Digital Abstract in red, blue and black

DID and the Arrow of Time

This is slightly edited SOC:

There are three major types of dissociative disorder defined in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association:

Dissociative amnesia. The main symptom is memory loss that’s more severe than normal forgetfulness and that can’t be explained by a medical condition. You can’t recall information about yourself or events and people in your life, especially from a traumatic time. Dissociative amnesia can be specific to events in a certain time, such as intense combat, or more rarely, can involve complete loss of memory about yourself. It may sometimes involve travel or confused wandering away from your life (dissociative fugue). An episode of amnesia usually occurs suddenly and may last minutes, hours, or rarely, months or years.

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by “switching” to alternate identities. You may feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and you may feel as though you’re possessed by other identities. Each identity may have a unique name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. People with dissociative identity disorder typically also have dissociative amnesia and often have dissociative fugue.

Depersonalization-derealization disorder. This involves an ongoing or episodic sense of detachment or being outside yourself — observing your actions, feelings, thoughts and self from a distance as though watching a movie (depersonalization). Other people and things around you may feel detached and foggy or dreamlike, time may be slowed down or sped up, and the world may seem unreal (derealization). You may experience depersonalization, derealization or both. Symptoms, which can be profoundly distressing, may last only a few moments or come and go over many years

Dissociative Identity Disorder is the other two disorders plus alternate identities with memories of their own.

“Each identity may have a unique name, personal history, and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms, and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others.”

DID is an uneasy alliance of defense mechanisms.

For instance, Bobby and the Aversion Therapist; I know the story is true,
but I don’t remember it.

From my perspective, it never happened.

The present is the past in the present, got that?

Research is improved since I was first diagnosed in 2009.

In 2015 the National Institutes of Health published research that explains
memory disruption in people with DID.

Normal memory is episodic.

The flow of consciousness across time is necessary to create an experience of the present, (“now”) in the context of a subjective past and anticipated future. Accordingly, under normal circumstances, time is experienced as continuously moving forward. However, traumatized individuals often relive their traumatic memories through flashbacks and lack the ability to live in the “now,” reflecting a key dissociative process associated with trauma-related altered states of consciousness. Such reliving events are in contrast to intrusive memory recall most frequently associated with reminder distress and not involving an altered state of consciousness or a dissociative process but rather represent a state of normal waking consciousness   Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015


Normal memory is “Back when I was 16,” as opposed to ‘I am 16.”

 

“Episodic memory differs from other kinds of memory in that its operations require a self. It is the self that engages in the mental activity that is referred to as mental time travel: there can be no travel without a traveler …”  Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015


I don’t remember things, I relive them.

 

“…while remembering an event, mental time travel is “partial” in that the present self voluntarily directs attention to the past self, thus maintaining awareness of the present self in the present time. In this case, the “I” is proposed to exist in the present self, which outweighs the representation of the past self in past time. In contrast, during a reliving experience, mental time travel occurs “fully,” generally not by choice, and is usually triggered by internal and/or external stimuli that bear some resemblance to a past self-state. In this case, the “I” is thought to inhabit the past self, which is thought to outweigh the presence of the present self, thus lacking a mental time traveler and the ability to voluntarily position oneself in the past or in the future.” Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
A Multiverse of the Mind


Maybe it’s a gift

I discussed my post about the first day of desegregation with my therapist.

It’s a short piece but was hard to write because as I wrote it, I lost most of
my vocabulary.

I told my therapist I was writing like a seven-year old.

She said it was a gift.

I shrugged.

Maybe it’s true.

Maybe telling the ugliness of mindless violence as witnessed
by a frightened child is a kind of gift.

It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse.

A writer is one who writes.

Why do I write?

Why do I give so much of my life to it?

How many poems must one write to be
a writer?

If it’s a masterwork, one.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

 

17 thoughts on “DID and the Arrow of Time

  1. An interesting write, And when I worked in mental health it is surprising how many mental disorders are out there. There are many who have the Three Faces of Eve wandering the streets.. And what Children go through in their young lives has a lasting impact throughout their adulthood..
    Writing helps release and clear out the baggage we carry..

    Wishing you a great rest of the week Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very interesting, Rob. When I was a teenager I watched a movie called Sybil. It was about a girl whose mother had abused her very badly and she had 16 personalities. I have never forgotten that movie. It made a massive impact on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if it’s a gift, probably only you can say for sure. There is so much we don’t know, but I will say this much — your experiences remind me that perception is everything. I love the way you sort things out and make us think about sorting ourselves out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your reflections on the text excerpts gives a more human touch to them… As for “gifts” well sometimes I wonder who someone is to give that label… Poems keep coming and you keep on doing what you do xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christy. I struggle with acceptance and there are times when I get sick of having to deal with the confusion. Being able to see and appreciate the unique perspective of DID and the way it affects my writing is a good thing.Thanks for the visit and for leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Rob. I like how you inserted your observations along with textbook information.
    Sometimes the way people use the word “gift” makes me wonder about them. It feels like the hypocrisy of someone whose wants and needs are met aplenty — telling someone else to be grateful that their basic needs of food and shelter are met.
    However, it really is a gift to know and work with you Rob.
    Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I gave enough of a context for her comment.

      I sometimes beat myself up for being sick and view my life as a curse.

      She gave me a shift in perspective.

      It’s not a gift and it’s not a curse.

      And if the reader is moved by the story it becomes a gift to that reader.

      Like

I love and reply to all comments, though I can’t always reply immediately

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s