dis-so-ci-a-tion: an adaptive defense in response to high stress or trauma characterized by memory loss and a sense of disconnection from oneself or one’s surroundings.

Two days ago I experienced something that has now got me questioning my own sanity. I have never been diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). I have had a few experiences with disassociation which all occurred during some sort of hospitalization; in other words during the times that I have been extremely ill. But never have I had anything happen like this recent episode.

David and I had decided to go visit my family for the day. Right from the time I opened my eyes that morning I was feeling ‘off’. As the day progressed I just kept feeling really tired. I’d close my eyes for a few seconds but that was it. I had a lot of stuff going on in my brain though. It was the anniversary of the day my best friend committed suicide ….

Everything around me felt weird. I’d never felt like that before. I kept remembering things, seeing things (in my head), and hearing things. David was talking to me and I talked back. I know I did but I don’t know what was said. The discussion around the supper table …. I know I was talking, I could hear my voice. I know there was food in my mouth but I didn’t see me feeding myself. I started to hear things get louder. People were in my face. Someone shook me, but I don’t know who. I closed my eyes and went back to the quiet place inside my head. I found a quiet place that day that I didn’t know existed and I fell in love with it. I wanted to stay there.

My mind kept going back and forth, and I just kept going in and out. In and out of what I assumed was reality. I felt like I was just going away deeper into myself, in silence, not present with everyone else that was in the room. My mom, brother, step-father, my husband, everyone talking to each other, including me as well. The dog was jumping at my leg barking and I could hear myself talking to her to get her to settle down. We were all sitting around the table and I was talking with them about the bad weather the news was forecasting. I heard it all. I felt my lips moving. I knew I was thirsty and my lips were dry. In my mind I was having a conversation with myself about getting a drink of water but on the outside I was actually talking about hurricanes.

It was like watching a movie in my head. You know how like when you’re watching a movie and you get all wrapped up in it and forget what’s going on around you. And you forget who you are, where you are, what time it is, what’s going on in your life, what you ate for breakfast that day, the list of things that you need to pick up at the store that’s just there sitting next to you on the coffee table next to your glass of pepsi, and the last thing that is on your mind is the sticky note in your purse with the number on it that belongs to a lady that is a foster parent in the area and she suggested you get together for coffee and talk about the inside world of the foster care system. Not one of these things existed for me because I wasn’t in this world anymore.

At some point that evening something snapped in my brain. I pulled myself into focus and there was my mom with a cold cloth, wiping my face. David was holding a straw to my mouth, trying to get me to take a sip of water. I pushed everyone away and was like “What the heck are you guys doing?!” My brother spoke up and he asked my mom why I was talking so weird.

So anyways. What apparently happened, according to my family after a call to my psychiatrist, I had slipped into a mild psychosis. Only once before had this happened and I was in the hospital for a medically related thing at the time. But because I had been in so much turmoil within my thoughts and memories that was all being triggered by the fact that this was the day I had found Ashley … my mind turned everything off in order to cope. I lost about 4 hours of real time on Monday. Outwardly, according to what my family are telling me, I would not open my eyes. I spoke in a very slurred tone was that sounded as if I was very intoxicated.

When I started to ‘come back’ and realize something was not right I started to cry, then I got hysterical.

It was a very hard day needless to say. I guess the subconscious part of me couldn’t deal with the flashback memories of that day years ago when I witnessed the most horrifying situation one could ever conjure up in their mind. Only it was real. A real life horror movie which ended with a lot of blood and the death of a 24 year old girl who was and always will be my best friend.

Its over now. Tomorrow is yet another new day …

And I am going to be just fine.

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4 thoughts on “dis-so-ci-a-tion: an adaptive defense in response to high stress or trauma characterized by memory loss and a sense of disconnection from oneself or one’s surroundings.

  1. losing time like that, in a dissociative state, is called a fugue state. it is high on the high end of dissociative scale, but it is not quite as high as DID. I have had a few fugues myself…once i was driving home from a bf and ended up on the other side of the state, at a gas station, with no money, no phone and no gas, and no idea where i was. actually that happened a few times. i guess i really didn’t want to go home.

    now if a whole separate person was to come out while you were inside, away, fugued…then that may be DID. but it didn’t sound like your parents saw a whole nother person with their own voice, their own style, behaving as a whole, real person that they did not know. it sounded like you were still there, but just barely. so, based on my experiences of being in fugue states and much, much later being dx’d as DID (but with a really small system-only 4 of us) and also based on what my family and friends told me, they never saw a different person coming out of me…it was still me, i was just very far away. much later, when i was dx’d with DID and my small system, my other parts are very similar to me, mostly just at different ages of me. So, some ppl who knew me very well could tell if it was my 14 yr old party girl, or my 10 yr old very sad, always crying girl, or my little girl who was just happy to not be bothered by anyone. but now we all work together to make ‘me’ function better, and no one really ‘comes out’ anymore.

    hope i didnt confuse you too much! but i would definitely talk to your therapist about this….wait until you and your therapist have worked through it before asking or telling your psychiatrist…he won’t really know, but your therapist will. but it still sounds to me like you had a fugue state because no other ‘person’ took your place while you were gone.

    also, i know just how scary a fugue state is, so stay strong and hang in there.

    ❤ ya

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One thing to be aware of is that there is a dissociative spectrum.
    And this is not to say that you have a dissociative disorder because
    only a doctor who has completely evaluated you can make that determination. That said, it is not uncommon for people with Dissociative Identity Disorder to be misdiagnosed as bi-polar.

    I spent ten years of my life in a hellish stew of medications because
    my doctor’s couldn’t bring themselves to accept the possibility that none of their medications worked because the illness they were treating isn’t responsive to medications.

    And that is one of the indications of a misdiagnosis.

    Medications don’t consistently work.

    Thank you for the courage of your blog. 🙂

    Like

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