Dissociated parts-quite a shock.

I have been thinking hard about why some days I wake up feeling frightened, or upset, or lethargic. Sometimes, I start off being capable, logical, feeling my age and acting it… to a frightened little rabbit-creature that can’t deal with life and needs to hide.

It bothers me and upsets me so much that I can be plunged into feeling terrible so quickly, and that I am permanently on guard to spot triggers and potential upsets. I managed to mention this to my therapist, Dr K, and the results of this shocked me.

Last week in therapy, I walked in feeling fragile, upsettable and dissociative. Dr K noticed this and asked me what was the problem. I let her know how bad I was feeling and she gradually worked out why.

During the session we got talking about what happened with my ex again, and I started to cry. Tears flowed down my face. I felt, suddenly, like a vulnerable eighteen year old who had no clue why these things were happening and felt guilty that she couldn’t stop them.

In the safe space provided by Dr K, she let me know that I was safe and that I was here in the hospital, and I was my current age. This is where things have always felt a little bizarre- there is a rational part of me, the grown up, adult part, that knows what is happening and why I feel how I feel. What Dr K was talking to in there was not that part of me. She was talking to a frightened and guilty eighteen or nineteen year old.

She explained to me later, once my adult part was active, that there were frightened parts inside of me that needed to be brought into the future and helped out. In other words, there are split parts of me that are locked inside me, protecting adult me from the worst of the trauma. This was a terrifying thought- I scanned back over what I know of DID. I wasn’t blacking out for long minutes or hours, coming round and finding that I had been doing something different and had no memory. None of that is happening. So then, what was going on?

Dr K wasn’t telling me I have DID, but she was letting me know that the way I feel -helpless and powerless, out of control and terrified- is as a result of a younger self being triggered. These younger parts don’t speak or say anything-rather, I feel all their emotions and flashbacks are much more common when I feel that way. In fact, I had one in the therapy room- it was scary, considering I’d never been that vulnerable in front of anyone but the mental health ward staff before.

Of course, Dr K has taken all this in her stride, and I suspect that under her careful help, these parts will eventually dissipate and be put to rest. I will still have the knowledge they held, but already I know that my eighteen year old self is calmer and less terrified.

Therapy is tomorrow. I’m going to tell Dr K what I think and see what she has to say. In the meantime, any of you DIDers out there are all welcome to comment on this- let me know what you think. It was quite a shock for me to realise this, and I would like some help for when I start regressing and a younger part takes hold. Thank you.

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5 comments on “Dissociated parts-quite a shock.

  1. sarahkreece says:

    It’s pretty common for me, I hope that might be helpful to hear. I’ve learned over time how to see it coming and to make sure I have things around they find comforting like a favourite toy to cuddle. I also talk to them, sometimes out loud to reassure them when I can feel them close and distressed. I used to fell very ashamed about that un adult ness but I’ve learned to accept it and work with it.

    • I can understand why you felt ashamed about feeling un-adult, cause I do too. I am aware that this morning I woke up out of another nightmare and I was positive I was nineteen, but I cuddled a soft toy and read for a bit. Thank you so much for your advice, it helps a lot xx

  2. essbreeshantay says:

    I can relate to this. I have moments when I do not act my age. It was really bad around my ex and it got to the point where I would get violent and need to be restrained. (I would never try to hurt him, only myself, but it’s still not good.) I am not aware of when I leave twenty-three and shrink to six or so, but he is pretty aware of it and was a great help to me during those times.

    I would like to be in a relationship with someone one day, but I don’t know if I can do it because I don’t remain my age. I can do it for some periods of time, and other times it is harder to do. I don’t do it when I go out, for example, very often, but I might do it in my therapist or psychiatrist’s office. I don’t do it at work (though there have been occasions when I have wanted to), but my meds help me keep one age 97% of the time. I still feel ashamed (as the person above says) when i get “small,” but I am trying to accept that this is a part of me.

    • That sounds really tough, and it must have been a huge shock when you realised what was going on. I have told my boyfriend that sometimes I wake up and I don’t know what year it is or what age I am, and he has been great about it. There is someone out there like that for you, too. x

      • essbreeshantay says:

        Thanks. I really hope so.

        I think when I start talking about Christmas or asking for Pokemon or cheese balls or talk about going to the moon is about when I’m not my age anymore. My ex used to humor me, but then he started trying to tell me that it wasn’t Christmas when he saw I wasn’t going to come out of it on my own. If I talked about going to the moon, he’d tell me we would. According to him, I told my job coach (he met her before I did and they would talk about things even though he is unable to work) that I wanted to go to the moon. I have no memory of that. He was very supportive of me, and for that I thank him. Not many people would have made it with me and my episodes.

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