It sounds like DiD to me, though it's possible there might be something in addition to that. If your therapist isn't a good fit for you then you should move on from them and find someone that specializes in trauma who has extensive experience dealing with it. I think in the end the labels aren't that important as your focus should be on dealing with the trauma itself. I'd recommend this book as it has a case of a person with DiD that ends up healing and becoming successful:
First and foremost, you can't fix her. We don't like to hear it. You can suggest, encourage, pay for resources. But she has to do the work. She should be in therapy, she should be keeping a mental health journal daily, she should be using a mood tracker (see half way down the page to "1. Daily Mood Chart" a simple chart) or other means of monitoring her emotions and outbursts she is trying to control, she should be setting mental health goals for herself. There are all kinds of tools. But if she's not putting in any effort at all, it doesn't matter what you do.
I know this sounds harsh. But if she doesn't want to stop being violent or verbally belittling you she will never change. And these are things that are actually easier to change than even dealing with her own anger. She can stop these behaviors. But she's allowing herself to run amok all over you.
To put it simply, there are boundary issues between you guys right now. Granted, she probably has huge trust issues, rightly so - completely justified due to her trauma, and may be pushing you away as a form of self-sabotage. She has self-worth issues. She's obviously been in a difficult place for a long time.
But don't suppress yourself or change your entire being to make her happy. And her hurting you is a huge problem. It won't ultimately make her happy anyway. And you have to preserve who you are. There's no doubt you are a good person because you are trying to help. But you don't want to be a martyr for her symptoms she refuses to improve. Even if it's because she's so deep she can't see the problem. Ignorance and obliviousness are not excuses.
If she can't identify her anger, this is understandable given her history of trauma. So the work is to be able to reduce the anger while being able to read her own feelings and emotions again. There are books like The Body Keeps the Score. If she's been in therapy a while, she has already been doing a lot of what is in this book. But for some reason she's still not in touch with her inner feelings. And "inner feelings" doesn't mean anything particularly deep. Just that she has lost track of her internal voice, like most of us have on a daily basis. We know if we're hungry, thirsty, sad, moody, etc. She basically needs to slow things down and listen to herself. That's what a thought-journal is for. To write down what she is feeling. What makes her angry, frustrated, agitated. Write down her memories that come up that disturb her mood. She doesn't even have to write a lot. Just enough notes so she can identify what it was if she reviews it again with her therapist later while in a session. Throughout the day, she should make this journal her constant companion.
This is what can help her work on it between therapy sessions. Because that's where the real work happens. Not in the therapist's office. But between visits when she's trying to apply what the therapist recommends. So she should write down what the therapist suggests in her journal so she can reference it when she's home or at work as a reminder of what to focus on. It's a memory aid for what she learns during her visits. And then every day she should write today's date and what made her upset. It's a log for how things are going between the visits. If she keeps doing it she will eventually start writing more meaningful, persistent, recurring things she can bring back to the therapist to work on. That's what the therapist is for. To offer instruction on one visit. And on follow up visits to offer guidance on what hasn't worked. New techniques or modified techniques, or to help her understand how to apply them to her situation.
You can use a journal too if you are feeling stressed out. Keep a daily log of her outbursts, how she treats you, how you react, what you would like to change about the relationship. Write what you did that you feared might have made it worse. Or you tried something you thought would make it better and it didn't work at all. Things that surprise you or catch you off guard. You can also write what you see as good things that happen in order to balance it out. Moments where you connected in a positive way that was refreshing. But then you have something concrete you can reflect on to see if any improvement is happening over time, such as reduction in negative language, being talked down to, etc. How our partner behaves affects us and has an impact on the overall relationship. Journaling for yourself can help identify specific problems and focus on ways to improve communication and goal setting.
If she doesn't know how she feels, that is something she can work on. Putting a name on how she feels can help a lot. Just identifying a word and saying it out loud can help reduce anger over time because we start to diffuse the tangled knot we feel on a daily basis. Having a chart of emotions to reference can help remember the vocabulary of feelings.
There are articles with great information like When You Love An Angry Person. But it sounds like she may even be gaslighting you. Basically manipulating you to get what she wants but in an undermining kind of way. It can start subtle but become more overt over time.
