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How is DP not just PTSD?


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#49 Pablo

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:40 AM

I think trauma and dp have the same root which is not being allowed or short circuiting your natural authentic emotional response to what happens to you in life. It usually isn't what happens to you in life which messes you up rather it is your reaction or being denied a reaction which causes long term problems.

But you don't necessarily have to have been traumatised to get dp because all sorts of things can invalidate your natural emotional reactions, for example "normal" belief systems like boys shouldn't cry and girls shouldn't get angry are depersonalising beliefs which short circuit you. A huge range of belief systems, patterns and issues in "normal" loving families and in society in general can be depersonalising.

#50 violetgirl

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:15 AM

Violetgirl,

I was thinking whether I should reply to your post, but, hey, why not. So, let me tell you a few things about the author (AM) you mentioned above...

When I developed DPD more than 20 years ago, I stumbled across the books of AM and devoured them, as I felt at the time that someone finally understood what had happened to me. I read all her books several times and basically knew them by heart. I was so desperate that I even wrote to her and asked her whether she knew of any therapist who was "enlightened" about child abuse. She only recommended one guy in Switzerland, but of course, he was fully booked as half the world went on a pilgrimage to Bern to be healed through his special type of regression therapy. As it turned out, I was lucky that he didn't have time for me, as this guy was later prosecuted for sexually abusing his clients.

Already more than four years into my DPD, I then met the son of AM by chance, who worked as a therapist in Switzerland, too. I started therapy with him and soon learned that his mother was a very abusive and manipulating person herself. You can read a translated interview with him here http://board.freedom...833/252757.aspx ,which only scrapes the surface (the German version is here http://www.spiegel.d...d-70327191.html).

The son of AM was able to stabilize me to a certain extent, but he didn't have any clue about DPD. In addition, he was so screwed up by his own upbringing that he was unable to truly listen to and understand his patients. He basically saw in each patient what had happened to himself rather than truly understanding and empathizing with the patient's unique circumstances. As a result, I was never able to articulate what hurt me, because he simply didn't want to hear it. But he was so adept at manipulating people himself that I stayed in therapy with him for more than 10 years (only after I was able to distance myself from him did I find out about DPD).

Now, what AM wrote was and is certainly important, even though she did it in a shrill and rather hysterical fashion. But it is instructive how someone who wrote so obsessively about child abuse could actually be an abusive person herself. Likewise, her son was fully aware of how he was treated as a child, but then turned around and manipulated his own clients. Hence, things are not always what they look like on the surface...

Finally, let me add that the only time I got out of DP was when I was able to actually talk to someone about what had really hurt me and caused my DP (which is not directly related to my childhood). But that someone was not a therapist - it was a friend, who was not even aware that she made me feel understood...


Omg, wow. Thanks for letting me know. I am really sorry if me mentioning it to you triggered you or upset you!

I only discovered her website the other day, and was really interested in what she had to say. I can still take her opinions and agree with them as they have really helped me, but her as a person sounds terrible. I don't think how she was as a person invalidates what she has written. Life is shades of grey, we just need to pick out the parts that help us. I mean, my psychiatrist does have good advice that has helped me, even if the rest of the time she is an insensetive, patronising drug pusher. It sounds like AM was split as a person, one part knowing how damaging it can be, yet doing the same to her child. Abuse is so complex that way. This is why I am terrified of having kids because I had an abusive upbringing, and don't have a good reference of parenting. I think many go on autopilot and repeat what their parents did to them. And many either haven't deal with their own abuse issues, and try to solve it through their kids. Or abuse issues surface when they have their own children, and then it's too late.

So sorry you had to go through all that! That sounds awful! Were you able to undo what he did? I think as well, you could apply the same logic of a parent/ child with psych/ client. They too have unmet needs and try to heal themelves through their work. Could you not sue for what happened?
I have avoided psychs like the plague since I was diagnosed with BPD 10 years ago, they have no real sympathy for trauma. I always question what they say. And after all they are human, and have been abused themselves, so may not always want to see the 'truth'. I have been medicated since the age of 14. I hold those doctors accountable for enabling the abuse because they made me feel like I was ill, and not suffering the effects of what was going on at home. Plus, the medication they put me on was very toxic and gave me psychotic episodes and personality changes and suicidal urges. They eventually banned it for under 18s. Our minds are still growing at this age, all I needed was someone to talk to or to ask me what was wrong.

