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Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

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Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby Camelidae » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:52 pm

Hi everyone,

I would like to ask you all a question if you don´t mind. I don´t have DID but thought posting here may be ok as I think this may be dissociation related and this forum seems to be more active than the other ones on dissociation. I already mentioned something similiar in another thread I made in this part of the forums.

I have been diagnosed as having PTSD even though I do not remember any specific trauma. The diagnosis is based only on the other symptoms I have. One of them is that I have lapses in memory. Sometimes I don´t know where I was or what I´ve done for some time and suddenly find myself being "there" without knowing where I was when I was not "there" or what happened before "now". Luckily, more often than not, the memory will come back. Sometimes it doesn´t. Even if it does come back, often the memory remains blurry and feels distant, unreal. Often I feel like I am running against a wall inside my head where I have no access to any or specific memories even if I can access them at a later time.

Today I read this post here (I´ll only post part of the post):

Subject: Does anyone have issues with certain TV/Movies triggering?

Una+ wrote:This is a frequently asked question here on the DID forum. It helps to clarify what is meant by "having issues" or "triggering". Does it mean flashbacks? That happens to trauma survivors with and without DID, with and without PTSD. Does it mean having dissociative amnesia without switching (without identity alteration)? This is common in people with PTSD, perhaps especially Complex PTSD. Does it mean losing time, which is dissociative amnesia plus switching? This is common in people with DID.


I am not very knowledgeable in these things. What is dissociative amnesia and how does it work? Where is the difference between PTSD and C-PTSD and why does dissociative amnesia seem to be more common in C-PTSD than PTSD? When in the case of someone with DID "you" (any given alter I guess? I don´t mean to offend anyone if this is wrong) cannot remember a certain event, the way I understand it, it is likely that another alter holds the memories instead. Where do you think these memories go if you do not have DID?

I am sorry for repeating myself and posting DID unrelated things in your forum and basically being an intruder. :( This was a very long post and I´m sorry about this, but I´m not sure where else to ask. :(

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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby lifelongthing » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:02 pm

I can't answer much right now as I am not the one fronting right now (well I am right now but I wasn't and I don't intend to be for long) as someone else is busy.

Anyway - this isn't at all an intrusion. This is a dissociative forum and we welcome anyone here who feels they belong here for whatever reason. I believe you will get helpful answers on here (and I intend to come back to this thread later, if I don't forget) and I hope you stay if you feel it helps you.

Not to worry. This place is open for your questions :) Best of luck.
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby ManyHearts » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:04 pm

Well, I don't know a lot about these scientific things, Claire does know but she appears to be asleep. I don't know if it was a random thought of hers or whatever, but I did hear Claire say that every human has the ability to switch with some sort of autopilot on moments things get uncomfortable or bored. It isn't an alter because it doesn't act like something that's alive, more like a robot, but it is some kind of dissociation. That can cause people to not know the cause of things like PTSD but still have it bothering them.

for as far as I understand things dissociative amnesia is that you don't remember something because you've dissociated (eighter with an alter, that auto-pilot thing, or whatever), just like when you're driving on the highway and you 'wake up', not knowing that you have been driving about an hour. Bit like daydreaming but without the dreaming part. with PTSD a bit of your personality gets concealed by your brain I guess, and when it is triggered your brain will shut you down so you don't have to see that memory. Like when you have a room with a person in it, and you make that person to leave through door A and another person enters through door B at the same time, they won't see each other.

I think knew memories just get deleted or saved somewhere you can't reach it, but I don't know, just guessing.

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Last edited by ManyHearts on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby James9 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:47 pm

I'm just going to reply with my limited understanding and I hope I'm not horribly wrong :) If I am, someone please correct me.

Camelidae wrote:What is dissociative amnesia and how does it work?

Sometimes its a stress response. Your brain forgets something so you can keep functioning. The memory isn't lost, its there, its just not accessible until you can handle it. You can forget anything from a few minutes to a few years.

Camelidae wrote:Where is the difference between PTSD and C-PTSD and why does dissociative amnesia seem to be more common in C-PTSD than PTSD?
I think PTSD covers a single event, C-PTSD is a more complicated problem where the PTSD sort of causes more trauma in the future. The brain learns to handle trauma with a PTSD response, and the stress from PTSD causes more PTSD. Thats C-PTSD I think. I have no idea why amnesia is more common with C-PTSD but my guess is that the brain has learned to handle stress in this unique way. I'm sorry if I'm not explaining things well.

Camelidae wrote:Where do you think these memories go if you do not have DID?
They are still there. Generally, with dissociative amnesia, the memory returns pretty quickly. Sometimes it takes years to come back, but it's still in there somewhere.

I hope I've been helpful and accurate, this is mostly stuff I've learned reading the web :D
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby lifelongthing » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:33 pm

I definitely agree with Geoff.

I'm just going to reply with my limited understanding and I hope I'm not horribly wrong

What is dissociative amnesia and how does it work?

