Integration is wearing me down

Cypress

Confident
After a year of being off work, and very intensive trauma therapy, I have managed to integrate all of the split off sides of my personality. So I am whole supposedly. I hold all of my memories, I know it happened to me. I know all of the feelings are mine. I no longer feel like "we", no longer have voices in my head that feel like other entities, no longer lose time.

This should be a remarkable achievement but it has truly been hell. I now have what feels like the worst case of PTSD ever experienced. Dissociation protected me from awareness of triggers, flashbacks and overwhelming emotions. I was calmer and more high functioning as a narrow-bandwidth dissociative than I am now as a full-bandwidth person who is completely disabled by complex PTSD.

My therapist says that this is actually a healthier state and points to all of the ways I have been able to increase intimacy in personal relationships, repair bonds and on very good days: feel joy.
I am a lot less lonely - that is the one thing I do notice but it's come at a cost.

Has anyone else had this experience? Does it get better?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think I'm nearly at where you are at in terms of recognising feelings and being aware and being more integrated and was writing a bit about this in my diary yesterday.
Feeling all these feelings slows me down. Have to process them. Takes time and energy.
I'm assuming it gets easier????
My T says it's healthier and it takes practice.

It must get easier?!
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
yup, been there and still go back there on occasion. allowing for and getting to know my whole self was an on-going challenge after the compartmentalization of denial and repression. the times i still go back there are more often a result of life changes. just when i have all the answers, life goes and changes the questions.

sigh. . . life do get messy, but not quite so messy as when i keep my head buried in the sand. i think. . .

there is something to be said for the narrow focus of compartmentalized denial. what's love/hate but a second hand emotion? ? ?
 

Friday

Moderator
If it helps?

Try thinking about it like you just graduated from physical therapy, and have been released from the hospital. You no longer need parallel bars to walk, but it’s going to be exhausting, frustrating, and a whole new series of challenges to master before you’re just getting a up and going about your day, much less adding exercise routines, spontaneous adventures, and dancing. It takes practice to build up strength, ease, familiarity, rituals/routines. New beginnings get so much hype, but hot dayum… they’re the hardest part to low crawl through.
 

grit

Not Active
I am sorry you are feeling this way after you put so much effort and energy into integration.

I remembered specifically asking my therapist what she may thought my dissociation was protecting me from TODAY? I do not believe things get adapted without a purpose or something beneficial for the organism. She did not know. I realized after, for me at least, dissociation was protecting me from panic (as a child - a real one due to what I went through) and as an adult the fear of having panic. Honestly "the fear of panic "should have clued me in but never thought about it deeply enough. People do not fear things they know nothing about. So my body knew something I did not.

I figured this out cause I panicked one time and thought I was dying! I could only imagine then what happened to me as a child - a panic for little me must shut me down epically!

However, during the panic (thank goodness I was at home and I asked my husband for a hug that calmed me down), I could logically tell I had no context at the moment to be panicking. But still I let it all out and it took me about 12hrs of relaxing, listening to soothing music, and sleeping to get over it. Now I had a meaning for my dissociation - a personal subjective experience for me. Since then, I felt like the surge of panic was literally both of my brain reconnecting. Now that I am not dissociating, it is possible panic may be added to a future state of mind if shit hits the fan or not...I do not know. But know I have had a real long memorable life without panic so I am not panicky about future panic!

I wonder if similar process could help you understand what was the purpose of your dissociation. Dissociation, IMHO, must have a much greater purpose than just holding off feelings - it reorganizes the species to survive (I am using species cause dissociation is not just for humans).

If this makes sense, it seems to me personally that my left brain developed much more dominant than the right (though naturally I may have been right brain inclined - not so hard and fast just metaphorically speaking). This means I had significant cognition to survive for so long where I could convert feelings to thoughts like if I was sad, I would expressed it as tired or annoyed depending on situation etc. So now since I have integrated "somewhat" I can express the feeling as such I am sad and sad about such and such and I am relieved. If the sadness is gut level and ambiguous then I know I am triggered by something or someone and try to make the connection - slow and mechanical but hey I am learning this in my 40+ not when I was in diaper as I should..LOL

In short, in the present day, my feelings are obvious in the situation and often anything sort of paralyzing, I can assess it as a new old experience coming up in the body memory (implicitly) and try to soothe my inner turmoil - like mothering myself. It works for me. I am sort of aware my temporal bodily experience - past and present.

I do not mean to minimize or simplify this shit but hope you get what I am saying if it is useful to you and apply to your situation if it fits.

[ editting to add also somethings that come with aging is that a lot of times, I let go of things rather than focus on them cause truly I feel life is short and I need to get going so the present day feelings are much faster for me to process and acknowledge and the deep ones - I forgive myself for not taking care of them earlier in my adulthood] hence why I can articulate this way ...I do not get bogged down to process everything to death sort of.
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Has anyone else had this experience? Does it get better?
Your experience has been very similar to mine this past year. We still think of ourselves as "we", but the parts in my head are kind of clumping together: little ones, teens, 30s, older folks. It has been a really hard year, just as you describe it. We feel pretty raw, and the screaming inside can be louder. Now, instead of one upset part, we're dealing with a group all at once. Early in the year, we went to an esteemed psychiatrist (very competent in DID) to see if there were appropriate meds. His answer was: a) you are really competent at managing your parts and are doing well with them, b) I'm not going to give you any meds, because you need to get through these feelings, being aware of them.

We're making progress, and can see where this is going. So we're hopeful. But we're really empathetic with your experience and sometimes wish for the compartmentalized life. But then we remember the special hell that was part of that.

Good luck, and sorry it's been a rough ride.
 

Jade-

MyPTSD Pro
Post integration of all my parts meant having to face and deal with things head on.

Honestly it was like having to learn basic life skills for the first time. I didn't realize how much I dissociated or had other parts that managed everything until after the fact. And I really,really struggled for the first few years.

My PTSD is way worse than it used to be. Sometimes it feels so severe that I miss having a dissociative disorder. But there's advantages too,I know where I've been and what I've done and have the ability to be present.

*my diagnosis was DID. I no longer meet the criterion for that label but I do have "constant" PTSD'
 

Cypress

Confident
Post integration of all my parts meant having to face and deal with things head on.

Honestly it was like having to learn basic life skills for the first time. I didn't realize how much I dissociated or had other parts that managed everything until after the fact. And I really,really struggled for the first few years.

My PTSD is way worse than it used to be. Sometimes it feels so severe that I miss having a dissociative disorder. But there's advantages too,I know where I've been and what I've done and have the ability to be present.

*my diagnosis was DID. I no longer meet the criterion for that label but I do have "constant" PTSD'
This was my diagnosis too and I feel just as you describe - learning basic life skills for the first time with the worst PTSD ever. I too miss the mental numbness of dissociation into parts.

Have your PTSD symptoms improved at all or just at a constant level?
 

Actualise

Learning
My body just clamps up reading this - while I want to get rid of my dissociation I feel alarm at getting rid of it without things in place to make it safe enough for me to do that. It’s not a conscious thing for me, my dissociation won’t budge until I can cope without it. Your situation sounds like a lot of difficult feeling! It seems from everyone’s posts they have taken the same route ie lose dissociation first and figure out how to deal with life without it. Wishing you the best, hopefully things get calmer for you soon (without zoning out into dissociation).
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My body just clamps up reading this - while I want to get rid of my dissociation I feel alarm at getting rid of it without things in place to make it safe enough for me to do that.
Gosh that reasonated with me!
I had previously said to me T, it felt like free falling off a cliff. No safety net. No techniques to help survive.
But she told me there were techniques. And slowly, slowly slowly, I'm believing that there are.

How are things for you now @Cypress ? Is the challenges of it all rasing off a little?
 
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