Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 351

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The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy

Posted by Dinah on June 15, 2002, at 12:23:17

I hope you don't mind that I read your threads on dissociation with great interest. While I don't have DID (I don't lose time, I retain my observing ego), I do have something and I never understood what.

All the literature I read was on DID, and since that never fit me, I was left with the fear that I was a psychological hypochondriac and that what I experienced was not real.

Then I found the book, "The Myth of Sanity" by Martha Stout. For the first time in my life, I read of people who had experiences like mine. The first half of the book discusses "dissociated ego states" and I nearly cried with relief as I read that what I experienced wasn't so unusual. She does such a wonderful job of making dissociated states seem, well, normal, I suppose. That may not be the right word, but she does accept them very calmly.

I found myself getting very groggy in places while reading the book, so I am planning to re-read it with an eye to seeing what might be triggering for me.

Do either of you know of any books or other resources for people who are on the dissociative spectrum, without having DID, and without having repressed memories or major trauma in their past (ongoing stress, no abuse)?

And Terra, she seems to feel that integration is the answer to dissociation. You seem to know a lot about dissociation. Is integration the only answer? I have no desire for integration.

 

ahhhh, the integration dilemma :-) Dinah

Posted by terra miller on June 15, 2002, at 22:17:21

In reply to The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy, posted by Dinah on June 15, 2002, at 12:23:17

> Do either of you know of any books or other resources for people who are on the dissociative spectrum, without having DID, and without having repressed memories or major trauma in their past (ongoing stress, no abuse)?

You might try a book written for PTSD. They tend to deal more generally with dissociative, as opposed to a book about abuse or DID which would get more specific. Significant stress can make anybody dissociate, which is why a PTSD book might be beneficial. ISSD might be able to recommend some books (I forget what the letters stand for, but they have a website.) Most of what I've read has been trauma specific because that's what I needed to read. However, I commend you for your understanding of the range/spectrum of dissociating.... because I think once you know that, it takes lots of stygma away when you realize that we all do it to some degree.


>
> And Terra, she seems to feel that integration is the answer to dissociation. You seem to know a lot about dissociation. Is integration the only answer? I have no desire for integration.

There are two trains of though about integration: 1)It's the best way and 2)It's not necessary... cooperation is just as good. Usually to generalize, therapists hold the first opinion as do some clients and for the second opinion clients hold that opinion who have learned to be aware of their other "parts" and have decided that they'd rather feel plural than feel alone. (That's so simplified.. I can go deeper into that if you wish.)

However... it is my opinion that you cannot say "i am not going to integrate." integration is not an event; it is a process. it is the process that happens when one becomes aware of material that they didn't know about before and one is able to retain that knowledge/memory. then it can be said that the previously dissociated material has now been integrated into the recognizable.

Now, with DID or dissociation onward down the continuum, integration is a little trickier. There might be material that is learned, and then it's forgotten all over again. Sometimes that material is attached to part of the brain that actually functions in a set identity, so you have to deal with identity issues then.... and then integration includes not only assimilation of material but also assimilation of wishes/ways of relating to the world/ways of behaving/mannerisms, etc.

So, I think integration is a process and not an event. I also think that you can decide you are not going to integrate and then you might be left with knowing "about" something without actually knowing the information. It might feel like it's one person removed. But some people choose this, especially when there's too much pain associated with integrating some part of the brain/identity. I know a person with DID, for example, who has two states- herself as everyone sees her, and a child state to which she is completely unaware but who participates in her world (feels like lost time to her) and talks to her therapist. But this woman has no desire to know anything about this child and so she continues to exist this way because it's what she has chosen, and so that complete dissociative barrier has remained intact.

Let me know if I answered what you were asking.

Take care,

terra

 

Thank you, Terra terra miller

Posted by Dinah on June 16, 2002, at 5:50:24

In reply to ahhhh, the integration dilemma :-) Dinah, posted by terra miller on June 15, 2002, at 22:17:21

Yes, you did answer my question, thank you very much. And it does make it easier to realize it's a process, not a decision.

Dinah

 

Re: The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy Dinah

Posted by judy1 on June 17, 2002, at 16:55:49

In reply to The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy, posted by Dinah on June 15, 2002, at 12:23:17

Hi Dinah,
I'm glad you found a book that was such a comfort for you- and also glad you recognize that you're being triggered by something in it. When I read, it's usually the case studies that make me dissociate, apparently that's pretty common. I agree with Terra concerning books written about dissociation that is not trauma based, I honestly am not aware of any- which certainly doesn't mean they don't exist. I've spoken to my therapist about integration only because I was curious about her views, not because I'm anywhere near that point. She pretty much said what Terra said- it's a process and an individual decision. I read Terra's last statement with great interest- I think (my therapist 'knows') that I have a child state who is aware of my trauma- I have no desire to know of 'her' or her knowledge. The problem is the more I turn my back, the more I'm pushed- with flashbacks, notes, serious dissociative states that end in SI. So I think I've just come full cycle here- I'm obviously in a process of overcoming denial and generally have a long way to go. BTW, panic disorder has symptoms of dissociative states that are not trauma based as does temporal lobe epilepsy. Wishing you all the best- judy

 

Book on Dissociative Disorders

Posted by Cecilia on June 18, 2002, at 2:40:49

In reply to The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy, posted by Dinah on June 15, 2002, at 12:23:17

A good book on the range of dissociative disorers is "The Stranger in the Mirror" by Marlene Steinberg. It has quizzes to help figure out where one is on the dissociative spectrum. Cecilia

 

Re: Book on Dissociative Disorders Cecilia

Posted by judy1 on June 18, 2002, at 20:30:00

In reply to Book on Dissociative Disorders, posted by Cecilia on June 18, 2002, at 2:40:49

That's a good one also and may I add one more? Waking the Tiger by Paul Levine. He said when faced with danger, an animal fights, takes flight or freezes. As human animals when we freeze after a trauma and the energy is not released in some way- then all the problems of PTSD develop. The trauma does NOT have to be child abuse, it can be a natural disaster, a car accident, the loss of a loved one, even surgery. So this may be a book that is relevant to those who cannot trace their trauma but want to know how to deal with the symptoms. Take care, Judy


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