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Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

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Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby uscitizen1966 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:26 am

I just started DBT classes. One of the things that has come up is dissociation. I have BPD. I never knew that I was dissociating. Not sure if this is the right place to post. Just have some questions.

My DBT therapist said that I am dissociating because I can't really remember my feelings or thoughts from one day to the next. Actually, won't really remember my thoughts and feelings from a few hours before. Sometimes I can't even recall what I did, like as far as chores, or what I ate. Does anyone here agree that this is dissociating? If yes, why am I dissociating when I'm not even having a hard day. If I'm not being triggered by anything, why don't I remember thoughts and feelings from even a few hours before?

Also have terrible troubles remembering HUGE chunks of time and even important events! Is this common with dissociation? Sometimes it really upsets my family when I can't remember stuff.

I also found out that I've been dissociating since the 7th grade by going into an imaginary world. My fantasies were so strong, vivid, felt so good, that I didn't want to leave that world and when I had to, say to go to school, or even concentrate to do homework, I would get really upset and sometimes lash out. I could go into this world without a "starter" as I guess I would call it, just on my own, but usually, movement and music were my "starters." They helped facilitate the progression into the fantasy world.

When I was 9 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, and had a fusion done, nearly my entire spine is fused...well, after that, my peers were just awful to me and picked on me terribly. I got beat up constantly. Literally dragged into bathrooms by girls and beat up. I could go on with that, but my point is that I remember very vividly that this going into an imaginary world where nothing could hurt me started a couple weeks after the 7th grade began. Before, in grammar school, even though I had braces and casts after the surgery, the kids didn't pick on me much. It was only once I started middle school that it got bad.

My DBT therapist said that this is also dissociation. Designed to protect you. A way of survival to cope. Is this the same as depersonalization? Does what I am describing have a name, or DX, other than dissociation?

Sometimes during conversations I will repeat myself...within minutes, and have no idea that I'm doing it. I can tell sometimes people get annoyed. Or, I can't remember who I said what to and wind up repeating myself.

It seems to be getting worse, the older I get, as far as the memory goes...but I find I am not going into the fantasy land anywhere near as much as I used to. I used to spend 8+ hours a day there and could not be motivated to do a thing. Now, I may do it once or twice a week for a half hour or so.

Can anyone help me understand this better?
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Re: Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby salted lipstick » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:30 pm

uscitizen1966 wrote:My DBT therapist said that I am dissociating because I can't really remember my feelings or thoughts from one day to the next. Actually, won't really remember my thoughts and feelings from a few hours before. Sometimes I can't even recall what I did, like as far as chores, or what I ate. Does anyone here agree that this is dissociating? If yes, why am I dissociating when I'm not even having a hard day. If I'm not being triggered by anything, why don't I remember thoughts and feelings from even a few hours before?
Yes that sounds very much like dissociation. You may be dissociating when you are not triggered just because it may have become a habit left over from the time when you were dissociating in order to endure the abuse.

uscitizen1966 wrote:Also have terrible troubles remembering HUGE chunks of time and even important events! Is this common with dissociation?
Extremely common!

uscitizen1966 wrote:I also found out that I've been dissociating since the 7th grade by going into an imaginary world. My fantasies were so strong, vivid, felt so good, that I didn't want to leave that world and when I had to, say to go to school, or even concentrate to do homework,
It is a common part of dissociation to create an "internal world" to escape to when you don't want to endure abuse or suffering.

uscitizen1966 wrote:When I was 9 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, and had a fusion done, nearly my entire spine is fused...well, after that, my peers were just awful to me and picked on me terribly. I got beat up constantly. Literally dragged into bathrooms by girls and beat up.
Trauma and abuse such as what you have mentioned above is generally the cause of dissociation, a child needs an escape from the pain of the situation and so, with no other alternatives available, learns to escape into her/his head by using dissociation...

