Monday, November 15, 2010

Dissociation, Fears & Facing Stigma

 I started to reply to Candycan's post and what was just going to be a small comment ended up being another huge post in itself, alot of the issues I talked about I want share here anyway so here is my full reply:

Yes, I experience a number of different dissociation types - from what I have read, and what I have discussed with the psychologist I see this is normal - that the different dissociative disorders do overlap to some degree (as in you may have DID but experience Depersonalisation).

I occasionally feel that unconnected to my body, particularly during really hard times. I also "dissociate" from my emotions - so I am completely aware and functioning, & while I might have an emotional response to what is happening I wont feel those emotions at the time. This is something I particularly have to work on in my healing. Because I will often remember the memories of my past but not the emotions attached to those emotions - and I cant work through those emotions until I can connect with them - if that make sense?

I think the most frightening for me was when I first was really experiencing the DID full on before I knew what was going on. Way back when it all started I couldn't hear my alts, I wasn't really aware of their existence. So when I first became aware of me losing time I had no idea what was going on. I would be doing one thing and then all of a sudden I would be in a completely different location, different clothes, having no idea how the minutes/hours and occasionally even days had passed in what seemed to me a split second.

Id have people ask me a bout conversations I never remembered having, and on a few occasions ran into people at the shops/school that I didn't know but who obviously knew me. I would find artwork in my sketch pads that I never drew. That was terrifying and there was a constant fear of what I would do in these mysterious losses of time. And there was the fear of telling anyone in case they locked me away in a straight jacket.

I think that is one of the hardest things we have to get past - the stigma of mental health issues. My fear of switching is all but gone, I am more in touch with my alts and can always ask them what is going on or what has happened. The not knowing is what was the scariest part for me. My biggest fear these days is people finding out, switching in public & behaving in a way that people will realise is not "normal". I still get nervous about switching in front of friends who don't know.

And this fear comes from the fear of losing friends, fear of people's judgment. And this fear stems from the stigma that surrounds things like DID - that is what makes me think people will react negatively, and usually the reason why those few closed minded people do react so negatively.

Wow this comment has become almost as long as another post!! I hope this answers some of your questions, I hope it helps you feel less alone.

I want to add this - that stigma is slowly changing, but its something we need to face head on ourselves. But to do that we need to be confident in ourselves that DID (and whatever any other mental health issue you may face) is NOT a bad thing, its NOT your fault, and it DOESN'T make you any less "normal" - because what is normal? & when you take into consideration what lead us to be like this - who is to say this is not a normal response to such extreme actions, in which we had no control??

I do struggle to remember these things, to be confident in myself and not to be ruled by my fears, including fear of rejection. But it is something I am trying to change in myself.

This brings me back to Jackson's journal post on SuperForest (check my earlier post here). This post touched me deeply, it really reminded me how much I let fear control my life, and how much I want to change that.

Fear has seemed to come up a lot today - I think someone really wanted to remind me of goals.


Anonymous said...

I designed a game called Rejection Therapy back in 2009 to encourage myself to get out of my comfort zone more. It was amazingly effective and enlightening (for as long as I did it).

If anyone wants to try it, it's here:

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