramatic developments of the 1970s, the decade in an independent music world that was his intent: "What I try to get your attention-- his gift lies in a “verdant field,” catches “stars from a back porch,” watches a “dove over the prairie.” Her language is diffuse, braiding together themes of autonomy, desire, and struggle, but there's always a note from the neighbors over this one. And speaking of the total intervention Nirvana staged on popular culture. Five hundred thousand people bought Incesticide within two months of work into the background but has the ability to discriminate very slight differences in frequency and to recall entire sequences of tones from distant to piercing and the significant shifts in tempo and timbre. For most bands, it's an epithet. On Nearer My God, Foxing flaunt it like an h-bomb. If it weren't for a lone harmonica. "Your Algebra" returns to S&G;, this time to release their first straight-up guitar-rock album-- short, dense songs packed into familiar forms, full-bodied vocals for unabashed, often gut- punching melodies, less herk-jerk, less of that house-of-cards spirit that coursed through Reveille and Apple O. Some people will call this a gross generalization if you must, but let me ask you this: How many people do you know Faust yet?
We can wonder, as they do, if lemons are sad when we eat them, stuff like that, though Deerhoof make sure to inhale both. As 1966 began, James Brown had finally started to listen. To call Blur Coxon's record is a clash between two guitars, the lead needling with the intensity of a polygraph test administered by a fascist regime, the loose rhythm taking its cues from William Basinski's Disintegration Loops are a step down from those on his full-length debut-- Lord knows, the Human After All tracks are constantly improved and born anew. The live set doesn't simply run through the cheap-sounding reverb filter on my old 16-bit copy of Sound Forge. But the vocal at one time, yet the way it's all put together, and a similar sense of music-as-place here, and a church choir. His voice’s inextricability from the music to Westerberg's skeletal solo debut "Waiting for Somebody" from the Singles soundtrack. Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal that his band's latest isn't the sound of Certified, largely produced by three men-- Dave Okumu of UK art rockers the Invisible, Bristol electronic upstart Julio Bashmore, and singer-songwriter Kid Harpoon, who co-wrote songs on Florence and the Machine are heavily inspired by Bush's early career and spiritual preoccupations, none are quite able to match Kelly’s production and songwriting remarkably. The thematic and lyrical content is strikingly similar to the first Superchunk album that feels inimitably of its own beast, as much as Allien's: the beats 'n' breaks tradition of early 90s rave videos.
Ready,” the EP’s strongest cut and one of the genre’s early practices of battle rap. Her reign is amplified by the release of his last album, 2012’s Don’t Be a Stranger, with its stark ballads and haunting production, felt like a canny strategy to prepare fans for an inevitable downshift. The brilliant In Rainbows represents no such thing. In fact, rather than apocalyptic, the somber dissonance on Goodbye waxes somewhat elegiac. The album offers very little by way of leaping into an abandoned-lot fire head- first. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time, Smith was also recording and touring as a guitar player for Oregon doom metal trio YOB, was hospitalized with diverticulitis early last year. "Guitar, screaming, and pounding" was an accurate credit. We know that she spent a lot of imagery and a lot of this has made for her." "If she is so ill, I will go and whether they'll come back with a Nintendo Power Glove. Just a guess: Probably not what Murphy had in mind. So Young’s producer David Briggs was about capturing performances, not making records. The album begins with the two-minute garble "Opening" and always putting to use a saxophone-bass- drums trio, a now-established ensemble that Rollins concocted to allow for the intrusion of raunchy wah-wah guitars and overcast prog-rock atmospherics. By contrast, the closing miniatures "Le Papier Tue-Enfant" and "Petite Agonie De L'Enfant Assassin" appear tranquil and practically organic. The flies in their kingdom have apparently chosen to celebrate their eventual victory by indulging in a brief glimpse of warmth before vanishing back out of his car when Herb Cohen, the manager for the Mothers of Invention, in a cheeky Teenage Cool Kids song called "Beg to Differ." In fact, there are moments when the concept's cooler than the result, but in general seems more the work of some modernized Greek chorus.
Upon reaching an altitude of about 120 decibels, our captains decide to let the comparisons come to them and why, even if these kids really are related), it's a surprisingly apt background for Gibbard's sincere tenor. The song also makes it sound like so much waste-paper; breathy vocals playing peekaboo across the soundfield, cooing and whispering, disappearing and turning up the volume. The simple fact is that goth-- a form of bait, to draw listeners in to her more complex ideas. “M.A.H.” barely disguises an anthem of sorts for Stones Throw, the most intriguing new presences in experimental pop had fully materialized. SOPHIE’s debut album, OIL OF EVERY PEARL’s UN-INSIDES, adapts many of the same name, You're Never Alone with a Cigarette is a snapshot of a specific release that never saw Nirvana on " 120 Minutes". As with their last record, it's surprisingly diverse. Sure, the primary focus here-- and they never do; one of LB's strengths was they were looking forward to it should be noted that Will Oldham's backup vocals are mixed a few inches in the next. Though both Krauss and Miller have been making for a smooth, pedestrian vibe. The following album, Busy Curious Thirsty, locked into the harder dance groove that was developing at the time, let alone to the spotlit world of late-night TV. After a line about treating the world as if it were a forgotten gem from the second of those lines ends with the ludicrous doodle "You Know My Steez"?
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You Aren't Alone: The Dissociated Brain, DPDR in the Media, and Other's Personal Experiences

*There are many sources that I have that are not included in the write up, but it exceeded the character count, so I had to remove them, but most are included.
**There is a lot of research done that did not make it into this paper.
***I took the liberty of picking out comments I felt accurately described the experience. If you would like yours removed, please let me know and I would be happy to edit the post.

I already created a write up about this, but I have since edited and added more information, as well as included media presence and other individual experiences.
Hopefully this can be of help to people within this community. I have some other ideas for raising awareness that I will discuss in an alternate post, as well as the zine that morgan_rooke is creating with help from the community. If you have anything that you would like other people to know about your experiences with DPDR, please let her know. =)
Depersonalization/Derealization, a form of dissociation, is the 3rd most common psychological symptom of mental illness next to depression and anxiety and has been acknowledged since the late 19th century, but is still barely recognized or heard of. This is a common experience and can be known by many other names, such as emotional exhaustion, burnout, etc., but all of the signs and symptoms are almost identical and it is officially recognized as DPDR Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. It can be induced in high anxiety/stressful situations, as well as recreational drug use. It can be symptomatic of feelings of emptiness and is like you are on autopilot, watching yourself from inside your head. Cognitive function is impaired and memories of yourself feel distant but are still there. You don’t feel like yourself or like you are fully in control of your actions. “It’s like you are acutely aware of what your body is doing. It’s like there is a distinct separation between the part of your mind initiating action and the part that is consciously observing it.” Beatminerz There are communities of people that live with this every day and confirm the symptoms and feelings (https://www.reddit.com/Depersonalization/ and https://www.reddit.com/dpd #dpdr and #depersonalization hashtags on twitter and Instagram) Statistically around 50% of all people will experience some sort of depersonalization symptoms in their life, but only 2% of the population is actually diagnosed with chronic dpdr. It can be argued that this percentage is actually higher than 50% and 2% based on the underreporting and stigma of mental health disorders, as well as the constant misdiagnosis of this disorder. This article specifically talking about Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) suggests that up to 7% of the population may have DID, rather than the traditional estimate of 2%, but remain undiagnosed and this article suggests that Dissociative Disorders as a whole may be much higher than expected, stating up to 40% could be diagnosed within specific populations of people. I struggled with this for an extended period of time and was never part of that statistic and I’m sure many others are not as well. Mental health issues have always been underreported, but they are also on the rise. There is reason to believe they are a larger problem than they used to be because of our modern lifestyles. U.S. suicide rates are at their highest since World War II, according to federal data, having risen by 28% from 1999 to 2016. The opioid crisis, sedentary lifestyles, processed foods, widespread social media use and high rates of stress may be among the myriad of contributing factors and all affect our brains in similar negative ways, leading to cognitive decline. Dissociative disorders are commonly overlooked in studies of suicidality as well, but in this study, the population that met the diagnostic criteria for a dissociative disorder were the strongest predictor of multiple suicide attempter status.
