I prefer the term [that Mind use] 'Dissociative Distress' to 'Dissociative Disorder'.
I suffer from dissociative distress.
I have an Other One, a split off part of my psyche that developed as a reaction to trauma and abuse when I was a child and teen. I pretended nothing was wrong, I pretended I didn't exist, I pretended that I was secretly special, an undiscovered princess.
And so The Other One developed.
It tries to protect me, but isolates me from the world and other people, and doesn't want me to have a 'life' because, in it's mind, life and other people means getting hurt. As it did back then.
And so it perpetuates what the bullies and my father did to me, the way they made me see myself.
And it has a tendency to exist separate from me, Katie. It has some of its own 'life', and when it comes over me, I feel far away and not in control. I am an observer and hostage.
I am working in therapy to track when THO, as I call it, is forefront, and to try and counteract its destructive lure.
I started this thread for all of us who suffer from dissociative distress of one form or another -- depersonalisation, derealisation, complex PTSD, DID.... you are all welcome here.
I don't know what I have exactly. I just go away. I get cut off entirely. I can watch the situation, but I cant talk, I cant get back iside me to kid on everything is normal. Its like being paralised or somthin.
Do you know what it is I am describing? Is it like longing tears. I'd love someone to explain it if they understood.
It sounds like some kind of dissociation. I can't pin down which sort, but it definitely sounds like you are going into some protective mechanism, freezing. 'Going away' is part of the dissociative defence thing, in my experience.
Are there any particular triggers for when this happens for you?
For example, my triggers are usually crowds or public transport, or queues, where I feel my space being intruded upon in some way, or where I can't control things and feel unsafe [because of the past abuses].
Hi, just wanted to let you know you're not alone with this, both of you. I did have a problem with this a few months ago, it felt like I had split into 3, my body, Anna (destructive personality) and Rosie (childish, naive personality) I didn't have much control over myself, I just watched what was happening from across the room, seeing myself like as if I was watching a film. I still sometimes see myself from "outside" myself and don't feel 'real' sometimes, but the fact that I eat regularly now helps.
Take care, PM me anytime.
Feel free to PM me any time; whether you want support or just a chat! x
"She's been everybody else's girl
Maybe one day she'll be her own"
hey willow. I know what you mean about when things inside get out of control.
hi Rosie, thank you for sharing your experience.
I often find that eating properly helps me also. Do you have an idea why that might be?
Myself, I wonder if its maybe I feel safer then and more able to contain the feelings I can find unbearable at other times.
My Other One is basically self-destructive, and its hard to learn that is the way it is. She just wants to make the past better, which of course can't happen, because its over and done. But The Other One lives in a past reality, and...
Infants who experience birth trauma, or even in-utero trauma, may have that traumatic element embedded; the moms and dads dealing with that same birth trauma may also embed their own trauma over the event. No one can ascribe for another what trauma means for them; we all have our own ways of dealing with situation based on our life experiences. What may be meaningless to you may be profoundly traumatic to me based on my life's experiences.
reuniting the two hemispheres of the brain, which split in trauma and cease to communicate with each other. While the method appears very simplistic, through a series of well aligned questions, the brain becomes reconnected, the "alarm" calms down, and normal living may resume, with potential lessened consequences such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Shamanic methods of soul retrieval involves the search for missing soul pieces that have been detached during trauma
I struggle with dissociation - although not to the extent that I have split off other personalities that exist independantly from me .... but my dissociation problems have been severe enough so that they've impacted significantly on my life, causing some lengthy amnesic episodes, self injury and self destructive behaviour, spaciness, and feelings of numbness and unreality.
And what I've found to be a big problem for me, is that medication does virtually nothing to help my dissociation problems - I've tried anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and anti-psychotic meds, and none of them have really helped me very much at all.
The only thing that has really helped me with my dissociation problems, and with problems due to past trauma, is the understanding and experience of a skilled therapist. It seems that the only way to counteract the effects of dissociation that is a result of past trauma, is the long slug through intensive therapy .... *sighs* ... and some days that can be emotionally grueling and exhausting work!
I have the greatest of admiration for people who live with dissociation problems ... it's a difficult struggle that's for sure ... especially when you've got 2 or more people inside you who are working at cross purposes to you.