My parents are always horrified by child abuse when it comes on the TV, yet they cannot realise how much they abused me and my sister. It's like there's a blind spot there. People project what they don't want to see in themselves.

You should try Mindfulness and TRE. But yeah, sometimes all it needs is for one person to listen. I was extremely lucky that I saw a psychologist who specialises in BPD and OCD, who treated me like a human being, a trauma victim. Not a manipulative crazy person, which is how the system views people with BPD. It just gave me a nudge in the right direction, and I started to get better from there.

#51 violetgirl

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:22 AM

I think trauma and dp have the same root which is not being allowed or short circuiting your natural authentic emotional response to what happens to you in life. It usually isn't what happens to you in life which messes you up rather it is your reaction or being denied a reaction which causes long term problems.

But you don't necessarily have to have been traumatised to get dp because all sorts of things can invalidate your natural emotional reactions, for example "normal" belief systems like boys shouldn't cry and girls shouldn't get angry are depersonalising beliefs which short circuit you. A huge range of belief systems, patterns and issues in "normal" loving families and in society in general can be depersonalising.


I wish people would realise that trauma doesn't have to be something big. Having parents who are afraid of strong emotions is traumatising, because it makes you feel your feelings are wrong. So you surpress, and this leads to all kinds of issues. Feeling responsible for other people's emotions, not allowing yourself to feel, guilt, shame etc. All factors in getting DP.

Also, as you say Pablo, society invalidates feelings. It views anger as a dangerous emotion and judges it, instead of asking WHY a person is angry. Chronic anger is usualy rooted in a abuse. We need anger to survive, it's an important emotion that we need to acknowledge. And yes there is a sexist idea that men shouldn't express themselves emotionally, which may be part of the reason they have such a high suicide rate compared to women.

I had no idea I had been abused until a psychologist pointed out that my parents sounded narcissistic, and then all my behaviour fell into place. Everybody thinks their parents are normal, because we have nothing to compare it to. And if you have been abused and feeling a lot of guilt, you're not going to want to challenge what you know. There are many systems in place in your mind, the family and society to stop you from questioning abuse.

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:44 PM

Feeling better tonight. Not so defensive. And I agree, we just need to share ideas, and attempt to get along. And I am working on my own issues, even on this board.

One thing about labels. Medicine defines ... maybe this is a better word ... groups of symptoms so they can be classified for research and treatment purposes. We define everything in life. Though psychiatry is dicey, it's come a long way.

The DSM and other classifications of illnesses -- ALL illnesses -- were originally for statistical purposes, and later for diagnostic purposes for insurance companies. No one person fits "perfectly" into any one diagnosis. But I could say, everyone on this board ... most ... are sharing a cluster of very similar symptoms. Those of DP/DR ... we are all talking about the same FEELING, SENSATION, EXPERIENCE of self, our surroundings, and we are not psychotic. Sadly a good number of people who have come and gone on this sight have been given the wrong diagnosis, which led them in the wrong direction re: treatment.

I have a friend of many years from this board, we get together all the time who was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. He doesn't have that, he has depression, anxiety and DP/DR. The DP/DR were successfully treated with Neurontin (which IS an anticonvulsant). He has no DP/DR. It's gone. But he never received an understanding of what he actually had. He heard about it later, online, in a group like this. In that circumstance it worked out, he doesn't suffer DP/DR ... but he does not have TLE. Never did. Others here have been diagnosed as "prodromal schizoprhenia." They have been given very inappropriate medications that have made them WORSE.

So, my two cents. If you go to a doctor for severe fatigue, the doctor has to figure out by elimination what you have and what you DON'T have so that the proper treatment is given. And neither psychiatry, neurology, or general medicine have all the answers to anything.

If anyone wants to participate in the DSM-5 decision making process ... I have participated in two rounds, and there is a final round coming up this spring, see: http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx Since I have commented on two issues, not just DP, I have been invited to partiicpate in the third round re: DP/DR.

DP/DR and it will now be called Depersonalization/Derealization as I understand it, as much of the time the two come together. It will also be noted as a separate disorder unto itself. Yes, it can be secondary to many things, but as Dr. Sierra and the research of many others (including neurologists), but in @2% of the population it remains chronic. This is what is understood now. Also, there has always been a debate about DP being in the dissociative disorders for one very specific reason ....

The other Dissociative Disorders (a category, that simply helps put similar disorders in the same place) all involve AMNESIA. Loss of time.

