Depersonalization Support Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends

It is my understanding that there is a strong correlation between trauma and "dissociative

reactions", like depersonalization, particularly as a consequence of early childhood


I beleive that my experiences of DP/DR are in large part a direct result of pain inflicted

upon my little body when I was very young. When I was less than a year old I had a hernia

operation. This would be back in the late forties. I have read in the past that back then

doctors generally didn't anestitize babies believing that their nervous system wasn't yet

developed, so a young child was simply tied down or secured and operated on. This no doubt

would likely cause a "dissociative reaction" not just the pain but the sense of horror

caused by the inability to move away from it. Since the body can't run away the psyche

splits from the body as a means of trying to flee from the overwhelming pain.

The most frightening part of my DP symptoms has always involved a deterioration of the

solidity and substantiality of my bodily sense of self, limbs feeling non existent, or

feeling alien as though they didn't belong to my body as well as many other frightening and

disturbing physical sensations I am sure many of you are familiar with.

Also in my personal case my mother raised me pretty much by herself so when I was quite

young i was very identified with, and dependant upon her. Unfortunately she suffered from

mental problems and sometimes she would become hysterical and develope severe

asmatic(SP?)symptoms. Sometimes the docotr would come to our house and sedate her and her

asthma would go away. Sometimes she would need to be taken to the hospital in the

ambulance. I can remember this happening many times. I would have to stay with neighbors or

with my cousins until she came back. It was a very scary period, my early developmental

years. And i feel that that overload of fear and "seperation anxiety" in the primary cause

of my dissociative tendencies. Of course there were many other things that happened during

those formative years I could mention as contributory factors in my development of DP/DR

but I won't.

I have read that research shows that a significant percentage of adults who suffer from

depersonalization or other dissociative states were operated upon or anestitized (rendered

unconcious through gas or drugs) when they were young children.

Could these early medically induced dissociative states be the cause of todays DP/DR

condition? I definitely think so.

mainly I wanted to raise the issue of the role trauma has played in the development of

DP/DR as i don't hear it talked about here too often. Depression yes, anxiety and panic

yes, but seldom does anyone address the issue of trauma as a cause for ones current

dissociative condition.

Does anyone else feel that their DP is primarily a result of early childhood trauma?


· Registered
2,383 Posts
Dear John,

There are a number of people here with trauma issues. Interesting as I have had both a very dysfunctional childhood, and ironically eye surgery around age 6 or 7 ... I don't recall.

I know though, that before the surgery, I was already depressed, anxious and lonely.

See my website for full details:

It's so hard to nail this DP down to one event though... I think for any of us. I talk about the Stress-Diathesis model a lot, which is an old theory of all illness that being...

Predisposition (Diathesis) + Stress (Many types of stress from illness to abuse, etc.) = Disorder of one form or another

i.e. w/lung cancer:

Predisposition to lung cancer + cigarette smoking = lung cancer in some people.

Or Predisposition to be anxious/dissociate + verbal abuse (example) = emotional problems.

It's never something simple, it's a combination of things.

I admire the fact that you've struggled along with this for so long. Perhaps I can put up a poll re: how many here had surgery as children. The problem with that theory of course is changes in medicine over the years. I remember being in the hospital the night before my surgery, hearing another child cry. Instead of crying myself, I cried FOR that child. It never occurred to me that I was crying for myself. That I was afraid. My emotions were constantly invalidated by my mother.

Also, here's the double whammy as I call it. My father had OCD/anxiety though he was a surgeon. My mother had some form of paranoia, narcissicitic disorder, almost borderline traits and she was a psychiatrist.

So there is the question of inheriting a predisposition or actually inheriting a predisposition to anxiety/depression, etc.

My site explains my life, my theories, etc.
Take Care,

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fistly, john, your story about the operation without anesthesia is horrific.
I don't know if I am oversensitive, but operating a small child like this sounds like pure torture. Sounds very, very plausible for me to find some link to DP there.

Dreamer wrote:

Or Predisposition to be anxious/dissociate + verbal abuse (example) = emotional problems.
Couldn't it go like
Predisposition to be anxious/dissociate=very early trauma, plus verbal abuse=not so early trauma, equals emotional problems in the present which might give rise to DP/DR in case even more stress is added.


· Registered
168 Posts
I never had an operation when I was a child. I had a cist removed from the back of my head on the outside of my skull when I was 14 but I didn't feel a thing. I did have a horrible childhood because of my little step sister. I was never denide the toys or what not, but I was always yelled at for things my step sister did (me and my little brother where both blamed) He is now living in Idaho, he moved there with my real mom when he was 15 because of my father and step sister. I was the bad child for getting preganat at the age of 17. But I'm the only girl that isn't involved with drugs...goes to school with out mom/dad paying for it.....lives on my own.....doens't ask for any money from them....but yet they always put me down. I thinks thats why I have DP. From my parents telling me what a whore I am, or how I'm the slut of the family. How I just ruined my life and they won't help out what so ever. But they bought my little step sister a brand new comero convertable and she dosen't pay a dime. She got caught doing drugs...and her punshment was that her car was taken away for four days!!!! She is 20 and dad pay for everything. My older step sister is 27, hevily into drugs...just had emergancy surgury out in Califonia where she lived (ran away to a couple of years ago) and my step mom flew out there that next day and brought her back to OK and is letting her live with them...paying for everything...and they are buying her a car. I don't do any drugs, don't drink, make good grades in college, raise my daughter with out any help...but still they don't care. They say they do when they know i'm depressed. But I have always been Daddy's Girl since I was born...and he has my step sisters (little) name TATOOED on HIS back!!!!! not mine!!! I had a horrible horrible emotional childhood. Theres more...but it's a longer story then this. My childhood SUCKED. I've been getting headaches everyday since I was 9, been depressed since I was 9. Tried to comitte suicide in my freshman year of high school. and started haveing DP about when I was 16. Maybe younger but not as bad as it is now. Everything mostly stared when I was 9.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.