My Personal Story and Diagnosis of Dissociative Disorders

~By: Jess Mei

Sometimes it takes a major triggering event for dissociative disorders to present themselves. Yes, sometimes I spaced out, showed little or showed no emotion, had bouts of insomnia – but who doesn’t, right? For me, my triggering event was a cancer scare in December 2006. After two follow-ups, that included ultrasounds, barium imaging, MRIs, etc. – I was given a clean bill of health. But you see, during the wait time between me seeing the doctor and getting the clean bill of health, I was faced with my own mortality, and my mind flashed before me my life – such as it was.

I began having horrible nightmares and flashbacks of images of abuse and molestation that I’d already known about to some degree, but now was seeing details. I had frequent anxiety attacks and had migraines everyday – all day for weeks on end. My concentration and memory decreased significantly. I often found myself in places and didn’t remember how I’d gotten there and I began to lose time…sometimes only a few minutes, sometimes whole days at a time. I mentioned several times to my husband that I suspected I had Alzheimer’s and I even mentioned it to my family doctor, who ruled it out because of my age.

In the past, I’d already been diagnosed with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD) and had undergone behavioral and drug therapy for it. THIS was something all together different. My one voice that I heard internally pretty often that I’d nicknamed ‘Chatterbox’ because of her incessant talking had suddenly become several voices, some male – some female – some childlike. At first, I thought that it was all just my subconscious, especially one female voice that constantly berated me; but I noticed that these voices spoke even when I wasn’t intentionally trying to get them to do so. I had my own thoughts, and apparently they had theirs.

In the midst of all this internal chaos, my marriage was falling apart. How could I explain to my husband what I was hearing, seeing in flashback, and remembering? What would he think of me and my family if he were told. I didn’t want him to look at me with disdain. I was ashamed…scared and ashamed. I asked him for time for me to sort through all this new chaos, these new and horrible thoughts, the voices. I needed time. In the end, I waited too long. He moved out and although we tried to work things out – it just wasn’t possible.

I suffered from migraines so severe, they were giving me small seizures. When I’d turn my lights off in my office, my superiors were told I presented an image of being unavailable. All I was trying to do was remain at work. I was eventually prescribed a medication that served the dual purpose of helping minimize the occurrence of migraines and stopping seizures. Fun stuff boys and girls!

Months had gone past, there I was trying to hold down a top management position, not remembering what I’d said or committed to the day before. Finding myself in a meeting without a clue as to what the meeting was about. I’d find stick-it notes on my computer screen with a name of a colleague or superior, and a time and sometimes the date. So, I had to gleam from this half-written note what I was suppose to do ‘with’, ‘for’, – whatever this person. Ultimately, I’d either completely miss the missing (in cases where the stick-it stopped sticking and fell under my desk) or I’d show up completely unprepared. My job performance plummeted. I lost the minute respect I’d earned from my peers, superiors, and staff. Hell, if they had bothered to point and laugh, I don’t think I would have remembered why they were doing it. I was eventually asked to resign from my position still without knowing what was truly going on with me.

Confusing Times

Confusing Times

The voices were non-stop now since I was no longer employed and they had plenty to say. I was blamed for allowing the molestation occur. I was shamed for knowing that at times – what was being done to me my body responded to positively. I’d never been so suicidal in all my life. But god help me – I didn’t want to seek professional counseling because I just knew – knew the person would want to put me away in a ‘nut house’, so I endured…day after day, week after week – panic attacks, heart palpitations, nightmares, daymares, and internal criticism the likes of which I had never experienced before. I hit rock bottom one evening when I picked up a razor blade and started cutting. Each cut felt like a small scream – a shout to god, a plea for relief and I cried and cried deeply – finally for myself, my kids, my husband, my childhood.

The next day, I was able to get in to see a clinical psychologist who specialized in trauma. I played games with her, but I can’t tell you why. I’d arrive late to every session, sometimes as much as 20 minutes late. After a few sessions though she diagnosed me with severe depression, depersonalization disorder, c-PTSD, and Dissociative Disorder, not otherwised specified (DDNOS). After a series of particularly bad sessions where we’d started talking about my mother, I flipped out on her and she refused to continue our therapy sessions. I never did tell her about the voices.

It was more than 4 months later when I finally tried to reach out again. I found a therapist who specialized in dissociative disorders and trauma. She was very cool in her manner, not falling for my ‘usual’ bag of tricks. I told her of a particularly horrible memory, that with past therapists – would have their mouths gaping open. Not this gal. She called me a survivor and asked me how she could be of service to me. I started answering her question and the next thing I know, she was handing me tissue and directing me to try to re-ground myself in the present. She gave me some exercises that I still use today to help with re-focusing my consciousness, quieting the voices. In her diagnoses, she agreed with the previous therapist on everything except one – she diagnosed me with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

So that’s my story pretty much in a nutshell. Currently, I know of at least 10 others all living inside us. We’ve survived because we had each other. Now it is time to Live.

Check in with me daily – I’ll be posting some useful tips that I learned from my therapist, as well as other helpful websites and information specific to dissociative disorders.

Together – we can LIVE.

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7 Responses

  1. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Hello !! 🙂
    I am Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you:)
    Your Piter

    • Hi Piter,

      Yes – I’ll continue to post as long as great people like you continue to read it. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words.

      ~Hopeful

  3. My friend on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.

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