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.