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Re: What's Dissociation? Li's experiences

Posted by Lindenblüte on October 14, 2006, at 12:31:21

In reply to Re: What's Dissociation?, posted by Daisym on October 13, 2006, at 22:56:20

Well, here are things that I do that might be considered dissociative activities.

Boring situations: I tune out- kind of recognize when my exit is coming up- like I'm on autopilot. My mind might be working on my work, or thinking about? I dont' even remember. Kind of like daydreaming during class or washing dishes.

Stressful situations, especially those involving strife: Since I was 3 or 4 years old I have had voluntary control over my middle ear muscles. I can actually attenuate the sound that I hear, about as much as putting my hands over my ears. But nobody can see me doing this. Another thing I do is that I focus intently on something with tunnel vision. It might be picking a cuticle, or drawing a very tiny tiny doodle or practicing a violin concerto in my head or going into some kind of a trance state with progressive relaxation and controlled breathing. I might also imagine that I am someone else, like I am a super-star grad student and I act all confident and take charge of the stressful situation, all the while my real self is just watching this performance and rolling her eyes in disgust or shame. Or I might look out the window and count falling snowflakes. Or I might try to translate the unfolding situation into one of my foreign languages. These activities may be consciously or unconsciously applied to icky situations. If action is demanded of me, I am able to completely turn off my emotions and polly-anna-ish make suggestions, and get the necessary things done to solve many crises. My friends know me as very dependable in a crisis. I don't let my emotions get in the way. It doesn't even take me any effort to shunt them aside.

Terrifying Situations: Usually I freeze and then I may or may not find a way out. Get far away from the situation, either by imagining myself leaving the scene and walking to a safe place. Or I just withdraw into myself and turn off all processing of outside stimulation. Can't hear anything. Can't see anything. Focus on a tiny detail. a shred of fiber in the carpet for a long long time. I might still be able to have a conversation (this happens a lot with T) but I'm not sure what's going on, or who's in control of what. I don't feel like a unified person. I might not be able to remember the conversation or the event afterwards.

Identity (das Ich) conflict: When my identity undergoes a paradigm shift (I realize that I have unexpectedly won a prestigious fellowship/ I change my hair dramatically and catch a wierd reflection of myself in windows or mirrors/ I realize that I have been the victim of some kind of child abuse/ I get married/ My dad is dying/ I am betrayed by a close friend) I no longer feel real. I feel like either a robot- moving through my days and forced to act in a certain way, even though I feel like a completely different being than any other person I see on the streets. OR, I feel like I'm the same person, but that I have woken up in an entirely foreign world. It's familiar enough, but it's not real. It's not right. On these occasions, I feel like I'm in the greatest danger of harming myself. I would do ANYTHING to feel integrated with my environmnet (both internal and external) and I cannot possibly ask anybody to help me, because they are all fake, or they are talking to a fake Li. Pretty scary. I was going through this feeling several days a week during the month of September. It was really terrifying.

Othertimes- a vague sense of some disintegration o my self with the outside world- I wake up in the morning expecting to see little green buds on the springtime trees, but it's starting to become Autumn, and then I feel strange for a moment. I walk down the sidewalk expecting to see my friends from college, but then I realize that I'm at a different university. That time has passed. Sometimes I wake up and I feel either much older (by decades) as if my life has passed me by... or much younger, as if I am expecting the sounds and smells of my childhood home. Takes a moment to snap back into "reality". I also have moments when I'm not sure if something that happened in my dreams were real or not. entire conversations, a memory of cutting myself (I actually have to check and make sure!). This happened a lot when I increased my seroquel the first 2 times, and gradually got better. I hope it gets better, although I have learned to take "reality" with a grain of salt.

My world is not going to come crashing down around me if I can't remember what I had for dinner last night, or whether I ever turned in that library book (just checked- I only returned it in my dreams- DARN! :)

I haven't had the experience of a discontinuity in present time- like coming to the realization that days have passed and one is in a different place or had done things that one never intended to do, as some DID folks describe (PLEASE! correct me if I'm wrong!). My memory for my childhood is becoming richer and more authentic as I allow myself to paint the faint lines in with colors that correspond to my emotional experiences at the time.

I'm still trying to figure all of this stuff out. I know that it's probably helped me a lot, but it also can harm me- making me prone to suicide, and making me prone to the ultimate emotional retreat-- major depression.

Thank you all for your ideas about this stuff.




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