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Thank you for visiting. Content MAY BE TRIGGERING ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE, STRUGGLE WITH SELF-INJURY, SUICIDE, DEPRESSION OR AN EATING DISORDER. Contains graphic descriptions of suicidal thoughts, self-injury and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Do not read further if you are not in a safe place. If you are triggered, please reach out to your support system, a mental health professional or call 911.

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Disclaimer: Although I have worked with persons with mental illness for twenty years, I do not have a Master's Degree or a license. This is not meant to be a substitute for mental health care or treatment. Please obtain professional assistance from the resources listed on the right of the page, if needed. And call 911 if you or someone is in immediate danger.

A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reality Settles Even Deeper ~ Dissociative Disorder NOS

Although the following video is about children, I think it gives a good description of how dissociative disorders develop which if left untreated continue into adulthood creating significant problems with daily living. (Plus, it was the only decent one I could find.)

First of all "dissociation is a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memory and sense of identity. Dissociation seems to fall on a continuum of severity. Mild dissociation would be like daydreaming, getting "lost" in a book, or when you are driving down a familiar stretch of road and realize that you do not remember the last several miles. A severe and more chronic form of dissociation is seen in the disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder, once called Multiple Personality Disorder, and other Dissociative Disorders. (Mental Health America)

Dissociative Disorder (NOS) is different from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), so please don't confuse the two.
Tempy over at Crackers and Juice Boxes wrote a post where part of it was excellent on explaining the continuum. Please take a look at her post. I have provided the links and while your there take a look around.

"People who suffer a severe trauma might wrestle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If a person experiences ongoing and severe trauma, particularly if the trauma began when the person was a young child, he might develop an even more severe dissociative disorder, with the most extreme disorder being Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Because a child is creating a way to survive severe trauma, the resulting dissociative disorder might not fall neatly into a description of DID or other pre-defined dissociative disorder. If the person's symptoms are clearly dissociative in nature but do not fall under any of the predefined criteria for DID or other dissociative disorder, the diagnosis is likely to be Dissociative Disorder--Not Otherwise Specified (DD-NOS). (e-how ~ Faith Allen)"

So, why am I bring this short description up now?. I was recently diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder-NOS which is due to a chronic and severely abusive, traumatic childhood. Since I worked in the mental health field, I knew that I have been fitting the criteria. However, I never discussed it because I didn't want to hear the answer. But, I actually saw it in two letters last week for appeals with my insurance company from both my psychiatrist and my therapist.

It surprisingly has had an impact on me. I am feeling a distressed. I think, because it indicates how horrendous things really were growing up. I understand how this develops and I never really thought of my circumstances as that bad. Although this blog has made that harder to believe. In reality, that was my own thinly veiled denial which I am coming out of and dealing with my past and my feelings in therapy. Still this made reality bigger. It is like I can't ignore it. That combined with Friday's session which I will write about tomorrow, has me really wanting to defend which I am.

Instead of using the word dissociate, I usually say, "going away" or "fragmenting" or "leaving" or "feeling disconnected." At times, I will lose touch with reality, become disoriented, lose time, not hear parts of conversations, become unresponsive, and mentally and emotionally "leave."

Writing this was difficult and has really been the first time that I have really acknowleged my "new" diagnosis. I think this was a good step for me. However, I still do not want to believe that my childhood was that bad, but I really do know. But, sometimes, I still want to pretend.


DeannAndMe said...

You're on your way, the shock of the outside validation ie the diagnosis is a tough one. Been there. Accepting the diagnosis was very difficult for me too, but on some level it was such a relief and a validation that there is indeed something that I struggle with, and could be identified. With time and hard work in therapy many of the issues can be resolved and clarity about your past will sustain you. I'll be cheering for you!

Anonymous said...

Well, my lady, I think that you are absolutely wonderful, fabulous, amazing, admirable, and aware.

