Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dissociating and Multiples

One basic rule to remember with PTSD is this. The more severe the initial trauma, the more dissociating you'll do to compensate. When most people hear PTSD, what's the first thing they think of? Rambo, vets who will go postal and blow away lots of people, etc. Instead, a large majority of the population is at risk for either getting or suffering with PTSD for many many years. PTSD cane come from sexual, physical OR verbal abuse as well. Unfortunately in the States most people think of abuse as physical. They don't stop and think about the devestating effect that verbal can have. And how the combination of these is one of the worst things a PTSD victim/survivor can deal with.

Let's clear up a big misconception. When trauma is severe and ongoing you'll dissociate to try and cope. If the trauma is really severe you'll develop multiple personalities. This is NOT schitzophrenia. That's a physical illness. Instead multiple personalities in PTSD are a way for your mind to cope with what's happening. When multiples develop (and if you're lucky) this combination will help you to somehow cope. The bad part happens when you finally realize that it's PTSD and you try to get the proper help. Most people at this point try to get all the personalities to work together so the person can function day-to-day. Can you re-intergrate all of these personalities? Yes you can. But it takes a long time and might involve a mix of treatments (EMDR, cognitive and medication). More on this later.

In my case I had ongoing sexual, verbal and some physical abuse all together. Right now I have about 25 multiple personalities that fight for attention. I try to get them to listen to me and understand that, yes what happened was horrible. But if we don't work together we can't survive.

Who are these? The little kid, the cynical one, the shy one and others who I still don't know that much about yet. It's hard to explain. You're aware of 25 different voices in your head all competing for attention. Imagine a board meeting that has the usual mix of personalities. Arguments and various other stuff happens while you try to keep some control. But many times that doesn't work well.

Last night was really rough. Lots of dissociating and many times I felt like my body wasn't there. You try to stay in control but you feel like you're going to disappear. You want to enjoy a nice sunny day. But then you start to dissociate and feel like you need to hide. But what if you're in a crowded place and there's nowhere to go? What if you're driving from home to somewhere and you have to turn around and go back again because you can't concentrate? These are some of the everyday things that many PTSD sufferers deal with all the time. Unfortunately many politicians are using these people are political pawns and really have no freaking clue about it at all. You want to stand up and explain. But if you do most people don't want to listen. If you're not a celebrity and you go public this could have serious consequences. So what do you do?

No comments: