Dissociation or am I losing my mind?


I’m coming off of a very stressful journey of possible cancer (PTS feelings) that has now turned into a “let’s keep watch on the nodule.” Had a therapy rupture, that I thought was resolved and T vacation tossed in there too. When she came back, our meeting was fine. I left ok. Then, I woke up in the middle of the night remembering something that she may or may not have said. I remember her saying that sometimes people do a short term therapy on transference and then come back to finish the work with her. I convinced myself that she wanted me to do this. I don’t want to for multiple reasons including a bad experience with a previous cbt therapist and fear of judgement, shame which may send me off the deep end. Most importantly, being separated from my safe person/place.

I emailed her in a panic and she told me that we will continue working together, we will talk on Monday and all will be okay. While going over this in my head the 20th time I realized that when she said this “see another therapist” stuff to me she was standing by the door, the room was shiny and there may have been another woman vaguely there. This couldn’t have happened in this way. This used to happen to me a lot in my earlier therapy. I would tell her things she had said to me and she couldn’t recall having said them. Memories of her standing different places in the room or even walking me to my car. She doesn’t do these things. In those instances things were shiny as well. Did I dream this whole event and think it was real? Is this my dissociation taking over? I don’t have DID. I do have complex ptsd. I’ve had an MRI recently. No brain tumor. No recent medication change. Just a lot of stress thinking that I might die.

Should I be extra concerned? My normal parts of life had actually been quite good lately in my family and job. Any ideas here?


gentle empathy on the plight, skywatcher. i suffer similar confusions when current day stresses/trauma hit my older war wounds.

i ply extra doses of mindful observation and keep a running personal inventory episodes such as this. i have a long habit of running a daily inventory, but, when in doubt, a running inventory can help me ply therapy tools before the weirds have a chance to escalate to psychosis. leaning heavily on my therapy network is among my more useful therapy tools for the reality checks i need to distinguish fact from psychosis. extra rest and self-care are also helpful.

steadying support while you work it through. be gentle with yourself and patient with the process.

for what it's worth
i had never connected the concepts of losing one's mind and dissociation before, but my initial response was, "aren't they one and the same?"


I have the opposite, in that I sometimes think things that are real, aren't. They don't feel real. This can happen with traumatic things (blocked that out for decades) and happy things. Itr hard to know it's real. I've now realised that if something doesn't seem real, it usually means it is.

I think transference is so so so incredibly powerful stuff. As is reenactments with our therapists. I do this all the time. Seek out something from T to hook onto that she will abandon me and is angry with me. She isn't. And she will remind me that she didn't say what I think she did. We have had a few ruptures when I do this because I don't trust her.
But, when I examine it, it's usually me expecting her to be like my mum and me thinking I have found the behaviour from her that I expect from mum.

So slightly different to what you have, but maybe it's all linked and coming from similar places?

What is it about this shiny vision? Is that linked to anything in the past?

Do you think this is your mind looking for signs she will abandon you? Or do you think this is some sort of other mental health challenge?

You've got a lot of stresses at the moment. Which, from my experience, heightens the risk of rupture with T.


Thank you for sharing this. I have experienced this exact same thing. Even remembering the therapist in physical places that could never have happened. Like standing over me, or sitting to me left with his face up to mine. This never happened, he always sits to my right and several feet away. It is so. Bizarre. The rupture was so great that it is impossible to return.
I dont have any answers, except it was so interesting reading that someone else experienced this. Even the shiny part. I'm guessing it is some form of protection the psyche creates, especially since the areas of your life are good.


@hithere my earliest “shiny” memory was of the happy memory with a friend and friendly man from the woods joining our play in the creek. This led to the absolute worst trauma that I had—if I even had it. Blocked it out for many years, but a lot of bad ptsd events seemed to occur after the fact, just not with that memory, per se. A lot of my weird therapy session stuff happened while working on this stuff years ago. I even had a bad rupture and when we tried doing emdr on it, it came back to this event.

I’m happy to know that someone else experiences this because I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. (Now I can say “us” 😉)

I do fear she will leave. (I have a childhood abandonment thing). It happens every time she returns from a vacation. I told her this and she questioned that she would “wait until a vacation to think that I’m too much to work with?” And “come on, skywatcher, you know me.” Then she brought up transference. I brushed over it and changed the subject. Later, at night, I woke up with shiny memories, had a complete shutdown at work and went into robot and isolation mode. Came home, cried a bunch, talked to a friend. Yesterday, processed that this was a shiny thing that wasn’t possible the way I remembered it.

Also, why wouldn’t she want to leave at this point. We deal with different parts of me getting in the way anytime I get scared or hear something wrong. I have a lot of mom transference. In the fifth year, have had a lot of improvement, but this work is slow.