Hi everyone! Let me be the first to apologize for everybody inside. We’ve been very busy and barely managing our finances. We currently have two jobs, no internet access at our house, and have been obsessed with reading soul eater, the mortal instruments series, and the house of night series. Sorry for the prolonged absence.
Today I wanted to talk about something that gets asked to me a lot. What does it feel like when I dissociate into someone else. So let’s start with the biggest thing, like a seizure or a fainting spell I can feel it coming on. That being said there are a lot of technicalities about dissociation that are hard to understand so I plan on delving into that in the near future. Today, I’m just going to focus on the feeling, what happens, what people can do to help me snap out of it, and how I keep myself present during extreme stress if I need to be there.
So let’s start with the first one eh? Now before I continue I would like to place a disclaimer here. People who have dissociative disorders all experience dissociation differently. How I feel may be different to others. What helps me may not help others. Please be aware this is just a blog to get the disorder out there and make it less scary to the world and ultimately work at achieving stopping stigma on all mental illness.
How does my dissociation feel.
As I said I can usually feel it coming on. I tend to get extremely hypersensitive. Everything seems louder than it is and sometimes my head is chaotically filled with voices. When I feel this way I usually try to isolate myself, pull covers over my head, and place a pillow over my ears.
After the hypersensitivity gets bad enough if I cannot find a quiet place to focus then things start looking like a dream. I start feeling like I’m awake and dreaming. Sometimes I remember things that happened several years ago as if they just happened not that long ago. I also sometimes get unwanted memories once the spell is over. And dizziness hits me bad when several of my parts are coming out at once.
If I continue to not be able to focus on something else I start feeling younger or older based on the age of the part that is coming out. I feel intense emotions that cause a lot of anguish before the part comes out and then based on the emotion they come out. (I have an angry tweenager/protector, a sad child, a happy child, etc.)
Once the part comes out I know it’s not me who is talking. Everything being said is like I’m watching the part that came out in a movie. Almost all the time I can’t keep track of the conversation. Like one of the biggest problems is I’ll know what sentence they said and then a second later it would have disappeared without me grasping the meaning.
I only am allowed to remember bits and pieces that my Inner Self Helper (the one that works closely with everyone and is very logical about everything) let’s me. Sometimes it will be a quick snapping out of it if I notice that one of the parts is digging a grave. Sometimes it won’t even if the part is causing issues. Afterward I’m zapped and realize how much energy it took to be that person.
What can people do to help?
It really depends my Inner self helper is very good at telling people what needs to be done when I am not present. Sometimes it asks for the person to let us sit in silence. Sometimes in really severe cases it needs a bit more tactical approach. For example: something happened not that long ago that for some reason caused me to dissociate but no one came out (It was a part that was more of a fragment I think.) It took someone actually touching my shoulders and saying something in my ear to snap me out of it. Other times I just need something in my hands or if I know you really well something that the part coming out likes. And other times I need someone to just talk to me and joke with me to snap me out of it.
How do you keep yourself present?
This is an ongoing battle that you kind of learn as you go. Communication amongst my parts and I have been very helpful in this. For example they all know if something stressful happens at work and I dissociate because of the stress an adult alter needs to take over and remain calm.
As I said I can feel it coming on (I felt it coming on a lot today due to the holidays). When I feel it coming on and nothing major is going on I excuse myself to the bathroom or take a small walk outside for a bit. Maybe listen to music hide under covers sleep write read or video game. I always have some things with me for when I can’t leave the scene of stress to keep my hands busy. Right now I have a fidget spinner, a big awesome stress ball, some dice, a slinky, and amiibos in my bag of tricks.
Anyway I hope this was informative for anyone who wants to know more about dissociative identity disorder. I hope it helps you with anyone you may know with this mental illness and clears up the Sybil notion that everybody with dissociative identity disorders forgets big chunks of their life and cannot hold down a job. There may be some people who have it that severely and I look at them as the bravest people you will know. However my counselor who works with a lot of people who have dissociative identity disorder states that everyone but one of the clients she has seen can hold down a full time job and be successful in the world.
Also my counselor and I discussed the possibility last week of he communication with my parts has improved so much that I may not need to go to therapy weekly and eventually graduate from needing therapy at all. I’ve been in therapy 15 years guys and lots of people with dissociative identity disorder may have to be in it longer than that but 15-20 years is the average I’ve noticed.
Anyway thanks for reading!
Ending stigma (one reader at a time)