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Personal Stories of Dissociation

Dissociative Identity Disorder:

"I was diagnosed with DID-nos 7 years ago after many years of confusion about my life. I am 44 now, and only wish I would have gotten help for my problems sooner. My symptoms were not so severe that I was not able to hide them, except from my husband who was the person that demanded I finally see a psychologist. I "lost time" which is the symptom you read so much about, but I also had other symptoms like reading letters an alter had written to people close to me and not understanding it or remembering writing it. I was told all the time about conversations I had with other people that I did not remember. Well, I almost remembered them. They seemed vaguely familiar to me, more like I had overheard them a year before. I was clever at pretending to know what everyone was talking about. I learned ways of picking up on cues from other people to make it seem like I was aware of everything that was going on. And when that did not work I just claimed to be "spacey" and blamed it on my blonde hair. I have been in therapy almost continuously for over 6 years, and I take antidepressants and Klonopin which helps me with anxiety."
-- Melissa W.

"I was sexually abused from the age of 3 until I was 11. This caused my personality to split into at least 6 different other people. Most people do not believe I have multiple personalities, and sometimes I don't believe it myself. My other personalities are all female except for one that is named Greg. We call ourselves "The Camp" and have learned how to exist together peacefully. Therapy has been a lifesaver teaching us new skills on how to function and schedule our time. I can't speak to two of the others, but they speak in therapy and to the others in The Camp. I spent most of my life thinking I was crazy and wanting to die. Now I understand, and I most of the time I even feel blessed. There are times when sharing a body with 6 other people is almost painful and at those times I feel lucky to have such a great therapist.
-- G.L. (25 yrs old)

"I'm 35 years old and have Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's been over a year since I've been - finally - properly diagnosed. Right now in my healing I'm at a place where I am aware of my anxiety and dissociation. The only way to deal with this is to negotiate with my states to tell them there is nothing to worry about. They are in constant fear. Or anger. This is very painful and frustrating. There is very little joy. And I feel very lonely. There are no support groups for me to call and I have no social support except for my husband and therapist. I have no friends, just a few acquaintances who I keep at a distance. I isolate constantly. And I'm not very good at the negotiation right now. I'm still very new at it. My other parts don't listen to my observer self. I try to tell them there is nothing to be afraid of, and they just keep on being obsessive about the fear - or anger. I have an excellent therapist who is helping me. I'm very grateful for her help. I know that the more I practice at this the better I will get. It just sucks that I have to do this!!!!! I'm angry that I have to deal with this. I didn't ask for this. And because no one can "see" mental illness - well - I look alright? So what's the problem?

And I can't work because I've bottomed out in this area. I have experience, I just can't remember it - it's like a dream. I have education, I just can't remember it to - it's like a dream. Very few in number picture frame moments of memory that are suppose to be 20 years of work experience and schooling - my life!!!!! I've slowly downgraded myself over the years from management positions to working many different humiliating stupid minimum wage jogs. I just can't do minimum wage jogs any more. I just can't!!!!!

It's like the last 20 years of my life don't count - these years are a dream. A far away dream that's not real. How can I believe in something about me when it doesn't seem real?

And now that I'm starting to feel, not dissociate at every moment, and step into my healing process working through blocks, I'm grieving the life I've lost - my right to have a choice - about careers, relationships, identity, values, etc..... It's like I just woken up to see what my life is. How in the past I've mimicked others to survive and just sailed through my life up to now like a dream.

I've always identified with the Phoenix - being reborn from the ashes. It's what I'm doing now. Learning to live a new life - reclaiming my mind and how I cope. I always cry when I watch the scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Professor Dumbledore explains to Harry about Fawkes, the Phoenix. How they can carry immensely heavy loads and their tears have healing powers. I've carried the weight of my illnesses for many years ....... and now my grieving - my tears are bring me healing ......."

~ Stephanie
Nova Scotia, Canada

Dissociative Fugue:

"It was the strangest thing, and it cost me my marriage. One day I just woke up in a bed about 40 miles from my town. I could not remember going there, or how I got there. I just freaked out and left. I was walking, trying to figure out where I was, and who I was, when the police stopped me. They took me to the hospital where the doctors found my ID and called my husband. It was many days before everything in my head was clear again, but I still can't totally remember going to Henson or what I was doing there. My husband does not believe me, and thinks I was having an affair. We are in the process of getting divorced"
-- O.P.

Depersonalization Disorder:

"It is like living inside a cartoon on television. Sometimes I can't tell what is real and what is in my mind. I am not psychotic or crazy, I just have trouble staying connected to the environment. Last Wednesday I walked into my brother's house and it started. I have been to his house many times since he bought it two years ago, but on that day it seemed unfamiliar. I seemed unfamiliar too. Everything in the house seemed different, even my brother and his wife and son. And I did not feel like me. I wasn't sure I sounded like me either, so I was scared to even talk while I was there. I remember reaching up and brushing my hair back, and it did not feel like I was touching my own head. Then I became convinced that my arms were not attached to my body. I was scared and went outside to sit. It lasted only about 10 minutes and then I felt like myself again, but I was still too shaky to go back inside so I went home and went to bed."
-- Leslie Gutz (31 yrs old)

"This disorder has bothered me since I was a teenager, and it makes it very hard to even have a relationship with a woman. I have what seem like out-of-body experiences. It's like I can see myself doing whatever I am doing at that moment. It is a horrible feeling, like I don't even exist."
-- Jeremy (46 yrs old)

"I think my thoughts are what start it. I start thinking about fake I am and about how fake the world is. Then it hits me and I feel hollow. I feel like someone else is in control of my body, but at the same time I know it is really me. I can watch my arms typing this email to you, but it does not seem like they are my arms or my words. They belong to someone else. I also sometimes become aware of details of things and that makes it start too. At school last week I was sitting in the library and started watching the other students. Soon they did not seem like real people. I could only see the colors of their clothes and hair, and the shape and size of the books they were reading. I looked down at myself and I seemed unreal, like a statue sitting there. Like my mind and my body were not even hooked together anymore and my mind was looking at this strange body that it did not belong in. My psychiatrist has tried me on different medications, but nothing is working. I just want it to stop."
-- Jolie (17 yrs old)

"i feel like nothing is real. like i want to die everyday. i have no sense of time and feel this wont end. people and places dont feel familiar."
-- kelly

"I realized I had depersonalization I guess it is called when I was 21. Now almost 33 I deal better with. I have been on a lot of medications. I am trying to find one that is better suited for this issue. I thought when the feeling that I did not exist or that I could not feel myself meant I was crazy. It freaked me out. I told my therapists at the time that I must be schizofrenic. I felt that I could not feel the ground. I walked around in a dream. At the same time I was really scared b/c the reality was that people did not notice it. I could cry b/c it is the most loneliest feeling I ever had. I work hard at making sure I am breathing, and exercising. There is hope. I have a 8 month old, a nice husband and home. This is not a death sentence. I think you have to keep on living, this has made me realize how smart the brain is. There is a reason I feel this way."
-- Kris (33)

 

If you would like to share your story please email me.


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This Site Updated 04/09/11