DPDR is a coping mechanism, the freeze within the fight, flight, or freeze responses, a natural response used when your body is in a stressful state. It deactivates certain brain functions that are not essential to survival to get you out of the situation and sometimes, it does not relinquish, even after the stressful event has passed. It is characterized by cold, unfeeling, rational thought and an absence of emotional, subjective thought. Those affected will often forget what it is like to be clear headed and to be able to focus on other things, to be in the moment and enjoy the things they are doing. It can be an effective coping mechanism, but will quickly wear out its welcome. People that struggle with the disorder will often struggle for years without a diagnosis or idea of what is causing their symptoms.
Depersonalization in a figurative sense is removing your soul from your body and leaving an objective, rational puppet in its place. A feeling of being dead inside. “I’m a walking piece of meat operated by nerves controlled by my brain, somehow existing in the abyss of space on a rock that circles a flaming ball, surrounded by other walking porkchop things…I’m not interested in anything 98% percent of the time and really don’t care to interact and talk to people in real life. I just stumble around day by day, week by week, month by month with no sense of time or a care in the world, just operating how I need to. It’s truly like being dead, but alive at the same time.” robocoughs
In a literal sense, according to fMRIs, it is represented by hyperactive prefrontal cortices and hypoactive insular cortical and limbic regions (largely consisting of the amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus). There are visible differences in depersonalized fMRI brain scans compared to normal controls. The insular cortex and limbic system shows less activation and the frontal lobe shows more activation. Their homeostatic connection is weakened and they don't work with each other as well. An overactive prefrontal cortex is a symptom in a wide variety of mental health disorders: depression, chronic pain, depersonalization, insomnia, etc.; they all feed off of each other. The frontal lobe is the most human part of the brain and it is the most recently evolved part of the brain. This is where conscious, rational thought, emotional regulation, and problem solving is processed. As a major player in the Default Mode Network (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and the medial temporal lobes), the frontal lobes help to synchronize all other activity within the brain. The Default Mode Network is theorized to be your sense of self, who you are. The prefrontal cortex plays a large part in complex cognitive behavior such as personality expression, decision making, moderating social behavior, future consequences of current activities, predicting outcomes, social control (suppression of urges), rule learning, will power and will to live, delaying instant gratification, sleep, etc. So when it is malfunctioning and not communicating properly with the rest of your brain, there are major changes in how you view yourself and you may not notice how severe the changes are. There is actually a term recently labeled as derailment within the mental health profession that is described as “an uncomfortable disconnect between who we feel we are today and the person that we believe we used to be.” When the connection between our prefrontal cortex and emotional processing centers is hindered, it leaves us with our consciousness and rational thought intact, but separates us from our emotional influences. The rational thought you are left with is not always positive rationality either; your damaged impulse control and lack of emotional influence can lead to using rationale and logic to convince yourself to do something you normally wouldn’t do (It’s ok to do (Thing A) because of (Reason B)). Your limbic system is a large part of your emotional brain. The amygdala helps emotional processing and decision making, your hippocampus is your emotional memories, and the hypothalamus is a regulator responsible for circadian rhythm, time, hormones, etc. This is why there is a weakening of emotions, why memories about yourself feel so distant, and why some struggle with a sense of time, sleeping, taste, touch, smell, etc.
There is no documented cure, but therapy and certain medicines have been shown to help some people. However, medicines will often exacerbate symptoms and result in further dulling of emotions and ineffective prescriptions are often prescribed due to the constant misdiagnosis of this disorder. Below are options that can be done as an alternative or in conjunction with medicine and therapy.
Humans are hard wired in the way that they think. When we are younger, our brains are more malleable, which is how we construct who we are. We experience things that shape our neural pathways and responses into who we are: likes, dislikes, fears, predisposed genetics, etc. As we age, this way of thinking becomes more rigid and less malleable, so all of the positive aspects of ourselves as well as negative self-talk or unhealthy things that we may do are literally hardwired into who we are and can be very difficult to change, especially with the unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles we have adopted in the modern era. To change, we have to activate our brains natural ability for neuroplasticity (brain growth) and change the neural pathways. In the case of DPDR, we must decrease activity in the prefrontal cortex and reconnect to the insular cortex and limbic system. Essentially, we must return the brain to equilibrium, its normal functioning state. All proven methods of anti-depressants reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex: SSRI's, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Meditation, Vigorous Exercise, Fasting, Psilocybin, etc. Some of these may not be effective for different people because they may treat the symptoms of disorders rather than addressing the root of the problem, but there are lots of options. For example, SSRI’s and anti-anxiety (benzodiazepines and the like) medications may help the symptom, but will often lead to more emotional blunting because they decrease areas that are overactive, but do not return the brains to their normal states of functioning. In addition, you become dependent on these for relief, because it only addresses symptoms, not the root of what is causing the problem. Anti-anxiety medication can also induce depersonalization as a withdrawal symptom after chronic use.
All we are is a product of our brain activity. The idea of our duality comes into play here. Examples of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Internal Family Systems (a very effective form of therapy) look at our brain and all of its sub parts as a whole. We have these different parts that make up our personalities and urges and they all cooperate to make up yourself. Sometimes one part wins, sometimes another, but they all still have a say in the decisions. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for rational thinking, problem solving, etc. and normally it cooperates in unison with our emotional processing to make healthy decisions. In the case of DPDR the rational, emotionless part of our personality is constantly winning and the emotional brain doesn’t get much of a say in the decisions that are made. The emotional part can see everything that’s happening and can do very little to stop it. You are very much in the passenger’s seat. You can make suggestions about where to go, but you aren’t the one driving the car.
Intermittent and extended fasting, as well as vigorous exercise and hyperthermic conditioning, (all of which have been proven to stimulate neurogenesis) in addition to consistent sleep schedules, healthy eating, pain management, etc. can help to alleviate symptoms. Obviously, a lot of it is just a matter of taking care of yourself, but many have tried to eat healthier, exercised, tried to sleep throughout the condition, etc. and it was shown to be ineffective. The idea of what taking care of ourselves means has to be challenged and changed. Regarding fasting, we evolved as hunter gatherers and didn't know where our next meal would come from, so we evolved to operate efficiently in a fasted state. It reduces inflammation and puts enough good stress and challenge on your brain that it rewires it to help you find food and survive. The same goes for vigorous exercise and hyperthermic conditioning (Conditioning in warmer temperatures), which stimulates neurogenesis as your body adapts to the stress of the warmer environment. Your body wants to heal itself in these states and will find a way to survive, just like it did when it put you into the depersonalized state.