uscitizen1966 wrote:My DBT therapist said that this is also dissociation. Designed to protect you. A way of survival to cope. Is this the same as depersonalization? Does what I am describing have a name, or DX, other than dissociation?
What you've described doesn't sound like depersonalization or derealization, there are other typical things that people say about their experience with those such as feeling that things around them look "unreal" or they see themselves as if they are standing outside their body watching themselves. What you describe of your experience definitely sounds like dissociation but there are different types of dissociation. Seeing as you are experiencing dissociation you might want to research it further to see which type you might identify with most. It might be Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified or Dissociative Identity Disorder for example (I think either DDNOS or DID would be most likely for you, given what you've described... Currently I'd lean toward DDNOS given what you've said...) or it could be another of the types of Dissociation... Just as a side note, it is common that if a person has a misdiagnosis of BPD, they are often experiencing DID instead...

Overall, it is good that you are becoming aware of your symptoms of dissociation. This means that you are closer to being able to regain more control of your life and to start to heal some of the abuse that may have happened to cause the dissociation. It is really positive that you are searching for the answers to increase your wellness...
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Re: Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby uscitizen1966 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:21 pm

Thank you Salted Lipstick!

Well I did do some research last night. I can't tell. I get confused over the similarities and differences and they all start with "D" so it's hard for me to keep them straight in my head! Whenever terms all start with the same letter I can't understand/remember them!

I can tell you what else I experience from what I read and not sure which things they go with or if you can have many dissociative disorders at once? I just wrote down the bits that sound "spot-on".

I do have a sense of unreality at times. Quite a bit. I feel like I'm floating. Things feel hazy a lot. Like blurry, kind of. Sometimes items seem distorted (the Dolly Zoom effect?). As if they are too bright maybe, or at times lack depth. Also at times do feel like I'm in a movie, or just going through the motions, not sure if I exist...or I guess feel disconnected from the world. I know these thoughts are in my head, that it's not true reality, but it's hard for me to "feel" like I'm part of the world.

I also have the sensation at times that my body parts are enlarged/shrunken/distorted. Sometimes feel way shorter than I am. Weird sensation.

Sometimes feel like I am emotionally detached. Sometimes have trouble speaking. As in, I can't recall words/terms or what they mean. Also I can't remember, and may have said this, to whom I've said what. If my mother tells me a story, sometimes I can't remember it is she that told me and not my son. Stuff like that. Or, sometimes I will be relating a bit of a story that I remember, to the same person that told it to me in the first place, but the way I'm telling it is, "Oh, someone told me this, you might be interested." And they'll say, "Ummm, I told you that!"

At times, quite a bit, I cannot remember what I read, even if it was the page before. When I get done with a book, most of the info is gone. Same with movies. My son will ask me, "Hey, remember the Blah-blah-blah movie and this particular scene?" Nope. Gone. I can only recall the contents of a very few books and movies.

I also have quite a bit the "Jamais vu" effect. Where I feel like I'm seeing something for the first time, even though I know that's not true. The other day my son and I were coming home from a store, he was driving, and LITERALLY a few blocks from my house I did not recognize where I was. This flips my son out so much! I get mixed up with directions terribly. N, S, E, W mean NOTHING to me. Sometimes I can't remember which side is left and which side is right! I have that happen often.

At times I have the "Deja vu" effect, too, but not as often as the Jamais vu.

Also, copied this from Wikipedia regarding DID:

1. Multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs which are not similar to each other (don't think I really experience this, but this is not the same as splitting, correct?)
2. Unexplainable headaches and other body pains (mine are all explained!)
3. Distortion or loss of subjective time (have this happen quite a bit)
4. Depersonalization (I think I have described parts of this above)
5. Derealization (also think I have described part of this, too)
6. Severe memory loss (severe...it's too subjective for me to get a handle on what this means. Is that what I am describing in this post and the previous one?)
7. Depression (have had a couple of longer lasting depressions, but most of my depressed moods last minutes to hours)
8. Flashbacks of abuse/trauma (not sure I really get what a flashback is, but certainly have times where suddenly something my father said or did, or some other abuse I suffered is just in my head. I know it's not really happening again, but it's hard to stop the thoughts. I have nightmares sometimes, too, but not really about the abuse, just more like I am being abused again by unknown people)
9. Sudden anger without a justified cause (yes this happens a lot. There are times where for NO REASON whatsoever, as in I am not even feeling angry, I will suddenly want to hit someone or an animal or stab someone, or have an urge to do something awful - and no, I never do these things, it is just an urge out of nowhere and it really freaks me out.)
10. Frequent panic/anxiety attacks (getting better, but yes feel panicky, can't sit still, racing, jumbled thoughts, too)
11. Unexplainable phobias (no)
12. Auditory of the personalities inside their mind ( I talk to myself in my head. Talk to other people in my head, but they are people I know...not people I don't know. Sometimes I have a sense of "me" responding to "me" - in other words, I am having a conversation in my mind with myself and I answer me.) Example: You should go water the plants. I don't feel like it. Well you should do it anyway. That kind of thing, but I know it's still me.
13. Paranoia (this always puzzles me, how do you know if you're paranoid?)

Also, often am doing things and later have no memory of doing them. Read stuff I wrote, and have no memory that I wrote it (but not right away, if it's a week or so, I'll remember, if it's a month or more, maybe not).

Also, I took this test here:

http://counsellingresource.com/lib/quiz ... tests/des/

and modified my responses so you or anyone else could get an idea:

1. Suddenly realizing that I don’t remember what has happened during all or part of a trip.
2. Listening to someone talk and suddenly realize that I did not hear part or all of what was said
3. I have the experience of finding myself in a place and having no idea how I got there. Say, if I am walking around the neighborhood. No clue how I got to where I am, and think I am lost, even though I should not feel that way because I have been there many times but don't recognize it! Sometimes this happens even when I am at home. Have no idea that I have just walked into the bathroom. Or find myself wandering around the house and garden with no sense of time or where my body is going.
4. Sometimes have the experience of not being sure whether things that I remember happening really did happen or whether they I just dreamed them.
5. Sometimes find that when I am watching television or a movie I become so absorbed in the story that I am unaware of other events happening around me or people are talking to me. Happens when I read too.
6. Sometimes find that I become so involved in a fantasy or daydream that it feels as though it is really happening to me. Sometimes in my fantasy mode I am literally acting out my own parts, as if in a play. Sometimes I am even talking out loud to other people that are in my fantasy. All of a sudden I realize that I am doing this and it totally freaks me out.
7. Sometimes find that I am just staring off into space, thinking of nothing, and am not aware of the passage of time.
8. Sometimes find that I am talking out loud to myself.
9. Sometimes find that I cannot remember whether I have done something or have just thought about doing it.
10. Sometimes find evidence that I have done things that I do not remember doing. Like the clothes are already folded, or I did do the dishes already.
11. Sometimes find that I hear voices inside my head that comment on things that I am doing. But as I stated above, I know it is "me" commenting on "me." But sometimes that inner voice appears out of nowhere. It's weird. Like suppose I was going to cut or pick at my skin, a voice will say, "you shouldn't do that you know." But I take it as me. Is that not normal?

This is all very confusing. I hope you can help me with this new information.
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Postby Kerry H » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:19 am

Hi I don't have a diagnosis, but I'm sure I have DID. The derealization and depersonalization has been diagnosed. The mental health team think I may have BPD and I will probably be diagnosed with this soon. I think they're partially right, I think one of me has BPD, but not the others. I totally identify with everything you say except I don't create a fantasy world. X
I feel like hiding.
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Re: .

Postby uscitizen1966 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:00 pm

Kerry H wrote:Hi I don't have a diagnosis, but I'm sure I have DID. The derealization and depersonalization has been diagnosed. The mental health team think I may have BPD and I will probably be diagnosed with this soon. I think they're partially right, I think one of me has BPD, but not the others. I totally identify with everything you say except I don't create a fantasy world. X


Wow! I appreciate your response. Thank you. It is SO nice to know that someone else can relate to this. It kinda freaked me out, researching it and trying to identify which things are which, okay, for about ten hours. But, absolutely determined to understand them and don't fight the DX's, try to help my team by doing research. Sounds like you don't fight helping yourself either! That is a good thing. :)

Yes, in my research discovered if you have DID, then other personalities can have different DX's. Also from what I THINK I understand, and could very well be wrong, you don't even need to have different personalities to have DID, but can also have it just by splitting off from yourself. Not sure. Still reading about it. In my case, I think this would be it, me splitting off from me, but not to a different personality.

On the other hand, my fantasy world contains different personalities, not of different people, per se, but of different "me's." I act differently, have different jobs, etc. in my make-believe world. I wonder if my different personalities exist only in my fantasy world, but once I snap out of it I am back to me. I have no idea if that's even possible. I don't know if that makes sense to you, hope so. I am such a newbie at this...got a lot to learn!

I am impressed. Glad for you and happy that you are figuring it out. :) I think I may have DID, too, not sure. But I know I will figure it out eventually.
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Re: Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby salted lipstick » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:22 pm

I have so much I want to say in response to your response but I'm really not feeling well enough at the moment... I will come back and write when I'm not feeling so awful from being triggered... I think it is fantastic that you are trying to help yourself and your team by doing research into this... You are helping yourself so much by having a really proactive approach to getting well, that is a really good thing.
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Re: Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby uscitizen1966 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:05 pm

salted lipstick wrote:I have so much I want to say in response to your response but I'm really not feeling well enough at the moment... I will come back and write when I'm not feeling so awful from being triggered... I think it is fantastic that you are trying to help yourself and your team by doing research into this... You are helping yourself so much by having a really proactive approach to getting well, that is a really good thing.


Well, wow, I am impressed. Thank you. And I understand. Sometimes I have to withdraw also. Can't deal. Too many triggers. I hope you feel better soon. I know it isn't easy.

THANK YOU for the compliments. I think it is fantastic that you could write this response and say such nice things when you are not feeling good. :)

Hugs!
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Postby Kerry H » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:51 pm

Hi if you want to know more about my experience of DID I originally posted a thread titled "hello" on the Living With Mental Illness forum which is in the General section. Sorry I can't explain it again now I'm drugged and can't think straight. X
I feel like hiding.
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Re: .

Postby uscitizen1966 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:27 pm

Kerry H wrote:Hi if you want to know more about my experience of DID I originally posted a thread titled "hello" on the Living With Mental Illness forum which is in the General section. Sorry I can't explain it again now I'm drugged and can't think straight. X


Hey thanks! I will go read that. :) I understand. My benzos do that to me. :?
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Re: Can't Remember Things: Dissociation?

Postby artychik1 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Hi uscitizen1966, I just wanted to say I am going through everything you've mentioned.
I was bullied by girls at school too, though I wasn't beaten up or in a fight on more than one occasion.

I have been in and out of therapy, made some penpals with the same issues and it's all been a worthwhile journey because knowledge is power. But the biggest power is our will. To combat my memory problems and also regain a sense of my own identity in the real world outside of my head, I've decided to go back through my calendar from this year and meditate on each experience or plan I wrote down for at least ten seconds. I have also stuck photos of my real life up on the walls so I'm reminded about who I am. Exercising your memory is the only option, you've gotta WILL yourself do it. I can feel anxiety begin to arise before I begin, even just thinking about it. But this is our lives y'know, and we only get one. Ive wasted a hell of a lot of time in fantasy land, I want to come back to earth even if it is painful sometimes. Sounds like you do too! If you want to stay in touch about anything let me know I'd be happy to talk through the process.
Nice to meet you!

Take care
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