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Re: Anxiety vs Dissociation

Posted by Craig on April 5, 1999, at 2:50:17

In reply to Re: Anxiety vs Dissociation, posted by Elaine on April 4, 1999, at 20:53:38

I have such a long psych history that I donít quite know where to begin, so Iíll try to
condense this for now and start with high school. By then, the school social worker was
documenting what she called ďfuguesĒ as I slipped in and out of altered states. In 1972,
around age 17, I was admitted to a major university hospital and remained there 13
months. There I learned that many doctors do not know nearly as much as they think they
do. They were looking at dissociation, but instead saw it as psychotic episodes. (Then
again, this was nearly 30 years ago and psychiatry was different.) I turned 18, signed
myself out of the hospital against medical advice and avoided doctors for the next few
years. Nothing had changed - I was still depressed and dissociating - but at least I wasnít
locked up anymore. (Iíll write about being diagnosed with MPD in 1978-80 another

Since Iíve always dissociated spontaneously, I donít quite understand how a doctor can
force people to dissociate. However, the stress of a relentless psychiatrist insisting we talk
about intense issues that causes anxiety to the point of triggering dissociation is
understandable. Iíve never been hypnotized and would never allow anyone to do this to
me, even though it was suggested that I should. I am very stubborn and nobody can force
me to do anything I donít believe in. I used to think this was one of my flaws, but now
Iíve come to realize that it has saved me from being led down roads in the wrong
direction. The idea that someone might taint what memories I have through some
unproven therapeutic method is something I was concerned about from the beginning. I
was looking for a common sense, middle-of-the-road type of therapy and it seems as
though that is not an option offered if your diagnosis is MPD (DID). My experience with
various psychiatrists is that they seem to be divided into two camps: either they believe
anyone previously diagnosed DID had a quack for a doctor or they believe the streets
could be swarming with people who have multiple personalities.

After about 17 years of various types of ďtherapyĒ I quit treatment in 1988. I still
dissociate, but Iíve made peace with it. Frankly, I donít think anyone can ďcureĒ a person
from dissociating. Maybe you can learn new skills that lessen the extent of it and your
triggers are lessened, but once you know how to dissociate youíll always have that ability.
I remember one psychiatrist telling me that the goal of my treatment was to make me ďa
whole person.Ē I kept saying, ďI want to be a good person. Canít I be a good person
without being a whole person?Ē He doubted that was possible. All I can say now is: Yes,
it is possible. Maybe this doesnít work for everybody, but Iíve done it my way and I think
it is the right way for me. (No doubt, a lot of psychiatrists would disagree.)




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