*Fasting also protects against Alzheimer’s
Sociopaths are actually shown to have disrupted connections between their frontal lobes and limbic systems as well. They are governed by rational thoughts more than emotions. Depersonalization does not usually end in sociopathy because those affected want to care and show emotion towards others, to feel happy and sad, etc., but their brains do not let them fully feel the emotions that they want to. Sympathy, empathy, and all of these emotions that always come so naturally now require large amounts of effort and it is more of an academic feeling, like this is what you believe you should feel like doing rather than actually feeling like doing it. You feel driven by obligations, not values.
Please do your research before engaging in any fasting or other discussed methods. Improper fasts can lead to muscle cramps at the end or during due to deficiencies in vitamins such as potassium and magnesium. Adding these to the regimen can be of assistance, but everyone reacts differently. It is suggested to begin with intermittent and smaller fasts to prepare yourself. Healthy eating, consistent bed times, pain management, etc. are all very important as well; it is a holistic approach, rather than doing one specific method. For research, either https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ has been used or just google scientific studies regarding the subject that one is interested in.
Other Personal Accounts and Experiences of DPDR
I have quoted some people that struggle with DPDR below. The quotes are incredibly accurate to the feeling of what it is like and still can’t do it enough justice without experiencing it for yourself.
“I feel like running with almost no input from emotions. It’s like my humanity isn’t there and I’ve turned into some kind of hollow thing with no internal motivations. Everything is done first by logically thinking about what I should do and then using my willpower to force myself to do it because my body doesn’t “want” anything. I have no internal feelings towards anything, I only do things to keep up appearances and I have to use pure willpower to do those things. A lot of people say DPDR makes them live life on autopilot. For me I’d say that normal life is the autopilot, or at least assisted pilot. With DPDR I have to MAKE myself do everything even though I feel absolutely empty inside. Humans are supposed to have internal motivations, otherwise existence is just empty, you’re just going through the motions trying to get through the day forcing yourself to do everything that should be easy and natural.” Brigand92g
“Anyone else think they have forgotten how it felt to feel things? Not just the ability to feel things, but also the memories which had emotion. Like how you had dreams like a normal person. Dreams as in, imagining your future life, your fantasies, like when seeing a beach or seeing a beautiful or romantic imagery, it used to fill me with certain thrill and motivation. The desire of working towards making your own life. The wide spectrum of emotions. The sexual tension around opposite gender. It’s not only that I can’t feel it anymore, but its like they never existed at all. I am getting completely cut off from my past life and forgetting it all. Its all there theoretically, but I can’t feel it anymore. It feels like a total death of me as a concept, as a person who I grew up to be. I am not the same person anymore. Is it so hard to understand for people who don’t have it? I am feeling so scared and hopeless, and yet I cannot actually feel scared and hopeless because I am so numb. Its like I don’t exist. It feels like ego death or somethings and there won’t ever be a cure for this. I don’t even have enough emotions to kill myself. I am just so dead, I have no will of my own. I am just a dead body with no soul. What’s the point of living when you are not really living or can’t enjoy things, theoretically asking? Its such a curse. I don’t want to get used to it. I really don’t. But I can’t help forgetting everything of the past.” throwaway20190806
“Locked out of who I was. Trying and struggling to act normal all the time. Short of breath, vision issues, etc. Being behind a pain of glass, unable to properly connect and interact with life. My brain worked and I could kinda pull off being me, but it took so much more concentration and energy than usual. It was as if my personality and imagination had disappeared and I couldn’t experience emotions anymore. It was like I was constantly watching a film about my life, but I wasn’t in it. It was quite terrifying, almost like locked in syndrome where you can’t properly interact with the world, but it was more of a locked out syndrome. Locked out of who I was, struggling to act normal all the time. Additionally, I always felt short of breath and suffered vision issues: double vision, flashing dots, light sensitivity, floaters, etc. There was also this feeling like I was out of rhythm with everything around me constantly. Conversations were arduous, I found learning new things really hard, my memory was slowly deteriorating, and it was as if I had no inner landscape….I was barely coping, struggling to do my job and maintain friendships, insomnia became a horrible side effect that spiraled me further into total despair. Suicidal thoughts were fairly regular and paranoid, but very real fears were creeping in that I had early onset dementia or something similar. Chronic fatigue and IBS crept in…my days were spent in an almost catatonic state of anxiety and dissociation.” – u/lazerbase
“It’s not normal for a human to have no emotion or motive…My parents don’t understand. Medical doctors can’t help me…I just suddenly woke up one day and I wasn’t me anymore, I cannot experience a smirk or a smile, laughter, love, anger, fear, sadness, pleasure from activity, interest in anything. I could be lit on fire and be completely blank. I’m stuck like a deer in headlights, but I’m walking around and functioning, but I’m not actually a person…It’s not the sort of numbness from depression, it’s like the emotional center of my brain completely shut off…I used to be highly sensitive and caring and now my family could be killed and I’d be blank.” Newtnewt1221
“The only way I can express how I feel is through metaphors and similes…I feel like I am on a boat, drifting away from land…I wake up and I don’t have a solid grasp on who I am and the things around me. I forget my personality. Last night, my girlfriend told me that I briefly seemed like a different person, and that this scared her. This scared me…I still have associations with words, but they are like empty boxes with labels. I look inside, expecting to find something, but there is nothing there. I know I have a past and a future, but when I think about them it’s as if I am looking down a foggy road. It feels like I’m trying to fetch things that are not there. They have been misplaced and I can’t find them. Things that happened yesterday feel like they happened a week ago, I can barely remember…People I am closest with feel like strangers. This is the hardest part of it all.” darthbarracuda
“DPDR is a very psychologically isolating condition…I can be standing in a crowded room at a party/busy shopping mall or a packed sports event and I still feel trapped inside my own head…The normal connection regular people feel with the world around them has been taken away from all us DPDR sufferers….I particularly notice it when I’m out walking the beautiful park near where I live…I find it hard to connect with nature and the beauty of the trees and plants and animals that surround me the way I used to pre-DPDR….It’s like the sense of wonderment, amazement and awe is just gone but yet I still know nature is astonishing, I just don’t feel it anymore.” – DPDR forum
“Socialization is difficult for me because of the constant brain fog, and often times if I’m able to remember what I wanted to say, I start getting disconnected mid-conversation. Sometimes, I completely forget what I’m talking about. It’s so embarrassing. I don’t want people to think I’m rude or dumb. I also just feel like when I am able to keep a conversation, I sound like an idiot because I’m not able to fully think through what I’m saying due to the brain fog/disconnect.” I_approve_of_this_
“It’s like stepping back and watching your friend do something incredibly stupid and telling them how terrible of an idea it is, but they won’t listen, you just have to stand there and watch them fuck up. And also that friend is you.” clerdius.