If you even speak in the wrong way you're in trouble? So she's making you do this dance to please her. And she's constantly attacking your confidence and self-worth. And she's never pleased.
If you value non-violence you should stand up for yourself in regards to her bouts of violence. Even throwing things in a relationship where there has already bene violence is perceived by the battered partner as a threat. So hitting and breaking things needs to stop. It goes both ways. There's no mental health issue that condones getting beat up by your partner. Don't let excuses like you'r mentally stronger than her, physically bigger than her or you can "take it." You shouldn't have to take it. In a relationship we want to elevate each other. Not drag each other down to the lowest level. Books like Getting Together and Staying Together offer ways for couples to communicate together in a positive way to build a healthy relationship. But you're really in a bind so I think you'd benefit from talking to someone face to face yourself.
You have a psych degree but that doesn't mean automatically knowing how to deal with every situation. Don't put that burden on yourself. You are allowed to get help too. You are with someone who is receiving mental health assistance so don't feel like you have to stand alone and figure it out by yourself. There are things like secondary traumatic stress that nurses and doctors have to deal with too from prolonged situations trying to help patients in need. Even professional helpers can be negatively affected and need support. So please consider seeing a licensed clinical therapist to talk about your relationship. It sounds like it's become quite toxic over time. You're the one who does the giving and she is doing the taking right now. Your self care is at risk. I hope you can set some boundaries around her behavior to protect yourself. Remember you need to be resilient too. I hope this doesn't sound too critical. I'm trying to give you some pep so you can figure out what to do that is right for you. Sorry for writing so much but I kept thinking of your situation today. This is my take after being a patient of therapy for 10+ years. Hang in there!
This helped me a lot with my childhood trauma. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, breathwork, therapy and EMDR as well.
You are likely researching the wrong thing. Rather than looking up depersonalization or derealization you should be looking up dissociative disorders or dissociation.
The Body Keeps the Score is easy to understand and has a lot of good information including treatments.
Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation is very jargon heavy but has a massive amount of information. The problem is that it is expensive and I've only read some of it from google previews. I spent several hours trying to pirate it and couldn't find it anywhere unfortunately.
From what you describe he doesn't just sound like a person with anger issues. He has no introspection or compassion for you.
> He tries to avoid having arguments in person. He waits until I leave for work or to go to my place to call me and discuss a problem he has. It can very quickly escalate to yelling, cussing, and being nasty (name calling, etc.).
This isn't just passive-aggressive. This is gaslighting. This doesn't allow you to manage your emotions at work. This is a sneak attack that undermines your ability to be calm and confident at your job. It's extremely abusive behavior because it's sabotage for your self confidence.
Bottom line, don't pick up the phone while you're a work. Don't listen to his voicemails. If he asks you why you don't answer, tell him if he wants to talk to you he can do it face to face.
Because you come from an abusive home you may have some PTSD or trauma that you could benefit from a therapist's help. Any psychologist will tell you this makes you vulnerable to people who act this way. Along with the other commenters here I would also advise you to break up with him. And see a therapist for a few months to help with identifying potentially abusive, manipulative partners and how you can heal. You've only been together three months. Breaking up hurts. But can you imagine what will happen to your self confidence after three years. Protect yourself. You deserve better.
You should check out this book it’s great.
Good books to look at is the body keeps the score by bessel van der kolk (I would start there), Tribe by Sebastian Junger and the Body Never Lies by Alice Miller
https://crazywisefilm.com/ - This isnt about PTSD specifically but more broadly about mental health. Very powerful and informative watch. (the documentary in utero is also good)
https://somethingtosayafterabusecom.com/ - good resource for healing from narcissistic abuse
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P_Gj6Z9_LM- Gabor Mate is a great person to look into. He has several talks and books that on trauma that have really helped things click for me.
madinamerica.com is a website that has a lot of great resources. It can seem "out there" but it offers unique lens to understand trauma and mental health.
MAPS might be running a study near you
Holotropic breathwork can be a low cost and effective healing modality.
https://crazywisefilm.com/ - This isnt about PTSD specifically but more broadly about mental health. Very powerful and informative watch.
