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I had an episode close to the holidays where I felt like a robot, was just numb, and had a hard time concentrating, and kept spacing out. Made work pretty hard to get through. I was there and yet I wasn't. I've had episodes like that many times in my life.
I was in a session with a former therapist while I was still living at the DV shelter and we were talking about my tendency to abuse myself emotionally. To put myself down and demean myself in my head. See I have an inner voice that is doing it. Not something that is audible, more in thought form. It is more than just me being self critical, it is brutal and very hateful. It just starts on its own and I always felt it was something separate from myself but I never gave it a name. I try to stop it from happening but it is difficult. Since it is in MY head I never tried to go past thinking of it as being me, even though it felt separate. Then I beat myself up for being so screwed up that I would do that to myself. :crazy: She asked me who's voice it was? It wasn't a particular voice of anyone really, it was just there, and I didn't know how to explain that. She asked me if I normally ever talk to or treat anyone the way the voice cusses me and belittles me? Was that anywhere near my normal personality? I had to answer that no it wasn't. She then asked me to try to identify who it was in my head if it wasn't me. When I really thought about it, I realized that it was a manifestation of my ex and my step father, like their combined abusive personalities were tag teaming me. I try really hard to stop myself now and ask who is in control of my head. In reality am I the low life, worthless piece of dirt, totally unlovable or undesirable to anyone who is decent, and total screw up that this voice inside me would have me believe? Sometimes the voice persists to the point that I become very depressed. The harder I push to succeed, to actually make a better life for myself since leaving my ex, and especially the closer I get to graduating...the more persistent the voice becomes.
I often tell people that I snapped just before leaving my ex and that I suddenly felt like I was on a train that couldn't be stopped, that I was along for the ride, that it was like someone else was in control. I made a lot of major life changing decisions and did some really HARD to do stuff that was not characteristic of me. I don't know if all that was rage driven from so many years of crap or if it was a prolonged disassociation, a "fragment" finally taking over and saying "ENOUGH!" and then doing the things I never dreamed I would be strong enough to do. Can they go on for long periods at a time like that?
I was at a meeting a few weeks ago and was upset at my sister before arriving. I soon started ranting about how she hurt me and I kept telling myself to shut up. I kept talking but than it seemed as if someone else was doing the talking and I was straining my ears to hear but the words were all muffled. I sat down and was so embarrassed, I wanted to run out but seemed frozen in my chair. My doc prescribed Lorazapam and told me to keep it in my purse and if possible when I feel this happening to take a pill.
Hi Anna and thanks so much.
I now realise that i disciated more than i thought i did during the abuse. It was scary to read what makes you be higher up the disociation ladder but you are right that they are gifts. I'm very creative and that is such a comfort to me. Although i'm not going through the abuse anymore i still disociate quite often Is that normal? I just stare at a point and although i can hear and see its like it doesnt register. Maybe i am goign throguh abuses still - just self abuse - mentally. Maybe the flashbacks and intrusive thoughts make me disociate. not sure. Anyway thank you again. I have learnt so much from it.
WOW! I think I read this information before and just didn't get it, couldn't figure out how it applied to me. Did somebody just put a lightbulb in the socket?
The part about preventing destruction of core self really hit home. Dissociation can be a handy tool at work or in a crisis. It enables me find logical solutions to problems without having emotions interfere. But it also self destructive. I rationalize, intellectualize, and generally try to convince myself that my feelings are invalid and unworthy of consideration. I try to ignore them like a robotic workaholic.
I used to use it for the really difficult things, like the dentist. I tried using it when I was in labor/delivery with my daughter and that was the beginning of the end of it for me. I remember laying back and trying to cope with a contraction and then opening my eyes and three hours had passed, when it only felt like a minute or two. I can't recall most of the day, only segmented pieces. I wasn't on any drugs for pain when I was losing time. The whole day had this surreal feeling, like I had dropped acid (LSD) or something. I think it probably had more to do with all the crazy hormones and chemicals that are naturally produced to cope with labor. The disassociating stopped working when the pain was unbearable. It was very jarring to go from "not being there" to be in the worst pain I have ever experienced and absolutely terrified. They gave me narcotics soon after I reached that point.
When it did work, I could choose not to emotionally be somewhere and I wasn't. I didn't even realize that I could do it until I wasn't able to do it anymore. I really wish I could still do it. It was so very, very helpful.