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#469255 - 08/22/14 11:50 AM Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone
sorryson Offline

Registered: 05/31/14
Posts: 592
This week I had an appointment with psychiatrist and counselor. The doctor says I am making progress but in time I need to dig deeper. Yesterday at the counselor session something weird happened. He was asking me about the abuse and words I may have remembered. I told him I remembered the teacher telling me he loved me and would never leave me. Then I remembered seeing his face and me in the bathroom. That was the last I remembered until I found myself sitting on a chair sobbing in a different part of the office. The counselor said as I was telling the words I remembered I began to look glazed, he tried to stop me from talking but I kept going. He said I stood up and began to walk toward the door. He stood in front of it so I would not leave. He said I was coherent and I needed to find Fr.XXXX or someone like him. I have never told anyone his name and how did he know his name. He said I repeated he loved me and would never leave me. I became scared when I looked at the clock and it was past when my session was to be over. I aksed how long was I like this. My counselor said about 45 minutes. It is weird that I do not remember what happened. He said tis happens when people start to uncover the memories.

I told my wife and she said there were many times when I would get a glazed look and staid talking about things she did not understand. She said sometimes I would get up and leave the room and later find me just staring into space. I always thought I was day dreaming. Now I think I was doing something else. Has this happened to anyone else because it scares me. I have to see the counselor again today. Any insight would be helpful.

#469256 - 08/22/14 01:40 PM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4287
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
not exactly the same - but i have "lost time" before. "spacing out" is what my wife calls it. but i don't think i talked - just went distant and silent on her. and i can remember when i did not remember the passing of time and what had happened the previous period and how i had gotten home or to school or work. it happened right during and after my last abuse episode when i was about 15. i had apparently been wandering around town with no memory of it and came to on the bus going home quite a bit later.

it is not uncommon among those who have been traumatized. it sounds like you are dissociating and experiencing a flashback - whether you remember it or not. i know that hear that it is "normal" may be little comfort - but you can get over it. there are others here who have had such events and can tell you more.

it hasn't happened to me for some time - probly at least 2 years - since i was in therapy and finished digging up and uncovering all of the repressed memories. by bringing them into the open, it seems they lost their power to "knock me out."

hope you are soon feeling more at ease.
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#469265 - 08/22/14 05:52 PM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]
NoSimpleMachine Offline

Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
Working with my lifetime integration therapist (LIT), I had a session where we did worked on some feelings I had for well over our normal hour of time, up to about an hour and 40 minutes. It didn't feel that long. It didn't feel like time at all. But my mind had a lot of things to go over, think about, and uncover in that time.

It's an amazing insight into the structure of the brain regarding traumatic experiences, but it sounds like you really did "dig deep". Even if you lost track of time and where you were, I have no doubt that fresh connections in your brain were made and will continue to manifest themselves going forward. I find that the first glimpses are mysterious but preface clearer views in the following days and weeks, and usually brings about a more peaceful feeling within myself pretty soon too.
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

#469288 - 08/23/14 04:40 AM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Sorryson, Not trying to diagnose you, but see if this fits your experience and talk to your psychiatrist.

Originally Posted By: WebMD
Dissociative fugue, formerly called psychogenic fugue, is one of a group of conditions called dissociative disorders. The word fugue comes from the Latin word for "flight." People with dissociative fugue temporarily lose their sense of personal identity and impulsively wander or travel away from their homes or places of work. They often become confused about who they are and might even create new identities. Outwardly, people with this disorder show no signs of illness, such as a strange appearance or odd behavior.

Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, conscious awareness, identity, and/or perception. When one or more of these functions is disrupted, symptoms can result. These symptoms can interfere with a person's general functioning, including social and work activities, and relationships.

What Are the Symptoms of Dissociative Fugue?

A fugue in progress often is difficult for others to recognize because the person's outward behavior appears normal. Symptoms of dissociative fugue might include the following:
•Sudden and unplanned travel away from home
•Inability to recall past events or important information from the person's life
•Confusion or loss of memory about his or her identity, possibly assuming a new identity to make up for the loss
•Extreme distress and problems with daily functioning (due to the fugue episodes)

What Causes Dissociative Fugue?

Dissociative fugue has been linked to severe stress, which might be the result of traumatic events -- such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence -- that the person has experienced or witnessed. The use or abuse of alcohol and certain drugs also can cause fugue-like states, such as alcohol-induced "blackouts."
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#469296 - 08/23/14 01:10 PM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]
sorryson Offline

Registered: 05/31/14
Posts: 592
I met with the counselor yesterday. He had spoken with the doctor. He said I had a fugue. He explained in a fugue we separate from our consciousness. As Jude said these occur during periods of stress including facing or remember traumatic events. He told me the abuse is trauma. He said the doctor believes I have symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. He said I attempting to leave but was stopped by him. Fleeing or traveling are a sign of a fugue. He said I was separated from who I am and appeared to take on characteristics of the abused child. He said it is a way to cope.

I was confused. I asked does that mean I am two people. He said no and explained everyone has different parts within themselves. For most people all the parts are connected. Children who are sexually abused many times put that part of them into a separate compartment and try to lock the abuse in the trunk. He said the trunk is never totally locked and that part creeps out through our lives. It wants to be part of you but you will not allow it to be a part of you that you accept. It was strange hearing this because I never thought I had a part of me that was not me. We talked about this for the whole session.

He and the doctor agreed I have been working on understanding the abuse and was facing the events of the abuse. I was told I have been weakened emotionally with everything going on in the family with my brother and Mama. Talking about the memories of the abuse was a trigger and I need to be careful. He told me some people have triggers when exposed to certain smell, words, sounds, they are made to feel or are put in situations that remind them of the abuse or even reading or seeing on TV stories of children who have been abused. He said it was remember the words that triggered me the other day.

He began to ask about any other periods where I did not remember. I said my wife talked about how I would have a glazed look and leave the room. I would be found elsewhere in the house or outside. I thought I was daydreaming because a half hour or hour could have passed and I did not remember what I did. I also told him, sometimes I would be driving and all of a sudden I get these feelings that I had been here before but I know I had never been there. I could remember details of the place and I could not tell him who else was there. He said I need to be careful because dissociation has wide ranges from daydreaming, loosing time and place, and fugues. I asked why.

He asked when I was abused did I ever feel like I was not there but rather were a spectator. I said yes I can remember looking down and feeling sorry for the boy and hearing what the teacher said to the boy. He told me that boy was me and I had separated from him. He said the mind of the abuse victim takes over and goes into a fright and flight mode so the child being abused can survive. How the mind ultimately achieves this is different for each victim.

This was a lot to understand. I am glad my counselor is a licensed psychologist who works in the same practice as my psychiatrist because they are able to talk regularly. The doctor prescribed some medication, Zoloft, to help with post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and dissociation. He said there are other drugs Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel if the Zoloft is not effective. I have been googling these drugs and do not like some of the side effects. I am on a light dosage.

I guess I have a lot to learn about what the sexual abuse did to me. I now have a better appreciation for what my Dad went through because of us. I can only imagine how our behavior pushed him to some really dark places that he never remembered. When he was dealing with his seexual abuse he had no one. His wife and childrn turned on him. I guess I am glad to learn he did not remember everything that went on when he would disappear into his dissociated world. I am glad he got medical help and had a happy life.

I want to thank Lee, NoSimpleMachine and Jude for helping me here. I guess it will take time before I understand. I just want it over.

#469306 - 08/24/14 03:52 AM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]
kcinohio Offline

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 512
Loc: Ohio
Hi sorryson,

My understanding of dissociative symptoms goes back to the 90's, so I may not be as up on the current advances with it. Was treated for it, and went through the "stages," of response, but out of order, so made progress, regressed for a while, and then made progress again, but slower. That stuck. I found trying to hurry it didn't do me much good.

Had the spectator experience during at least one abuse episode. Mildly re-experienced it as an adult, but during consensual rather than abusive circumstance.

Don't know what to suggest regarding the medications other than be consistent with them, so if they don't work, you're clear it is the medication and not you. The only other thing I'd suggest is being proactive about your therapy. Any form of therapy or medication one uses, even though prescribed or suggested by a medical professional, is one's own choice. I didn't find being passive about my treatment to be a way to get through and beyond it. My experience is that once stabilized without episodes, most mental health professionals won't change it due to risk. While short term that's okay and understandable, long term that is a recipe for stagnation - usually in mental health state only just above miserable. (Again, that's my experience perception, not an across the board assessment of what happens in modern practice.) But, while hopefully it has changed, most in the 90's and early 0's weren't comfortable with men as CSA survivors with dissociative disorders - there just wasn't enough out there about it for them to trust the diagnosis and process.)

One of the advantages of dissociative disorders is that they tend to be responsive to therapy, working through trauma. Medications are more symptom stabilizers over time, whereas many mental illnesses require medication on an ongoing basis without therapeutic correction, but that can be without ever breaking through to the other side of a dissociatively held trauma experience. For me, only therapy and a few rounds at that completed getting enough past it to the other side.

Started process with dissociation therapy in '94, was on medication at various times for over a decade, sometimes they were helpful sometimes not.

But, I went through a ton of therapy, sometimes more intensively than others, and although my process was a mixed hash of stages through, I eventually reached a point where I was in therapy, but using no medication. Since, I have been gainfully employed for over a decade, usually with 2 part-time jobs, but have been with one full time for several years now. So, sometimes that can be done sometimes not. But, it's been over 20 years now since summer of '94 when I started with therapist that would first treat me specifically for a dissociative disorder (there's an entire spectrum (or at least were in one DSM manual sometimes ago)).

Now, my life is reasonably good. Don't know if that will continue indefinitely during my lifetime, but no indicators otherwise at the moment. Still have occasional hard days or weeks with the CSA and recovery process aftermath, but much fewer than before.

