What Are Dissociative Episodes?
Today we're delving into the complex world of mental health, specifically focusing on a less discussed but nonetheless impactful phenomenon: dissociative episodes. These occurrences are like uninvited interruptions to our perception of reality, causing disconnects in memory, identity, emotion, or even sense of self. But what exactly are dissociative episodes, what causes them, and how do they manifest in our daily life? This blog aims to shine a light on these questions, unpacking this intricate topic in a comprehensible and empathetic manner. Whether you're experiencing these episodes, know someone who is, or are simply interested in broadening your understanding of mental health, this exploration is for you.
What is DID?
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a mental health condition that involves the presence of two or more identities or personality states within a single person. Each personality will be unique in its thinking, perceiving and relatability towards any given situation. The main sign of DID is dissociative episodes, which leaves a person experiencing a shift between their distinct identities. While there is no final answer as to what causes DID, it is often a result of severe or chronic trauma, especially events that have occurred during childhood.
What are the symptoms of DID?
There are several symptoms to look out for when diagnosing someone with DID. As previously mentioned, dissociative episodes are the most common indicator. Those with episodes will automatically feel disconnected from their thoughts, emotions and even their own body. Think of it as though you're a fly on the wall watching yourself.This level of disconnection is often referred to as depersonalisation. Similarly, if the person feels a sense of disconnection from their surroundings, it is known as derealisation. It's important to note that these episodes can occur without a DID diagnosis. There are several other causes, such as extreme stress or past trauma.
What should I expect from dissociation?
The severity of dissociative episodes varies from person to person. In fact, there is a spectrum that shows the range of symptoms that can be experienced, from mild daydreaming or spacing out to more severe cases that individuals with DID deal with. Furthermore, an episode's duration can differ, too, whether that be from a few minutes to a few months. When experienced over several days or more, an individual will likely experience memory loss, confusion and difficulty recognising people and places. Naturally, this causes much distress to the person, creating further challenges to face.
How can Person-Centred Therapy help?
Now we know what dissociative episodes are, it’s essential that you understand how to manage these occurrences. Therapy is one of the most effective tools for treating dissociative episodes, DID-caused or not. By working with a specialist therapist such as myself, you can begin to understand the root cause of your dissociation and, therefore, be able to explore strategies for managing its symptoms. Person-Centred Therapy enables my clients to take control of their sessions, ensuring they are as ethical and personalised as possible. So while I will offer guidance, support and empathy, I will merely be a facilitator of the sessions, witnessing your discovery of the deep emotions you may have buried over the years.Taking charge is especially helpful for those diagnosed with DID when the cause stems from trauma. Past trauma is complex for any person to address. It requires a rawness that a therapist cannot force or drive. Off your own back, you'll eventually be able to dig deeper, but most importantly, at your own pace and within a safe and comfortable space.Once you have established the cause, we can work together so that you can come to terms with this experience, allowing you to take back control of your life and emotions. We will explore various coping mechanisms and techniques that work for you and your lifestyle, ensuring that your Dissociative Identity Disorder has a lesser effect on your day-to-day.There is no one-size-fits-all therapy journey for each individual. Once you take control of your emotions and mental health, you can still attend therapy sessions on a basis you decide entirely. I will always offer my advice, but it is whatever you feel comfortable with.
Reach out today for a no-obligation chat!
If you'd like to chat about beginning your therapy journey to manage your DID symptoms, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 07914952723. Let's embark on this journey of self-discovery and recovery together.