I guess in the situation of multiple people in the one body, the key to living successfully, is understanding what purpose everyone has within the whole system, and finding a way to compromise and cooperate so that everyone can live together as happily as possible. Not an easy feat I can imagine ... but definitely worth the struggle!
Stay strong everyone ... and its nice to get to know some of you! :)
And the medication question... there is unfortunately no medication that relieves dissociation, although anti-depressants can ease the depression and intense rawness and sense of vulnerability some.
My belief is that recovering from trauma and consequent dissociation involves unfreezing blocked feelings, releasing that learnt survival defence mechanism and learning to feel... learning to feel for the first time, it often seems to me.
Dissociation has definitely blocked me off from the world and other people to a large degree, and reaching out from that is one of the most painful and beautiful things that there is, in my perception.
well...ive been diagnosed with compex PTSD and dissociative disorder.
my only way of describing it, is that i "go away". i have no memory of what ive done for hours at a time. sometimes if there are people around, i will ask them if they noticed anything different about me. the answers i get are "you were really quiet and didnt answer any questions, as if you were a robot". due to this reason alone, my son had to leave me. that is the biggest consequence for me in having DID. and i hate my father for it. had it not been for him, i would have my little boy *cries* im sorry...ive said enough.
Sometimes think that dissociation (in all it's forms) is a little like an allergic response to something that once caused food poisoning. The whole system goes into overdrive as it tries to protect itself.
I 'go away' too, but I am acutely conscious of it. I dissociate feelings rather than time.
I understand totally about "going away" and loosing time. I feel so sad about your son and your feelings towards your father. (Big Hugs)
About medication - I am on a tablet called lamotrigine. It was originally an epilepsy drug, but now they think it stabalises mood and helps with dissosiation. I can't say I notice a massive improvement, but sometimes you can't remember just how bad it was before!!
It's good to hear you all talk about this. I find alot of people want to pretend this kind of thing doesn't happen.
I think I will have a look into that medication Willow. Although I am quite 'stable' now ( LOL - whatever that means! ), I do go through some pretty rough periods during certain times of the year (ie - around my birthday, Christmas, whenever there's a death of a loved one), and it would be nice to have a medication that actually works to take the edge of these feelings. I dont expect there to be a miracle cure for dissociation (although if someone offered me one, I dont think I'd knock it back!) .... but it definitely would be nice to have a little chemical help, y'know?.... (or maybe that's just my addictive nature speaking there... but sometimes living with dissociation problems can be incredibly difficult, cant it? So I really dont blame anyone - nor myself - for wishing it could be a litle easier sometimes.)
Romy - I really like your 'food poisoning / allergy' analogy (or is it called a metaphor? I always get those 2 mixed up! ). Often I find myself wondering how I can still be so badly effected by something that happened over 20 years ago! But as my therapist so patiently explains over ... and over ... and over to me these traumatic experiences occurred during the years when my personality and 'sense of self' was only just developing - ie - it was a 'critical time' in my life, and it is expected that it would have a significant impact on my life today. hmmm ... but understanding what's happening to you and why you are the way you are, doesnt always make it any easier to LIVE with it though.
Apple - I also have the diagnosis of Complex PTSD .... even though my therapist says that this particular diagnosis hasnt made it to the DSMs yet - I think they said it might make the 6th edition though - apparently adding a new diagnosis to these psych manuals that the docs use to diagnose patients, ends up taking a loooooong time with all the red tape involved! I used to have the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, because the docs didnt know what to make of all my 'lost time', and they just didnt believe in Dissociative Identity Disorder (kinda makes you wonder what they thought of DID being in the DSM 4 then, doesnt it? ) But I knew I didnt have DID ... and I hadnt heard of Complex PTSD at that stage, so borderline was it for me! And because of the stigmaattached to that particular disorder, I was treated with alot of doubt and suspicion - everything I said or did was seen as 'manipulative' - not nice at ALL! .... but this is a thread for Dissociation problems, so I will save those thoughts for the 'borderline thread' I've seen pop up recently in this forum ... here it is! It's great to read about other people's experiences - sometimes you can just pick up something - like the name of a medication, or a coping strategy that you hadnt thought of, or whatever - and it could be something that may make all the difference for anotherperson!