MAPS might be running a trial near you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McxlMFWzYh8&index=133&list=WL - Brandy talks with Dr. Daniel Foor and discuss Ancestral work and his new book, "Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing."
My anecdotal story of why the UBC idea is a bad one:
My close friend from childhood, practically a brother to me, joins the Army. He goes to Iraq and Afghanistan. He sees some shit, he does some shit, in the name of the USA and its people and its politicians. After his last deployment but before he gets out, he's stationed in the same state as where I'm living at the time, so we meet up and go to a gun show. He's looking to get a 1911 and we find a Colt 1991 for a hundred dollars below usual (we found an actual deal at a gun show, wut).
Fast forward a few years. He's married, 1 kid, and we managed to both move to a different state and end up living 20 minutes away from each other. One evening his wife calls me and tells me I need to come over, now. I head on over. My buddy is clearly having a hard time. He's got tears in his eyes and tells me he has nightmares and PTSD and intrusive thoughts on a regular basis because he can't get over what he's done and seen. He gives me the 1911 and tells me that he's not able to have this safely in his house right now. It's the most embarrassed, humiliated, and vulnerable I've ever seen this guy. He was a stellar soldier. He broke his ankle in SF tryouts and it took 2 days on that before he quit. He doesn't show weakness, ever, and the only other times he's ever told me war stories he was a few beers in and crying. I take his gun and pray with him and head home.
A year later, the VA has actually helped him, he's found a psychiatrist who really helped him, and he tells me this book gave him hope and helped save his life. I give him back his gun, we're still friends, he's doing well today, and he has 2 hilarious kids.
Under this new UBC law, either I'm a felon, or my friend is dead. If I take his gun, I commit a felony, but maybe my friend lives. If I don't take his gun because that's illegal, he very possibly shoots himself, or his wife during one of his nightmares (he's been a sleepwalker since we were a kid on sleepovers. When I saw him shortly after his Iraq depoloyment, he tried to punch me in his sleep). There's no way he's transferring this gun to me at a gun store because it's taken everything he has to admit that he needs this to his closest friend in the privacy of his own home, he's definitely not going to do this in front of strangers.
When you talk about UBCs as if they are a good idea, you're ignoring situations like this. Remember, if it saves even one life...
> the body keeps the score
To add to your important point:
van der Kolk:
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Hey there. I hope my reply helps. There's no doubt a lot has been going on for you. And that's completely okay. Your experience could not have come about without a wealth of self insight and courage. Well done.
>I still suffer from what I used to. Loneliness devastates me on a daily basis.
You're a social animal. Meditation in of itself won't alleviate you of loneliness. Connection does.
What meditation can do in regards to loneliness is foster a new connection with yourself. And that new connection requires complete acceptance of what is going on without aversion.
A new connection with yourself often means accepting all the engrained schemas you've cultivated as a child. That means accepting all of the "negative" emotions. Symbolically, with self-compassion, this means being your inner parent to your inner child. Tara Brach dubs this "spiritual reparenting".
And, be careful of meditation not turning into introspection.
In terms of the nature of the psyche, I like a Jungian paradigm. Introspection in certain moments are useful, especially in understanding your own mind. But when you go deep within, it is pointless and potentially harmful if you don't come back to the here and now.
Meditation, as you pointed out, isn't about doing better in this world. But it isn't necessary about eliminating facets of your psyche. This will unravel some deep pain. And without proper mindfulness, will cause a lot of resistance. And what you resist will surely persists.
If feeling up to it, it is also helpful to investigate loneliness. Loneliness can come from isolation, which can occur when meditation turns into introspection. But if you haven't fully accepted yourself with self-love, in all of your imperfections, connections will always have some degree of "filling a void". This may lead into and maladaptive attachments (see attachment theory), playing out unconscious scripts and trauma, addiction, depression, eating disorders, perfectionism/obsessive tendencies, self-criticism (like absorbing the overly critical parent), projection etc. You need to be love in order to receive it.
>I understand I'm not my thoughts. I'm not my compulsions, I'm not my desires. I'm not anything but what aknowledges everything to be what it is.
>Or is it so?
Yes, but perhaps not fully.
