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I’m Worried that I May Have Dissociative Disorder

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From a teen in the U.S.: I struggle with dissociation regularly, and I don’t remember how long I have but recently in the past 3 months it has become a chronic issue. (My therapist is aware of this) I do not remember anything before about 7th grade (for me, 4 years ago) except for bits and pieces of either traumatic events or otherwise, and I have a fuzzy memory up until about 9th (two years ago). And I mean I don’t remember anything.

I have suffered trauma throughout my life including childhood (i.e. intense bullying from 1st-5th grade, hospitalized concussion in kindergarten, death of grandfather at young age and not acknowledging it until after funeral, others that I can faintly point out because I’ve been told about them by my parents but can’t remember at all). Recently I have been suffering a lot of trauma and a lot of trauma has been resurfacing from my childhood, causing me to have panic attacks.

About weeks ago (it’s difficult for me to sort out dates so it could have been longer but I don’t remember), I suffered a very bad dissociative episode where I started to cry and shake. It got so intense to a point where I couldn’t stand without feeling like I would fall and I was eventually catatonic and unwilling to move. I can remember hearing a young woman’s voice telling me everything was okay.

I am a teenage American male, and I heard an Australian woman in her twenties in my head telling me everything was okay. After about (I think) a few minutes or so, I no longer felt as if I had complete control over my body, and my body started speaking as the woman. (Just in case, I don’t want to reveal her name but she had chosen a name.) And I had a conversation with her in my mind, and I then remember her looking at my body in the mirror and feeling confused. I haven’t heard her and she hasn’t “taken control” for a good while now, except for a few small times.

I, in no way shape or form, wish to receive a diagnosis from anyone on this website, but is DID something I should have concerns about and talk to my therapist seriously about? I appreciate any help, it has been a burden on my mind for a while.

I’m Worried that I May Have Dissociative Disorder

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. I’m very sorry life has been so challenging for you for so long. I’m very, very glad that you have a therapist and that you have shared enough of your history with your therapist that she is aware of your struggles with dissociation.

To answer your question: Of course you should share your latest concerns with your therapist. Your therapist only has what you tell her to go on. The more you share, the more helpful she can be. Therapy is a collaboration. You deserve to get the best help your therapist can give you. Your therapist deserves to be told what worries you so that she can offer you the support and guidance that you need. Without that kind of honesty and frank conversation, therapy can only be minimally useful.

DID is a protective response to overwhelming trauma. Untreated it can take on a life of its own. Treatment includes honoring the protective instincts but then helping you learn other ways to take care of yourself that don’t depend on you splitting off from your core self.

Please — give your therapist the material she needs to help you make more progress.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

I’m Worried that I May Have Dissociative Disorder

TALK TO A THERAPIST NOW:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). I’m Worried that I May Have Dissociative Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/04/10/im-worried-that-i-may-have-dissociative-disorder/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Apr 2020 (Originally: 10 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 7 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.