Tag Archives: dissociation

So… I’m not really around right now (“thanks captain obvious!”), but I wanted to put something down so I can come back to it later, when I have energy and emotional space for it. 

I was telling Dr C how I didn’t feel like I had a right to be sad that my boss is transferring. I explained it along the lines of not having a right to be attached to her in any way, as well as having been taught that emotional intimacy equates to sexual intimacy, and that my expressing to my boss that I was sad she was leaving might be taken the wrong way… not because I think she thinks that way, or that I think that way, but because G thinks that way. It is what he warned us against, and what he was always going on about when anyone at all showed even casual friendship towards him. My adult brain knows that’s a skewed line of thinking, but the emotional, kid part of me can’t seem to step away from it…

Anyway, I explained that to her…

Her response; “Wow. G really did a number on you to have you believe you are both incredibly worthless, and also irresistible all at the same time…”

It’s not the first time I’ve explained something to a therapist only to have them be awed by the level of dysfunction he lives in… TM commented on the extent of his grooming. Dr C has commented on his ideals on more than one occasion. De & TL commented on the general dysfunction of our family dynamic, and the level of domestic violence I grew up thinking was “normal”…

How did I get so old without realizing any of this stuff before it’s pointed out to me? Or maybe; how can I continually & repeatedly dissociate the reality of my childhood so completely? 

Advertisements

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Losing Chow has been difficult to adjust to. I’ve been withdrawing into myself, yet, paradoxically, throwing myself into things outside the home. It sounds contradictory, I know. 

I’ve been burying the emotional part of me behind a bombardment of stimuli and activities. There’s rarely a moment when I’m not desperately distracting myself.  I’ve not been doing much by way of art or writing though. It’s been mostly “mindless” stuff, like going to dinner with friends (and avoiding anything other than surface conversation), taking the dogs to the park, that kind of stuff. 

I’ve even avoided taking much in therapy. At least, I have up to now. Today’s session might be different. I’ve started attending a group Dr C put together for adult survivors of [mumble, mumble, mumble]… I still cringe and have a small freak-out moment when I hear the title… we’ve met twice so far. The first one was mostly intros and basic group guidelines. The second one was a bit more topic-oriented around explaining PTSD, the symptoms, and how early abuse plays into it. I was ok for the psychoeducational piece of the group, but struggled to stay present when it turned more into talking about the effects on a personal level. 

I think part of my problem with that comes from the walls I’ve put up around the abuse “memories”. I know I was totally convinced at one point that what I was feeling and experiencing were true, but I’ve detached from that the last several weeks. This last group started stirring things below the surface but they still remain below the surface. 

I dunno. On the one hand, it’s a huge relief to have people that seem to struggle with similar symptoms and experiences. On the other hand, I feel like an interloper. They all seem to know what happened to them, and to connect with it. I’m here still trying to remember what the hell it was that came at me in those flashbacks. I know I struggled a lot with them, but they feel foreign to me at this time. It’s like I watched a movie a long time ago, and can kinda remember the plot, but have no idea of the details. And i’m certainly not connecting to it emotionally…


Brain fogĀ 

My head is in a complete fog, and I have no energy. I think it’s because my body is fighting off some ailment. L had a wicked stomach bug this weekend, and others I know have had the flu or respiratory things… I’m just hoping I make it through without succumbing to anything…

Last session, we were taking about the extent of my dissociation (when it happens), and ways to try to pool the knowledge from the various emotional states. Dr C suggested trying to “bring all the emotional states together, like at a conference table”… I had trouble wrapping my head around that concept, but I think it was mostly being uncomfortable with the conference table idea. The more I sat with the concept this weekend, the more I was able to ease into the idea. Though I switched the thought of a board room to the concept of a living room, it’s kinda sounding more possible. I’m not sure if I can make it happen, but I was able to doodle out what the different emotions look like, and to write out what I think of when I think of them… they kinda have personal appearances, though they are not actually totally seperate entities… I understand then as all just different emotional states, and can notice when I “slip into” the different mind sets, well, for most of them. There’s two that feel like completely seperate characters. While I’m consciously aware of feeling different in the others, and can access what it feels like to be, say, the brooding teenager, there are two kids whose heads I can’t get into. Those I walled-off more efficiently than the others… 

I’ve always felt like my head was set up kinda like a house, with doors that closed to each room. When I was in one room, I was totally in that room. I had agreed of the existence of the other rooms, but I couldn’t tell what was going on there, nor did I have efficient working memory of what may have happened when I wasn’t in a particular room… More recently (like the past decade or so), it’s been closer to different characters in each room; like an actor slipping into different roles in different sets. The two “kids” are different actors though…

I dunno where I was going with that. Brain fog offs moving back in…


D.E.S. results chat

Talked to Dr C about the results from the assessment, and I took it again with her. I scored a 44 this time… we looked up the scoring; doesn’t look like you can score much higher than a 50… I’m not DID though, so…? I dunno. 