>I'm so lost. All these thoughts and recurring feeling keep showing up. I aknowledge them, I stay with them, I avoid getting on my phone or the internet to distract myself from dealing with all these emotions, but it gets really intense the more I stay with them.
Well done. This is truly difficult. do not know your story, but the intensity of the darkest emotions is a part of the path. The Buddha talked about mindfulness being three components: presence, self-awareness, surrender. It is surrender that is the most difficult part. Without surrender, we return to the cycle of attachment and aversion.
So, the feeling is intense. Perhaps this is time to see a therapist. Or perhaps you can really be with it and see that the pain itself won't hurt you. Perhaps you can feel the pain in the body without superimposing concepts. Can you feel the nuance of the direct sensation? Where in the body is it? Does it feel really trapped? Perhaps since childhood? Were you allowed to cry as a child?
Our aversion is often to the idea that it is "bad". But only the thinking mind knows good and bad.
I submit to you that this pain you feel, ever more intensity, is your freedom.
>If I focus on what I feel, it gets worse. If i focus on my breath and just aknowledge that I feel a certain way and "let it go", everything just comes up again and again, until it seemingly just gets so intense that I feel like crying and crying...
Is crying bad? As someone who has dealt with a lot of "suppressed" emotions in the body, I was taught crying is bad. It is not. If you be with this pain completely, mindfulness and self-compassion, then crying is what you need.
It is an energy in your body. Releasing it via tears sounds lovely.
Also, if you are ready, check out The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
>I keep meditating, I practice love, I try to be kind. I understand that I cannot expect anything from the practice because that will lead to suffering, but suffering itself is what drives me to practice in the first place.
I think it is helpful to differentiate pain and suffering here. Pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. Painful emotions, shitty thoughts, and crappy life situations are an inherent part of our life. All of this is impermanent. We suffer when we desire: attaching onto the "good" and pushing away the "pain". In seeing this impermanence, the mind doesn't cling, and freedom is here.
>It doesn't matter how long I sit still, something doesn't quite feel right. I'm looking for something that can't be found. So why am I even looking for it? Looking for a peaceful mind in itself makes it not to be peaceful. Just good ol' duality doing it's thing.
Correct. The path is often described in a dualistic sense. But, yes, the not finding is the finding! Something doesn't feel quite right? Okay! Be with that completely. If you're resisting it, then you will suffer. Hell, if you catch yourself resisting the "quite right" feeling, embrace that. Self-compassion/acceptance is the antithesis of perfectionism. It will pass.
Wjen you look for the mind, you see nothing. Look through it, you see the world.
>I've read so many "spiritual books", watched probably thousands of videos of "gurus" and spiritual masters talking, and whatnot. I've become more and more skeptic along the years.
What are your favourites?
>It feels like many "spiritual" people just practice to get more energy, focus, and feel a sense of superiority. That sense of "I meditate, I AM, so I'm better", or "I know a lot more than most in this regard, I'm so advanced, I have greater understanding of reality and what is", one of the greatest ego traps there is.
Yep. The ego is cunning indeed. I am personally guilty to have a direct insight in the past and subsequently attach onto it and have a spiritual ego. But I'm doing better in catching this and letting it pass. I didn't choose my ego to do this. Nor am I my ego, or my choice to get lost in thought. For if I was any of these things, I would certainly choose their elimination.
But, then again, sometimes it is needed to get lost in the dream of thought to really appreciate when we wake up.
>Even believing you're happy is just another identification with thoughts. A good one I guess?
Happiness is a broad term.
There is the conditional happiness of every day life in this world of form which arises from pleasure, goal achievements etc. Some of this is good: connection, achieving what you want. And, then we have the addictions, hedonism, escapism etc. Either way, any happiness which is contingent on a circumstance will pass. The suffering ensues when we forget that it passes, identify and attach, and desire for it to not go away.
Then there is the happiness/freedom in being spaciousness itself in the here and now. That is non conditional happiness.
>All these words that I wrote, all this babbling, it's all meaningless. I recon it's just the mind spitting more and more crap.
It isn't meaningless. You're insightful and reflective. Mindfulness meditation doesn't get rid of thought. It helps us discern which thoughts are skillful and which are not. Conscious thinking can be great for many things: creativity, rationality, bonding, humour etc. And sometimes you need to identify with thought, get lost in it, and feel the flow of loose associations.
