Today I want to write about how tricky life can be with a dissociative disorder. The chaos, the confusion and all the bluffing you need to do to pass yourself off as “normal”. All the energy that goes into trying to work out what you’ve missed, what happened, what damage has been done. It’s hard work.
I’m quite grateful that I’m surrounded by many wonderful and caring friends who don’t need explanations. Most are patient and will retell things that I’ve missed. Usually things run smoothly, or I think they do. I’m generally aware of other parts being out, but don’t always remember what they’ve said or done.
The problem is, I don’t always know or remember what’s been done. If I’ve lost time, and another alter has been out, I might not find out until the damage is discovered. There was the time that one of the teen alters spent upwards of $500 on a subscription to an adult site. I had absolutely no idea until, over a year later, I noticed money missing from my account. That was our most expensive incident.
I’ve also been accused of returning to an old share house, and asking after one of my old housemates. He emailed me asking me not to return to the house, and said that he had a girlfriend now and was very happy. I knew nothing. Absolutely zilch. Now that’s either a very cruel joke, or one of my lot actually did that without me knowing.
I’m constantly missing bits in conversations. I might feel grounded and 100% present, but when asked to recall important details of the conversation at a later date, I can’t remember. This recently happened with a new psychiatrist. He asked about what I’d been working on with my psychologist. I had nothing, couldn’t recall even recent sessions. I think I’m present when I see my psychologist, but it seems that I’m not. The opposite also happened – my psychologist asked what I’d discussed with the psychiatrist. I couldn’t recall a single piece of useful information.
When I start thinking about everything I know I’ve missed or don’t remember I start to worry. I know I’ve missed some things, but what about everything else? What else has happened that is locked away in my mind? There’s no way of knowing until I find evidence for it. It’s very scary to consider that part of me is doing things that I don’t know about.
Most of the time I know that I’m unwell. I don’t feel crazy though. I know that I’ve been through a lot and have a mental illness. That doesn’t make anyone crazy. However, there are times that I feel crazy. When my symptoms feel out of control, when I’m regularly dissociating to the point of appearing catatonic, when I can’t remember basic things, or put thoughts into words. That feels crazy. I’m at that point.
I still don’t think I’m losing large amounts of time, but I’m struggling to keep track of what I’m doing day-to-day. I begin dissociating at just the hint of something triggering, and that’s only what I’m actually aware of. I’m unable to accomplish much in therapy because of the dissociation, which is incredibly frustrating. Add all the ME/CFS symptoms to that, and I’m struggling more than I’ve let most people know.
In attempt to move forward, and with a lot of pressure from some friends and my psychologist I’ve agreed to go into hospital for a few weeks. The hope is that the cause of my severe dissociative episodes can be discovered and worked with. This doesn’t fill me with delight. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified. However, I’m trying to hold onto the hope that things will get better. They have to, right?