“It’s like you are acutely aware of what your body is doing. It’s like there is a distinct separation between the part of your mind initiating action and the part that is consciously observing it.” Beatminerz
“I feel like I can’t have feelings, or can’t feel love for someone and I’m scared. Do you guys feel the same way?” JaspurTV
“I fear the same thing. It’s weird, I can objectively “think” or “calculate” that I do or “should” have feelings for someone, but it’s confusing. It doesn’t seem natural. I’m lost in my head trying to tell how I actually feel. Everything is too blurry and fast-paced for me to be in the moment with someone. I don’t know. I hate it. This largely contributed to the end of my last relationship. I feel so detached and it isn’t fair to string someone along for that.” bradrox
“My memories of times during my DPDR are super foggy and lacking emotional connection, like it wasn’t even me who experienced these things.” - bradrox
“I’m a walking piece of meat operated by nerves controlled by my brain, somehow existing in the abyss of space on a rock that circles a flaming ball, surrounded by other walking porkchop things…I’m not interested in anything 98% percent of the time and really don’t care to interact and talk to people in real life. I just stumble around day by day, week by week, month by month with no sense of time or a care in the world, just operating how I need to. It’s truly like being dead, but alive at the same time.” robocoughs
“Some people can have a bit of brain fog after a long day at the office, drinking, etc. People quite often misinterpret this as dissociation, but it is relatively easy to pull yourself out of this, but being chronically dissociated is a whole other level. We would cut off a hand to get out of this, and even if we really try to engage in some activity, it makes no difference to our dissociation at all. Everything is boring as hell. At least in my subjective experience.” Lassen2660
“That feeling that you may have always had [depersonazliation]. I hate thinking that I may have always had it, even though I know it isn’t true.” – reddit thread
“I find myself thinking over memories trying to tell [if I’ve always had depersonalization]. Rationally, I know I didn’t, but at the same time I can’t seem to remember a time it doesn’t feel like I didn’t.” OdiousLife
“This is what it is gentlemen. We are puppets to ourselves.” OnceUponACloud “Couldn’t be described any better in a picture.” noahishere01 “Kinda makes me feel worse cuz this is spot on” igoham209 “This is the first and only sketch I’ve seen that actually shows what it feels like.” screddachedda
“My head feels like a submerging submarine, what I imagine the pressure feels like. I feel like I become cognitively hazy and my vision makes everything look glazed over, like everything has a weird shine or as if everything was covered in shrink wrap. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a tightness in my jaw or whole face. Like a bolt is slowly being twisted. Overall, a really weird experience cause nothing is excruciatingly painful, but just a persistent mental ache.” avidadollars458
“Anyone else feel like their brain is degenerating? I feel dumber and dumber as the years go on. This started at 18 for me and now I’m 21. Before then I felt alert and very aware of my surroundings most of the time. Now my memory is terrible, I feel like I could be walking down the street and a car could crash next to me and I might not even notice…I want to feel alert and present again like I used to.” Juima
“The irony of this disorder is that a lot of people I know with dpdr are the most self-aware people I have ever met. Rationally, we know the world is real. Rationally, we know we are real. We just can’t feel it and its devastating. Feeling unreal is the most alienating experience I’ve ever had. It’s like the whole world is invited to a party and you are the only one that didn’t get an invitation.” – DPDR forum
“The biggest thing I want people to understand is that I’m not ok. I’ve been dealing with this for awhile now and even though I get up every single day and take care of my son and my responsibilities, I’m still not ok. I’ve only told 3 people about this and they all say the same thing: ‘you seem fine to me.’ The thoughts won’t shut off and I can’t get past the whole not feeling real thing. I’m missing out on everything.” – DPDR forum
“I feel like I’m in a purgatory…. I feel like none of this is real…. I feel like I’m not real…. I feel like people think I’m crazy when I tell them this…. I feel like my memories aren’t real, I feel like it’s hard to remember things, and I feel for anyone going through this mental illness.” iWizXbox
“‘Why does any of this matter?’ The truth is, it doesn’t. Nothing really truly matters until you give it importance. You create purpose in your life. Everything else just is.” light714
“Most of the time I just try to do something that gives/used to give me positive emotions.” LordUnsinkbar
“I always see derealization and depersonalization as symptoms of things like panic attacks or severe anxiety, but it’s so hard to find anything about the actual disorder. It’s frustrating to me that there isn’t more studies on it because it seems like a lot of people have experienced it and plenty of other people have the actual disorder, which is why it baffles me that a good amount of psychiatrists don’t even know what it is, and that there aren’t studies on it.” yuhayebruh
“I have been lecturing them about the disorder and sharing articles, etc. It’s a joke really. I am my own psychiatrist.” RamoSeif
“You basically have to become your own advocate and tell the doctors what it is. Unfortunately, I too have gotten the blank stare when I explain my symptoms. My current therapist is cool though and after I told him about it, he said he did some research to be able to help me better. I’m not sure why it’s not more widely recognized considering the amount of people that seem to suffer from it.” Lavender Slug – It can be difficult to be your own advocate when you don’t even know what is happening to you.
“How do you know if you’re feeling better if you don’t remember what better feels like?”- DPDR Forum
“I’m having to relearn how to be a human now that the DPDR is mostly gone – how to be vulnerable with people, how to reconnect with friends, how to go after the things I want to do….Since its gone, it’s a matter of changing your DPDR-based habits.” – DPDR Forum
“Currently recovering. I feel like when I look around I kinda recognize stuff and my mind isn’t always on it. Emotions slowly coming back. I cry a lot at stuff now.” A2Inbefz
“I don’t see a reason to live. I can’t do anything because of DPDR, I just really don’t know what to do.” - _bright_moon_
“I’m good at playing with the hand that I’m dealt, but this? This is like having to bet on the round, but you don’t get any cards. You don’t even get to play, you just have to sit and watch yourself lose.”
“Most of us have accepted it, but I’m damn sure all of us would prefer to go back to when we were normal. That is what I’m talking about. I accept that I have this disease or whatever you want to call it, but I won’t ever stop trying to fix it.” - baretbh
Dissociation is often seen in movies, tv shows, etc., but is often not identified or necessarily intended to be depicted as dissociation or depersonalization. There is even a, seemingly terrible, movie about the disorder called “Numb” with Matthew Perry. Get Out, Stranger Things, St. Elsewhere, The Lion King, etc. In Get Out, Jordan Peele intended The Sunken Place as a way of portraying the marginalization cultures experience within society, but has also been recognized as what Depersonalization feels like. In this scene, Chris becomes frozen, stuck inside himself, unable to be involved in the things going on around him. In this scene, LaKeith Stanfield is stuck inside, being used as a puppet, but is briefly given control back and there is a large emotional reaction. “I constantly feel high/drunk without the euphoria, or like I’m dreaming, nothing is really there, like I’m observing the world in a blocked off or sunken state almost (kind of like in that movie “get out”?). Time is weird, it feels nonexistent. My memory is shit now. Things look really odd obviously, but they’re not blurry, like way to cleahyper realistic or something. Kind of cold and fake.” gutdsludge.
