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Posts Tagged ‘dissociative amnesia’

Thatched RoofOn my blog entry entitled Aftereffects of Child Abuse Beyond PTSD but not DID, a reader posted the following comment:

I would not work with any professional whose view was so simplistic they did not understand that all classification systems have no value other than to appease insurance companies. ~ Michael

I am glad that Michael wrote this because it is an excellent springboard for the next topic I want to cover.

Labels such as dissociative identity disorder (DID), dissociative fugue, dissociative amnesia, and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DD-NOS) come from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). I do understand that mental health professionals need a way to categorize what they are viewing from the outside. However, as I see DID from the inside rather than the outside, I personally see more similarities than differences in all of these disorders. I suspect that might be why some readers find my blog helpful even without a DID diagnosis.

A mental practitioner is going to go down the checklist when diagnosing a patient. Loses time? Check. Has more than one part inside? Check. I suspect that reactions to child abuse are more complex than can be quantified through a checklist.

Over at isurvive.org, a member once called DID a “create your own disorder” disorder. I, personally, think this is the most accurate description of the aftereffects of child abuse that go beyond post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I would apply this descriptor to all of these other ways of splitting that go beyond PTSD but don’t fit the label of DID. (Yes, I am aware that some readers disagree with having “chosen” the way in which they split.)

I use the term “healing from DID” to describe myself because that label no longer fits me under the DSM-IV-TR, yet I did once fit the label. My internal experience has not changed – what has changed is that I am continually in the process of healing, so I no longer exhibit the same symptoms that I once did.

I have always said that if a label is helpful to you, embrace it. Otherwise, don’t let a label limit or define you. My therapist felt it was important for me to recognize the label of PTSD as applied to me, and he was correct. However, he has never worried about a DID label for me. His focus was always on encouraging me to love and accept myself as well as talk about what happened until I no longer feel the need to talk about it any longer.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I am using yesterday’s blog entry to launch a new section of my blog. Up until this point, my blog has only included Aftereffects Categories for post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder (DID) because I have personal experience with both of these labels. However, there are thousands of child abuse survivors who experienced trauma that went beyond PTSD but did not result in DID. Those child abuse survivors need resources, too.

I have launched a new Category called Aftereffects: Other, which is a working title until we can collectively come up with more descriptive name. (Any ideas welcome!) This will be a category for blog entries that include, but are not limited to, other types of child abuse aftereffects that go beyond PTSD but don’t fit under DID, such as…

  • Dissociative Amnesia
  • Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DD-NOS)
  • Dissociative Fugue
  • Multiples who are not DID (for example, there is no “host personality” who loses time)
  • Splitting into one adult alter part with a buried child part

A particularly interesting aftereffect that I have heard from two different people is splitting into colors. (Both were diagnosed with DD-NOS.) Instead of splitting in alter parts (people), they split into colors. As an example, for one of these people, Red held the anger, Blue held the sadness, and Brown held the memories that were too traumatizing to view. If this person looked into the brown, she would lose time. The other one also split into colors, but there were some variations. I think that each knowing about the other’s experience would be incredibly helpful.

I am sure there are other types of aftereffects that I am not familiar with, so please educate me! If you have reacted in a particular way, there is likely at least one other person on the planet you can relate to your particular aftereffect. I want this blog to provide hope and healing for them as well.

Here is where I need your help … I know that I don’t personally know enough about these different types of reactions to child abuse. I have read many stories and spoken with many child abuse survivors, but repeating what I have heard is not the same as having experienced it.

I have never done this before, but I would like to invite guest blogs to add material to this category. You may take credit for your blog entry under your reader name, choose a pen name, or request that I credit the writing to “Anonymous.” I will not divulge any identifying information, and I will only edit your submission for grammar and punctuation if needed for clarity. You are welcome to provide your own image (please let me know who to credit with the image – you must have permission for me to use the image if it is not your own.) Otherwise, I’ll choose an image for you. If you have questions about how this would work or would like to submit a guest blog, please email it to faith_amom@hotmail.com.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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