Sometimes its a stress response. Your brain forgets something so you can keep functioning. The memory isn't lost, its there, its just not accessible until you can handle it. You can forget anything from a few minutes to a few years.

This is accurate :)
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby tomboy24 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:51 pm

Camelidae wrote:I am not very knowledgeable in these things. What is dissociative amnesia and how does it work? Where is the difference between PTSD and C-PTSD and why does dissociative amnesia seem to be more common in C-PTSD than PTSD? When in the case of someone with DID "you" (any given alter I guess? I don´t mean to offend anyone if this is wrong) cannot remember a certain event, the way I understand it, it is likely that another alter holds the memories instead. Where do you think these memories go if you do not have DID?

I'm not very familiar with C-PTSD, or at least, not the term (I probably know something about it, but can't make the connection that the info is about C-PTSD).

However, I am VERY familiar with PTSD (as almost all of us have a case of it), and I have learned a bit about Acute Stress Disorder, which might be interesting to you.

This is quoted from Tylas from a different thread, but shares a bit about Acute Stress Disorder:
"All people can create (EP) emotional parts after childhood.

Consider this:
My 18 year old daughter was at work, late at night - she works at a hotel desk in a city, she is a 2nd year college student. A man came up to the desk with bloody hands. And had a weird smile and just stared at her. She thought she was going to die!

She created an emotional part.

Now as I understand it - This is called ASD - Acute Stress Disorder. If she does not soon process this trauma memory, she will have PTSD. It's been 2 weeks and she has not yet. She still tears up at the retelling of the story.

All people can continue to create emotional parts of the personality. The problem occurs if the trauma memory gets stuck, instead of being processed like a normal memory. Note that no one other than those with DID can create another host (Apparently Normal Part), not even those with DDNOS-1."


I learned that anyone can create "emotional parts" of themselves at any time throughout their life under the right circumstances (usually fear for your life). But this does not mean you have DID/DDNOS-1, as they are developed in childhood. Instead, you either have Acute Stress Disorder or PTSD (which can be developed by anyone, children and adults alike).

(Quote taken from this thread: Is there such a thing as splitting?: http://www.psychforums.com/dissociative-identity/topic101763.html

Thread to help explain Emotional Parts (EPs) and Apparently Normal Parts (ANPs):
ANPs, EPs, DID, and tertiary dissociation: http://www.psychforums.com/dissociative-identity/topic102340.html)



As far as amnesia goes, dissociative or otherwise, Geoff is pretty spot-on. The memory is never "lost" and it doesn't necessarily have to "go" anywhere (as in, you don't need alters for your memories to be forgotten). What happens is that your brain, in an effort to keep functioning, surviving, and coping, forces that memory to be "forgotten" until you better able to handle that memory/knowledge.

It's kinda similar to when someone makes a conscious effort to not dwell on something bad that happened. Such as, if something went wrong, a person could say "Well, I'm not going to focus or think about that, I'm just going to try to move on a have a good day". This is what your brain is doing with trauma memories that aren't properly processed. It's saying (on a subconscious level), "Well, I can't be thinking about this, I'll never function if I do", and forcing the memory away from conscious awareness so that it can continue to function/survive.


I hope this was somewhat helpful to you.


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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby oaktree » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:07 am

As I understand it, C-PTSD (Complex PTSD) is the more complex form of PTSD (because PTSD got more easily diagnosed). As far as i know, this is the only difference. Meaning, C-PTSD has more EPs, more dissociation, more separation etc. And thus more amnesia (because of more separation/dissociation between parts).
Dx: PDD-NOS. Tested for dissociative disorders and PTSD but they say the symptoms are attributable to PDD-NOS.
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby tomboy24 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:20 pm

Wow, C = complex, of course, duh. :roll: I'm smart. Then yes! I do know about Complex PTSD! (Though I have to admit, it's been a while since I've brushed up on it). :lol:

The main difference in PTSD and Complex PTSD is, if I remember correctly, the severity of the PTSD. Kinda like the difference between depression and severe depression, or the difference between slight anxiety and severe anxiety. And what causes the difference in severity depends on the person (since everyone reacts to things differently), and the experience they went through. So, that's why dissociative amnesia is more common with Complex PTSD- it's a more "severe" form of PTSD, and so the chances for dissociative amnesia are higher.

(If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me, anyone! Like I said, it's been a while. :wink: )


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| "Hannibal"; "Big Ryan"/Ryan; Keith/"Little Ryan"; Kuro |
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby oaktree » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:15 am

Hawk: exactly. (That is roughly what I intended to write...)
Dx: PDD-NOS. Tested for dissociative disorders and PTSD but they say the symptoms are attributable to PDD-NOS.
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Re: Dissociative amnesia and memory problems, don´t have DID

Postby lifelongthing » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:21 am

It is not only the severity. C-PTSD arrives from prolonged trauma, while PTSD can arrive from a single (or a few etc) traumatic events. The severity is in correlation to the length and severity of trauma, naturally.
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