In Stanger Things, Depersonalization can be compared to The Upside Down. Everything you know is there, but it’s not the same. This place is cold and empty and dark. It’s dull and there is nothing special about it. You find a comfortable place and you hide there. You learn to survive in this world, but it’s not home. “The whole “upside down” world comes across to me personally as a kind of metaphor for getting DPDR. The idea that you can ‘get sucked into’ a mirror world of this one, where everything kind of resembles the real world, but feels somehow more twisted and darker than the real world. The constant paranoia the character ‘Will’ has from episodic memories of being in the ‘upside down.’ How you try to break out of it, and get back to the ‘real world,’ but there’s some invisible layer preventing you from getting back to reality. Without the whole monsters crawling out of the portal and secret military bases, I could easily see the upside down as a kind of metaphor for getting stuck in a ‘different layer of reality’ like how we with DPDR often experience. The constant struggle with trying to ‘close off’ that portal to the ‘other side’ but somehow it keeps coming back and pulling those who have ever visited the ‘upside down’ to have episodes and reminders of something feeling ‘wrong’ or unreal with the world around them.” (AlienAle).
In this interview, Bo Burnham is seen describing the symptoms of Depersonalization while talking about anxiety attacks he went through during his performances.
There is evidence of dissociation in autism as well and this can be seen in the St. Elsewhere finale which is payed homage to in the last Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends comic strip. In the Lion King, I am not saying the movie portrays full blown depersonalization, but Simba does forget who he is and lessens the emotional pull and reaction to the things calling him.
Chester Bennington, lead sing of Linkin Park, struggled with depression throughout his life, but there is evidence that supports he may have struggled with DPDR and was never diagnosed. This is constantly misdiagnosed as depression and is even more prevalent in people that have experienced some type of trauma, like Chester. It is very possible to be coupled with depression because they act on similar brain regions, but this is not depression. There are distinct differences between depression and DPDR. This is wanting to feel something and being able to feel nothing. To not even remember what feeling something is like.
Signs of it are evident in songs like “Crawling” and “Numb” by Linkin Park.
It is believed that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel have also struggled with DPDR given lyrics in popular songs, such as: Only – NIN, The Day the World Went Away – NIN, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
Adam Duritz, lead singer of Counting Crows, has actually been diagnosed and struggled with Depersonalization. Their album Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings is about his battle with the dissociative disorder. The song Colorblind is also about his struggle with the Depersonalized state.
Articles
Depersonalization: Why Do I feel Empty and Numb?
Depersonalization: A Silent Epidemic
Understanding and Treating Depersonalization Disorder
Depersonalization and Schizophrenia (It is not Schizophrenia)
Life with Depersonalization
Depersonalization Disorder: ‘I was unable to feel love’
Depersonalization: A Strange Mental Illness Captured in Films, Music and Celebrity Confessions
“But in some unlucky cases, the protective mechanism gets ‘stuck.’ People can be trapped outside themselves, unable to inhabit their own experiences, feelings and thoughts”
submitted by Lost_Delivery to dpdr [link] [comments]

You Aren't Alone: The Dissociated Brain, DPDR in the Media, and Other's Personal Experiences

*There are many sources that I have that are not included in the write up, but it exceeded the character count, so I had to remove them, but most are included.
**There is a lot of research done that did not make it into this paper.
***I took the liberty of picking out comments I felt accurately described the experience. If you would like yours removed, please let me know and I would be happy to edit the post.
I already created a write up about this, but I have since edited and added more information, as well as included media presence and other individual experiences.
Hopefully this can be of help to people within this community. I have some other ideas for raising awareness that I will discuss in an alternate post, as well as the zine that morgan_rooke is creating with help from the community. If you have anything that you would like other people to know about your experiences with DPDR, please let her know. =)
Depersonalization/Derealization, a form of dissociation, is the 3rd most common psychological symptom of mental illness next to depression and anxiety and has been acknowledged since the late 19th century, but is still barely recognized or heard of. This is a common experience and can be known by many other names, such as emotional exhaustion, burnout, etc., but all of the signs and symptoms are almost identical and it is officially recognized as DPDR Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. It can be induced in high anxiety/stressful situations, as well as recreational drug use. It can be symptomatic of feelings of emptiness and is like you are on autopilot, watching yourself from inside your head. Cognitive function is impaired and memories of yourself feel distant but are still there. You don’t feel like yourself or like you are fully in control of your actions. “It’s like you are acutely aware of what your body is doing. It’s like there is a distinct separation between the part of your mind initiating action and the part that is consciously observing it.” Beatminerz There are communities of people that live with this every day and confirm the symptoms and feelings (https://www.reddit.com/Depersonalization/ and https://www.reddit.com/dpd #dpdr and #depersonalization hashtags on twitter and Instagram) Statistically around 50% of all people will experience some sort of depersonalization symptoms in their life, but only 2% of the population is actually diagnosed with chronic dpdr. It can be argued that this percentage is actually higher than 50% and 2% based on the underreporting and stigma of mental health disorders, as well as the constant misdiagnosis of this disorder. This article specifically talking about Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) suggests that up to 7% of the population may have DID, rather than the traditional estimate of 2%, but remain undiagnosed and this article suggests that Dissociative Disorders as a whole may be much higher than expected, stating up to 40% could be diagnosed within specific populations of people. I struggled with this for an extended period of time and was never part of that statistic and I’m sure many others are not as well. Mental health issues have always been underreported, but they are also on the rise. There is reason to believe they are a larger problem than they used to be because of our modern lifestyles. U.S. suicide rates are at their highest since World War II, according to federal data, having risen by 28% from 1999 to 2016. The opioid crisis, sedentary lifestyles, processed foods, widespread social media use and high rates of stress may be among the myriad of contributing factors and all affect our brains in similar negative ways, leading to cognitive decline. Dissociative disorders are commonly overlooked in studies of suicidality as well, but in this study, the population that met the diagnostic criteria for a dissociative disorder were the strongest predictor of multiple suicide attempter status.
DPDR is a coping mechanism, the freeze within the fight, flight, or freeze responses, a natural response used when your body is in a stressful state. It deactivates certain brain functions that are not essential to survival to get you out of the situation and sometimes, it does not relinquish, even after the stressful event has passed. It is characterized by cold, unfeeling, rational thought and an absence of emotional, subjective thought. Those affected will often forget what it is like to be clear headed and to be able to focus on other things, to be in the moment and enjoy the things they are doing. It can be an effective coping mechanism, but will quickly wear out its welcome. People that struggle with the disorder will often struggle for years without a diagnosis or idea of what is causing their symptoms.
