Once again I am sorry for not being around, I have been in hospital for the last month and only just got my laptop. This post is very relevant for me, as the main reason I am in hospital is because of my dissociation, and the risks involved in it. Looking back it seems that I haven't done a post just on my dissociation, although I know that I have mentioned it a lot throughout this blog!
According to Wiki Dissociation means;
In Psychology, dissociation describes a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.
This means different things to different people. I think I gave the example before of driving somewhere familiar and not remembering the journey, this is dissociation, but a very mild form that many people do, and not a problem, you could be daydreaming and not realise the amount of time that has passed. For me I have a much more severe type of Dissociation.
I was going to try and explain the different parts, but here is wiki's explanation (much better than anything that I could do...)
More pathological dissociation involves dissociation disorders including dissociative fugue and depersonalization disorder with or without alterations in personal identity or sense of self. These alterations can include: a sense that self or the world is unreal (depersonalization and derealization); a loss of memory (amnesia); forgetting identity or assuming a new self (fugue); and fragmentation of identity or self into separate streams of consciousness Dissociation Identity Disorder formerly termed multiple personality disorder) and complex post traumatic stress disorder
(I know that this website should be taken with a pinch of salt, but its the best explanation online that I have found!)
Well enough about the different types in terms of definitions, and onto what this blog is really about – how it affects me (and other people).
I have two types of dissociation, the Amnesia and DID (dissociation Identity Disorder).
The amnesia means that I loose time, its a bit like the daydreaming idea, but a hell of a lot more severe. This is when I am most at risk, such as cutting and overdosing – which makes it so dangerous as I am not aware of what I am doing! This came about as a safety mechanism to deal with the difficult circumstances that I have been through, not just the sexual abuse etc, but also the emotional abuse that I suffered from my mum. Back just before I came into hospital I took an overdose, this is quite unusual for me these days, I then came home a few days later dissociated in the shower and needed stitches, and was admitted at that point as this type of my dissociation was so bad that I couldn't guarantee my safety. This is just an example when my dissociation is bad, and how dangerous it becomes. I've not only OD'd/cut whilst in this sate, but I have found myself in random places like Brighton with no idea how I got there, without some detection (such as do I have a train ticket et). I have many triggers that can lead me to dissociate, but the big thing is that I get overwhelmed by whatever (such as flashbacks) and my brain decides to switch off for a bit. This all, obviously, freaks me out, I mean how would you feel if you suddenly realised that you were somewhere you didn't know and it was several hours later??? This has happened!
The other major dissociation problem I have (although this is not formally diagnosed yet) is Dissociative Identity Disorder, something that I have talked about a little bit in previous posts. The best way that I can describe this is, is a way a friend has that I'm a chocolate orange, I have loads of segments but I am also a whole, Or you can see this link to a YouTube video of a lecture. It is important to remember that this is very different to the delusions that can be a part of schizophrenia, and the symptoms of this are not schizophrenia, it is very different. It is part of my PTSD, This means that I have several alters that are there own separate identities, and come “out” at various times. Usually this happens when they are needed to protect me from either external or internal “stuff”, however this is not always the case, but they all have a purposes. Sometimes these are called personalities, hence the old name of multiple personality disorder, but I don’t think of them as these as that makes them somehow external to me, and they are just not, they are me just as much as I am them! Some people do not believe in this diagnosis, but I think it is just something that is very difficult to understand. The cause of this is widely known as severe trauma, such as the sexual ritualistic abuse that I suffered as a child.
I am going to try and write about a few of my main alters, you have to remember that they are different ages, have different likes and dislikes, and can be very different in attributes. I do not know all my alters, some of them stay in the background, and there must be a reason for this that I do not know yet, and just as some of them come to the fore, some of the others can take “background time”.
I guess the first one to introduce you too is the first one that ever made contact with someone in the outside world. Rosie is 5, She is very disturbed and knows a lot about the SRA and so is also very very scared. I think her role is to feed “me” info as I am able to cope with it. She loves Disney, especially Finding Nemo and so loves my wrist tattoo (Just Keep Swimming), like any young child would. She can write in my diary, and it is quite obvious when she has (such as some of the others) because of the handwriting. She also has a soft toy that is an original Tigger (as opposed to the Disney one) and she takes it everywhere!
Rachael is the teenager of us, and like many teenagers she likes a strop!!! she is also the most self-destructive of us all. She is another one that likes to write, but she is very angry and takes it out on us. She is Emo and loves all the stuff associated with this. Her role is the anger, although she needs to learn to control this anger and direct it in healthy ways!
Sarah is mummy, she looks after us all. I don’t know much about her apart from she loves to hug anyone who is struggling, and especially the little ones (there are more than just Rosie).
Then there is me, Lou, I am 31 (as I am in chronological age). I am the host. I have grown up like anyone else, and been through everything, although I don’t remember it due to the amnesia dissociation. (which is where some of the others such as Rosie come in). I try and keep order in my head between the alters, and give them “time” if they need it, but try and control them as well (don’t always succeed with Rachael though!).
These are just a few of mine. I have no idea at the moment how many alters I have as I am very early in the recognition that this is me.
I hope that I have managed to explain dissociation, and especially how it affects me.
P.S. Finally have got the PTSD as my primary diagnosis!!!! (although still havent got rid of my BPD one!)