Hello, I found this website while doing some research and there were so many similarities to how I've been feeling that I felt compelled to sign up and make my own post. I'd like to share some of my story and perhaps gain some insight on what's happened to me, what i've done to myself and how I can become a normal functioning adult. I apologize ahead of time if this is too lengthy but I believe I've been dealing with dissociation since I was a toddler. I am now 28 years old and mental illness has been a black cloud looming over me since I was born. My mother was hospitalized for PPD shortly after I was born and struggled with major depressive disorder as well as generalized anxiety disorder for the last 19 years of her life. My biological father was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder though I don't know what it was specifically as he was incarcerated for most of my life (kidnapped my mother, stalked her, extremely violent episodes) and neither my mother nor any of her family would speak to me about him. I also contracted bacterial meningitis from my father at the age of 2 and was hospitalized and quarantined for several weeks. I mention this because although i was cleared of any brain damage from the illness I'm curious that it has had an effect on my current state of mind.
My very first memory of dissociating is by far the most frightening experience I've had with it. I couldn't have been more than 7 years old and it happened at my church. My stepdad would drop me off for Sunday School and mass and pick me up afterwards though neither him nor my mother would actually attend the services with me. On this particular day i had to go to the bathroom in what must have been the middle of mass because i remember the hall being completely empty and silent. I don't know why but for some reason I decided to use the bathroom in the basement of the church even though the one upstairs was closer. I distinctly remember the basement being utterly deserted and taking comfort in that because i was a very shy and solitary little girl. I was in the stall by myself and suddenly i became very confused. I couldn't remember where I was, or who i was for that matter. I started to panic and an endless barrage of questions went through my mind. "Who are you? Where are you? Why are you here? Who are your parents? What are parents?" i found myself unable to formulate any thoughts or responses. My chest got tight and it got hard to breathe. I started to cry as the questions started to appear on the walls of the stall. I closed my eyes and covered my ears and when I looked up again everything was back to normal. I still felt nervous but was able to keep myself together. I never told anyone about it because I knew it was not normal and i figured if i pretended it never happened it might not happen again.
I was generally happy growing up besides that but started having real problems in my preteen years. I had horrible self esteem and started cutting at age 12. My parents found out when i was 14, i had my first of many hospitalizations and was given a lot of different diagnoses. The doctors generally agreed that i had major depression with psychotic traits (i was told this after i confessed to seeing people's auras at times) and generalized anxiety like my mother. My adolesence was one panic attack after another along with a slew of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxietys and tranquilizers. My second major dissociative episode happened when I was 15. I was in my kitchen on Thanksgiving carrying a dish out to the table when time just stopped for me. I froze in midstep and suddenly was outside of my body. I was looking at myself in horror as I realized I was no longer in my kitchen, both my physical and ephemeral, for lack of a better word, beings were no longer in reality. I was surrounded by blackness and nothingness and the only thing I could see was my body still holding the green bean casserole underneath some kind of stage spotlight. The tile floor could be seen under the light but that was it. I snapped out of it when my mom walked in and asked if I was okay. I played it off like i was fine but i really felt as if i truly lost my mind. It compounded my fear that i was going to be just like my father. I was in and out of hospitals and residential treatment centers until I turned 18. I stopped all the meds at that age and moved back home.
In the 10 years since that time I've struggled with the loss of my mother and turned to drugs. I did a lot of coke and hallucinogens. I lost custody of my children and the loss of them within a few years of my mother dying was too much to bear. I started using heroin and putting myself in dangerous situations. I was raped mutiple times during that time of my life but i do not remember the vast majority of what went on during my 3 years of heroin addiction. I feel like all the degrading acts happened to someone else because i don't remember anything besides vague glimpses. When i first got clean these memories would bombard me and i didn't leave the house for almost a year. When i finally did i was approached by someone who i must have known during my strung out days, he obviously knew who i was but i had no recollection of him whatsoever. This has happened a few times since and absolutely terrifies me. I will stay in the house for weeks at a time. When i go out i feel like everyone is staring at me and knows what i've done. I feel all the combined hatred and disgust and i get thrown into a panic attack. When I'm at home my mind is blank 100% of the time. Depersonalization has taken hold over the past year. I do not recognize myself in the mirror. I think of my life as happening in 3 distinct stages, with each stage being a completely different person. The first stage, from birth to 19 is who i think i am supposed to be, but that person feels so far away. She feels frozen somewhere in that vast darkness that encompassed me when i was 15. The second stage was my addicted phase, 19 to 25, of which i don't have much memory. There are days When I can't remember my children's birthdays and i feel such shame and guilt with the smallest bit of satisfaction that I am not involved in their lives because i am such a toxic black hole of a human being. The last stage is the one I'm in now, a stranger to myself. I have no friends, just my boyfriend who has been with me since 19 and who supports me financially and in every way otherwise. This life doesn't feel like it's really happening and everything is grey and foggy. 2 months ago i finally caved and went to a doctor and have been taking zoloft. At first i felt i was able to concentrate a little better but that has stopped as well. Am i doomed to be a walking zombie for the rest of my life? I am sorry for the long post, thoughts aren't something I'm used to having anymore so i wanted to get out as much as i could while I'm able to
I don't know who or what I am anymore, hoping to find answers
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