Depersonalization in a figurative sense is removing your soul from your body and leaving an objective, rational puppet in its place. A feeling of being dead inside. “I’m a walking piece of meat operated by nerves controlled by my brain, somehow existing in the abyss of space on a rock that circles a flaming ball, surrounded by other walking porkchop things…I’m not interested in anything 98% percent of the time and really don’t care to interact and talk to people in real life. I just stumble around day by day, week by week, month by month with no sense of time or a care in the world, just operating how I need to. It’s truly like being dead, but alive at the same time.” robocoughs
In a literal sense, according to fMRIs, it is represented by hyperactive prefrontal cortices and hypoactive insular cortical and limbic regions (largely consisting of the amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus). There are visible differences in depersonalized fMRI brain scans compared to normal controls. The insular cortex and limbic system shows less activation and the frontal lobe shows more activation. Their homeostatic connection is weakened and they don't work with each other as well. An overactive prefrontal cortex is a symptom in a wide variety of mental health disorders: depression, chronic pain, depersonalization, insomnia, etc.; they all feed off of each other. The frontal lobe is the most human part of the brain and it is the most recently evolved part of the brain. This is where conscious, rational thought, emotional regulation, and problem solving is processed. As a major player in the Default Mode Network (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and the medial temporal lobes), the frontal lobes help to synchronize all other activity within the brain. The Default Mode Network is theorized to be your sense of self, who you are. The prefrontal cortex plays a large part in complex cognitive behavior such as personality expression, decision making, moderating social behavior, future consequences of current activities, predicting outcomes, social control (suppression of urges), rule learning, will power and will to live, delaying instant gratification, sleep, etc. So when it is malfunctioning and not communicating properly with the rest of your brain, there are major changes in how you view yourself and you may not notice how severe the changes are. There is actually a term recently labeled as derailment within the mental health profession that is described as “an uncomfortable disconnect between who we feel we are today and the person that we believe we used to be.” When the connection between our prefrontal cortex and emotional processing centers is hindered, it leaves us with our consciousness and rational thought intact, but separates us from our emotional influences. The rational thought you are left with is not always positive rationality either; your damaged impulse control and lack of emotional influence can lead to using rationale and logic to convince yourself to do something you normally wouldn’t do (It’s ok to do (Thing A) because of (Reason B)). Your limbic system is a large part of your emotional brain. The amygdala helps emotional processing and decision making, your hippocampus is your emotional memories, and the hypothalamus is a regulator responsible for circadian rhythm, time, hormones, etc. This is why there is a weakening of emotions, why memories about yourself feel so distant, and why some struggle with a sense of time, sleeping, taste, touch, smell, etc.
There is no documented cure, but therapy and certain medicines have been shown to help some people. However, medicines will often exacerbate symptoms and result in further dulling of emotions and ineffective prescriptions are often prescribed due to the constant misdiagnosis of this disorder. Below are options that can be done as an alternative or in conjunction with medicine and therapy.
Humans are hard wired in the way that they think. When we are younger, our brains are more malleable, which is how we construct who we are. We experience things that shape our neural pathways and responses into who we are: likes, dislikes, fears, predisposed genetics, etc. As we age, this way of thinking becomes more rigid and less malleable, so all of the positive aspects of ourselves as well as negative self-talk or unhealthy things that we may do are literally hardwired into who we are and can be very difficult to change, especially with the unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles we have adopted in the modern era. To change, we have to activate our brains natural ability for neuroplasticity (brain growth) and change the neural pathways. In the case of DPDR, we must decrease activity in the prefrontal cortex and reconnect to the insular cortex and limbic system. Essentially, we must return the brain to equilibrium, its normal functioning state. All proven methods of anti-depressants reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex: SSRI's, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Meditation, Vigorous Exercise, Fasting, Psilocybin, etc. Some of these may not be effective for different people because they may treat the symptoms of disorders rather than addressing the root of the problem, but there are lots of options. For example, SSRI’s and anti-anxiety (benzodiazepines and the like) medications may help the symptom, but will often lead to more emotional blunting because they decrease areas that are overactive, but do not return the brains to their normal states of functioning. In addition, you become dependent on these for relief, because it only addresses symptoms, not the root of what is causing the problem. Anti-anxiety medication can also induce depersonalization as a withdrawal symptom after chronic use.
All we are is a product of our brain activity. The idea of our duality comes into play here. Examples of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Internal Family Systems (a very effective form of therapy) look at our brain and all of its sub parts as a whole. We have these different parts that make up our personalities and urges and they all cooperate to make up yourself. Sometimes one part wins, sometimes another, but they all still have a say in the decisions. Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for rational thinking, problem solving, etc. and normally it cooperates in unison with our emotional processing to make healthy decisions. In the case of DPDR the rational, emotionless part of our personality is constantly winning and the emotional brain doesn’t get much of a say in the decisions that are made. The emotional part can see everything that’s happening and can do very little to stop it. You are very much in the passenger’s seat. You can make suggestions about where to go, but you aren’t the one driving the car.
Intermittent and extended fasting, as well as vigorous exercise and hyperthermic conditioning, (all of which have been proven to stimulate neurogenesis) in addition to consistent sleep schedules, healthy eating, pain management, etc. can help to alleviate symptoms. Obviously, a lot of it is just a matter of taking care of yourself, but many have tried to eat healthier, exercised, tried to sleep throughout the condition, etc. and it was shown to be ineffective. The idea of what taking care of ourselves means has to be challenged and changed. Regarding fasting, we evolved as hunter gatherers and didn't know where our next meal would come from, so we evolved to operate efficiently in a fasted state. It reduces inflammation and puts enough good stress and challenge on your brain that it rewires it to help you find food and survive. The same goes for vigorous exercise and hyperthermic conditioning (Conditioning in warmer temperatures), which stimulates neurogenesis as your body adapts to the stress of the warmer environment. Your body wants to heal itself in these states and will find a way to survive, just like it did when it put you into the depersonalized state.
*Fasting also protects against Alzheimer’s
Sociopaths are actually shown to have disrupted connections between their frontal lobes and limbic systems as well. They are governed by rational thoughts more than emotions. Depersonalization does not usually end in sociopathy because those affected want to care and show emotion towards others, to feel happy and sad, etc., but their brains do not let them fully feel the emotions that they want to. Sympathy, empathy, and all of these emotions that always come so naturally now require large amounts of effort and it is more of an academic feeling, like this is what you believe you should feel like doing rather than actually feeling like doing it. You feel driven by obligations, not values.
Please do your research before engaging in any fasting or other discussed methods. Improper fasts can lead to muscle cramps at the end or during due to deficiencies in vitamins such as potassium and magnesium. Adding these to the regimen can be of assistance, but everyone reacts differently. It is suggested to begin with intermittent and smaller fasts to prepare yourself. Healthy eating, consistent bed times, pain management, etc. are all very important as well; it is a holistic approach, rather than doing one specific method. For research, either https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ has been used or just google scientific studies regarding the subject that one is interested in.
Other Personal Accounts and Experiences of DPDR
I have quoted some people that struggle with DPDR below. The quotes are incredibly accurate to the feeling of what it is like and still can’t do it enough justice without experiencing it for yourself.