1. Dissociative Fugue (where someone can up and not recall how they got 24 miles from home, and "wake up" somewhere else)
2. Dissociative Amnesia (forgetting major details after a severe trauma)
3. DID (long periods of doing things and not recalling having done them, such as purchasing clothing, or meeting with someone, etc.)

DP/DR SPECIFICALLY have NO aspect of amnesia. This alone was an early debate re: pulling it from this category.

These more recent studies, notice a correlation more with depression and somatic disorders than with anxiety. I find that fascinating. This again could mean that the DP causes anxiety. We're always debating that here.

In the meantime, I do not see these things as "labeling" anyone, anymore than saying "You have diabetes" ... there will come a time I believe when psychiatric disorders will be recognized as legitimate medical conditions (REGARDLESS OF WHAT CAUSED THEM) and will be treated fairly in terms of insurance, prevention, treatment, etc. That is the theme of many advocacy groups I am a part of. And speaking openly about my illness helps others open up. We realize a lot of people have brain disorders -- successful people, and struggling individuals. From schizophrenia to mood disorders.

The reason I originally tried to again refocus the actual definition of PTSD is like ... again a personal example:

About a year ago I started having swelling in my right hand in the mornings. I was concerned as I thought it was lymphedema symptoms from my mastectory. I was running around to various doctors. It could have been lymphedema ... but that was ruled out. Then there was a thought that I had severe tendonitis. THAT was ruled out. I was sent to a rheumatologist .... I have arthritis, but I also had to rule out one of two types of arthritis ... I DON'T have rheumatoid arthritis (thank God), I have osteoarthritis. So, symptoms in common, but getting the FINAL CORRECT diagnosis means I don't have to take special medications, have certain pain control options, and have hand exercises. So, by exclusion I received the correct treatment.

The symptoms got whittled away ...
1. Lymphedema
2. Tendonitis
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
4. Osteoarthritis


All four of these VERY different problems had similar symptoms. Knowing the correct diagnosis led to the proper treatment.

That's what these categories are for.
I'm not saying doctors get everything correct. I'm not saying researchers get everything correct. But by getting the best diagnosis, and certainly not the WRONG diagnosis, is ... well the best thing.

Though I hate "House, M.D." (House should have been fired 10 years ago) some of the medical mysteries on that show are a perfect example of this process, where a psychiatric symptoms might be the symptom of a metabolic disorder such as hypo or hyper thyroidism, etc.

My 2 cents is these are categories that can be used for bad or for good. But bottom line, all of us are seeking help for something. Something isn't right with these symptoms of DP/DR. Other people -- 90% of my close friends I've known for 30 years have no clue what DP/DR are despite how many ways I try to explain. They don't have it. We do. And it is good to know, I am not alone. As again, from 1958 until 1999, I thought I was the only person in the world with these symptoms. I had a NAME for the symptom, but thought I was completely alone. Again, I grew up where there was NO internet, and for that matter no Prozac/SSRIs! I grew up in a different time. And psychoanalysis for example was a first choice of treatment, not medication.

One of my early doctors when I was in University was a wonderful man. An M.D. psychiatrist whose work was based on Bowlby sp? and a very psychoanalytic model of my abuse. He was wonderful. I got a BA and and MA because of his emotional support. He was NOT a destructive psychoanalyst at all. And he didn't have much medication to give me. And despite all of my efforts, I did not improve during the years I worked with him. My illness remained severe. The second psychoanalyst in California made me even worse -- and actually "liked" me, though he was married. Nothing inappropriate ever happened, but he was more a "friend" than a doctor. It was VERY destructive.

I simply hope we can share information and take it or leave it.
And you can write comments to the DSM-5 group again at: http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx


New York, I have printed out your comments and will take some time to go over them.
All we all want to do is get better. I can't believe that isn't true.

Have a closer look at the changes being made to the Dissociative Disorders. There is a debate on drug-induced ... they have not decided upon that, vs. non drug-induced. Also, "fugue" has now moved under Dissociative Amnesia. There are reasons for these changes. Not every doctor or researcher may agree, but as noted, the DSM has changed DRAMATICALLY, and I'd say overall for the better since 1952 ... imagine the FIRST DSM. It is full of such misinformation. But so were many medical textbooks at that time. We learn. We change. We evolve.

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision/Pages/DissociativeDisorders.aspx

Edited by Dreamer*, 31 March 2012 - 12:50 AM.


