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PTSD on the Dissociative Spectrum?


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I was severely abused as a child and developed dissociation abilities and PTSD. Growing up, I was dxed as BP1 and PTSD. Still, I can't remember times in my life or the "reasons" for my fears. And there are times I do hear voices in my head, conversational, that are not "me", that do make sense (unlike sch. voices) and tell me to do this or that helpful thing that "I" would never have thought of.

PTSD- somewhere on the spectrum of Dissociative Disorders...

I'll have to ask my pdoc about it...

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This is definately worth talking to your pdoc and therapist about. There is definately a connection between PTSD and dissociation, at least for some people.

When I'm having a lot of PTSD issues, I tend to dissociate into a state where it's hard for me to stay *here* and *now*. I keep thinking that the danger from my past is current and I can't break out of the fear and distress. I tend to close my eyes when I'm doing this -- it's my effort to close out the scary things of the world, but my pdoc says it also makes the dissociation worse because I can't process that I'm not back in that history.

A good way to come out of this is to have someone who you know and trust now keep talking to you, or very gently stroke your cheek or a palm or the inside of your arm (needs to be somewhere fairly sensitive). My pdoc has dealt with it by insisting that I keep my eyes open and focused on him while he pointed out all the things different about where I am now as opposed to that other place.

I hope this helped some, I feel like I've wandered all over the map here.

Fiona

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Thank you Fiona, though your experiences with PTSD are a little different than mine, it is so reassuring to know I'm not the only one! It seems uncommon, even on this site, to have this issue, even with PTSD people.

I developed my PTSD as a result of ongoing, terrorizing childhood physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, with heavy neglect thrown in. It wasn't just one event, though there were some that were more traumatic than others. I was also raped when I was 16 and found my BP dad dead on the floor last year, so there was more fuel to the fire!

My mom always said "what goes on in this house stays in this house" when she was terrorizing/abusing me.

Afterwards, I would go into my room and deny it ever happened. I never had friends, was picked on for being "weird" in school, couldn't focus, was always in a fantasy world, would not do my homework (i think i did do it and just couldn't find it), and other strange things.

I remember times when abuse was starting, and then suddenly my memory stops. It picks up again at a later time, like in school the next day. I suddenly don't remember the rest of the story.

I don't think I have an alters or anything, but I do dissociate. I take myself away, like denial that it happened to me. The memories I do have I repress, and when I have flashbacks, I sometimes feel numb and other times get hysterical. I don't know what's up wtih the helpful "voices". I'm not sch., so perhaps I talk to myself?

I should try having my therapist touch my hand to bring me back to reality. I don't often even go into these memories, because they're so deeply hidden, I only remember the start and aftermath.

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I developed my PTSD as a result of ongoing, terrorizing childhood physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, with heavy neglect thrown in. It wasn't just one event, though there were some that were more traumatic than others. I was also raped when I was 16 and found my BP dad dead on the floor last year, so there was more fuel to the fire!

Wow!

I should try having my therapist touch my hand to bring me back to reality. I don't often even go into these memories, because they're so deeply hidden, I only remember the start and aftermath.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If you can pull up some of these memories in the safety of your therapist's office, it might be useful to hir.

The sense of dissociating away from the 'bad stuff' is very common. I know that during the 'bad stuff' in my history, I was often as little 'present' as I could manage.

Fiona

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It is interesting to me on an intellectual level that PTSD is considered a Stress Disorder and a manifestation of Dissociative disorder. There is both! I don't know if a lot of pdocs or therapists are educated on this. I know I wasn't!

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  • 2 months later...

I'm replying to myself! WOW!

Not only is PTSD on the Dissociative Spectrum, but my psychotic symptoms also look like a form of dissociation. I hear Voices telling me what to do and how to do  it. Are these voices alters?

Stuff to ask pdoc...!!

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Guest ~Aurelie~

I'm replying to myself! WOW!

Not only is PTSD on the Dissociative Spectrum, but my psychotic symptoms also look like a form of dissociation. I hear Voices telling me what to do and how to do

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Guest ~Aurelie~

Both. I'm BP1 w/psychotic features and PTSD. I get all kinds of Voices. These ones are internal.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

oh man sometimes i'm so dense. i just reread your first post in this thread and you already wrote about that. sorry!!

thanks for sharing some of your story, which i know isn't easy. i related to some of what you had to say. i wholeheartely wish you well.

aurelie

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  • 4 weeks later...

The anxiety causes the dissociation I think. It also causes the BP to act up. It seems to be the base culprit for everything wrong with me!

is the anxiety stress/incident induced or more of a general anxiety thing?

i used to dissocate heavily when under a lot of stress. 

someone once discribed dissociation (or more specifically how and why i did it, sorry if i can't spell it) as "a natural reaction to an abnormal situation."  it is just where i would go when things got too scary, and then i guess i got into the habit (wrong word) of it and would go into it whenever in a stressful situation, even ones not related to the original shit from childhood that started the problem.  i've gotten better at staying 'here' and controling my anxiety (yay meds.)

finding the cause of something like that is huge.  congratulations on that.  self-awareness isn't an easy thing.  (esp. when you dissociate.) (did i just try to make a dissociation joke? wtf?)

penny

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