I don't think I'm DID, at least in the traditional sense of the word. If it's possible to be somewhere between DID and normal, I think that's where I am. I'm one person, but there are still...two of me, in a way. I can't explain this too well. It might be partially because I changed my name, or at least that's what gave me the words to describe it When I became Jacquelyn, part of me stayed Ali. The same part of me is also young--between 4 and 6, I think--and is just sort of...she is how i think and act sometimes. It isn't as if I'm ever NOT myself, or as if someone else takes over, just more like I'm two people at once and sometimes I'm her. Younger, wanting to hurt myself, wanting to be punished so I can be clean. Here's the problem: No matter what I decide when I feel my age, I can't make it stick when I don't. She can't understand. She's just too...young.
so, my question for all of you...what's it like? to what extent do you 'go away'? where do you go? or are you there all the time, only it's...different? like being someone else? is it possible to have good enough communication that you don't know you are switching, but you feel different? can you be separate and suspect you're separate but at the same time feel like you're one person? i don't even know what i'm asking anymore. it's just...there are times i feel like someone else. someone quite different than me.
I'd say more, but I'm really really tired right now and its hard to get words together.
just more like I'm two people at once and sometimes I'm her. Younger, wanting to hurt myself, wanting to be punished so I can be clean. Here's the problem: No matter what I decide when I feel my age, I can't make it stick when I don't. She can't understand. She's just too...young.
That is so much like how it is for me.
I'll try and answer some of your questions later..
Sorry I never got to answering in more detail. I've been... elsewhere in and out The Other One this past week. Am now 'come back to myself.' To my great relief...
I'll respond to this soon.
For me it feels every time I emerge from a severe dissociative episode that I move forward one notch in accepting the reality of my condition. Its like a jolt each time, saying 'yes, you, you have a dissociative disorder due to trauma and abuse.' It shakes you up.
When I first started having dreams and flashbacks of what I still don't know if was real or not, but basically of being abused as a child, my depersonalisation when from episodes of being disassociated to having two alters. It was really scary when I came out of it, because my parents would often be worried and angry because I would have been using a different voice, different mannerisms, all sorts of odd things. Thankfully I very rarely go into disassociative identities anymore. I have not been officially diagnosed with ptsd by a doctor, but I have by a psychologist. My depersonalisation was always the worst in school, where I would routinely fall asleep or just lose hours of time due to my depersonalisation, because my traumas mainly happened in school, so I have school phobia which has caused me to be out of mainstream schooling for a few years (although I'm hoping to go to a mainstream school 75% of the time from September).
Sorry that was a big self important monologue from me. I don't find medication helps my depersonalisation at all, like Typsee I find therapy a lot better. Sometimes grounding techniques help me. My Mum has a book 'seeking safety' with things to do if you're disassociated or having a flashbacks. Sometimes it's a relief, to be depersonalised I mean, sometimes it's scary and I feel like I'm not real, or I'm made of cardboard or something.
I started to dissociate two years ago, at that time I would just lose chunks of time. It stayed like that until last year when I started hearing voices other than my own, the dissociation became more frequent and I would lose whole days at work or days at home, yet things would still get done, I just wouldn't remember doing them. Then just 3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Dissociative Amnesia, so when I dissociate bad enough I'll forget everything important, like who I am, where I am, what I'm doing, I'm still learning how to cope with this one, so if anyone has any suggestions that would be great. Also, the insiders (the people in my head) have been taking tests for me (and doing pretty well on them too... ) Having said this I can see where my psychologist is coming from when she said there is a very good change that I have DID ontop of the Dissociative Amnesia. The concept of dissociation isn't new to me, but I can say it's gotten worse over the 2 year period. I also have depersonalization issues. I'll feel like I'm standing in a corner just watching myself work. All I can say is just because we dissociate and have dissociative disorders DOES NOT mean we're crazy, like my psychiatrist seems to think, but that's another story.
Life is what you make it so make it the best you can. Don't walk around thinking things won't change because if you think that way they won't change.