Diagnoses, after all, are really for those who are trying to understand how it feels to be you. No one diagnosis will ever 100% describe you or anyone else for that matter. It's just something that gives someone outside of your experience a chance of having _some_ clue.
*much love*

Clueless said...

Thanks for visiting deanneandme. I feel more validation, but it shoves reality in my face. Thank you for the support.

Ash, thanks for the warm hugs with your words.

Anonymous said...

I came here through my friend Doc's place...I was a child of parental abuse from my mother & father-and have lived trying to fight disassociation during stress. It is an invisible disability.

Tamara (TC) Staples said...


You are doing so wonderfully with handling the horrible trauma you went through. I know the desire to make it "less than it was". It is unthinkable that people, especially those who should love and protect us, can do such terrible things to a helpless little kid.

I think it is beautiful that your mind would protect you by dissociating. What a wonderful coping mechanism. Remember, this is just a diagnosis. It is not who you are! You are strong and wonderful and courageous. You are so capable of healing from this and that is what I am wishing for you. Complete healing!

Many hugs,

Clueless said...

Jadey, but I'm so glad that our mind is able to protect ourself and survive in that mode...now, the only thing to do is learning how to undo it. Thanks for following me.

Tamara, thanks. You always seem to know just the right thing to say to cheer me up a bit.

Anonymous said...

is sitting ehre knowing what a struggle this is for you, hang in ther ok.


mudcakes are fun said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Clueless said...

Thank you JIP.

Unknown said...

I dissociate on a pretty regular basis but have never really thought about it as a problem just a way that I deal with certain aspects of my life both now and in the past. To be honest I know very little of this disorder so I will follow your posts a little more carefully to learn what I can. Hope your ok. Take care

Clueless said...

Untreatable, for me it is a symptom of my PTSD and borderline personality. I didn't think that it was a problem until I started to look at how it effected my life and how often in subtle ways that I do it.

The diagnostic criteria is pretty vague and there isn't too much information out there, but I am looking.

I'm okay other than my denial being ripped apart and feeling, believing and talking about things that I don't want to integrate. I'm actually doing better now that I am talking. Thanks.

Take care too,

Angela said...

Wow. this post and your previous post about how you played with your dolls and stuffed toys really hit close to home. I'm glad that you were able to share it, because it is something that I've never told anyone. I would be shocked and disturbed if I saw a child playing with their Barbies the way that I used to play with mine. Of course, I always was ashamed and hid the way I played because I knew even as a child that it was wrong. Just like I knew that what was being done to me was wrong. Anyway, thank you for having the courage to write about it. Maybe now I will have the courage to bring it up to my therapist.

Sending safe hugs<3

Take care:)

Clueless said...

Angel, I was really trying to decide whether or not to write the last two posts and you just now confirmed that I did the right thing. I'm glad that you were able to relate and that it gives you some courage to talk to your therapist. I hope you do. I feel better having shared.

take care,

Anonymous said...

You know I am starting to wonder if my daughter has this. She was diagnosed with ADHD but I know it's something different. I was in an abusive relationship with her and finally got out of it when she was just 2 and a half. Probably too late I suppose. But they keep mentioning the abuse she endured. I wonder if this might be a part of it?

Clueless said...

It can be a lot of things as it is a symptom of many things and it is normal for everyone to dissociate to some degree. However, she did have a traumatic event which was made easier and possibly no problem by your responsiveness to her. But, I do have hazy memories of being pinched, hit and smothered with a pillow as an infant. This matches what a person in my family has told me. I wouldn't worry too much, but be mindful of it and ask questions of teacher and doctors.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

I just reread how horrible that sounded. I didn't abuse her...my exhusband did. But he also abused me. That's what I meant about a abusive relationship. :(

Clueless said...

Taylor Blue, I didn't even notice it, but I already knew about it. But, reading it now, I can see how it could be misinterpreted. I'm glad you clarified it for others.

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