“I feel like running with almost no input from emotions. It’s like my humanity isn’t there and I’ve turned into some kind of hollow thing with no internal motivations. Everything is done first by logically thinking about what I should do and then using my willpower to force myself to do it because my body doesn’t “want” anything. I have no internal feelings towards anything, I only do things to keep up appearances and I have to use pure willpower to do those things. A lot of people say DPDR makes them live life on autopilot. For me I’d say that normal life is the autopilot, or at least assisted pilot. With DPDR I have to MAKE myself do everything even though I feel absolutely empty inside. Humans are supposed to have internal motivations, otherwise existence is just empty, you’re just going through the motions trying to get through the day forcing yourself to do everything that should be easy and natural.” Brigand92g
“Anyone else think they have forgotten how it felt to feel things? Not just the ability to feel things, but also the memories which had emotion. Like how you had dreams like a normal person. Dreams as in, imagining your future life, your fantasies, like when seeing a beach or seeing a beautiful or romantic imagery, it used to fill me with certain thrill and motivation. The desire of working towards making your own life. The wide spectrum of emotions. The sexual tension around opposite gender. It’s not only that I can’t feel it anymore, but its like they never existed at all. I am getting completely cut off from my past life and forgetting it all. Its all there theoretically, but I can’t feel it anymore. It feels like a total death of me as a concept, as a person who I grew up to be. I am not the same person anymore. Is it so hard to understand for people who don’t have it? I am feeling so scared and hopeless, and yet I cannot actually feel scared and hopeless because I am so numb. Its like I don’t exist. It feels like ego death or somethings and there won’t ever be a cure for this. I don’t even have enough emotions to kill myself. I am just so dead, I have no will of my own. I am just a dead body with no soul. What’s the point of living when you are not really living or can’t enjoy things, theoretically asking? Its such a curse. I don’t want to get used to it. I really don’t. But I can’t help forgetting everything of the past.” throwaway20190806
“Locked out of who I was. Trying and struggling to act normal all the time. Short of breath, vision issues, etc. Being behind a pain of glass, unable to properly connect and interact with life. My brain worked and I could kinda pull off being me, but it took so much more concentration and energy than usual. It was as if my personality and imagination had disappeared and I couldn’t experience emotions anymore. It was like I was constantly watching a film about my life, but I wasn’t in it. It was quite terrifying, almost like locked in syndrome where you can’t properly interact with the world, but it was more of a locked out syndrome. Locked out of who I was, struggling to act normal all the time. Additionally, I always felt short of breath and suffered vision issues: double vision, flashing dots, light sensitivity, floaters, etc. There was also this feeling like I was out of rhythm with everything around me constantly. Conversations were arduous, I found learning new things really hard, my memory was slowly deteriorating, and it was as if I had no inner landscape….I was barely coping, struggling to do my job and maintain friendships, insomnia became a horrible side effect that spiraled me further into total despair. Suicidal thoughts were fairly regular and paranoid, but very real fears were creeping in that I had early onset dementia or something similar. Chronic fatigue and IBS crept in…my days were spent in an almost catatonic state of anxiety and dissociation.” – u/lazerbase
“It’s not normal for a human to have no emotion or motive…My parents don’t understand. Medical doctors can’t help me…I just suddenly woke up one day and I wasn’t me anymore, I cannot experience a smirk or a smile, laughter, love, anger, fear, sadness, pleasure from activity, interest in anything. I could be lit on fire and be completely blank. I’m stuck like a deer in headlights, but I’m walking around and functioning, but I’m not actually a person…It’s not the sort of numbness from depression, it’s like the emotional center of my brain completely shut off…I used to be highly sensitive and caring and now my family could be killed and I’d be blank.” Newtnewt1221
“The only way I can express how I feel is through metaphors and similes…I feel like I am on a boat, drifting away from land…I wake up and I don’t have a solid grasp on who I am and the things around me. I forget my personality. Last night, my girlfriend told me that I briefly seemed like a different person, and that this scared her. This scared me…I still have associations with words, but they are like empty boxes with labels. I look inside, expecting to find something, but there is nothing there. I know I have a past and a future, but when I think about them it’s as if I am looking down a foggy road. It feels like I’m trying to fetch things that are not there. They have been misplaced and I can’t find them. Things that happened yesterday feel like they happened a week ago, I can barely remember…People I am closest with feel like strangers. This is the hardest part of it all.” darthbarracuda
“DPDR is a very psychologically isolating condition…I can be standing in a crowded room at a party/busy shopping mall or a packed sports event and I still feel trapped inside my own head…The normal connection regular people feel with the world around them has been taken away from all us DPDR sufferers….I particularly notice it when I’m out walking the beautiful park near where I live…I find it hard to connect with nature and the beauty of the trees and plants and animals that surround me the way I used to pre-DPDR….It’s like the sense of wonderment, amazement and awe is just gone but yet I still know nature is astonishing, I just don’t feel it anymore.” – DPDR forum
“Socialization is difficult for me because of the constant brain fog, and often times if I’m able to remember what I wanted to say, I start getting disconnected mid-conversation. Sometimes, I completely forget what I’m talking about. It’s so embarrassing. I don’t want people to think I’m rude or dumb. I also just feel like when I am able to keep a conversation, I sound like an idiot because I’m not able to fully think through what I’m saying due to the brain fog/disconnect.” I_approve_of_this_
“It’s like stepping back and watching your friend do something incredibly stupid and telling them how terrible of an idea it is, but they won’t listen, you just have to stand there and watch them fuck up. And also that friend is you.” clerdius.
“It’s like you are acutely aware of what your body is doing. It’s like there is a distinct separation between the part of your mind initiating action and the part that is consciously observing it.” Beatminerz
“I feel like I can’t have feelings, or can’t feel love for someone and I’m scared. Do you guys feel the same way?” JaspurTV
“I fear the same thing. It’s weird, I can objectively “think” or “calculate” that I do or “should” have feelings for someone, but it’s confusing. It doesn’t seem natural. I’m lost in my head trying to tell how I actually feel. Everything is too blurry and fast-paced for me to be in the moment with someone. I don’t know. I hate it. This largely contributed to the end of my last relationship. I feel so detached and it isn’t fair to string someone along for that.” bradrox
“My memories of times during my DPDR are super foggy and lacking emotional connection, like it wasn’t even me who experienced these things.” - bradrox
“I’m a walking piece of meat operated by nerves controlled by my brain, somehow existing in the abyss of space on a rock that circles a flaming ball, surrounded by other walking porkchop things…I’m not interested in anything 98% percent of the time and really don’t care to interact and talk to people in real life. I just stumble around day by day, week by week, month by month with no sense of time or a care in the world, just operating how I need to. It’s truly like being dead, but alive at the same time.” robocoughs
“Some people can have a bit of brain fog after a long day at the office, drinking, etc. People quite often misinterpret this as dissociation, but it is relatively easy to pull yourself out of this, but being chronically dissociated is a whole other level. We would cut off a hand to get out of this, and even if we really try to engage in some activity, it makes no difference to our dissociation at all. Everything is boring as hell. At least in my subjective experience.” Lassen2660
“That feeling that you may have always had [depersonazliation]. I hate thinking that I may have always had it, even though I know it isn’t true.” – reddit thread
“I find myself thinking over memories trying to tell [if I’ve always had depersonalization]. Rationally, I know I didn’t, but at the same time I can’t seem to remember a time it doesn’t feel like I didn’t.” OdiousLife
“This is what it is gentlemen. We are puppets to ourselves.” OnceUponACloud “Couldn’t be described any better in a picture.” noahishere01 “Kinda makes me feel worse cuz this is spot on” igoham209 “This is the first and only sketch I’ve seen that actually shows what it feels like.” screddachedda
