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#191914 - 11/19/07 10:41 PM Living on the dissociative spectrum?
MemoryVault Offline

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
I was having dinner with my aunt last night, and she said, “What you got from your childhood was this amazing ability to say exactly the right thing.”

I said, “Wow. Thanks.”

She said, “No. I’m not complaining, but sometimes when I talk to you, I really feel like I’m talking to you, and sometimes you’re just ‘saying exactly the right thing,’ and I have no idea where you are.”

I said, “Hmm. Well, please feel free to call me on it if you hear me doing that again,” which was probably me trying to…say exactly the right thing.

I have no idea how I actually felt:
Gratitude—someone knows what I’m going through!
Anger—Don’t blow my cover!!!
Fear – I’m not fooling anyone!
Shame – I’m not saying the right things well enough.
I have no idea where I was either.

I wanted to ask about dissociation – Some of the posts about DID are pushing lots of my buttons. I don’t have DID…I don’t lose time, no alters—it’s always basically me. But I’m somewhere on the spectrum where DID is the extreme. And I can’t find any information about what it means to be dissociative without full-blown divisions.

I know when I’m thinking and functioning in different “modes” – I can remember events from one state to the next, but not really feelings. If I’m turned on, it’s like there’s nothing going on but the guy(s) I’m with, but when the feeling passes, I barely remember it. If I have to speak or improvise in a meeting or a class, I’m in another state. Writing this, piecing words together, is another one. After I post this, I won’t remember any of the thoughts running through my head now—I’ll just know that I took some time to write a post before dinner. If I think about it, I’ll remember it was about dissociation and I’ll be curious to read how it came out.

Okay…so info on DID says it’s part of a “dissociative spectrum.” What does the rest of the spectrum feel like to you?

#191928 - 11/20/07 01:04 AM Re: Living on the dissociative spectrum? [Re: MemoryVault]
mogigo Offline

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
It's alway's felt like something was missing, something I couldn't put my finger on but knew I just wasn't getting the whole picture with my life. Missing pieces.

My Dad said to me once "I get this horible feeling with you sometimes, you get this look on you're face like you know something the rest of us don't". He's right, I do know something they don't. I know how fake they all are for pretending they don't have emotions.



#192604 - 11/25/07 03:34 PM Re: Living on the dissociative spectrum? [Re: mogigo]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

What helped me a lot was to hear from my T that we all dissociate to some degree or another - it's just that the tendency to do so is more pronounced among people who have suffered some extreme trauma, especially trauma in childhood.

And anyway, I still dissociate sometimes and I feel I get along with my life pretty well. You met me in NYC: did I look like such a mess to you?

Hmmmmmmm. Not sure I want the answer to that!!!!! \:D

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#192697 - 11/26/07 08:44 AM Re: Living on the dissociative spectrum? [Re: MemoryVault]
frost Offline

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
I have personally experienced a few different areas of the 'spectrum' as you call it. I think the part of it that you're talking about is the every day dissociation. As Larry pointed out, everyone dissociates to a certain degree... It's just more pronounced in those who have experienced specific traumas.

To write from a few pages of my own experience with dissociation... I live in a small town, I grew up here. I have every street and every possible route through town memorized. I could probably draw a map with fairly reasonable accuracy of this town... So my wife and I need to go to make a few stops around town. No big deal... I pull out of my driveway and start driving down the road. More often than not, I'll completely forget everything that's going on. I don't lose any time, but I seem to lose the 'context'. I have to ask my wife, "where are we going?". She gives me a look that says "we went over this 3 times before we left the house." and life continues.

Something else I've noticed on my particular zone if dissociation is that I completely blank out when it comes to an emotional presence. My mind will strive to find anything else to think about other than an emotion. I space out, tune out conversations. I'll think about hiking or programming... or even nothing. It happens pretty much every time I go to therapy. I start to feel something then suddenly it shuts off and again, I lose the context. I don't lose time, but I... just lose a grasp on what lead up to this moment. My therapist is working with me through it though. Hopefully I can feel, eventually.

There are also times when I feel like a kid. I can feel my cognitive sensibility float out the window and I become playful and extremely immature. This 'mode' or 'state' annoys my wife to no end... but I usually don't have much in the way of control over it. I'm still present in the moment, but feel compelled to act on childish impulses. Be it speaking, or tickling, or laughing... It's this very strange state that I get into.

One other thing I'll point out about how I dissociate is the part that frustrates me the most. All throughout high school and afterwards I was very punctual. I had an impeccable memory for people, faces, places, and things. I could recount entire conversations or remember a face from merely a glimpse. When I was 20, I lived on my own for the first time, and that's when my 'mental sharpness' seemed to get very dull and very fast. I stopped being able to remember appointments, I have a tough time remembering faces and names. I'm still pretty good with numbers. For an example... My wife will need picked up from work. She'll tell me what time she needs picked up. Instead of remembering that time, I'll remember the time that she told me the night before, and show up at that time [being the wrong time]. Its very frustrating to me because of how sharp I once was. I took pride in that... I lost it right at around the time the abuse started causing serious problems in my day-to-day adult life.

So, that's a little bit about what dissociation means to me these days. I've been all over the spectrum at various points in my life. I really do hear what you're saying. I hope this has been helpful to your search for answers.

All the best,


#194951 - 12/12/07 02:05 PM Re: Living on the dissociative spectrum? [Re: frost]
LandOfShadow Offline

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Briefly, one way I seem to have dissociated my whole life, is getting lost in some intellectual activity. Like reading about technical stuff, computer programming, kind of researching information. I loose track of my body, emotion, why I'm doing this, a sense of time. I feel like a zombie lost in a sea of words. I'll do this for hours and later not know why or what I was doing. It's just a pointless distraction from painful feelings and I mostly don't know I was doing it until much later.

Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard


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