Thought becomes imprudent when we take it to be real. We get lost in the past and future. We get lost in our story. We get attached. That is suffering.
>I feel like I don't know anything at all and there's no knowing so what's the point in even trying to know.
"No knowing?" I disagree in any way.
Conceptual knowing, there is an infinitude amount of knowledge out there. Be curious. You have access to The Internet. Check out some awesome science subreddits. Or a history book.
Non-conceptual, direct knowing? Well, you're conciousness. There is just consciousness in this moment and the knowing of the dance of form. And just like space cannot exist without everything, consciousness is empty but knows all. It is a mirror: reflecting everything, but is not made of any of it.
There is no knower. It is just knowing in this present moment. The knower just fuels the separation and the ego.
>Today I woke up in despair, but with despair I sit cross legged and let it be, while I breathe. I just want a bit of peace that's all.
Sounds great. Well done. Remember: that which is conscious of despair is not despair. To reshift this, sometimes changing from the active to the passive helps: rather than "I am in despair", quietly say "there is despair".
A lot of it is historical, so you might want to skip to the sections on treatments like EMDR. The author shows how nightmares are the brains attempts to process what happened and has suggestions for moving past them. While Bessel van der Kolk practices in the USA, perhaps you could contact him (or the group he works through) and see if he or they can suggest an informed and compassionate practitioner in your country?
Bessel van der Kolk and his associates can be reached here: http://www.traumacenter.org/
An interview with him:
You may also find this book of interest too:
"Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain" by David Conroy
A key point David Conroy makes is that all too often when people reach out for help with pain exceeding their coping resources (and so leading to suicidal thoughts) that the people they turn may just heap more pain on top of everything, which sounds like what happened to you. But it does not always have to been like that and David Conroy explores alternatives in his book.
And you might also want to look into "The Lifestyle Cure" which has a fairly high cure rate for depression using a combination of omega-3s, sunlight & vitamin D, exercise, social interactions, mental habits to avoid negative ruminations, and improved sleep: https://tlc.ku.edu/
But if it is past trauma that is causing the worst issues, addressing that first might help get you on an upward spiral and then you could try those other ideas to continue towards greater wellness. Hope this helps.
He will likely experience PTSD in one form or another - the seemingly strangest things can trigger it (a smell, a song that was on in the background, hell, locking a door could be a trigger since it sounds like it was one of the last things he did before finding his friend). This may be a helpful read for you, so you can be aware of what he might be going through, understand what to possibly expect, that sort of thing.
So sorry for your husband's loss, and good luck to you as you navigate helping him heal.
>How did you deal with the initial drug side effects?
Cannabis, talk therapy, and my dog. Couldn't really do anything to address S/E except for trying a new drug.
>What strategies did you use to communicate to others that you are the same person
I had to pretty much sit people down and explain. Frankly, I think my poor speech during these conversations explained it pretty well on its own. For my parents/family, I gave them a book, "The Body Keeps the Score. " It was very hard to explain, but again the physical manifestations did most of it for me. I also explained to them that to me, the world was entirely different than the first 25 years of them knowing me. I explained it can be like I am bipolar at times.
>At a future point, did you determine yourself that the drug no longer worked and it was time to switch? Did someone else have to "convince you" that a change in drug regimen is needed?
I am lucky in that it only took two tries to get a drug I liked that stopped seizures and had tolerable S/E. But actually, I had to be the one to convince my medical team; it took a ton of moaning and arguing. Most doctors stop trying, IMO, once the main issue (seizures) is solved. I never kept a diary.
>I know I sound super desperate for help, sorry about that.
All good. Doesn't read like that to me, more someone encountering a difficult unprecedented situation in their experience and not knowing how to help or proceed :)
>is there any way for me to obtain a therapist's knowledge so I can even remotely help her?