#53 violetgirl

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 02:20 AM

Everybody who's been abused will end up with PTSD in some way or another. PTSD is a meaningless term, made up by the psychiatric system, to fit us all into neat categories. But you cannot treat the brain like the body. Trauma shows up in our bodies and minds in different ways. To have a category called 'PTSD' invalidates all the other ways people process and experience trauma. OCD is PTSD. It's the mind's way of avoiding pain, by using obsessions to relieve stress and tension. Anxiety is the body still in 'fight or flight'. Chronic anger is PTSD, as the person hasn't been allowed to express themselves or process the trauma. Even chronic pain can be body memories.

'Generalised Anxiety Disorder' is another stupid term made up by the system. A person is anxious because they are traumatised. They do not develop a disorder. An emotional response is not a disorder, it's a perfectly valid expression of extreme pain.

#54 Pablo

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:16 PM

I wish people would realise that trauma doesn't have to be something big. Having parents who are afraid of strong emotions is traumatising, because it makes you feel your feelings are wrong. So you surpress, and this leads to all kinds of issues. Feeling responsible for other people's emotions, not allowing yourself to feel, guilt, shame etc. All factors in getting DP.

Also, as you say Pablo, society invalidates feelings. It views anger as a dangerous emotion and judges it, instead of asking WHY a person is angry. Chronic anger is usualy rooted in a abuse. We need anger to survive, it's an important emotion that we need to acknowledge. And yes there is a sexist idea that men shouldn't express themselves emotionally, which may be part of the reason they have such a high suicide rate compared to women.

I had no idea I had been abused until a psychologist pointed out that my parents sounded narcissistic, and then all my behaviour fell into place. Everybody thinks their parents are normal, because we have nothing to compare it to. And if you have been abused and feeling a lot of guilt, you're not going to want to challenge what you know. There are many systems in place in your mind, the family and society to stop you from questioning abuse.


I think the issue of invalidating peoples feelings is a pretty wide issue in general, there are many belief systems in society which can invalidate you, religions are full of them and many cultures have unique ones just for themselves, for example in the UK people go on about you should have a "stiff upper lip" which for many people just means deny your feelings; Japan has a huge culture around shame which invalidates all sorts of feelings and leads to loads of suicides; and in the US (correct me if i'm wrong as I havent been there for years) there is a big drive towards "positive thinking" and competitiveness, which means that it is viewed as a real value judgement on you as a person to have feelings like defeat and hopelessnes. But if you want to be a complete human being you have to claim the right to your whole spectrum of human emotions without shame, which includes the right to feel defeated, depressed, hopeless, angry, scared etc as much as the positive ones.

#55 violetgirl

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:29 PM

It's actually quite depressing, isn't it? Just seeing the systems in place around us that invalidate. How is anyone supposed to be happy in this world?

The belief system that the parent is always right, started by the 10 commandments 'Honour thy Mother and Father', is the most awful invalidating system of all. The amount of abuse this must have enabled must be so widespread.

Yes, the UK and the USA need a happy medium, because both ends of the spectrum are pretty damaging.

Find your own space, and heal yourself as best you can. That's all we can do really.

#56 Pablo

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:52 PM

It's actually quite depressing, isn't it? Just seeing the systems in place around us that invalidate. How is anyone supposed to be happy in this world?

The belief system that the parent is always right, started by the 10 commandments 'Honour thy Mother and Father', is the most awful invalidating system of all. The amount of abuse this must have enabled must be so widespread.

Yes, the UK and the USA need a happy medium, because both ends of the spectrum are pretty damaging.

Find your own space, and heal yourself as best you can. That's all we can do really.


Yes for us to become sane and complete people we may have to break free from all sorts of family and cultural structures which is quite a lonely path to take. "It's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society" yet it takes a lot of courage to walk alone and break free from it, i'm still trying to myself yet I also need community and support which leaves me in a bit of a limbo.

#57 violetgirl

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

Pablo, that's exactly what I had to do to get well. I feel like I'm in some weird sci-fi movie, where everyone seems to be in this massive system that I've escaped from.

I escaped my parents system, family system, cultural, gender, everything. I had to look at life in a clinical way, took away all the labels and the emotions we project onto things. Life feels more empty, but I am a lot happier.

#58 missjess

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:27 AM

I would say DP is comorbid oth complex post traumatic stress disorder

Which most ppl from dysfunctional & traumatic families acquire




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