I had questioned how reliable my self-report could be if my score changed so much in just a day. I questioned if maybe I was exaggerating things on the questionnaire. She said that it sounded more like I was trying to downplay my experiences (I was talking to her about a few of the questions).  I have trouble quantifying my experiences, so I’m not sure I answer the same way each time. She said that the test was statistically quite accurate and reliable. She also mentioned that one of the underpinnings of dissociation is not being able to remember the act of dissociating. So, I guess that’s another check in the “you’re really fucked up chicky-do” column… :/

She asked if I was worried about a DID diagnosis. I reflexively answered “no” because I don’t see it as that bad & because I’ve seen DDNOS on my records, so others don’t think it’s that bad. I think I’ve talked to her another time about it also, and I think I remember ruling out DID, so there’s that… but on the way home, I kinda panicked about whether her thoughts on it were evolving to lean more towards that diagnosis. I just text her asking if she was seeing DID. I’m not sure she will answer that through text or not, but as long as we address it at some point, I think I’ll feel better about it. 

I know my dissociation can be severe at times because I’ve completely lost days, weeks, and even months in the last decade. I guess I just don’t think it’s that severe all the time. I don’t see too much evidence pointing to DID other than L’s frustration around never knowing what to expect from me in terms of likes and dislikes…

We chatted more about dissociation and the functions of it. We talked about other coping skills for handling the body sensations and the flashbacks. I think she kinda came to the conclusion that even my healthier coping skills utilize dissociation to a degree. We talked about the writing and the art, and how I often don’t really remember what was created. We did differentiate the “flow” of creating vs more dissociative aspects of it. I think with both the art and the writing, part of the creative process is having no real direction and letting the piece take over its own evolution. It’s when I can’t recall writing something (like a blog entry) or creating something, that the dissociation plays a bigger role in that coping strategy… there are definitely some things I have to look at over and over again because they seem familiar, but I don’t connect to having made them.

Dr C commented that dissociation, especially such intense dissociation, takes a lot of energy. I countered that it’s actually the least draining of my coping skills, but now that I think about it, I wonder if that contributes to the constant exhaustion. I know some of it is the depression, but maybe she’s right; maybe the dissociation is exhausting as well. 


Dissociative experiences scale

Dr C had mentioned the dissociative experiences scale a few seasons back, but she couldn’t find a copy in her files at the time. I forgot to mention it again in session. I thought I’d look it up online. I found one at CounsellingResource.com and took it…

While not quite at the DID end of the scale, I did apparently score closer to it than to “normal”;

I also took some of the other screenings they had. I scored really high on depression and anxiety… fun. 


Dissociation frustrations

Talked to Dr C about dissociation today, though I was pretty dissociated when we talked, so I don’t remember much about it. 

I mentioned disliking this state of half-knowing. I’d rather forget completely, without any of the side effects of merely dissociating things, but that’s not totally accurate. I’d probably lose part of myself if I totally wiped the memories… but remembering is overwhelming. It’s painful and distressing. I don’t know how to make it feel safe. 

I guess Wednesday we will talk about something related to all this, but I can’t remember what she mentioned. 

I’m so tired of this struggle. 


“Weird”

I feel weird. It’s hard to describe. It’s triggery, floaty, disconnected… I’m having trouble putting it into words. 

There were just two of us in group today. Dr C took that opportunity to try to show us both that we are more alike than we might think… 

Dr C and I had been talking about shame around my cutting, and me trying to wrap my head around my recurring “shock” when I hear a dissociative diagnosis in reference to my symptoms…  I think she was trying to allow me an opportunity to talk about it with someone who might understand from a first-hand perspective. 

We ended up talking a bit about extreme dissociation and about coping skills. Something about B describing her DID stirred up my body memories. When she talked about switching, some part of me started to “wake up”… the stirring feelings shifted and swirled and ran through a few “ages”… I dunno. It was weird; and the body memories bubbled up…

Last week, for the first time in almost 2 decades, I connected with a part of myself I had all-but-forgotten ever existed. I suddenly remembered how much I loved to read, and that I used to do it all the time. I connected to the memory and the emotion of it… It only lasted a few hours, but I remembered what it was like. I’m trying to rekindle that part. I’ve started to buy books again and I actually want to read them. I haven’t been able to pay attention to them yet, but there’s an excitement around it (even if it’s just a tiny seedling of excitement). 

Anyway, the rest of today has been emotionally weird. I think I’m still somewhat back in group, trying to process finally not being alone in my dysfunction. I’m also feeling the beginnings of mild flashbacks (at least, I hope they are mild)… I’m guessing the internal stirrings are also playing a part in the weird feeling. It’s like the inside partitions are starting to get hazy and the parts are wandering forward. I’m not sure the walls will always be hazy (they’re starting to solidify again), but they were in group.

I’m getting better at holding conversations, but it’s still difficult. I lose interest pretty quickly… no, “interest” isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I lose my motivation to keep talking. I get distracted, and tired, and… yeah. That. 

Sorry, this post is fast losing cohesion.