Well you can probably gain some insight by reading and learning about how trauma influences and manifests psychologically and behaviourally, bringing that to the dynamic with your girlfriend, but short of training in psychotherapy, which is years long, it's not a straight forward process of gaining knowledge in this case. Read what you can (or watch vids if that is a preference. Though books on this subject will probably contain more information and details), really listen and be present to your girlfriend. If possible, cultivate patience and tolerance for the the more exasperating aspects of your gfs behaviour. Compassion helps; keep in mind there is pain somewhere even if your gf isn't consciously aware of it. Maybe take notes, make observations, build an operative framework to embed understanding in, specific tactics or methods etc. I dont know; those are suggestions, not prescriptive.
A couple of books come to mind: The Body Keeps the Score:Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma , and another, more symbolic and depth psychological oriented in its approach
Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption . These may be helpful. There's a lot of research and books out there in this territory though, so well worth looking around online and seeing what you can find.
>standard operating procedure
Safety is paramount for those who live with trauma, safety in the environment and with others they're relating to, but more importantly, safety in relation to ones own feelings and embodied states.
Trauma takes up occupancy in ones body in an unconscious (emphasis on unconscious) energetic, emotive sense. It can seem like ones own feelings, thoughts, dreams and sensations are the enemy and attacking ones sense of self out of and through the very ground of that sense of self, acting out by themselves with little conscious control. A weird reversal of normalised associations with ones own experience can be present, as can various psychological defenses, such as dissociation and repression. Profound shame may be existent somewhere, exerting influence, alongside self-loathing and self-doubt. These qualities, as belief, as operative paradigms of psychological orientation, bind and entrap. Trauma and its psychology is complex, entangled.
It's perhaps significant to keep in mind that trauma of the kind your gf has experienced is a rupture in terms of a developing self; somewhere, somehow a break and splitting has taken place. Those split off parts of self still exist somewhere, and all of the original pain associated with them. The aim is integrating these extant parts towards a different kind of wholeness and integrity.
The process I've experienced through a therapeutic alliance has involved re-experiencing these 'splinter psyches' and the attendant affect qualities in a safe and trust based context. I've had to relearn how to be present to my own body and emotions in ways I wasn't familiar with. It was a very painful and confrontational process, long and slow, encountering and metabolising bits and pieces in small chunks, using dream, memory (or lack of), daily relational contexts as leverage, through questioning, into contact with feeling, image, re-embodiment. Learning how to just exist and be with myself in my body, learning acceptance. So lots of grounding and attention to breathing, posture, tension being held, etc.
Not sure if that's really all that helpful, and I'm not a professional.
Imo, trauma doesn't heal by itself and it never goes away until its worked with consciously.
Good luck! It's strenuous and problematic, what you're in.
Work on reading a book like the boy keeps the score to understand the impact of trauma trauma book
I think trauma causes a lot of emotional imbalance instead of a true change of personality. The long term effects of trauma stem from being unable to mentally * process * what’s happened and accept it, your brain keeps running over it trying to process it, but keeps overwhelming itself in the process. It’s better in terms of recovery to be working through a lot of that emotional pain rather than dissociated from it.
You’re in a lot of turmoil and pain because of what happened, it’s just the truth and your family needs to get over it. There’s no such thing as to sensitive or emotional; people are primarily sensitive and emotional! Hypervigilience (sp?) is a totally normal reaction to trauma and you should absolutely not try to stop doing it, rather work on processing your emotions and regaining an authentic feeling of safety, it should go away on its own.
Maybe offering your family some books on the effects of trauma on the brain might help them be a little more understanding and sympathetic? If you haven’t experienced it yourself, finding out what it’s like to constantly experience emotional/sensational/visual flashbacks can be a shocker and suddenly all that « irrational » behavior makes more sense.
Everyone deals with trauma differently, the fact that you’re so sensitive right now means pure still connected to your emotions and honestly I think that’s a really positive sign in terms of recovery. Dissociation is a whole other layer that can complicate things.
Im naturally a super sensitive, upbeat personality, but after trauma I became really withdrawn, angry and cut off emotionally. Sudden changes in personality are a natural way people protect themselves. Maybe your family is reacting to how you’ve changed.
Are you in good trauma informed therapy? I’d suggest doing some reading and maybe trying EMDR if your therapist thinks you’re up for it.
I have a lot of sexual trauma and childhood trauma stemming from a whole mess of stuff. I’ve linked some stuff I’ve found particularly helpful, but I encourage you to do research and examine what you’re doing to recover.