“My head feels like a submerging submarine, what I imagine the pressure feels like. I feel like I become cognitively hazy and my vision makes everything look glazed over, like everything has a weird shine or as if everything was covered in shrink wrap. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a tightness in my jaw or whole face. Like a bolt is slowly being twisted. Overall, a really weird experience cause nothing is excruciatingly painful, but just a persistent mental ache.” avidadollars458
“Anyone else feel like their brain is degenerating? I feel dumber and dumber as the years go on. This started at 18 for me and now I’m 21. Before then I felt alert and very aware of my surroundings most of the time. Now my memory is terrible, I feel like I could be walking down the street and a car could crash next to me and I might not even notice…I want to feel alert and present again like I used to.” Juima
“The irony of this disorder is that a lot of people I know with dpdr are the most self-aware people I have ever met. Rationally, we know the world is real. Rationally, we know we are real. We just can’t feel it and its devastating. Feeling unreal is the most alienating experience I’ve ever had. It’s like the whole world is invited to a party and you are the only one that didn’t get an invitation.” – DPDR forum
“The biggest thing I want people to understand is that I’m not ok. I’ve been dealing with this for awhile now and even though I get up every single day and take care of my son and my responsibilities, I’m still not ok. I’ve only told 3 people about this and they all say the same thing: ‘you seem fine to me.’ The thoughts won’t shut off and I can’t get past the whole not feeling real thing. I’m missing out on everything.” – DPDR forum
“I feel like I’m in a purgatory…. I feel like none of this is real…. I feel like I’m not real…. I feel like people think I’m crazy when I tell them this…. I feel like my memories aren’t real, I feel like it’s hard to remember things, and I feel for anyone going through this mental illness.” iWizXbox
“‘Why does any of this matter?’ The truth is, it doesn’t. Nothing really truly matters until you give it importance. You create purpose in your life. Everything else just is.” light714
“Most of the time I just try to do something that gives/used to give me positive emotions.” LordUnsinkbar
“I always see derealization and depersonalization as symptoms of things like panic attacks or severe anxiety, but it’s so hard to find anything about the actual disorder. It’s frustrating to me that there isn’t more studies on it because it seems like a lot of people have experienced it and plenty of other people have the actual disorder, which is why it baffles me that a good amount of psychiatrists don’t even know what it is, and that there aren’t studies on it.” yuhayebruh
“I have been lecturing them about the disorder and sharing articles, etc. It’s a joke really. I am my own psychiatrist.” RamoSeif
“You basically have to become your own advocate and tell the doctors what it is. Unfortunately, I too have gotten the blank stare when I explain my symptoms. My current therapist is cool though and after I told him about it, he said he did some research to be able to help me better. I’m not sure why it’s not more widely recognized considering the amount of people that seem to suffer from it.” Lavender Slug – It can be difficult to be your own advocate when you don’t even know what is happening to you.
“How do you know if you’re feeling better if you don’t remember what better feels like?”- DPDR Forum
“I’m having to relearn how to be a human now that the DPDR is mostly gone – how to be vulnerable with people, how to reconnect with friends, how to go after the things I want to do….Since its gone, it’s a matter of changing your DPDR-based habits.” – DPDR Forum
“Currently recovering. I feel like when I look around I kinda recognize stuff and my mind isn’t always on it. Emotions slowly coming back. I cry a lot at stuff now.” A2Inbefz
“I don’t see a reason to live. I can’t do anything because of DPDR, I just really don’t know what to do.” - bright_moon
“I’m good at playing with the hand that I’m dealt, but this? This is like having to bet on the round, but you don’t get any cards. You don’t even get to play, you just have to sit and watch yourself lose.”
“Most of us have accepted it, but I’m damn sure all of us would prefer to go back to when we were normal. That is what I’m talking about. I accept that I have this disease or whatever you want to call it, but I won’t ever stop trying to fix it.” - baretbh
Dissociation is often seen in movies, tv shows, etc., but is often not identified or necessarily intended to be depicted as dissociation or depersonalization. There is even a, seemingly terrible, movie about the disorder called “Numb” with Matthew Perry. Get Out, Stranger Things, St. Elsewhere, The Lion King, etc. In Get Out, Jordan Peele intended The Sunken Place as a way of portraying the marginalization cultures experience within society, but has also been recognized as what Depersonalization feels like. In this scene, Chris becomes frozen, stuck inside himself, unable to be involved in the things going on around him. In this scene, LaKeith Stanfield is stuck inside, being used as a puppet, but is briefly given control back and there is a large emotional reaction. “I constantly feel high/drunk without the euphoria, or like I’m dreaming, nothing is really there, like I’m observing the world in a blocked off or sunken state almost (kind of like in that movie “get out”?). Time is weird, it feels nonexistent. My memory is shit now. Things look really odd obviously, but they’re not blurry, like way to cleahyper realistic or something. Kind of cold and fake.” gutdsludge.
In Stanger Things, Depersonalization can be compared to The Upside Down. Everything you know is there, but it’s not the same. This place is cold and empty and dark. It’s dull and there is nothing special about it. You find a comfortable place and you hide there. You learn to survive in this world, but it’s not home. “The whole “upside down” world comes across to me personally as a kind of metaphor for getting DPDR. The idea that you can ‘get sucked into’ a mirror world of this one, where everything kind of resembles the real world, but feels somehow more twisted and darker than the real world. The constant paranoia the character ‘Will’ has from episodic memories of being in the ‘upside down.’ How you try to break out of it, and get back to the ‘real world,’ but there’s some invisible layer preventing you from getting back to reality. Without the whole monsters crawling out of the portal and secret military bases, I could easily see the upside down as a kind of metaphor for getting stuck in a ‘different layer of reality’ like how we with DPDR often experience. The constant struggle with trying to ‘close off’ that portal to the ‘other side’ but somehow it keeps coming back and pulling those who have ever visited the ‘upside down’ to have episodes and reminders of something feeling ‘wrong’ or unreal with the world around them.” (AlienAle).
In this interview, Bo Burnham is seen describing the symptoms of Depersonalization while talking about anxiety attacks he went through during his performances.
There is evidence of dissociation in autism as well and this can be seen in the St. Elsewhere finale which is payed homage to in the last Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends comic strip. In the Lion King, I am not saying the movie portrays full blown depersonalization, but Simba does forget who he is and lessens the emotional pull and reaction to the things calling him.
Chester Bennington, lead sing of Linkin Park, struggled with depression throughout his life, but there is evidence that supports he may have struggled with DPDR and was never diagnosed. This is constantly misdiagnosed as depression and is even more prevalent in people that have experienced some type of trauma, like Chester. It is very possible to be coupled with depression because they act on similar brain regions, but this is not depression. There are distinct differences between depression and DPDR. This is wanting to feel something and being able to feel nothing. To not even remember what feeling something is like.
Signs of it are evident in songs like “Crawling” and “Numb” by Linkin Park.
It is believed that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel have also struggled with DPDR given lyrics in popular songs, such as: Only – NIN, The Day the World Went Away – NIN, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
Adam Duritz, lead singer of Counting Crows, has actually been diagnosed and struggled with Depersonalization. Their album Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings is about his battle with the dissociative disorder. The song Colorblind is also about his struggle with the Depersonalized state.
Articles
Depersonalization: Why Do I feel Empty and Numb?
Depersonalization: A Silent Epidemic
Understanding and Treating Depersonalization Disorder
Depersonalization and Schizophrenia (It is not Schizophrenia)
Life with Depersonalization
Depersonalization Disorder: ‘I was unable to feel love’
Depersonalization: A Strange Mental Illness Captured in Films, Music and Celebrity Confessions
“But in some unlucky cases, the protective mechanism gets ‘stuck.’ People can be trapped outside themselves, unable to inhabit their own experiences, feelings and thoughts”
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