So, while I can understand wanting it over, in my experience, it is best to make the most of one's life even while one is going through it. Even with all of the ups and downs, there were times during those first 15 years following '94 that I treasure my daily experiences. Life can still be worthwhile, even during the journey through the hard times. My abusers already got something precious from my life, I didn't need to forfeit any more of life's precious moments during the healing journey just to try and rush through it to - something unknown. Better to get a sense of what's important in a healthy life along the way, in my opinion.

Thanks. Hopefully there's something in there that is helpful.

Edited by kcinohio (08/24/14 03:54 AM)

#469312 - 08/24/14 01:58 PM Re: Counseling Session Strange Reaction and Being Gone [Re: sorryson]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3856

You have received great insights from the members at MS. I experienced "lost time" throughout life. For me, it was a way of life and I thought it was normal. The periods would be short up to a few hours. It never had a name for me.

I learned the dissociation was a way of coping with the abuse and memories of the abuse. It is believed I let go and a part of me, the child within, took over. The experts have explained that a subconscious part of the mind takes over to protect me from the related memories of the trauma. I adopted this coping mechanism at the time of the abuse and continued to use to escape stresses and pain, which subconsciously brought me back to the abuse. It was a way for me to live life.

I was on seroquel and clonazepam and it worked for awhile and then when the intensity of the memories increased it was not effective. The medication, especially the seroquel made me exhausted. I would have periods where I would sleep for 20 hours. People around me accused me of using illegal drugs.

The periods of dissociation were more frequent at times. I remember in college when meeting with a professor, the priest fell into me with his hand hitting my groin. It set off the memories and fears. The periods of lost time along with nightmares were at a high. It took months before I was "under control". I was abused by a priest.

I found your comment about places being familiar but not remembering being there. For years a movie would come on TV for the first time. I would know the movie from beginning to end. My ex wife would always say she never saw it. I was bewildered and could not remember when and where I had seen the movie. This was not an isolated incidence. I had blanks of events before or after the movie. Did I retreat to a movie theater to escape what was happening around me. The professionals say it is possible.

I was more like your father. As the memories began to take over, almost 9 years ago, the periods of lost time increased. The living environment was triggering the memories, nightmares, flashbacks and lack of sleep. It was overwhelming and I was scared and alone. Initially, I had no one to turn to for help, if I asked for help it was rebutted and the triggers kept coming. I had extensive periods of lost time, finding myself in places I had no recollection of going to or how I got there. So what happened during those periods made me afraid of why and what may have happened.

After I had to go to the place of the abuse, to bury my Mom, the episodes increased in duration and I was hospitalized. The doctors at the hospital confirmed the diagnosis of dissociative fugue, PTSD, etc. which were given to me by my doctor and therapist. I was offered in house treatment or to continue with my current therapy. The doctors explained in-house therapy would only allow for observation of the fugues but said I would be removed from being exposed to my triggers. I would not learn the triggers or figure out a new way to cope. Their recommendation was to continue with my current therapy and change my environment. The latter my doctor and therapist had long recommended.

I had a few episodes in therapy where I began to dissociate and my therapist was able to bring me back, how I really do not know. I only know this because he asked did I remember what had happened and I did not.

It was in a very bad time, therapy continued, slowly I began to gain control. As KCinOhio said dissociation responds to therapy. I had to learn my triggers and develop a new way to cope with the stresses. Overtime I figured out the triggers and adopted new ways to cope. I too, had periods of progress and then would regress. I have not been hospitalized in 16 months and I seem to be better in control of my life.

As I learned about dissociation and the different types, life began to make sense. I was suffering from PTSD and the dissociation was part of how I responded to the trauma of the abuse. I also learned other medical conditions may be related to the trauma as well as periods of sleeping walking-all ways to retreat from the memories of the abuse.

Take your time, explore and you will find your triggers. You will learn to think differently, to respond differently. We need to change our brain processes. Neuroplasticity refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes. When we were abused our brains were programmed to respond and this response has remained with us. By changing behavior and how we respond to the memories of the trauma we can change the neural pathways and synapses, which allow us to move beyond the abuse.

Sorryson, you have learned of your father's dissociation from interpretation of his medical reports by doctor's verse in the current understanding of dissociation. He appears from what you have written to have had more extensive periods of dissociation and some of his triggers were similar to what I lived. You seem to have found one of your triggers, certain words or phrases. Over time, you will figure out the triggers and with the help of your therapist and doctors you will learn to develop new coping mechanisms.

Yes it can be frightening, confusing and sometime debilitating. You are in good hands with your psychiatrist and therapist. Your wife is understanding and will embrace the words of the doctors and help you through. Having people who support you, is vital in the process, as it became for me.

Heal well and I am glad you are focusing of healing. As you dig deeper the symptoms may become stronger, and from my experience I have learned it is a step in the right direction.


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